Why the New Acura Integra Had to Be a Five-Door
Image credit: Acura
The new Acura Integra is the most controversial car of recent times. Some are happy that there is a new affordable sports compact with a turbo manual gearbox, but for each of these folks there seem to be at least two who a) the design doesn't resemble previous generations, b) it's not a hardcore type R. , C) it's not a coupe and D) all of this. In response to these points, the design is subjective, a Type S likely comes with Civic Type R underpinnings, and a three-door just wasn't possible. But not for a lack of attempts, says Acura boss Jon Ikeda.
"Pricing is what we look at, and most importantly, the entry point and market behavior. And the numbers just don't play out," Ikeda told R&T last week at a preview of the new Integra in California. “We tried to the end with the manual Civic Si Coupe, and if we had this car [as a base] we might have thought of something else. But the more you do things that aren't there, the more it gets out of the realm of what people can afford. "
The Civic Coupe was discontinued for the 11th generation of the car, likely due to low sales of the previous two-door. The new Integra is based on the Civic - as with all previous Integras - and that limits what Acura can do with this one. Ikeda says an Integra coupe is possible without a two-door Civic it's based on, but it would be pretty expensive. Given that consumers have largely given up on coupes, an expensive Integra three-door would be clearly a losing proposition.
Image credit: Honda
In today's world where American consumers have largely moved to crossovers, offering a new five-door liftback is still a bold move. Beyond the precedent set by the four- and five-door versions of the first three generations of Integra, it was important to Ikeda to make the Integra a hatchback because of the added versatility it brings. Millennials in particular want to be able to pack their car with gear for weekend adventures with friends, and Ikeda believes this makes the car even more appealing.
"I really think we've stuck with hatch and the versatility it brings ... we could maybe get a little more than just what the segment is bringing out," said Ikeda. "We have to be able to reach beyond our segment with this car."
If you doubt the Integra's credentials, Ikeda points out that the heart of every Integra is a great Civic that Honda now has. He also tells us that the car's chief engineer owned two older Integra. "I said, 'Why did you buy an Integra?' Ikeda recalls: "He said, 'It was a very cool car and I was young and excited.' I said, 'Well, you already know all the ingredients. Just do that because that's it. '"
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