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2024 Acura Integra Type S Road Test and Review

Brady Holt
by Brady Holt
January 9, 2024
2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Modern automobiles have become faster than ever. With well-honed turbochargers, other developments of gasoline-based powertrains, and the instant torque of an electric vehicle, it’s easy to find cars that rip their way to 60 mph at paces once reserved for exotic Lamborghinis with swing-up doors. 

But to continuously improve their performance statistics, some cars have sacrificed their mechanical souls. In particular, the once-ubiquitous manual transmission has vanished from most performance cars. It’s faster to entrust gearchanges to the computers and machinery behind a dual-clutch automatic. The all-new 2024 Acura Integra Type S is a different kind of luxury performance car. Sold exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, this compact five-door hatchback makes a clear commitment to old-school driver engagement. Yet with 320 horsepower under its hood, this reincarnated “hot hatch” needs little more than 5 seconds to reach 60 mph from rest. We just spent a week testing the Integra Type S, which is priced from $50,800.

Aggressive Luxury Looks

Acura sold an upscale version of the best-selling Honda Civic from the brand’s creation in 1986 up until 2006, then again starting in 2013. Most recently, this model was the ILX sedan, which never caught on. It lacked the spice to win most enthusiasts’ hearts, and it wasn’t upscale enough to be a luxury model. Before that was the largely forgotten Acura RSX, sold only as a three-door hatchback. But from 1986 to 2001, countless auto enthusiasts fell in love with three-, four-, and five-door versions of the Acura Integra. 

The five-door-only Integra returned last year to replace the ILX, but it lacked the wild speed that characterized the famous Integra Type R. This year’s Integra Type S returns to those roots, and you’ll know at a glance that it’s fast. A wide track, flared fenders, larger air intakes, and three center-mounted exhaust pipes announce that this car means business. Yet with its its wide, confident stance; elegantly tapered roofline; and familiar Acura styling cues, the Integra fits smoothly into Acura’s lineup of premium cars. This doesn’t look like a $50,000 economy car. It’s a compact luxury car. 

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

320 Horsepower and a Manual Transmission

Under the hood, the Integra Type S packs a mighty 320 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That makes it the first Integra to top even 195 hp and 130 lb-ft, where the beloved 2001 Integra Type R left off. Most instrumented tests we’ve seen show the 2024 Integra Type S reaching 60 mph in the low 5s, which lags rivals like the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 (4.8 seconds), BMW M235i Gran Coupe (4.6 seconds), and Audi S3 (4.5 seconds). Tellingly, Acura didn’t include acceleration times in a 38-page media presentation. 

But this numerical comparison overlooks two factors. First, any of these cars is wildly fast. Each can exceed most speed limits in barely the time it takes to say their names. And secondly, only the Acura is available with a six-speed manual transmission. As we mentioned, modern dual-clutch automatics can shift faster than human drivers. But many enthusiasts relish the extra engagement of choosing their own gears and operating the clutch pedal. We certainly do. Acura makes a fine manual transmission. We’re surprised the Integra Type S isn’t also offered with an automatic to broaden its appeal, but we’re grateful for an alternative to the automatic-only competition. 

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Customizable Ride and Handling

The Integra Type S’s fun-loving demeanor extends into the crackle and pop from its exhaust system in the selectable Sport+ mode. The driving modes also let you adjust the throttle, steering, and adaptive suspension, while an “Individual” mode lets you mix and match your preferred settings. 

Our pick was Sport+. In addition to the acoustic enhancements, we appreciated the extra tightness in the Acura’s steering and handling. Yet despite some complaints we’ve read, we didn’t find the ride too stiff even in this mode. (If you disagree, thank goodness for choices!) We were surprised that the steering wasn’t as instantly alert as some rivals, but this is still a car that’s great fun to play with – yet that’s also comfortable enough for the daily grind. One note: Unlike its rivals, the Integra is sold only with front-wheel drive rather than rear- or all-wheel drive. This is a drawback if you prefer all-wheel drive either for its power distribution (which wasn’t a problem during our test) or slippery-weather traction. It also comes standard with summer tires, so plan ahead for the winter. 

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Quietly Classy Interior

We haven’t yet mentioned that the Integra Type S shares many of its mechanical components with the Honda Civic Type R. That’s because the Integra stands so well on its own, with uniquely Acura exterior styling and with driving manners that live up to its luxury billing. 

Inside, it’s hard to miss the resemblance between the Civic and Integra dashboards. Acura made a few tweaks, but the layout and overall design change little. Fortunately, we love the Civic’s interior for blending premium materials and design with super-easy ergonomics – a welcome departure from some fussy Acura models. The 9-inch touchscreen is unusually plain, though, with even fewer colors than the Honda system. There’s some extra leather on the dashboard, and the seats have more leather. The most notable difference is a choice of three interior color schemes: full black, two-tone black and white, and two-tone black and dark red. Every Civic Type R has bright red seats and carpeting. 

