Nostalgia sells. Only last week we saw Lamborghini revive the Countach name, which is merely one of numerous brand new cars that look to the past via badging and/or styling. The wedge-shaped supercar isn’t the only blast from the past in this month’s motoring news, either - Acura has announced “the return of the Integra”.
The natural response for most petrolheads right now would be one of excitement. But hold your horses - it’s important to remember we live in a world where another 1990s hero, the Ford Puma, was reinvented as a compact crossover. A little before that, Mitsubishi brought back the Eclipse name for a thoroughly mediocre crossover. So, will the new Integra be something of note or merely a history-riffing cash-grab?
Unfortunately, Acura’s press release doesn’t offer many clues. We’re merely told the Integra “will rejoin the performance brand’s product portfolio as a new compact premium entrant next year,” a description which could fit both a properly desirable car as well as something half-arsed.
Similarly failing to reveal anything concrete, Acura VP and brand officer Jon Ikeda said: “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.”
We’re promised more details closer to the Integra’s 2022 reveal, so for now, we can only speculate. And speculate we will.
The pessimist in us wants to point out the dismal state of the sports car industry in the 2020s - Honda/Acura is unlikely to want to chuck a load of money at something highly bespoke, only to shift it in small numbers. It has recent and painful experience in this realm with the complex NSX and its glacial sales pace.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Integra badge is destined to end up on the rump of something unworthy, though. Acura could frugally use the underpinnings of the new 11th-generation Civic (below), offering the car’s incoming Si and Type R powertrains in the Integra.
They’d be very different beasts to the legendary DC2 and DC5 Integras, but anyone expecting the new version to come with a high-revving N/A inline-four needs to get their head out of the clouds. In any case, given how brilliant the current FK8 Civic Type R is to drive, some particularly special handing should be possible if this is Acura’s chosen solution.
Whether or not we’ll see the new Integra in the UK as a Honda or indeed any market outside North American is another unknown. No official announcements have been made just yet, but we’d be surprised if the Integra love isn’t spread elsewhere.