2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Review – A Fabulous Nod to its Younger Self

The 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec may be sexier and drive a bit differently than the original, but it sure does capture the spirit of that beloved car of my youth.

A Trip Down Memory Car Lane With The Acura Integra A-Spec
A trip down memory car lane with the Acura Integra A-Spec. Photo: Sara Lacey

Many reviews of the Acura Integra begin with fun memories of the car we knew in the ’90s

Well, I am no different. My college boyfriend had an Acura Integra when I started dating him in 1995. He had a 4-door, it was red with tinted windows. I was excited to get behind the wheel of the 2023 Integra A-Spec because I was interested to see how much of the car felt familiar, if at all.

Ownership was a compelling enough thought before I drove the car. My test car showed up, and it was gorgeous. What’s more, it had a manual transmission and a ton of features and still cost under $40,000. It was $35,800.00 before delivery and other charges.

Related: Worth the Wait, Meet the 2024 Acura Integra Type S

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Review - A Fabulous Nod To Its Younger Self - He Front End Of The Acure Integra A Spec

I love the front end of the Acura Integra A-Spec and its grille. Photo: Sara Lacey

This New Iteration of the Acura Integra Looks Modern and Sharp

That is due to the creased metal at the bottom of the doors when you look at the car from the side. This Integra looks more like a fastback than that 4-door Integra of the 90s, but I’m not mad about it. In fact, the Integra doesn’t have a separate trunk like a sedan; it’s open to the rest of the car. The Integra has a nice swoosh in the lower part of the car that draws your eye to the back of the vehicle. The rear of the car has a pinched lid on the trunk that creates a spoiler. The tail lights come to a point towards the center of the back, and the dual tailpipes add to the sharp look of the car.

Related: I Felt Like a Pilot in the Acura MDX Type S

A Girls Guide To Cars | 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Review - A Fabulous Nod To Its Younger Self - Front Row Of The Acura Integra A Spec

Front row of the Acura Integra A-Spec. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Front of the Acura Integra A-Spec is a Hottest Exterior Feature

It looked pretty badass if I’m being honest. The grille has the Acura “A” in the center, and the black mesh around it looks like you’re in hyperspace. It’s cool; it’s a graduated diamond pattern, and the way it catches the light, it looks like a burst. There are five creases in the hood that are probably helpful with aerodynamics, but I like that they also make the car look fast. I really just love how the Integra looks cohesive. All pieces look like they were designed together and well, nicely integrated.

I did drive my boyfriend’s car from time to time, and I really enjoyed it. It had a manual transmission and sat low to the ground. My test car did, too. And while the test car didn’t have a hot red exterior, it had a gorgeous red interior that made me grin whenever I opened the door. It was a perfect balance to the metallic charcoal grey exterior that was pretty, but if it were paired with a simpler interior, it would have been missing the wow factor that I like. 

There were a ton of small details that added up to a spiced-up interior. For example, the air vents had a grille with a joystick in the center to direct airflow. The gear shift was metal, and the black leather boot had red stitching. The red leather seats had a charcoal-colored section so that it wasn’t too overwhelming. It was just the right amount of everything. The cupholders were easy to use but weren’t in the way despite being located just behind the gearshift. They’re placed pretty low down, so unless you have a really tall cup, you can manage shifting without issue.

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I Loved The Subdued Exterior Of This Car.

I loved the subdued exterior of this car. Photo: Sara Lacey

Did the Acura Integra A-Spec Drive Like I Hoped it Would?

It was a total kick! I started out in Normal mode just to get used to things. The Integra has a 200-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. I found that it was speedy, but it didn’t blow my hair back. The shifts were short and fun, and the clutch was really friendly. The Integra was fun and easy to drive around town. I was beginning to be smitten with the Integra, just like I was with that college boyfriend.

There Are Multiple Drive Modes In The Acura Integra A-Spec. I Enjoyed Sport Mode.

