The Truth About Cars » Acura Integra The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Acura Integra Derek And Doug’s Fantastic Crapwagons: Acura Integra Type-R Fri, 21 Jun 2013 12:30:24 +0000 Integra1998

Derek writes:

Where do you find a clean, unmolested Integra Type-R in Toronto? In somebody else’s driveway.

The peculiarities of Canada’s auto market meant that modifying Hondas became one of the only avenues of affordable speed for young people. With a market size 1/10th of America’s, our choices are limited from the get-go. The most popular car, for years and years, has been the Honda Civic. So what do you get when a large percentage of car enthusiasts are able to buy cheap but well-maintained stick shift Civics? Well, for one thing, extraordinarily high rates of theft for both Civics and the better, VTEC equipped Hondas. One of the reasons I got my Miata in the first place is because any Civic, Integra, Prelude or Accord cost an outrageous amount to insure. An Integra GS-R would have been $330 a month versus $150 a month for my Miata (and that’s with no accidents or tickets).

It’s really easy to find a cheap Civic with a well-done VTEC swap, but that’s led to the virtual extinction of the Civic Si, the Integra GS-R and of course, the Integra Type-R. Anybody that still has a Type-R keeps theirs in a garage. Otherwise it will be stolen, crashed, or both. I was amazed that none of the cars I came across online had salvage or theft titles. Then again, I only found two.

Both are yellow, which is not my choice of color. Both have relatively low miles, but they go for between $12,500-$14,500. Fair money for these cars, but more than I’d ever want to pay. I know that the Type-R chassis has extra welding and less sound deadening, and there’s the specialness of it being an original Type-R and all that, but knowing that I could have a better performing Integra sedan (which I prefer to the hatch) built for me, with my choice of engine (a B18C from a GS-R, mated to an LSD gearbox from a Japanese Integra), for half the cost, is too appealing to ignore. And it wouldn’t be yellow.

Doug writes:

There really aren’t any Integra Type Rs around here.  Craigslist, for example, has precisely zero. has just one.  It’s black and it features a K20Z1 swap, which I hope is an engine.  It also boasts – and I’m quoting from the ad here – “15×8 Rays Gramlight 57dr” as well as “dc2R red Recaros.”  And ladies and gentlemen, you’re unlikely to find those ever again in one place, at least if you believe the seller.  I personally have no idea what they are.

Anyway, this car is a 2000 with 75,000 miles and the seller is asking $16,000.  If you’re questioning whether it’s worth it, don’t bother, as he lists right in the ad that it’s “worth every bit of what I’m asking.”  Tough, but fair.

A stock example doesn’t show up until I expand my search radius to 500 miles.  It’s a 2001 model in Virginia, yellow and beautiful.  Mileage is at 115,000 and pricing is very reasonable at $12,000.  This one is stunningly stock, right down to the shift knob, which looks like the top end of a screwdriver stuck in the shift boot.

The only problem with an ITR purchase, on my end, is that it comes with a huge bill: I’d have to spring for a garage.  That’s because the ITR does three things: it looks good, it drives well, and it gets stolen.  And I wouldn’t want to buy a new K20Z1 or dc2R red Recaros.  I wouldn’t even know where to look.


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Acura’s Billion Dollar Revitalization Fri, 01 Mar 2013 18:11:02 +0000

It’s hard to swallow the fact that the above photograph of me perched on the hood of my father’s Integra GS-R, one of the all-time great Acura products, is now nearly 20 years old. I can’t even remember the last time I saw an Integra on the road. Most of those cars have been crashed, stolen, rusted out or some combination of all three. There is nothing remotely close to the three-door VTEC hatchback in Acura’s lineup right now – and if you ask some people, that’s exactly why Acura is in its current predicament.

At least Acura brass are fairly candid (well, as much as one can expect from a PR pro) about the brand’s current situation. Spokesman Mike Accavitti told Bloomberg

[Acura’s] “biggest negative is we are known as a value company in the premium space…what we have to do from a marketing perspective is ramp up the emotional element.”

Bloomberg’s article states that Acura is eschewing the conventional approach to expansion, namely, growing sales in China, in favoring of focusing on the U.S. market and rebuilding their reputation in America. The RLX is getting positive press (despite being a front-drive, V6 powered sedan, which many enthusiasts regard as poison in the luxury segment), but the replacement for the TL will have to do the heavy lifting. It’s also worth asking how far the $1 billion dollar investment will go, given that $1 billion is typically required to bring a single new model to market. It’s an impressive figure to throw around, but in the context of the industry, it’s not an enormous sum.

