This entry-level Acura has a name. The Integra model is the only Acura with a name as every other Acura is identified with numeric designations for the RL, CL, TL, SLX, and NSX labels.
The Integra hit the market in 1986 and it is Acura’s biggest seller by a three-to-one margin. Buyers tend to be well-educated young people, and that’s not surprising because it’s a sporty performance car, and the price is right. In addition there is a wide range of models like LS, GS and GS-R, in coupe or sedan.
This coupe is powered by 1.8-liter VTEC engine that produces 170 horsepower. My initial experience was slow and go as I was busy “tak’n care of biz-ness”. But then my friend Merkel reminds me that it’s got the VTEC engine that redlines at 8000 RPM. And up there, of course, is where it develops that horsepower. Down in the low ranges it is pretty docile. Merkel says wind the P out of it and it will show its stuff. Well, Merkel is right, of course. He usually is. Thanks Merkel for the technical lesson. As you may recall, he’s one of those egghead engineers. I hate when they’re right about all that technical stuff. “Joe, this is the most advanced engine design on the market today” he tells me, and goes on to say “that ‘variable valve timing and lift’ is amazing engineering and is what allows the VTEC to get so much from so few liters”. Ok already.
A 4-speed automatic is available on LS and GS but I had the 5-speed manual transmission that gives that “real” sports car feel because you’re always busy shifting. Makes you want to get on the open road and stop exercising your left leg and right arm. Gee, what about left handed people. I never thought of that before. Do they have to drive from the passenger side?
Handling & Performance:
… is of course awesome. In some ways it even reminded me of the NSX. I had a near miss as someone pulled out in front of me from the left-hand turn lane and I appreciated the quick response you get from this sporty car.
Pretty much the same look over the years. Hatchbacks are few and far between these days. It has clean lines and the rear Spoiler adds that final touch that this must be a performance car.
Fit and Finish:
Very good, but ho-hum in a way because you come to expect it from these Japanese automakers.
Good. What else can you say? The badge is Acura; the engineering is top notch so you get a lot for the dough.
If you like sporty, don’t need a lot of space for rug rats, or don’t want to bend over to adjust the car seat(s) this is a nice fun to drive car. At the end of the day however you’ll need to drive the competitors noted because – well, you’re you and I’m me.
Dodge Avenger $19,045-21,290, Ford Mustang $16,615-31,605, Infiniti G20 $21,395-22,895, Mitsubishi Eclipse $17,697-20,287, Nissan Altima $15,140-20,390, Oldsmobile Alero $16,005-21,545, Pontiac Grand Am $16,040-21,470, Subaru Impreza $15,895-19,295, Volkswagen GTI $17,675-22,620.
Popular price range for the quality, fast (at sewing machine rpms) and fun to drive.
Limited space when needed, small back seat and trunk area, open moon roof directs wind on back of your head.
1.8 liter 170 horsepower engine, 5-speed manual trans, 4-wheel anti lock disc brakes, power steering, dual airbags, theft system, leather seats, air, stereo with CD, cruise, power windows and door locks, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, adjustable steering column, moon roof, allow wheels, power mirrors, rear window wiper/washer, rear spoiler.
25 City and 30 Highway MPG.