The Acura Integra is coming back, with the classic brand getting applied to a whole new car – though there’ll be a wait before we see exactly what’s in store. It makes Acura the latest automaker attempting to rekindle some retro spirit by bringing an old nameplate back from the history books.
Indeed, we’ve seen quite a few borrow that strategy in recent years. Ford teased us with something big when it announced it would bring back the Bronco, and the resulting SUV – albeit facing a few production issues – has been a runaway success.
Ford’s Mustang obviously persists to this day, meanwhile, though that didn’t make it any less of a surprise when the automaker chose to borrow the brand for the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. Lamborghini, meanwhile, is resurrecting the Countach for what’s expected to be a limited-edition hybrid supercar. A little more attainable than that, Jeep’s rebooted Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer aim to distill a little fan fondness to pump up modern sales.
Now it’s the turn of Honda’s premium brand Acura to do the same thing. Confirmed at Monterey Car Week – alongside the beastly 2022 NSX Type S, which will send the sports car out on a high – the new Acura Integra will see the automaker go back to its roots. Indeed, the nameplate was one of two that Acura originally launched, when the brand itself was fresh in early 1986.
That car – known outside of North America as the Honda Integra – was a more performance-minded version of the Civic. Both coupe and sedan versions have existed over the four generations that Honda and Acura built the car, some more notorious than others.
The third-generation Integra Type R, for example, holds a legendary place among automotive lore. While hardly the most powerful coupe in the world – there were plenty of other cars in 1995 with more than the roughly 195 hp it squeezed from its 1.8-liter engine – its combination of a sweet 5-speed close-ratio manual transmission and handling refinement made it an instant classic.
The big question is just what this new fifth-generation Acura Integra will be when the automaker reveals it in 2022. Right now, all the company is saying is that it will be “a new compact premium entrant” which suggests something akin to the Acura ILX. Acura only has one coupe in the line-up, the NSX, and that is on its way out.
“The Integra is back,” Jon Ikeda, Vice President and Acura Brand Officer, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to say Integra is returning to the Acura lineup with the same fun-to-drive spirit and DNA of the original, fulfilling our commitment to Precision Crafted Performance in every way – design, performance and the overall driving experience.”
Certainly, there’s no denying that Acura can build a well-performing car, and a relatively affordable one. The new TLX Type S, for example, demonstrated that BMW and others should be legitimately concerned about just what Acura’s engineers are capable of; even its SUVs and crossovers manage to achieve sporting credentials that escape other brands. With plenty to live up to, though, there’s a lot of people hoping Acura gets this particular reboot right.