Sold as a Honda in most of the world, the Acura Integra was a compact, sporty vehicle that was sold primarily as a hatchback. Acura's smallest and least expensive model, the Integra was designed as competition to the Volkswagen Golf GTI . Launched alongside the Legend, the Integra was part of the brand new Acura division, the upscale division of Honda. The Acura Integra instantaneously became a sales success as it combined a sporty nature with light weight and high revving engines.
Right before this vehicle hit the streets, Honda had decided to follow the trend of re-naming their cars to attain a higher status in the shallow, image conscious U.S. Domestic Market. From this, Acura was born and the following year, the Integra entered the ‘high-end' Honda Lineup. Built from the 1986 Civic platform, the Integra was advertised as Acura's ‘Introductory' model. The same suspension and fuel injection system from the ‘86 Civic Si was also incorporated into the Integra. However the 1.6L DOHC engine was truly a step ahead of the Civic as far as performance.
Introduced in March of 1986, the Acura Integra was only produced for half of the model year. The Integra was the first vehicle available in the U.S. domestic market that came standard with a 16-valve four cylinder engine. Both the 1986 and 1987 models featured a 113 HP engine with an output increase to 118HP for 1988 through 1989. Standard equipment on all 1986 and 1987 Integra's was a 10-slot alloy wheel. 1986 and 1987 models also came with a factory service manual included.
Available in both coupe and sedan, the RS (Regular series) was fully stripped down with standard features only including rear window defroster and a tilt steering wheel. The LS (Luxury series) was also available in both coupe and sedan version and builds upon the RS with added standard features such as cruise control, cassette player and alloy wheels. The SE (Special edition) or LS-S (Luxury Series Special) was only available in coupe form, while taking its body from the LS with the addition of power windows, power door locks and a moonroof.
The 3-door Integra was sold from 1986 through 1989 and featured a 1.6-liter DOHC 16-vlve 4-cylinder engine with 113 hp at 6250 rpm. With 99 lbs-ft of torque at 5500 rpm, the original transmission of the Integra was a 5-speed manual/4-speed automatic. The first Acura Integra model was introduced on March 27th 1986. For the following year the engine output was increased to 118 hp and 103 lbs-ft of torque and featured all new redesigned front and rear bumper. The interior was also restyled while the LS Special Edition showcased body-color wheels and trim with special badges.
The second generation of the Acura Integra was introduced with the all new 1991 Acura Integra that was offered as both a three door hatchback and a four door sedan. Both models were offered in RS, LS and the top of the line GS. All three models also came with a high revving 1.8 liter in-line four cylinder engine that was rated at 130 bhp.
For 1992 the Acura Integra received an additional 10 more horsepower underneath the hood, while the GS-S received new high performance trim. The GS-R now came standard with a 1.7 I4 with VTEC technology, a 8000 rpm redline and 160 bhp. No automatic transmission was available while manual was standard. Only three colors of the GS-R were available, red, white and teal.
For 1993 the Integra remained virtually unchanged, though a leather interior was now standard on the GS-R.
The Integra Sports Coupe was available from 1994 through 2001 with a 1.8-liter OHC 1 valve 4-cylinder with 142 hp at 6300 rpm. The original transmission was a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic. The Acura Integra was radically redesigned for 1994 and now featured dual airbags, the compact 2-door hatchback coupe and 4-door notchback were based on the Honda Civic front-drive platform. Not much changed in either dimension or weight, and the 2-door rode a wheelbase that was nearly two inches shorter than the sedan's and measured close to six inches shorter overall. Acura's least-expensive model, the Integra came in three levels, base RS, luxury LS, and sport GS-R that were each available in both body styles. All Acura Integra's featured 4-wheel disc brakes, while only the LS and GS-R models received standard antilock braking.
The 1994 Integra featured sheetmetal that gained a more aerodynamic look and lower drag. Up front was a new distinctive front end and four projector headlights. The GS-R received a new engine, a 170 bhp version of the 1.8 liter I4 engine.
For 1995 the Integra introduced an all new LS Special Edition that mixed the base engine with GS-R looks. The LS Special Edition now featured leather upholstery alongside 195/55R15 tires on alloy wheels and a thicker stabilizer bar. The Special Edition hatchback model received a rear spoiler. The following year the Integra only received minor equipment updates. The GS-R received new 15-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the other two models received fresh new wheel covers.