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

It’s Useful, Too

History’s best-known Integras have been three-door hatchbacks. Some purists wish Acura had returned to that body style, but today’s five-door model is incredibly useful. There’s 24.3 cubic feet of trunk space behind the rear seats, more than twice what you’d find in rival sedans’ trunks. Plus, you can fold down the Integra’s backseat in a 60/40 split for as much cargo room as some small SUVs. 

The Integra also has ample passenger space, too. Like the latest Civic, there’s adult-friendly legroom whether you’re in the front or the rear. The front seats are less aggressively bolstered than in the Honda Civic Type R, which is either a pro or a con depending on your perspective. Another difference is that the Acura is packed with comfort amenities that we’ll discuss on the next page. However, like the Civic, Acura stubbornly provides only four seats in the Integra Type S (leaving off the center-rear position) even though there’s enough space to spare. 

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Priced From $50,800

The 2024 Acura Integra Type S is sold exclusively in fully loaded form at $50,800 (plus an $1,195 destination charge). Any color except silver costs another $600, but you won’t see this base price balloon like you would on a German sports sedan. 

This price includes heated front seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 16-speaker ELS premium stereo, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. You won’t find any of those features in the Honda Civic Type R, helping set apart the Integra as a luxury car. Advanced driver aids include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping steering assistance, and blind-spot monitoring. And performance features include an adaptive suspension, Brembo front brakes, and a limited-slip differential. One missing feature is a sunroof, which you’d find on lesser Integra models and on most Integra Type S competitors. In this case, Acura choose a lower weight and center of gravity over maximum luxury. And as we’ve mentioned, some would-be buyers will miss an automatic transmission option. 

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Type S vs. A-Spec

The base 2024 Acura Integra costs $31,500, nearly $20,000 less than the Type S. It comes nicely equipped for the money, but its 200-horsepower engine paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission isn’t going to win races. 

You can also get a middle ground with the Integra A-Spec Technology, $36,500, which is available with a six-speed manual transmission while also bringing adaptive dampers and various in-cabin amenities (like the premium stereo and 9-inch touchscreen found in the Type S). The Integra A-Spec is fun to drive, just not ferociously capable. If you agree with the premise of a manual transmission’s fun counting more than the spec sheet, you might find it to be a performance bargain – considering how few stick-shift alternatives you’ll find for less than $40,000 (or at any price).

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2023 Acura Integra A-Spec ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Type S vs. the Competition

The Integra Type S has four close rivals, all sedans with more than 300 horsepower and starting prices just below $50,000 (though with less standard equipment). They’re the Audi S3, BMW M235i Gran Coupe, Cadillac CT4-V, and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35. All of these are sedans with automatic transmissions, smaller trunks, and less rear-seat space than the Integra. But they deliver quicker acceleration and similarly capable handling, plus generally an even longer list of luxury features. 

For a rawer feel and the chance for a stick shift, we’d also shop the Integra Type S against three mainstream-brand hot hatchbacks: the Toyota GR Corolla, Volkswagen Golf R, and the Acura’s own cousin, the Honda Civic Type R. The Integra has more features than any of these but the VW, and while the Golf drives like a premium car (it’s a cousin to the Audi S3), its interior and exterior aren’t fancy – and it’s more reserved and less focused on delighting the driver than the Integra Type S. The GR Corolla is the crudest and the least spacious of this grouping, but arguably the most fun while still being decently comfortable and practical. And the Civic Type R has similar driving manners and interior styling to its Acura cousin, but its shorter list of features, all-red interior, and mainstream badge explain why it costs $7,000 less. 

2022 Audi S3 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Audi S3 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Final Thoughts

For all the talk you might hear about SUVs and electric cars taking over, traditional driving enthusiasts have an astonishing wealth of gasoline-powered performance cars today. By pairing a manual transmission with premium-grade style and amenities, plus a spacious and flexible interior, the 2024 Acura Integra Type S has a unique and compelling blend of virtues. 

Perhaps you’ll prefer a competitor that shifts its own gears or comes with a sunroof, especially when that rival is even faster than the already-speedy Integra. Or perhaps you’re focused on performance more than luxury, in which case you might be drawn to a mainstream-badged alternative for less money. But just as you might expect for a luxury take on the Honda Civic Type R, the Integra Type S successfully blends luxury, style, performance, and driver engagement into a stylish, fun-to-drive, and even functional premium hot hatch.

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Acura Integra Type S ・ Photo by Brady Holt


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