Depending on the market, the Integra was sold under Acura or Honda. In Japan, the Integra was sold as a Honda, which was introduced to the market in 1985. Later that same year, it debuted as the Acura Integra in the North American market as part of a new line of luxury cars. The first models were available as three- and five-door hatchbacks with a 1.6 liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DHOC engine. DHOC engines were rare at the time, and became the cars primary selling point. The European version of the car was a five-door hatchback with a 1.5 liter engine. The Australian models were similar to the European models, but were called the Rover 416i and sold as an evolution of the popular Honda Quint.
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The Evolution of the Acura Integra
The first few years of the Integra saw moderate success. The first generation was produced from 1985 to 1989. The second generation Integra received a dramatic makeover. The second generation Integra, which was produced from 1990 to 1993, featured Acura's first VTEC engine. The RS and LS models offered a 1.8 liter four-cylinder DHOC engine. The GS-R hatchback introduced in 1992 featured the DHOC VTECT engine. All were available as a four-door sedan or a three-door hatchback with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The LS and GS models came standard with an AM/FM stereo with cassette, which was an option on the RS base model. The GS and 1993 LS Special offered optional leather-trimmed interiors.
The third generation Integra was another significant redesign. This generation was produced from 1994 to 2001. The new body offered a sporty look with a front-end that came to a point and four round headlights. They were sold as sport coupe or a sport sedan in the same trim levels as the second generation models – the RS, LS, and GS-R. As with most manufacturers, the RS was considered the base model while the LS came standard with many features drivers prefer, like air conditioning and better speakers. The 1994 RS and LS models featured a 1.8 liter, four-cylinder, DHOC engine, while the GS-R included the 1.8 liter, four-cylinder VTEC DHOC engine. The GS-R's manual transmission was designed for higher performance than the manual transmission offered as an option on the RS and LS. The RS and LS were also available with automatic transmissions. In 1996, the models were labeled as the RS, LS, SE, and GS-R. In 1997, a GS version of the coupe and sedan were added while the RS was discontinued. The GS was the only model to come standard with leather interiors. The cassette player was replaced with an in-dash CD player. The GS-R's engine was upgraded to 195 horsepower, and the car was marketed as a Type R. In 1999, the RS hatchback was dropped, as was the Type R. The LS received a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, while the GS-R came standard with leather interiors. In 2000, the Type-R returned with air conditioning, which was not standard before. All models were equipped with anti-theft immobilizers. For the 2001 GS-R, earlier features such as an optional moonroof were removed to enhance the car's racier style and performance.
The fourth generation Acura Integra was released as the Acura RSX, and was produced from 2002 to 2006.
The Acura Integra's Reputation
Acura Integra is considered a mid-level luxury vehicle. Its most notable achievement was the introduction of the VTEC engine in the second generation models. For a time, Integra was Acura’s flagship model. The car was named on well-known top-ten car lists in 1987, 1988, and from 1994 to 1997. Similar to the parent company, Honda, all Acura models are known for reliability and affordability within their class. The RSX model has been driven in a number of SCCA World Challenges in the GT group.