Opinion: How Acura Can Avoid Messing Up the Integra

opinion how acura can avoid messing up the integra

Last week, we reported on Acura’s plans to bring back the Integra. In the article, I hinted at how Acura can go about getting it right.

I’d like to expand on that.

First off, the car has to be worthy of the extra price tag that the Acura name commands. It’s likely going to be a Honda Civic underneath, and that’s fine, but the car will need to feel special, inside and out, in order to justify a higher price tag. That will mean features that are optional on most Civics should be standard, and maybe a few things should be standard or available on the Integra that aren’t on the Civic. The interior materials better look and feel even nicer than that of the top-trim Civic.

Second, the car better look good, at least to most eyes. A sexy Integra will sell better than an ugly one. Also, the sun rises in the east, you know.

Third, and this is key, the Integra needs to offer performance. I see Acura going in two directions with this. One way to go would be to offer the base car as a bit more luxurious, but still fun to drive, while offering something equivalent to the Si, and a Civic Type R-based Type S. The other way would be to just offer the car as a performance luxury car with Si and Type R equivalents. I suppose Honda/Acura could also just offer a base car and Si equivalent, leaving the Type R to Honda, but I suspect that could be a mistake.

Fourth, and related to the previous paragraph — the car better offer a freakin’ manual. I know manuals are often irrelevant, but if Acura wants to make this a performance car, it will be taken more seriously if at least one trim level offers three pedals. And if that manual is offered with any and all engines and doesn’t require a sacrifice of creature comforts.

All told, if Acura can strike a nice luxury/performance balance in a car priced not too far north of the Civic, the brand can have a hit on its hands. An RSX for the next generation. Something that makes us forget about the underwhelming (though still fun to drive) ILX. A performance car for the moneyed up-and-coming middle manager.

Or it could swing and miss. I hope that isn’t the case. So let me be that auto journalist who decides to tell a brand how to build a car despite having no product planning experience or access to internal financials. Let me dream, and let’s hope Acura listens.

[Image: Acura]

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  • Petey Petey on Aug 22, 2021

    This is the first ive heard of the Intergra coming back to life. I still surf through CL looking for vintage Gs-rs and type-r's, so you know im a Integra fan. What it needs to have is, a manual, and a Si equivalent. If it can acheive these two things, and look and be priced half decent. I would be happy.

  • BSttac BSttac on Aug 25, 2021

    I have all the faith that Acura will mess this up. Look at the disaster new MDX and TLX. Both weigh at least 200lbs more than they should be and get beaten by Genesis while costing more. The new Integra will be a heavy hybrid. No manual option. No engagement. Acura has been dead for over a decade now. Honda fanboys just refuse to tell them that.

  • Kurkosdr Someone should tell the Alfa Romeo people that they are a badge owned by a French company now.The main reason PSA bought FiatChrysler is that PSA has the technology to enter the luxury market but customers don't want a French luxury car for psychological/mindshare reasons. FiatChrysler has the opposite problem: they have lots of still-respected brands but not always the technology to make good cars. Not to say that if FCA has a good platform, it won't be used in a PSA car.In other words, if those Alfa Romeo buds think that they will remain a silo with their own bespoke platforms and exclusive sheet metal, they are in for a shock. This is just the start.
  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.