For the love of everything... don't make it a crossover.
The 600-horsepower NSX Type S was Acura's big reveal at this year's Monterey Car Week, but an even more exciting announcement came in the form of a teaser for the Integra. Acura didn't give much away, but confirmed that one of its original models from 1986 will rejoin the lineup with a new generation sometime in 2022. As a reminder, the Integra was a compact model sold by Honda from 1985 to 2001, available in a range of body styles including a sedan, hatchback, and most famously, a coupe. It was sold under the Acura banner in North America and was later renamed "RSX" from 2001 to 2006.
Acura Vice President Jon Ikeda says the next-generation Integra will retain the "fun-to-drive spirit and DNA of the original," but he didn't say specifically what that means. In an attempt to fill in the blanks and predict the future, we've come up with a wishlist for what we want to see (and not see) from the new Acura Integra.
Before we mention what we'd like to see from the next-generation Integra, we must point out the biggest thing we do not want; Acura, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT make it a crossover. We get that crossovers are all the rage right now, but if Acura wants to take all the goodwill from enthusiasts it gained by bringing back the Type S nameplate and flush it down the proverbial toilet, it could bring the Integra back as a crossover coupe version of the RDX.
We hope Acura sticks to what made the original Integra (and RSX) great: sporty coupe styling with hatchback practicality. In our dream scenario, Acura will offer three-door and five-door body styles, each offering a subtle hatch design that could pass for a trunk upon first glance. The Integra would compete with models like the Audi S3, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-AMG CLA-Class and its AMG counterparts, or potentially even the Audi A5/Kia Stinger if Acura decides to go slightly larger.
Acura has not mentioned any specifics about the powertrain, but we have some guesses. Acura will likely underpin the next-generation Integra on the 11th generation Civic platform, meaning power should go out to the front wheels with SH-AWD as a possible option. We'd like to see the base model use the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine from the upcoming Civic Si, producing a bit more power than the Honda counterpart. This would make an ideal A-Spec trim.
In the past, Acura offered an Integra Type R as a flagship model, but the Type R badge will stay Honda-only. Instead, the Type S should arrive as the flagship performance version, likely with a more powerful engine, stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, and other styling changes. The TLX and MDX Type S use a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, but that engine is too heavy for a small model like the Integra which we predict will inherit the Civic Type R's 2.0-liter four-cylinder with just over 300 hp.
We expect Acura to use a 10-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual would be the cherry on top of the Integra sundae.
The revived Acura Integra has some big shoes to fill. Not only does it have to live up to the original, but it also needs to replace the 2022 Acura ILX as the entry-level model as possibly fill the role left by the now-discontinued Civic Coupe. The current ILX was last facelifted in 2018, but is still based on a two-generation-old Civic model. Acura hasn't explicitly said the Integra will replace the ILX, but it seems highly likely.
The Acura ILX may not be the freshest model in the subcompact luxury segment, but it is the most affordable option starting at just $26,500. If Acura could somehow keep the new Integra under $30,000, it could easily recapture the entry-level luxury segment, undercutting European rivals from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.