Exclusive: Acura Won't Make The Manual Integra More Attainable

Scoop / 13 Comments

And there won't be a coupe either. What you see is what you get.

Acura has recently taken the wraps off an electric design study that previews its styling direction for the future. Simultaneously, the brand is set to reintroduce the ZDX to the market as its first full EV. The brand is heading for an electric future quickly, which is part of why it has begun work on a hybrid hypercar for Le Mans racing.

It'll be some time before these new developments affect the cars that you and I can go out and buy, but in the meantime, what is happening with the luxury brand? We chatted to Emile Korkor, Acura's national sales VP, to find out more about Acura's plans for current vehicles like the Integra, as well as its strategy for the future. The Integra was a key focus of our chat, as the hallowed nameplate has been revived and has split the internet in half. Some love it, some hate it, but there were still some questions we wanted answered.

2023 Acura Integra Front View Driving Acura 2023 Acura Integra Rear View Driving Acura
2023 Acura Integra Front View Driving
2023 Acura Integra Rear View Driving

The manual gearbox has been remarkably popular among interested parties, with Acura confirming in March that initial reservations and sales had exceeded 70% on the manual variant. We wondered if interest in the three-pedal configuration had slowed since you can only have a stick shift with the most expensive Integra trim, but the response was that reservations and sales continue to exceed 65%. "In the long run, demand for the manual may taper, but the initial response and excitement has been fantastic," said Korkor.

Interestingly, the Toyota GR Supra will soon be getting a manual gearbox too, but Toyota predicts that the take rate for the stick will only be around 25%. Obviously, these are different cars in different niches, but it's reassuring that most buyers of relatively affordable sports cars continue to demand the option of rowing their own gears.

2023 Acura Integra Gearbox Controls Acura 2023 Acura Integra Steering Wheel Acura
2023 Acura Integra Gearbox Controls
2023 Acura Integra Steering Wheel

With such high demand for the manual, we had to pose a trepidatious question: would Acura consider making the stick available on lower trims? The answer was a disappointing one.

"The choice to offer the 6MT only on the top trim was based on thorough market research and discussions with buyers. A vast number of manual transmission buyers today are seeking an engaging driving experience coupled with the latest performance technologies, such as adaptive dampers, and premium features like an ELS 3D audio system. The fact that over 65% of the initial orders were for the top trim (Technology Package) with 6MT demonstrates that the strategy was sound." Disappointing, but there is a glimmer of hope.

"We always monitor market demand and will adjust the trim strategy as needed, but at this time, [there are] no plans to offer the 6MT on the base trim."

2023 Acura Integra Forward View Acura

Finally, we just had to ask about the possibility of a coupe variant. After all, that would make the Integra more appealing and help it to stand out from the very similar Honda Civic Si, of which there is also no coupe variant anymore. Unfortunately, the bean counters are once again at work here.

"Without a significant, generational shift in market demand, the economics of a three-door Integra, unfortunately, do not exist. The five-door body style is both consistent with the Integra dating back to 1986 and offers the most compelling combination of sporty driving fun with a versatile car for active lifestyles."

In summary, Acura is raking in plenty of orders for the most expensive Integra variant and is happy to continue doing so, and however much we may wish for things to be different or for more variants to be offered, it doesn't make financial sense because the buying public has accepted what is currently on offer.

2023 Acura Integra View Out Back Acura

On another note, we asked about the NSX Type S, which sold out very fast. Would Acura consider producing more NSXs to capitalize on demand? The answer is no because Acura understands that part of its appeal is its low volume; production will cease when the 350th Type S is built later this year. The total run for the second-generation NSX is less than 3,000 units, so it will remain exclusive. As we learned a year ago, the NSX will one day return, but Acura won't tell us when or what form it will take. But since the current model is a hybrid, we wouldn't bet against the supercar going all-electric when it returns.

"Its job as our halo model isn't quite done. At some point in the future, there will be a time for our company to demonstrate our technical capabilities and motivate our associates and the industry as a whole with another New Sports eXperience, but that's a discussion for another day..."

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