Many of us would argue that Acura’s lineup from two decades ago did provide that necessary excitement that’s been missing for so long. Sure, Acura may not have been what we now call a “Tier 1 luxury brand”, but neither were they derisively viewed as little more than tarted up Hondas (as many people seem to think now). But in those two decades, so much has changed.

The best example of how different things are now is Audi. What was once an absolute non-entity still reeling from a malignant smear campaign, into the chicest luxury car one can buy right now. Rather than follow the usual suggestions for rear-drive platforms, V8 engines and a general emulation of BMW, Mercedes or Lexus, the Audi example might be the best to follow; a slow, measured and deliberate climb to the top, rather than hoping for an overnight Hail Mary pass that will suddenly reverse the brand’s standing.


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Because You Grab This Stuff While You Can: Junkyard Integra Donates Brakes For My Civic Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:30:25 +0000 So I’ve still got an Integra GS-R engine sitting in my garage, waiting to be swapped into my hooptie ’92 Civic DX— because the fifth-gen Civic, with its ease of parts-swapping and galaxy of aftermarket stuff, is to the present day what the ’55 Chevy was to the 1970s— and when that happens I’ll need better brakes, right? Problem is, whenever a third-gen Acura Integra (which was a fifth-gen Civic with luxury and performance upgrades) shows up at a cheap self-service junkyard, it gets picked clean faster than just about anything this side of a Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s much like a ’55 Chevy owner in 1974, discovering an intact 396/4-speed Caprice 20 minutes after the car hit the yard at the U-Yank-It. When I found an intact ’94 Integra while on a Junkyard Find photo expedition at the Denver yard near my place, I knew I had to work fast.
So, I went back the next day with tools and Rich, team captain of the Rocket Surgery Racing mid-engined Renault 4CV LeMons team.
The junkyard had only been open for about three total hours between the last time I’d seen the Integra and our return to grab parts, but some Civic “tuners” had already torn the crap out of the front suspension and brakes in order to pull… well, I’m not sure what. Somehow, they missed this fart-can custom Magnaflow exhaust, though.
We had to remove the exhaust to get to the rear brake parts I needed. Here’s Rich huffing some well-aged hydrocarbon residue.
The reason the crew who destroyed the stuff on the front of the car hadn’t done the same to the rear was that the rear wheels were held on with those maddening security lug nuts.
Experienced junkyard crawlers know lots of ways to defeat those wheel locks. First, we tried Vise-Grips, which didn’t work.
Then Rich scrounged up a tire iron and pounded it into the lock. That worked, but it was a lot of work to turn the things.
Another approach is to clamp the Vise-Grips inside the hollow part of the lock…
…and then jam the tire iron through the pliers and twist. This worked well.
Swapping an Integra rear disc setup onto a drum-equipped Civic is a pure bolt-on, but you need the complete trailing arm assemblies from the Integra.
You also need the disc-specific parking-brake cable assemblies, so I volunteered to brave the biohazardous interior to begin that process.
Hondas of this era are very easy to dismantle; almost every component is made to be accessible and Honda used high-quality fasteners throughout their cars. A cordless impact made removal of the trailing arms, control arms, and everything else take a total of maybe 20 minutes.
I left the control arms attached to the trailing arms, even though they’re identical to the Civic units, because sometimes junkyards will just throw in all the attached stuff when you buy major suspension components. Such was not the case at this yard, so I saved a few bucks by removing the parts I didn’t need while at the counter.
Even though aftermarket sway bars are cheap and plentiful, I figured the factory stuff is worth having. My Civic doesn’t have a rear swaybar, so even this pencil-thin one should bring it up to Integra standards.
For $150 or so, I now have everything I need to Integra-ize (Integrate?) my Civic’s rear brakes. I still need to find Integra front brakes (the Civic has smaller rotors), which means I’ll need to pounce immediately when I see a suitable donor car. For now, more bulky Honda parts will be cluttering up my garage, right next to the Chrysler 318 TBI intake I keep stubbing my toes on. Ah, project backlogs!

