The Integra was such a coveted base car in the U.S. that the ’99 model was the most stolen car nationwide in 2004.
The Acura Integra’s only goal was to bring driving joy to the masses, thus, becoming one of the best front-wheel-drive cars of all time.
The car has helped usher one of the most known terms in the car community, the VTEC or Variable Valve Timing And Lift Electronic Control.
The later ’80s was a crucial time for Japanese cars in the U.S. market. Japanese automakers focused more on selling their luxury lines such as Infinity, Lexus, and the well-known Acura.
It sparked a birth of a new JDM speedster in the Acura Integra. It was one of those Japanese cars that were favorites in street races.
Let’s take a closer look at the Honda Integra.
A Detailed Look Back At The Honda Integra
The first Integra models made their way to the market in 1986. It used to be called the Honda Quint Integra before making its way to North America as part of the then-new luxury Acura lineup. The line sold almost a quarter of a million models of the first-gen Integras.
Honda went big when the second generation Integra came in 1990. It featured a bigger engine, an independent double-wishbone suspension, which would become a Signature Integra Feature.HsHo
While it was still the first stage of this Japanese luxury sports car, 1992 was already the best year thus far when the Integra GSR and the VTEC engine came to the market. It stepped up its game huge the following year though.
It just got better when its third and most popular generation came in 1993. The third-gen Integra models started out with a 1.8-liter VTEC engine which significantly increased its horsepower and imagery as a bonafide sports car.
The GSR models became even sportier in 1995. Acura reinforced its Integra with a more aggressive suspension to come with its already bigger engine.
1997-1998 were arguably the peak years of the Honda Integra when it came up with the Integra Type R. Some even go as far as calling it the “Greatest Front Wheel Drive Car of all Time.”
This was also the time that Acura was shifting away from a luxury purpose to give way to focusing on pure sport. The Type R was its ultimate guinea pig as it abandoned the use of air conditioning or a sunroof. Even the mirrors on its sun visors were gone.
The Type R was significantly lighter than the GSR and was only available in a Championship White colorway in the United States.
The RSX And Its Last-Ditch Efforts
The Honda Integra went pretty lowkey in 1999 before sparking a brief resurgence the following year until its last release in 2006.
These years also saw some of the good last-ditch efforts in making the Integra competitive with other emerging Japanese sports cars. A new design came to the United States in 2002.
Acura got rid of the old model names and replaced them with alphanumeric designations. The Integra was called the RSX from then on. With that also came a change in its target market.
The now RSX models no longer had the signature Double Wishbone Suspension, which made the Integra special in the United States during the 90s. It was available in two Trim levels: A bass-making 160hp version Type R, and a 200-plus hp Type S, which ran on a K20A2.
These models were exclusively made for the Japan Domestic Market and the United States didn’t get this version. The later models, however still made some significant changes during is last-ditch effort stages.
Acura updated the RSX’s exterior in 2005. The Type S models also had an upgraded camshaft and exhaust package which boosted their maximum output.
Sadly, RSX Ended Production in 2006, which marked the end of The Two-Door Sports Couples in Acura’s Lineup.
How Good Is The Honda Integra?
Some may call the Integra a mere two-door Honda Civic with a body kit. While the comparisons made sense, the sports car had more reinforced main features such as disk brakes on all four wheels, a retuned suspension, and pop-up headlights.