A week with the Canadian 2023 Integra Elite A-spec MT
I ‘ve told myself I would never by a black car again, but after spending a week with a Majestic Black Pearl 2023 Integra, it might just be my color of choice… if I were to buy an Integra in the future. The A-Spec package added 18″ alloy wheels, fog lights and A-Spec badging, but the full carbon package, which includes Carbon Fiber Tailgate Spoiler, Carbon Fiber Door Mirror Covers, and Side and Rear Underbody Spoilers, did more to really enhance the Integra’s overall appearance. Aside from the Acura emblems and A-spec badge, the car was almost entirely black – a sleek stealthy look which I rather liked.
Inside, the red leatherette and Ultrasuede was a nice contrast to the black exterior, adding a sporty vibrance to the cabin. I made a day trip out to one of my favorite highways, the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, easily spending over 12 hours inside the car. The seats were comfortable, soft yet supportive – I didn’t feel sore or restless which was a bit of a surprise especially after a full day of driving. I’m about 6’1″, and the cabin felt very spacious laterally, with plenty of head room in the drivers seat. However, I did find that my head grazed the roof while in the back seat.
Cargo space is one of the Integra’s highlights, and with the seats folded down, it’s easy to see why it’s the best in its segment in that regard. The liftback provides a wide opening to transfer larger items, and I was able to easily slide my mountain bike in and out, coming no where close to filling up all of its available cargo area.
Canadians will be happy to have the heated steering wheel and remote starter come standard on the base Integra. Heated rear seats come with the Elite package, which isn’t offered at all on the American Integra. Two things that I really noticed after hearing about them in other reviews – the thin A-pillars that helped improve outward visibility, and the frameless rearview mirror which had a clean and elegant design.
One thing to note is that the new Integra does not have a built in navigation system, which means you’ll have to connect your phone via Apple Carplay or Android Auto. The Elite Package adds wireless connection and wireless charging, which was not only super convenient, but also easy to sync, and get up and running with Google maps. The 9″ touchscreen was well placed, and the interface was easy to use without the learning curve of the touchpad found in other Acura models. AcuraWatch™ comes standard on all Integra trims, and being familiar with modern Acuras, I had no issues figuring out how to utilize all the driver assists. The digital instrument cluster was crisp and had some nice details like the mini Integra car that mimicked the car’s live features.
Living up to its reputation, was the 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D Premium Audio System. I could literally blast all my mp3s from my Samsung S10 and they all sounded so incredibly enhanced with undistorted clarity. Don’t take my word for it, you’ll have to hear it yourself. This alone is a huge selling point for the Elite package.
Admittedly, it had been awhile since I spent a good amount of time with a stick shift, and the new Integra just made it so easy to fall in love with it again. The smooth six-speed manual combined with a punchy turbocharged engine made for some fun times driving out on the scenic mountain roads. The car handled well, noticeably holding corners better than my TSX. Power was more than adequate, enough grunt for easy highway passes or if you just want to feel a pull under hard acceleration.
The 2023 Integra isn’t your Integra Type R replacement, it is however, a sporty 5-door liftback with a mix of everyday practicality, comfort and fun.