16 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - Pulling 1994 Acura Integra Rear Trailing Arms - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 16
Review: 2013 Acura ILX Tue, 26 Jun 2012 14:31:39 +0000

Like Lexus and Infiniti, Acura launched with two models, a bespoke flagship sedan and a smaller car based on an existing mainstream model. Unlike the Lexus ES 250 and the Infiniti M30, though, the Acura Integra received rave reviews. The Integra was discontinued for 2002 as part of Acura’s failed upmarket push. The Civic-based Integra sedan’s slot was sort of filled with the larger, heavier European Accord-based TSX. The 2004 TSX was a good car, but it was no Integra, and the model gained additional inches and pounds with a 2009 redesign. For 2013 Acura returns to its original playbook with a Civic-based four-door model. They’re not yet ready to officially admit the stupidity of going alphanumeric, so the new car is unfortunately appellated the ILX.

Dimensionally, the ILX shares a 105.1-inch wheelbase with the 2004-2008 TSX, but is 4.3 inches shorter, 1.2 inches wider (surprise!), and 1.7 inches lower. Interior dimensions are very similar (including a couple of inches less rear legroom than the compact sedan norm) with the exception of rear headroom, which isn’t quite sufficient for six-foot passengers in the new car. Trunk volume is a passable 12.4 cubic feet with the regular ILX, but only 10.0 cubes with the Hybrid. Most significantly, the ILX is nearly 300 pounds lighter than the original TSX and over 400 pounds lighter than the current one.

Compared to other recent Acura sedans and the latest Honda Civic, the ILX’s exterior styling is a step in the right direction. The exterior’s most distinctive feature, a character line that S-curves up the body side just ahead of the rear fender, recalls the Dodge Avenger, which hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, but the whole is better executed here. Seventeen-inch wheels standard on the 2.4L and available on the 2.0L (but not the Hybrid) help lend the small sedan an athletic stance. Inside, the ILX resembles the TSX and TL, just with a less substantial feel to the doors and seats. Not quite premium, but far, far nicer than a Civic, and thankfully bereft of the Honda’s massive bi-level instrument panel.

The Acura ILX’s powertrain options are…curious. You can get a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter only with a five-speed automatic, a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter (shared with the TSX and Honda Civic Si) only with a six-speed manual, or a 111-horsepower 1.5-liter hybrid only with a CVT that can be manually shifted to mimic a seven-speed transmission. Oddly, premium unleaded is recommended with all three engines, even the Hybrid.

With nearly 3,000 pounds for its 111 horsepower to motivate, the Hybrid with Technology Package is perhaps the most sluggish car with a sticker price over $35,000. Even a Lexus CT feels considerably more energetic. In the EPA tests the hybrid manages 39 MPG city, 38 MPG highway, but you’ll only observe these numbers in the real world with a lethargic driving style much better suited to a Prius (with its much stronger electric motor) than an Acura.

Though the ILX 2.4L pairs nearly twice as much peak horsepower with a nearly identical curb weight, it will satisfy lazy drivers little more than the Hybrid will. Unlike Audi, Buick, and Volkswagen, which offer the most directly comparable cars, Acura continues to avoid turbocharging. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine has little going on south of 4,000 rpm and peaks just 100 rpm shy of a 7,100 rpm redline. Employ the solid, precise shifter typical of the brand to keep the engine on boil, though, and the car entertains. Few fours sound sweeter or feel smoother when revved.

But, spoiled by widely available big sixes and boosted fours, most driving enthusiasts now demand a solid shove at low rpm. If they can live with a not remotely premium interior, they’ll be happier in a Jetta GLI. If they can’t, Audi will soon offer a redesigned A3 as a sedan and Buick will soon offer the Verano with a 250-horspower turbocharged engine.

The ILX 2.4L is geared for performance, not fuel economy, so its EPA ratings are 22 MPG city, 31 highway. The Jetta GLI matches it in the city and manages another two miles-per-gallon on the highway. The 2.0L automatic does a little better, 24/35. Are a few MPG worth giving up 51 horsepower? Acura apparently thought most potential buyers would think so, or they’d have also paired the automatic with the larger four.

