The Acura Integra is a sporty compact coupe produced by Honda Corporation. Marketed as the Honda Integra outside of North America, the Acura Integra was introduced as a luxury model designed to help Honda penetrate the high-scale automobile market. This front-wheel drive car is available as a two-door hatchback or a four-door sedan. With its economical four-seat size, the Integra functions equally well as a commuter car or small family vehicle. In addition, it was produced with a flexible solid base, which allows for performance enhancement and modification.
The first Integra was introduced by Honda in 1986. It was considered a groundbreaker because it proved Japanese car makers could successfully compete on the luxury market. The Integra features a 142-horsepower, 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine with choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system was revolutionary when first introduced. It is this system that allows the Integra to achieve such exceptional power output from a small four-cylinder engine, while still preserving top notch fuel economy.
When the Integra hit the sales floor, its first generation was distinguished by being the only entry level car to use the DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine. The second generation of the Integra, built from 1989 to 1993, was defined by the introduction of Honda's outstanding VTEC system, and it was the DOHC-VTEC combination that allowed the Integra to soar in efficiency and popularity. The third generation, in the years 1994 to 2001, saw the addition of a number of dealer-installed options, including a security system, alloy wheels, fog lights and a CD changer.
The sleek, aerodynamic Integra features antilock brakes, a sunroof, and power locks and windows. Some amenities added to later models include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, electric trunk release and floor-latched drivers' mats. The trim options include the base RS (before 2000 only), the LS and the high-performance GS. The GS-R model caused quite the sensation when introduced in 1997, and again when it reappeared in 1998 and 2000. Weighing a hundred pounds less than other Integra models, this wildly popular championship standout, in its 1997 version, achieved a peak of 195 horsepower.
The Acura Integra was phased out of production in 2002 in favor of the Acura RSX, which was itself eliminated in 2007. Before its departure, however, the Integra became a much decorated vehicle, earning placement on Car and Drivers' Ten Best list six times between 1987 and 1997. The high-performance GS-R model was singled out for individual recognition by Car and Driver in 1994 and 1995, and the Integra Type R was named Best Front Wheel Drive Driver's Car Ever" by Evo in 2006. The GS-R has become the car of choice for performance modifiers everywhere, so much so that GS-R models without enhancements are now difficult to find.
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