The third-generation Integra received an all new chassis and interior. In 1995 the Special Edition Integra received leather upholstery, sport suspension, real spoiler, special badges and optional leather upholstery in the GS-R. The following year the Integra received six-spoke alloy wheels on both the Special Edition and GS-R. This years model also received redesigned wheel covers on both RS and LS, body colored side moldings on LS and green-tinted window glass.
The '96 Acura Integra was basically carried over from the previous year.
For 1997 the Integra Type-R was introduced with 195-hp 4-cylinder with sport suspension, larger brakes and a lightweight body. The base engine output was revised to 140 h with 127 lbs-ft. This limited edition Acura Integra Type R began a legacy that has yet to fade. A no excuses race car, the Type R featured a heavily modified 195 bhp 1.8 liter engine. This engine featured more horsepower per liter than any normally aspirated mass produced engine in the US. The Type R lost 93 lb by utilizing parts and getting rid of the sunroof, AC and sound deadening. The Type R also featured new front and rear spoilers, light weight aluminum alloy wheels and sport-style seats. The R was only sold in one color, Championship White. The supplied performance tires were only good for around 15,000 miles. A total of 500 were sold in the U.S.
The Special Edition model was dropped and replaced with the GS model which had 140 hp, 4-cylinder, sport suspension and standard leather upholstery. The GS and GS-R received 16-spoke alloy wheels. For 1997 the Integra models received an in-dash CD player and GS and GS-R models featured new alloy wheels. The RS was deleted from the lineup while the ‘GS' badge was placed on the former Special Edition model. All models except for the RS were available in both body styles. Following the start of the model year, the lineup ascended from RS through LS, GS, and GS-R.
For 1998 the Acura Integra received minor trim revisions that marked the change from 97 to 98 for the Integra line. For 1998 the Acura Integra received a revised front and rear bumper along with front and rear light clusters. The rear wiper was made standard on the Type R, while the tilt and height adjustable driver's seat was available in the LS, GS and GS-R. The GS-R also received a leather wrapped shifter and leather upholstered steering wheel as standard, along with new 15-inch alloy wheels. The LS received new finished 14-inch alloy wheels. The Type R was carried over for 1998 with an added standard rear wiper, though no AC, and still only available in only the color white.
The RS model was dropped in 1999 while the Type-R model was suspended. The GS-R now featured leather upholstery as standard and 15-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob on the LS. For 1999 the Integra model lineup was trimmed down. The high-performance Type R and RS hatchback coupe were deleted, leaving only the LS, GS, and GS-R in 2- and 4-door form. The LS models replaced the 14-inch alloy wheels with 15-inch and added a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. GS-R models replaced cloth upholstery with standard leather. For 2001, no significant changes were made on the Acura Integra.
The following year the Type-R returned to the lineup with standard AC, simulated carbon-fiber instrument panel, aluminum shift knob and unique upholstery. The Type-R featured only two colors, black or yellow, and now had standard air conditioning. A total of 1,250 units were sold, the highest sales for the Type-R. The LS, GS and GS-R complied with TLEV rating and platinum-tipped spark plugs were used for 100,000 mile tune-up interval.
A complete carryover for from 2000, the 2001 Integra was due to be replaced by the RSX in the summer of 2001. For 2001 floor mats were standard on all Integra models.
Following eight years of the same old thing, the Acura Integra was finally overhauled and replaced by the new 2002 RSX. Though sharing a similar basic layout and packaging, the new RSX featured all new styling, additional power and much more luxury. Base models now had a standard 160 bhp 2.0 liter engine with either a five speed automatic transmission of a five-speed manual.
The Type S model featured a 200 bhp 2.0 liter engine and close ratio six-speed manual transmission along with other performance and convenience upgrades. The new front end replaced the old double circle look while also featuring complex headlights that resembled the old head lights and the now trademark Acura pentagonal chrome grille.
The rear taillights on the Type S continued the double circle theme. The RSX was only available for sale as a three door hatchback while the four door sedan was discontinued.By Jessica Donaldson