Acura has had a busy year, with the 2021 TLX sedan arriving last autumn and the 2022 MDX coming this spring.
The firm has attempted to infuse these new models with some of the light and athletic feel of previous generations of Acuras in both instances. Now it’s bringing back the Integra, the vehicle that helped establish that sporty reputation in the first place.
At a media conference yesterday night at Monterey Car Week, Acura brand executive Jon Ikeda announced, “The Integra is returning.” “I’m thrilled to announce Integra is returning to the Acura lineup with the same fun-to-drive spirit as the original, fulfilling our commitment to precision crafted performance in every way–design, performance, and overall driving experience,” said Acura brand officer Jon Ikeda in a statement released last night. Acura will retire the slow-selling NSX supercar after 2022, and the Type S will be a run-out, 600-horsepower special edition. Ikeda offered little information about what the all-new 2022 Integra would look or drive like, but the news came during the formal debut of the NSX Type S.
While the NSX may be on its way out, the Integra expected to bring in many more clients to the Acura showroom than the original NSX did in the 1990s. It’s a well-known moniker among Acura (and Honda) fans, and for good reason.
Acura was the first Japanese luxury automobile brand, with just two models available from 60 dealers nationwide when it debuted on March 27, 1986.
The Legend, Honda’s first genuine luxury vehicle and also its first true midsize model, and the smaller, sportier Integra were the two models.
Dealers were dubious about the Integra, which was based on a Honda Civic and didn’t appear or feel like a premium vehicle. With just 40-50 vehicles allotted per dealer in the early months,
they thought the Legend would be a better chance for profit after investing in costly new shops, but their doubts were unfounded. On a sweltering August day, Integra’s mix of driving pleasure and high-quality feel was simpler to sell than Häagen-Dazs.
The Integra adds a free-revving, twin-cam 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 118 horsepower to the Civic’s strong handling characteristics. By today’s standards, that’s not much, but the original Integra weighed just 2,400 pounds and handled and felt similar to a BMW 3 Series. Although the Integra had front-wheel drive, it was a blast to drive on a curvy road.
The car’s low price attracted a large number of youthful customers. Acura sold 217,000 of them in four years,
giving the brand one of the youngest average buyer ages among luxury brands. When it came time to purchase their next vehicle, several of those Integra customers returned to the Acura dealership.
The original Integra was followed by two more, each with a simple cabin but excellent handling and performance.
The third-generation Integra, which debuted in model year 1994, was the most well-praised of all the Integras.
Despite being bigger and with increased passenger and luggage capacity, this sleek, bug-eyed vehicle utilized composite polymers to help make it even lighter than the second-generation automobile. The 170-horsepower GS-R model topped the quick and exciting range, with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine
and Honda’s then-new VTEC variable valve timing technology.
In the early 1990s, young city professionals and quick-and-furious hot rodders alike couldn’t get enough of the Integra,
but sales began to decline after 1995 as SUVs made inroads with younger customers. In 1997 and 1998, Honda introduced a limited-production, 195-horsepower Integra Type R to pique interest. Today, it’s a high-end collector vehicle.
Acura replaced the Legend with the RL and the smaller Vigor with the TL in 1996, opting for more generic alphanumerics. The Integra name lasted until 2001 when it was replaced by the RSX (four-door) and TSX (six-door) (two-door). The more generic names didn’t have the same ring to them as Legend and Integra.
In the 2010s, Acura shifted its focus to more luxury and less athletic models,
although it did attempt to reignite the subcompact segment with the ILX in 2013.
even though this Civic-based sedan lacked the Integra’s lively attitude, it has sold well since its debut. Although the introduction of the 2022 Integra likely marks the end of the ILX, it is still on sale in 2021.
The 2022 Integra will most likely have a lot of similarities with the newly released 2022 Honda Civic,
which is a pleasant car to drive even in its basic variant. With that competent chassis as a foundation,
Ikeda’s prediction that the new Integra will be just as much fun to drive as the old one
doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Keep an eye out for further information.