2023 Acura Integra A-Spec Interior Review: How it compares to Civic

For better and for worse, the 2023 Acura Integra borrows a lot from the Honda Civic. The air vents may seem like the most obvious bits, but they are in fact different: the Civic's mesh consists of hexagons whereas the Integras are diamonds. Wow, right? The little air direction nubs seem to be the same. Personally, I think the Civic's full-width application looks more special and even premium, especially given the Integra's rather blah gray dash trim, but shrug.

Otherwise, the switchgear is identical, including the steering wheel, climate controls, stalks and touchscreen(s). The two center console designs are also shared, one for CVT-equipped cars and the other for manual-equipped cars like this one, although there are a few differences I'll mention later.

How much does this really matter? Ultimately, you can decide, but for now, let's do the full James Cameron and deep dive into the Integra A-Spec interior.

Alright, since I've already talked about them, here are the Integra A-Spec and Civic Hatchback with six-speed manual side by side. We haven't taken a pic of the Si interior at the same angle (and Honda seems to have given up on its usual exceptional press photo packages), so just imagine more red and a shifter similar to (but not the same as!) the Integra's.

And here's the vent comparison. Again, the Civic Si has red trim surrounding the hexagon mesh instead of silver.

Here's that aforementioned blah gray dash trim. Those dots are textured, but in general, it lacks a certain premium appearance.

The rest of the dash trim is sufficiently low sheen and padded.

Speaking of low sheen and padded, let's talk door trim. While at first glance the front and back door tops look the same, they are not. Look closer and you'll see the pattern is slightly different, which is indicative of the fact that the front doors have a soft-touch rubbery material and the back doors are rock-hard plastic. This is definitely more compact car than luxury car.

This Upstairs, Downstairs theme continues ...

Let's talk seats and upholstery. This is an A-Spec, which means it gains access to the optional Red interior. Yes, just literally "Red" whereas your other choices are "Ebony," "Orchid" and "Graystone."

That's not the weird bit. While all seats are "Red," they do not have the same upholstery. The front seats have centers in micro-suede fabric with leatherette bolsters in red and black. Sorry, "Ebony."

The back seats are just leatherette. Weird, right?

It's hard to think of many other vehicles, besides the third rows of SUVs and minivans, that have different upholsteries in different seating rows. Oh, that's right! I can think of another one: the Honda Civic Si.

2022 Honda Civic Si
2022 Honda Civic Si

The above left photo is the best I have (as I'm guessing Honda's marketing folks were keen to perfectly hide this particular element), but the new Civic Si has much different upholstery front and rear. The front seats have this red tech fabric stuff that seems removed from a backpack strap, while the back seat is just plain black seat upholstery. Admittedly, this was also the case in the previous-generation Civic Si interior, which I do have a picture of.

I think we can all admit that this is not a Lucid Air situation where the seats are different colors because of a fashion choice. The answer is $$$. Sure seems that's the reason in the Integra, too, but at least the front and rear upholstery is equally red. Sorry, "Red."

Let's talk switchgear. This is the silver Engine Start/Stop button. You can tell what it does because it says Engine Start/Stop on it. This appears to be the same button used in the Acura TLX and is the rare Acura piece inside the Integra.

This shifter is also special to the Integra. While it looks similar to the Civic Si's, the metal bit on top extends higher from the middle leather bit. The same can be said when comparing it to the six-speed manual shifter found in the first-generation Acura TLX (a car I actually owned). OK, so the second-generation TLX also had something like it, but that car was lame.

2022 Honda Civic Si
2022 Honda Civic Si

Here are the Civic shifters for reference.

These buttons and knobs are shared with the Civic, although the Integra gains the INDIVIDUAL button that engages the Individual drive mode. The drive mode toggle is also labeled "Dynamic Mode" instead of "DRIVE MODE" as in the Civic.

Now, you'll note that the Integra does not have the big honkin' Dynamic Mode knob in the center of its dash like other Acuras. That's a shame.

Moving slightly over to the right, here's the main difference between the Integra and Civic center consoles. Basically, the Integra has a wall/buttress bridging the gap between the console and the lower dash.

Above left is the 9-inch touchscreen included in the Integra's Technology package, which is obligatory by the way, should you want a six-speed manual transmission. And please, do want a six-speed manual transmission. Anyways, this is quite obviously a Honda unit. Same layout, same functionality, even the same graphics.

We don't have a picture of the standard 7-inch touchscreen, but it seems like a safe bet that it'll look like the Civic's 7-inch unit pictured above right. Basically, it has a smaller, less colorful screen with more hard buttons — which is hardly a bad thing. Nevertheless, it's lame that the 9-inch unit isn't standard.

Now, before you go griping about an Acura sharing its infotainment system with a Honda Civic, allow me to present you with the infotainment system found in every other Acura not named after a car sold in 1990. This is the True Touchpad interface. Basically, you look at the screen, and place your finger on the bit of touchpad that corresponds to the spot on the screen you want to touch. It's more intuitive than that sentence makes it sound. That said, it's still not that intuitive and creates more problems than it solves. Our Zac Palmer sort of grew to like it, but the rest of us have always chalked that up to a sort of infotainment Stockholm Syndrome.

Here are the digital gauges, which are standard. You can customize the display's information and the color scheme changes to include red dial rings when in Sport mode.

I didn't get a picture of it, because I was driving, but the little Integra in the middle is the driver assistance display. It'll show how close you are to the lines (just in case your eyes aren't working?), and show animated versions of cars and semis. This seems more distracting than anything because, again, I can see the cars around me through these things called windows.

Headline: Acura Integra is not submarine

While there are undeniable benefits to the Integra's all-digital instruments, pictured above are the analog gauges of the Acura TLX Type-S. Those would've been right at home in the Integra.

The Technology package also adds a USB-C port up front and two USB-C ports at the back of the center console for the back seats. The wireless charger is also added. There's otherwise only one USB-A port in the car.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but they're wireless with the Technology package. That also adds a head-up display, Alexa Built-in, satellite radio, in-car WiFi and ...

The ELS Studio 3D sound system. You definitely CAN'T get that in a Civic.

And indeed, despite all the similarities and shared parts between the Integra and Civic, the Acura is still undeniably the more premium car. It looks and feels more grown up, especially in light of the Civic Si's more boy racier elements (like the red backpack strap upholstery).

The Integra has also literally grown up from its ancestors (just like the Civic). The back seat has sufficient legroom for someone 6-foot-3 to sit behind himself, though far from sufficient headroom. Even those of average height are likely to graze their noggin. Front seat space is uniformly great and the driver seat comes with standard eight-way power adjustment. The Civic Si is manual adjustment only (the EX-L and Sport Touring trims do get power), and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe any previous Acura Integra or the RSX could be had with a power driver seat.

The cargo area boasts just enough room to fit all the bags of my usual Luggage Test. Admittedly, I have not luggage tested a '98 Integra, but if someone wants to drop one off at my house, I'll get'er done.

As for the rest of the Luggage Test, well, that'll be coming in the near future.

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