1998 Honda Integra Type R 1.8 from UK and Ireland
Fast, fun, practical and full of character
Drivers seat bolster is showing signs of wear. New disks fitted all round at 51K along with Green stuff pads, this produced some incredible stopping power/feel. Tyres last ~12-15K on average, but at £300 a set are pretty cheap to replace. The car averages 30 mpg (22-34)
Nothing has failed yet in 5 years not even a bulb. The clutch will probably need replacing this year.
Having owned the Integra for 5 yrs now I feel 'qualified' to properly comment on what you can expect to find ;)
Straight line performance 5yrs back was amazing for its capacity, now however a Clio Cup matches it. What the Clio and other cars like it cannot match is the character of the engine. It sounds fabulous and never becomes dull.
Cruising at 70 is a pain and it is far better to sit at 80-85. The ride is always firm although this gets better with speed, about 80-90 on back roads it is very good at soaking up bumps yet keeping the wheels on the road.
It has come up against all sorts of cars in the last 5 years and held its own against all, but the exotic stuff. The rear end is very mobile and lift off oversteer is very accesible and huge fun. The steering isn't the last word in feel, but it is better than anything bar the NSX. The handling is just incredible understeer is non-existant in the dry and the nose will always bite giving you lots of confidence. Even in the wet it is a deeply impressive car, before you write a front wheel drive car off as 'non-enthusiast' you must try one out.
There is limited insulation but this is what makes the car what it is. I have driven lots of new cars and I find them so uninteresting and so removed from what is going on its unreal. You can hear the engine on tickover, why is this a bad thing, it is a car not a washing machine with wheels after all! Its funny people go crazy for an Elise and by comparison the Integra is a Bently!
Which brings me to the conclusion of this and the cars major problem. It leaves you with a very difficult choice of upgrade. The S2000 is so nearly great, but it just doesn't handle that well. The very same stretch of road that the Integra holds 100 mph down the S2000 (04 model year) was kicking and fighting, maybe it was within itself, but it lacked the confidence feedback to the driver. Add to that the Integra could go quicker and it shows how right the car is.
The Elise (S2) is great, but it doesn't have the practicality of the Integra. The boot is big and the rear seats fold flat. Also it will carry four if it has to.
Civic R, not in the same league, feels very ordinary after the Integra.
I don't have an answer, I guess there isn't one yet... hence the five year stint. So if you want a fast cheap-ish performance car that has character, is cheap to maintain, is reliable, has strong residuals and is even pretty exclusive then buy one. But don't blame me if you don't know what to buy afterwards!
BTW mine is up for sale, as soon as I can find an alternative.....perhaps some ex-owners can help me out?!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th February, 2006
I have tried turbo ITR's to me they detract from the drive. With the bog basic car you can wring its neck, the turbo turns it into something else, not bad just different. Good luck with the conversion. I may have found a replacement, unfortunately it is a 996 I just can't see the point of changing for anything average. Why didn't Honda import the DC5 and tune it for European roads, its beyond me.