2022 Acura Integra A-Spec 6-Speed Review: The Haters Are Wrong

Everyone’s got opinions on the 2022 Acura Integra, and if you consult the internet at large, they’ll tell you that despite it being a fine car it’s somehow awful and a disgrace to the Integra heritage and so on. I spent a week with a 2022 Integra A-Spec with Technology package – with requisite six-speed manual transmission – and I’m here to gently ask the haters to shut up and remember their history.

When most enthusiasts think “Integra,” they undoubtedly think of a 1999-ish “DC2” Integra Type-R three-door in bright yellow, with the four round headlights and gigantic wing on the hatch. They think of a special, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder that revved to the moon while hitting VTEC two-thirds of the way there, paired to a manual transmission and limited-slip diff. And then they see today’s Integra, a five-door hatchback, and deem it “not bonkers enough” to be a real Integra.

*heavy sigh*

Look, I think of the DC2 Integra, too. But not every Integra ever sold was a Type-R. They weren’t all three-door hatchbacks. They weren’t even all manuals. Most of them followed the exact same formula that today’s 2022 Acura Integra follows, which is to say “a nicer Civic with some special touches.” And I’m excited about this new Integra, because while it definitely leaves room for something more bonkers, a-la DC2-Type-R, it also is tremendously good in its own right. And even if you pick the most basic model with a CVT, I think it’d be pretty good.

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec taillight

What Is It?

This is a 2022 Acura Integra. It’s based on the current, 11th-generation Honda Civic, using the drivetrain from the 2022 Honda Civic Si but with the five-door hatchback body instead  of the Si’s four-door sedan setup. Power, then, comes from a turbocharged 1.5-liter four cylinder rated at 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. My test car was a loaded A-Spec, which offers a six-speed manual, but a CVT is your only choice on lower trims. 

If you get the manual transmission, you’ll get a limited-slip differential. Picking the fully-loaded A-Spec with Tech trim also includes adaptive dampers, a 530-watt ELS sound system, heated front seats, wireless phone charging, a fully-digital gauge cluster, and heads-up display. 

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec manual transmission

Given the hatchback body and slight size difference – some seven inches longer than a Civic Hatchback – the 2022 Acura Integra weighs about 112 pounds more than a 2022 Honda Civic Si. But I think being slightly slower on paper is worth the extra goodies you get… assuming those matter to you.

MSRP of this Integra came in at $35,800.

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec red interior

Acura’s Stated Competition

Acura claims the 2022 Integra is, as with prior generations, an entry-level compact luxury car. In today’s market, that means their competition is defined as (per Acura) the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, BMW 228i Gran Coupe, and Audi A3. It’s worth keeping these three cars in mind, as I did in my week with the ‘Teg.

On paper, they all make more power. In reality, they all weigh hundreds of pounds more – which means their power to weight ratios are worse than the Integra, thus making them slower. And is 0-60 what matters most? It’s certainly a quantifiable statistic, but if you’re here reading this article, you probably care more about the visceral characteristics of the car more than outright power. 

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec engine

At least sometimes.

Anyway. The Integra is the only car out of the four that offers a manual transmission or limited-slip diff, the latter making up for its lack of all-wheel drive – something else largely unnecessary for this sort of car. Acura claims to have made a car that fits the “entry luxury” model but is light on its feet. So… is it any good?

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec badge

Driving the 2022 Acura Integra

Yes, it’s good. It’s very good. That should come as no surprise given I raved about the 2022 Honda Civic Si a few months ago. But the Integra takes everything I loved about the Civic Si – power delivery, chassis and shifter and steering feel, the general spunky vibe – and adds the bits I was missing from the Civic, namely heated front seats and a bangin’ sound system. I happen to prefer the Integra’s looks by a hair and the hatchback practicality by a mile.

The Integra doesn’t feel quite as tossable as the Civic Si, between its extra weight and length, but it is still an entertaining sedan that rewards the driving enthusiast. Adaptive suspension is a nice touch, with the normal “Comfort” mode riding softer than the Civic Si’s fixed dampers and Sport going a good bit stiffer.

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec red seats

Acura changed the steering ratio ever so slightly, though not to a perceptible degree. Feel is still fantastic regardless of drive mode. Rev hang, the perpetual “ugh, emissions” gripe with most new manual-transmission cars, is present yet minimal, and seemed to be reduced in Sport mode. 

The seats, different from the Civic Si and finished here in a fantastic bright red, were all-day comfortable. Acura’s ELS audio system, fantastic in the TLX I drove last year, is just as good here. Audiophiles will want to skip right over the Civic’s Bose setup and look to Acura – it’s a vast difference. Those two differences are what sway me toward the Integra over the Civic Si as a “one car” solution. 

2022 Acura Integra A-Spec

The Value Prop vs. The One-Car Thing

I’m sure the Acura PR team is cringing because I keep comparing the Integra to the Civic Si and they just don’t want us doing that, dangit. The Civic Si is a tremendous value. It comes in well under $30,000 and is generally well-equipped and fantastic to drive. If you don’t care about all the goodies that Acura adds, it’s a wonderful modern sport sedan.

That said, as my only car, I’d pick the Integra. I think it comes together in a cohesive way, in a sort of “Civic Si in a suit” approach that really works. The styling is fantastic, it’s practical, it’s pretty nice inside, and it can pull double-duty as a calm, quiet luxo-ish sedan and back-roads runner. 

Where I do empathize with the Integra haters I mentioned above is in this particular Integra’s level of crazy. It’s simply… not. It’s entertaining and fun, but it’s not wild. It’s not meant to be, just like a 1993 Integra LS wasn’t meant to be. Given Honda’s recent confirmation of the next Civic Type-R, I have to think Acura will pull a few things from that car’s assembly line at some point and give the loud internet people what they claim to want.

It’ll be a five-door, because coupes are dying, but it’ll be a more bonkers Integra. 

Until then, this one’s really good, provided your expectations are adjusted away from the Fast & Furious franchise and back to reality. 

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