There are multiple drive modes in the Acura Integra A-Spec. I enjoyed Sport mode. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Deal was Sealed when I put the Acura Integra into Sport Mode

This created a throatier noise from the exhaust and a stiffer suspension that meant I felt a lot more of the road. The turbo kicked in more aggressively and forced me into a smile and a giggle. Additionally, Integra offers an Individual mode, where you can set your preferences regarding steering and shifting, and exhaust noise. I would likely set this to create my ideal setup and never leave that mode. Fuel efficiency is estimated at 26 miles per gallon in the city, a whopping 36 on the highway, and a combined estimate of 30 miles per gallon.

I enjoyed zipping around running the most basic of errands but also enjoyed the Integra when I went out to a nice dinner and got a compliment from the valet. This is a fun 4-cylinder to rev up and go fast in, but it can also be seen in fancier environs and even shine there. It’s the best of both sporty and luxury worlds.

The Drivers Gauges Are Digital In The Acura Integra A-Spec.

The driver’s gauges are digital in the Acura Integra A-Spec. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Acura Integra is Comfortable, Which is a Big Win

The sport seats are supportive, and both the front driver and passenger seats are powered. The higher window line makes you feel like you’re in a bit of a cocoon. Combined with being lower to the ground, I actually FELT fast before I even left my driveway. I really liked that. The Integra came with a 9” touchscreen. It was within easy reach, and the Acura apps were simple to use, though I found myself using Apple CarPlay most of the time. There is an actual volume/power knob on the screen, as well as forward and back buttons for the stereo. The Integra also places a Home and a Back button to use for the car’s menus. I actually liked that a lot, so I didn’t have to search in the menus or take my eye off the road to find these commands on a screen. 

A big bonus was that the gauges in front of the steering wheel were also digital. It’s customizable; you can put the information up there that you use the most. Also, the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec came with a head-up display, and I always find those so fun. You can also use Amazon Alexa to issue voice commands. It works well enough and served to remind me that I need to learn to speak “Alexa” more fluently. The Integra gave me a wireless charging pad that sits just in front of the gear shift, and I was so happy with it.

The back seat of the Integra is roomy enough for taller people if you can scoot the front seats forward a little. It will start to feel small for tall people if you’re going for a longer trip. It’ll also feel small if you have a couple of car seats back there. If car seats are a part of your life, the lower anchors are recessed a little behind a leather flap. They’re a little deep. So be sure this car will work for you by testing your specific car seat(s) out during a test drive. What you also want to know is that the center top tether anchor is located on the floor of the trunk and not the seat back.

The cargo space is actually pretty ample. It benefits from a 60/40 fold if you need more room, and it’s about average depth. You will be able to fit at least two carry-on-sized suitcases back there, but it seems like you could get four.

Luggage And Groceries Should Fit Nicely In The Cargo Area.

Luggage and groceries should fit nicely in the cargo area. Photo: Sara Lacey

What You Should Know

  • The back seat is functional but doesn’t cater to passengers. Only one seat-back pocket, and though there are charging ports, there aren’t air vents.
  • It’s small and won’t grow with a family very well, but would be a great second car (date night, anyone?)
  • The Integra is a cousin to the Honda Civic
The Interior Of The Acura Integra A-Spec Is Hot, Hot, Hot!

The interior of the Acura Integra A-Spec is hot, hot, hot! Photo: Sara Lacey

What We Loved

  • Hot red interior, with suede inserts and grey details on the front seats
  • Great entry price for an upscale, fun sedan from a luxury brand
  • The manual transmission. Do it.
  • Fabulous trim details
I Am Considering A Long Term Relationship With The Acura Integra A-Spec

I am considering a new long-term relationship with the Acura Integra A-Spec. Photo: Sara Lacey

A Commitment to the Acura Integra will Keep you Happy

So, while the 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec doesn’t exactly take a ton of design cues from the old one, and while it doesn’t have an obvious nod to the car of the past, the spirit of it is there. It’s a fun, sporty four-door that’s the perfect size for a single or couple. It is fun to drive and will make you smile with its higher-end finishes and details. I wound up marrying that college boyfriend, and by the end of my test, I was seriously considering a long-term relationship with a brand new Integra.

2023 Acura Integra Monroney

2023 Acura Integra Monroney. Photo: Acura

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Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey