The Honda Integra (sold in some markets as Acura Integra) was a sports car, produced by Japanese automobile manufacturer Honda from 1985 to 2006. It succeeded the Honda Quint as the hatchback derivative of the Civic and each generation of the Integra was derived from the contemporary generation of the Civic. Being more luxurious and sports-oriented than the Quint, the Integra was one of the launch models for Acura in 1985, along with the Legend. Throughout its life, the Integra was highly regarded for its handling and performance.
The Integra name was originally used by Honda to refer to its VT250F motorcycle and is currently used to refer to the scooter variant of its NC700 series of motorcycles.
Car and Driver magazine named the Integra to its annual Ten Best list six times: in 1987, 1988, and 1994 through 1997. The GS-R model was called out specifically in 1994 and 1995. It made a return on the Ten Best list as the Acura RSX, in 2002 and 2003. The Integra Type-R (DC2) was named the "best front-wheel-drive drivers car ever" by Evo Magazine in 2006.
First generation (1985–1989)
This vehicle debuted in Japan in 1985 as the Honda Quint Integra, available only at Honda's Japanese dealership sales channel Honda Verno before going on sale a year later in North America as part of the then-new luxury Acura lineup. Three and five-door hatchback and four-door saloon bodies were available (only the hatchback versions were sold in the U.S.), with a 1.6 L DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine powering both. The engine was the vehicle's most publicized feature, as DOHC, multi-valve engines were not commonplace in entry-level models at the time. In most European countries, only the five-door liftback was offered, as a replacement for the unsuccessful Honda Quint. Typically for European Integras, only the 1.5-liter carburetor engine was available. The five-door liftback model was also sold in Australia rebadged as the Rover 416i. Except for Britain, Honda did not offer the more powerful 1.6 DOHC fuel injection engine (in the UK known as the Integra EX16) in Europe. The ZC engine was also shared with the Honda Concerto, which was sold at newly established Japanese dealership sales channel called Honda Clio, which sold luxury oriented products like the Honda Legend.
In Japan, while the VX- and RX-trimmed four-door used the 1.5 L EW5 engine, all other model and trim combinations offered only the DOHC ZC engine, with a carburetor on GS, ZS, and LS trim packages, and PGM-FI on the top level GSi three- and five-door, and the RSi three-door trim package. Vehicles installed with a carburetor earned 15.4 km/L (44 mpg-imp; 36 mpg-US) in Japanese Government emissions tests and 115 PS (84.6 kW; 113.4 bhp), and 26 km/L (73 mpg-imp; 61 mpg-US) at consistent speeds above 60 km/h (37.3 mph). Vehicles with PGM-FI earned 14.4 km/L (41 mpg-imp; 34 mpg-US) in Japanese Government emissions tests with 135 PS (99.3 kW; 133.2 bhp), and 24.5 km/L (69 mpg-imp; 58 mpg-US) above 60 km/h (37.3 mph).
Compared to the US, the European Integra was aimed downmarket and generally lacked equipment, with no trim levels (LX and EX) offering painted bumpers, central locking, power windows or air conditioning, even though a small number of fully equipped, left-hand drive fuel-injected Integras were sold in the Netherlands. The Integra EX16 did offer a sunroof, painted bumpers, a rear spoiler and Hi-Fi stereo equipment, but neither electric windows, central locking nor air conditioning were available. This was considered as a drawback to its European competitors such as the Peugeot 309 1.6 injection and the Renault 11 Turbo, that all could be equipped with comprehensive, albeit expensive, equipment. The first Integra never became as popular in Europe as it did in the US, but was praised by most motor magazines for its styling and overall road performance. The styling reflected the popularity of Honda's performance coupe, the Honda Verno sports coupe companion Honda Prelude, with the Integra offering a coupe for added cargo accommodation, and a slightly smaller appearance to the larger Honda Vigor.
Being designed as the successor of the Honda Quint, the Integra is closely related to the Civic, although it featured a small list of key upgrades over its smaller stablemate to help merit a price increase over the CRX Si, which was otherwise the sportiest subcompact vehicle being offered by Honda Verno; enlarged 4-wheel disc brakes replaced the small front-disc/rear-drum setup used by the Civic and CRX, suspension calibration was re-worked, better tires were used and a 113-hp DOHC fuel-injected 16-valve engine was used in place of the SOHC unit from the CRX Si. Just like the Prelude and the Vigor of that period, the Integra featured sleek, sporty pop-up headlights, like its Japanese dealership Honda Verno stablemates, with the CRX adopting semi-concealed doors over the headlights. Nearly 228,000 units were sold during the four-year run of the first-generation model, most of them in the United States.
The first generation Integras actually came with two different engines. Although they shared the same engine code (D16A1), there were a few differences. The engine differed in the years 1986 to 1987 and 1988 to 1989. The two engines are commonly called the "Browntop" and "Blacktop" due to the color of their valve covers. The "browntop" came in 1986 and 1987 Integras while the "blacktop" came in 1988 and 1989 models. The improvements in the "blacktop" engine included lighter rods, domed pistons for slightly higher compression, and an electric advance distributor (the "browntop" came with a vacuum advance distributor). The overall gain in performance was about 5 hp (3.7 kW) for 118 hp (88.0 kW).
The 1988 and 1989 Integras also got a minor facelift, featuring slightly reshaped indicator lights, an improved climate control system and an update of the instrument clocks. In Europe, the discontinued Integra five-door Liftback was replaced by the Honda Concerto for the 1990 model year.
Series DA5-DA9, DB1-DB2 (1990–1993)
The second generation Integra was introduced in 1989 and in this generation, one of the first VTEC engines ever manufactured by Honda was installed in a JDM Integra DA series. The B17A1 engine is a 1.7-litre naturally aspirated engine with a specific power output of 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp). VTEC engagement is at 4800 rpm on the B16A engine, redline for the XSi is 8200 rpm. All Japanese models remained exclusive to Honda Japanese dealership network called Honda Verno.
There were two variants of the top DOHC VTEC model, the RSi, and the XSi. The RSi was the base model without any options, while XSi was the fully optioned variant with climate control and optional sunroof and ABS. The XSi had a 0–100 km time of 7.2 seconds and completed a standing quarter mile in 15.1 seconds. This top spec DOHC VTEC model was complemented by more docile models that used dual-carburator or PGM-Fi versions of the versatile ZC engine but in the more compact SOHC configuration. Similarly there were base and full options variants of these SOHC engine Integras coded RX/RXi and ZX/ZXi respectively. All vehicles sold in Japan had their width dimensions slightly reduced so as to be in compliance with Japanese government regulations concerning exterior dimensions so that the car would be officially recognized as a "compact" and not incur yearly taxes for being wider.
According to Hondatuningmagazine.com, with less than 5,000 units produced for both the U.S. and Canada, the 1992–1993 Integra GS-R is considered by Honda enthusiasts to be a true classic. In 2008, the assertion that under 5000 units were produced for North America was confirmed by an avid Integra enthusiast who discovered the vehicle identification number sequence of the 1992–1993 Integra GS-R. Using this information, the enthusiast was able to determine the true production numbers of the GS-R via vehicle history reports. The North American production breakdown was reported as follows:
- USA 1992 Integra GS-R: 3118
- USA 1993 Integra GS-R: 850
- Canada 1992 Integra GS-R: 602
- Canada 1993 Integra GS-R: 255
Total North American Production: 4825
This generation saw the discontinuation of the five-door hatchback, and the first availability of a four-door sedan outside Japan. The new hardtop bodystyle reflected a popular trend in Japan of offering an entry level sedan, such as the Civic-based platform the Integra used, in a reduced height four-door hardtop. The Integra sedan saw competition from the similarly sized Toyota Corolla Ceres, the Toyota Sprinter Marino, the Nissan Presea, and the Mazda Lantis. It should be noted that the sedan was only styled to look like a hardtop. The vehicle retained the B-pillar, while the doors were constructed without window frames. This styling carried over to the third generation sedan, and shared visual similarities to the Honda Verno larger companion, the Honda Vigor.
The current Emperor of Japan, Akihito, maintains a gray 1991 Integra sedan with the 1.6 L engine, and regularly drives within the boundaries of the Imperial Palace.