With the rise of the SUV, sedans have become an afterthought for American carmakers. Several European and Japanese manufacturers, however, continue to produce exciting and fun-to-drive sedans for people who still want a little performance and luxury. Case in point is the revived Acura Integra, a smallish sedan that packs a lot of punch and performance into a sporty yet well appointed package.

The first thing you notice about the Integra is its good looks. With an aggressive grill, bold taught hood lines and a rakish side silhouette, the Integra looks fast even when sitting still. One of the best aspects of the Integra is that it’s a hatchback, so access to the large rear cargo area is very convenient. A tonneau cover hides items for security, and if you lower the rear seatbacks, there’s as much cargo room as there is in a small SUV.

The interior is both modern and a bit retro where it is most useful. Soft, mildly bolstered heated leather front seats provide comfort and a modicum of support during aggressive driving. Of course, there’s a screen at the top of the dash. Fortunately, its use is limited to those functions for which a screen is necessary, including a back-up camera. The screen also has hard “home” and “back” buttons for easier navigation. Thankfully, the HVAC system is controlled by a throw-back rotary knob set-up that makes adjusting the airflow and temperature a lot easier than having to dive several steps into a screen. Similarly, there is a rotary knob for audio volume control and a toggle switch for tuning the radio, both of which are much easier and safer to use while moving than a touchscreen. Dual automatic climate control and an opening moonroof assure cabin comfort. Digital gauges are easy to read and use and information within the dials, such as the radio channel, range and fuel consumption is useful and informative, as is the heads-up display that shows speed and other pertinent information on the windshield.

Rear seat passengers get USB ports but no air vents. The slope of the rear window slightly impedes headroom if you’re taller than average, but otherwise, there’s plenty of rear seat and leg room, especially for a relatively small car.

Depending on your mood, the Integra offers normal, comfort and sport driving modes, each with their own personality and driving dynamics. A leather wrapped manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel comes with paddle shifters on cars equipped with the CVT automatic transmission. Fortunately, a manual transmission also is available. The 200 horsepower 1.5 liter turbo four cylinder engine has plenty of power to make the Integra a fun little car to drive, but the power is not overwhelming. Good brakes and a stiff, sporty suspension with front MacPherson struts and a multi-link suspension in back add to the sporty fun, especially in sport mode, which heightens throttle and steering response to the point where you can play racer. Modern amenities and safety features include blind spot information with rear cross traffic monitor, front and rear parking sensors, low speed braking control, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure and keeping assist.

Apparently other automotive journalists also are impressed, as the Acura Integra won the 2023 North American Car of the Year Award. It has become the best-selling model in the premium sport compact segment and offers the only manual transmission in its class. In 2024, an Integra Type S will be introduced with a 2.0 liter VTEC turbocharged engine producing 300-plus horsepower mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission with a limited slip differential.

According to Destiny Bailey, salesperson at Frank Leta Acura, “The new Integra is a beautiful sedan; it’s great looking, sporty, compact and has plenty of horsepower while getting good gas mileage.”

Price: Base $37,500 including delivery
As driven with options: $38,100
Gas mileage: 29 city, 36 highway
Drivetrain: Front engine; front-wheel drive
1.5 litre turbo 4-cylinder engine
200 horsepower
Continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission (manual available)

Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.