Price: from $34,350
Acura tenderly leafs through its family album and rediscovers with delight the great figures of its young history. The Integra is back in the spotlight and, like its predecessor, is based on the Civic, but does not let it show. Faced with the WRX, the Integra struggles to keep its rank. Certainly, it is more functional, more modern, more rewarding and, in some respects, more dynamic in behavior. The Integra, on the other hand, serves us with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and forces the consumer to shell out $42,550 for the manual. At that price, it’s better to buy a Civic Si and save some $10,000.
Hyundai Elantra N
Price: from $37,199
It only has two-wheel drive, but the Elantra N is extremely efficient on dry, ideally paved surfaces. Its steering chisels corners better, its brakes immobilize it more quickly and its tires stick to the road like velcro. Unfortunately, these qualities cannot be exploited in all seasons. Never mind, the South Korean sedan has the merit of offering a “real” dual-clutch automatic transmission, greater economy at the pump, a cabin with more modern accents and, finally, a more generous warranty. .
Volkswagen Golf R
Price: from $45,995
Right now, Volkswagen’s Golf R is arguably the only competitor capable of competing in all seasons with the WRX. Like the Integra, the VW’s hatchback body gives it greater functionality than the WRX. In terms of pure performance, the Golf R provides more vigorous acceleration, more muscular pick-up, regardless of the preferred gearbox (manual or automatic). Both marry with accuracy the power curve of the supercharged 2 L engine of this German. Sophisticated and configurable, the chassis of the Golf R even includes a Drift function (controlled skidding). Very fine qualities, but these come at a price that the potential buyer does not always want to pay.