No, your eyes weren’t deceiving you when you read the title. Ever since its debut, the Toyota Prius has been the standard bearer for practicality. Visit any Toyota dealer, and you’ll most likely see a few options on the lot that are primed and ready to be driven home. Accessible and popular, the Prius has been praised for its ability to allow drivers to save on fuel costs, but it has been anything but exciting. On the other hand, we have the legendary Acura Integra, which has long been a performance icon.
But for 2023, these two cars have been completely redesigned, and the results have everyone scratching their heads. The once-boring Prius is now sleek, refined, and powerful, while the Integra has grown bloated and seemingly lost its edge. Today, we’re going to examine both vehicles and determine if it is time for car enthusiasts to start doing the unthinkable and consider a Prius. Can the Prius top the Integra? Or will the tried and true offering from Acura remain the better choice? Well, it’s time to find out.
Presentation and Style
It’s been said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and when it comes to the vehicles we drive, this is undoubtedly the case. The ability to turn heads and make a grand entrance wherever we travel is something many enthusiasts are quite keen on. After its recent redesign, the Prius exudes a more confident look in 2023. A stylish front end and futuristic design are an award-winning combination that certainly appeals to anyone who’s looking for style and aesthetics. You can even get it in Supersonic Red, and the rear door handles are hidden in the C pillar to give it the appearance of a two-door model.
The style of the Acura Integra is a bit more mundane, with a traditional four-door look that is very similar to its close sibling, the Honda Civic hatch. However, Acura did do a good job of giving the Integra a more luxurious appearance. Its front fascia with its black mesh gives it an edge that’s in line with so many other vehicles of its ilk, but it appeals a bit more to the moderately successful businessman than the gearhead.
Interior Design and Features
While the exterior is a great place to start, it’s essential that we get behind the wheel to make a better evaluation. After all, comfort and amenities are part and parcel of any enthusiast’s sense of style. Describing the interior of the new Prius as “stylish yet practical” is an accurate assessment. While an eight-inch infotainment screen is standard, one that expands to over a foot is available on the upper trims. Placed atop the dashboard, it lends a fair amount of style to the Prius, yet doesn’t diminish from the practicality and accessibility that Toyota is known for implementing in its various designs. The digital instrument cluster, which is adjacent to the infotainment screen and atop the dash, is a welcome change that illustrates a knack for aesthetics.
If the Prius has an interior that’s geared towards practicality with a hint of style, then the Acura Integra is more focused on merging the concepts of luxury and performance. The first two items that catch the eye are the two-toned upholstery and the metallic gear shifter that sets the vehicle apart from its Honda siblings. You might not be a racecar driver, but you’ll certainly feel like one from the moment you open the driver’s side door and take a seat. An available nine-inch infotainment screen is perched atop the dash and creates a futuristic feel. Audiophiles will want to spring for the available high-end stereo system that contains a whopping 16 speakers. We’ll have to give this one to the Integra, although the larger screens in the Prius may appeal to some.
Power and Performance
Performance has long been a cornerstone for many car enthusiasts. In fact, it is usually the most important feature when shopping for a fun car. The Prius and Integra both use four-cylinder engines but deliver a healthy dose of power in very different ways. The Integra utilizes the same engine as the Honda Civic Si. This turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder propels the Integra forward with the benefit of 200 hp. While a CVT is the standard transmission for this car, performance aficionados will likely opt for the available six-speed manual transmission. This option will also unlock a limited-slip differential, which is a vital feature for putting power to the ground.
The standard 2023 Prius uses a 2.0L four-cylinder engine connected to an 83 kW electric motor to generate 196 hp combined. While it lacks the available manual transmission offered by the Integra, its combination of electric torque and Toyota’s geared “eCVT” transmission is more engaging than you might expect. It also offers an available electric AWD system, which adds a 30 kW electric motor to the rear axle for added performance. However, enthusiasts will want to take a look at the 2023 Prius Prime. This plug-in hybrid version upgrades to a 120 kW motor, delivering a total of 220 hp combined––10% more than the Integra.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
But what do these numbers actually mean when the rubber hits the road? When equipped with its manual transmission, the 2023 Integra takes seven seconds to hit 60 mph and runs the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds with a trap speed of 93 mph. The base 2023 Prius is only a hair slower, with a 7.1-second run to 60 mph and a 15.5-second quarter-mile, reaching 92 mph. If you spec the Integra with a CVT, the two cars will cross the finish line neck-and-neck with identical times to 60 mph and on the quarter-mile.
The plug-in model is where Toyota gets serious, and the humble Prius leaves the once-mighty Integra in its dust. Taking just 6.4 seconds to reach 60 mph and 15 seconds to complete the quarter-mile––hitting 95 mph in the process––the 2023 Prius Prime will be the winner in any impromptu drag race. If you replace the skinny 195-width tires that come on the car with something a bit more aggressive (a common first mod for any enthusiast), then the gap between the Prius and Integra (which has 235-width tires stock) will only widen.
Our Final Verdict––Which One is Better?
With any vehicle purchase that you’re thinking of making, it all comes down to the precise factors that you’re looking for. The Acura Integra certainly has some attributes that any car enthusiast will enjoy, such as a flashy interior and entertainment features that are above and beyond those offered by the competition. The Toyota Prius, on the other hand, allows the enthusiast to stand out with an incredibly stylish car that has the performance edge to back up its good looks. You will even get to save a ton of money on gas when you aren’t pushing your car to the limit!
No matter what choice you make, and no matter what type of enthusiast you might be, you’re going to be getting a vehicle that surpasses expectations and delivers in the areas where it matters most. However, the redesigned 2023 Toyota Prius might just be a more appealing enthusiast model than the new 2023 Acura Integra––at least until the 2024 Integra Type S hits the market.