I swung by the Acura dealer today to give a 6mt Integra a go. I handed them my ID and insurance and they handed me the keys. I took it for a 15 mile spin around the north twin cities.
First off, it was drastically different from the 996; so just learning the car had a little curve, the throttle clutch shift timing was all more different than I expected. First and second gear are short on the integra and you can drive around the rev hang but my first few shifts weren’t super smooth.
Let me say though, the car drives very well. It’s one of those cars that just feels right and cohesive. The steering was great, the power was right for around town, the vehicle is pretty “right sized” it didn’t feel big but has enough space to be practical; it felt nice and well put together on the inside, the technology was good. The package was better than the sum of its parts on the spec sheet in terms of my expectations.
The shifter felt good, but clutch bite point was a bit vague.
After the first couple of pulls; the shortness of the gears, the throttle, and the clutch came together very well in terms of fun. I chirped the tires and had a little wheel spin here and there. I actually think the car is better with the lsd.
And it got 29mpg on my jaunt around town. That’s nuts.
It’s a good car and they are selling for sticker at the dealer I went to with about a 2-3 month lead time.
The tricky part is that the Civic Sport Touring hatchback can be had for $32k with comparable quality/specs except the LSD and the adjustable settings, and for 2023 comes in a sweet boost blue. The other tricky part is that I can’t really test drive a 6mt civic hatch because they are super rare. And the Civic SI is a whole 8k cheaper(although the dealers I asked about these had slight markups and I really really prefer a hatchback).Realistically, a 6MT integra in a lower trim would be much more compelling.
Not to mention the broader competition. The pending Corolla GR is not much more money and more race car; albeit who knows when I could get one and for what price and it does not quite check my boxes quite as much from a livability perspective(size, niceties, and mpg). And the GTI is a very comparable car on paper and starts a bit cheaper but I’m less excited about that and it’s a little apples to oranges.
I’ve spent a lot of time debating on if the Integra is $37k good before driving it. I will say after driving it; I’m leaning more towards yes. Part of me is a little bitter that Honda/Acura is holding the hatchback/6mt/lsd hostage at a bit of a premium but I could probably get over it to get the car that feels right.