The ILX’s steering isn’t as lightning-quick as the TSX’s, while being equally uncommunicative. Nevertheless, the new car feels even lighter than its relatively low curb weight suggests it ought to. A Jetta GLI is only about three inches longer and 150 pounds heavier, but feels considerably larger and more massive. A Buick Verano feels even heavier than the VW, perhaps because it is. The ILX rides much more smoothly than the VW, if still not as smoothly or quietly as the Buick. Partly this is because its suspension simply wasn’t tuned as aggressively as the VW’s. A limited-slip front differential is standard on the Civic Si, but not offered here. But the ILX is also the first Acura to employ “amplitude reactive dampers” that provide limited damping for the first five centimeters of travel then firm up for suspension motions over ten centimeters in a mostly successful bid to pair a comfortable ride with athletic handling. The ILX might not drive like a hardcore sport sedan, but it has a lively yet precisely controllable character that makes it fun when pushed. Imagine a more powerful, more refined, slightly softer Mazda3, and you won’t be far off.

Unfortunately, the Acura ILX is also far more expensive than a mainstream compact like the Mazda3. Though based on the Civic rather than the European Accord, and with a corresponding less substantial feel, the ILX 2.4L is priced $6,920 higher than a Civic Si (about $3,000 of which is due to additional features) and nearly as high as the TSX: $30,095. Is the ILX too dear, or is the TSX a bargain? If you adjust for the ILX’s additional features (including leather upholstery, a power driver seat with memory, proximity key, and xenon headlights) using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool, it’s only about $1,300 more than the Jetta GLI with Autobahn Package. But the adjustment is nearly $2,500, and many people might not look beyond the $3,780 MSRP gap. A Technology Package with nav and Elliot Scheiner surround sound audio isn’t available with the 2.4L. Get that package on the Hybrid and the sticker shocks: $35,295. But no more than it does for the Lexus CT 200h, which has a nearly identical base price and is nearly $3,000 more when both cars are loaded up.

While I found the Acura ILX Hybrid sluggish, I enjoyed driving the 2.4L. You can’t get a 200-horspower sedan with a curb weight under 3,000 pounds from any of the Germans, even VW. And while boost can’t be beat for its ability to pair midrange power with fuel efficiency, I continue to prefer the sound and feel of a high-winding, naturally aspirated engine when paired with a well-engineered stick shift. Overall, the ILX doesn’t make a strong statement in how it looks or how it performs, but neither did the Integra. Like the earlier car, the new one possesses the willing responses and light, almost delicate feel that has historically typified Hondas (with a nicer interior then you’ll find in a Honda). This character is increasingly hard to find as virtually the entire industry piles on turbos, gadgetry, sound deadening, and pounds. Ultimately, no one else offers a car like the ILX 2.4L. The main change I’d like to see: a price not so close to that of the TSX.

Suburban Acura of Farmington Hills, MI, provided the ILX 2.4L. They can be reached at (248) 427-5700.

Nick Pechilis at Acura of Memphis provided the ILX Hybrid. He can be reached at (901) 334-5525.

Michael Karesh operates, an online provider of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

ILX 2.4L front, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L front quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L side, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L rear quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L interior, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L instrument panel, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L rear seat, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L trunk, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX Hybrid trunk, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX 2.4L engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ILX Hybrid engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ]]> 119
Engine Swap: Hoonatic Racing Integra GS-R Engine Now Destined For My Civic’s Engine Compartment Wed, 23 Mar 2011 13:00:15 +0000
Those of you who follow 24 Hours of LeMons racing know the tale of the One Lap Integra, an Integra GS-R that got knocked down to LeMons price range because it had been rolled into a ball by a leadfooted previous owner. The car was hopeless, but the 170-horse B18C1 engine and transmission are in good shape… and now I’ve bought them for my beater ’92 Civic DX.

I’m also getting the complete, un-butchered wiring harness, ECM, instrument cluster, and everything else, courtesy of Hoonatic Racing team captain John and his meticulous car-stripping skills.

I’ve owned many Civics over the years, at least one example of each of the first five generations (after Soichiro Honda died, Civics became too bloated for my liking), but I’ve never done any serious modifications to any of them. My current daily driver has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned, but the 102-horsepower D15B7 under its hood just can’t make any power in Denver’s thin air. The solution: bolt in a bigger engine, just as our forefathers did when dropping 427s in their ’55 Chevys.

The only problem with the deal is that the engine is in Texas and I’m in Colorado, but that problem has been solved by the members of the Team B League Film Society – How I Learned To Stop Whining And Love The Judges Mercedes-Benz W110 LeMons team. They’ll be hauling their car up to Colorado for the second annual B.F.E. G.P. race in July, and they’ve agreed to include the GS-R goodies on their trailer. It’ll be a long four months to wait, but so worth it! I’ll be the owner of the world’s only fifth-gen Civic with a B18C1 and no wing!

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