The Honda Integra, marketed in North America as the Acura Integra and RSX, was a compact model in production from 1985 to 2006. Typical of the compact segment, this model was front-wheel drive. The first generation released in Japan in February 1985 as an offshoot of the Honda Quint lineup based on the Civic. The Integra was available as a 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan. Spring 1986 saw the launch of Honda’s luxury brand, Acura, in North America. Included in the 1986 model year lineup was the Integra model. Engine options for Japan included a 1.5L EW5 and a 1.6L DOHC ZC (“D” series). The latter, found the the DA1 series Integra, produced anywhere between 110 and 130 horsepower. The USDM Integras got power from the D16 series of engines, shared with other Honda models such as the Ballade, Civic, CR-X, and Domani. The 1.6L D16A1 “browntop” developed 113 horsepower @ 6250 rpm and 99 ft/lbs @ 5500 rpm. In 1988, the Integra received a cosmetic refresh. The USDM model gained a more powerful “blacktop” engine distributing 118 horsepower @ 6500 rpm. Torque rose to 103 ft/lbs. That year, Integra sales in the US reached 57,468 units, with an additional 77,423 examples for ’89. Truly DOHC was an instant hit in the technology world at the time.
April 1989 saw the debut of the second generation in Japan. The top model, XSi, was available with A/C, sunroof, and anti-lock brakes. Honda utilized their first VTEC engine, the B16A, rated at 170 horsepower @ 7600 rpm. VTEC kicked in at 5500 rpm. In North America, the 1990 Acura Integra came in three trim levels: RS, LS, and GS. The Integra lineup received a refresh in late 1991. In Japan, the ESi model was introduced. This model had a 1.8L B18A1 engine developing 140 horsepower.
Model year 1992 saw the release of the rare GS-R model in North America. The GS-R was available only in 2-door hatchback form and got power from a 1.7L B17A1 (VTEC), throwing 160 hp @ 7600 rpm. The 5-speed manual was the only available transmission. Cosmetic specialties for the GS-R included a flared-out appearance with a small, sporty rear spoiler. For the US, more than 3100 GS-R’s were produced; but that number fell to 850 examples for model year 1993. Canadian production was even more rare: 602 units for 1992, and 255 for 1993.
The third generation Integra was introduced in Japan in 1993. This new model boasted radical changes from its previous counterpart by means of slightly elongated wheelbase, dealer-installed sunroof, alloy wheels, cassette/CD player, and leather interior. The 3-door liftback body style was transformed into a formalized 2-door coupe look. Upon the North American 1994 model year debut of the Integra, three trim levels were available: RS, LS, and GS-R. The RS, which was the “regular” model, got power from a 1.8L B18B throwing 140 horsepower and featured a cassette player, rear defroster, and tilt steering wheel as standard equipment. A step up from the RS model, the LS (“Luxury Sport”) got A/C, power windows, power door locks and cruise control as standard equipment. Since the 1.7L B17A1 engine was discontinued, the GS-R got power from the 1.8L B18C1. With VTEC, this engine could pump out 170 horses. Besides alloy wheels, power windows and doors, the GS-R added a rear wing.
October 1995 saw the launch of the Integra Type R. Power for the Type R was sourced from an upgraded version of the B18C VTEC, producing 200 horsepower. Power ratings for North America and Europe were lower, at 195 and 190 horsepower, respectively. This engine was paired up with a 5-speed manual transmission. Although it was very much comparable to its GS-R counterpart, the Type R gained performance by means of polished and ported engine components, lighter windshield, reduced sound insulation, and wide 195-mm tires. Recaro racing seats and Momo steering wheel were standard equipment. These weren’t factory-installed, but rather, production of the Type R’s interior components (such as the aforementioned seat and steering wheel) were outsourced to aftermarket manufacturers. These cars were costly to build. 1998 saw a refresh to the Type R. The “98 Spec” added larger wheels and brakes, revised rear bumper, and recalibrated transmission. Tire width was increased to 215 mm. The third and final revision, the 00 Spec, was introduced in late 1999. Also known as “Type Rx“, it came with factory-standard equipment such as power-folding door mirrors, dashboard clock, carbon-paneled interior, and audio.
For the Integra’s fourth generation, Honda decided to keep the vehicle coupe-only, as well as ship it over to North America as the Acura RSX. Production of the DC5 commenced in 2001 in Japan, and model year 2002 for North America. Each model had two trim levels: for Japan, they were the Integra iS (later known as Type S) and the Type R. The North American models had the “Base” and Type-S. Canada got an extra “Premium” model slotted between the base and Type-S. The North American Type-S is unrelated to the JDM Type-S. Engine size for the entire lineup stayed at 2.0 liters. Power for the Integra iS (and the base Acura RSX) came from the K20A3, which produced 160 horsepower. The USDM Type-S got power from the 200 hp K20A2, and the top-of-the-line Integra Type R for Japan got the 217 hp K20A. Other performance additions included a stiffer suspension setup, 4-piston Brembo brakes up front, suede seats, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. All Type Rs had black interiors, and most of them came with red or black Recaro seats. Only the models with a blue exterior (Eternal Blue Pearl for 2002 – 2004) got matching blue seats as an option. An identical exterior/interior color combo, Eternal Blue Pearl/Ebony was an option for the base USDM Acura RSX.
In 2004, the JDM Integra was given a redesign. Among the many changes brought was the “teardrop” headlight design. The iS model was renamed Type-S. This redesign made its way over to the North American Acura RSX in model year 2005. That year, the JDM Type R and USDM Type S gained similar fasciae and body kits, including a large rear spoiler. While the US-market base model got alloy wheels, the Canadian base got steel wheels. The Canada-only Premium model got 16-inch alloys. Vivid Blue Pearl replaced Eternal Blue Pearl as the blue exterior color option. When the RSX discontinued production in 2006, Acura’s compact lineup was left with the CSX, TSX, and TL.