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I have driven many cars (I was in the motor trade) however I owned an Integra Type R for 12 months and would say that it is the finest car that I have ever driven. The handling and performance defy belief, it really does give some idea of how a F1 car would feel (havnt had the chance but I have raced carts and TVR). Fuel economy is dire for the first few weeks, you just keep driving it harder and harder!!! I had mine during the fuel crises and driving it economically is hard work (and not very rewarding). When you are pottering along you notice the noise from the engine and tyres, the note from the engine (when not being pushed) is a little annoying, indeed 30mph is not quite right for 3rd gear and a little too slow for 4th (an excuse for speeding?)so progress can be a little uncomfortable. The car transforms totally driven in the manner of which it is intended... Build quality is beyond reproach, everything is solid and well made, the seats offer superb "sideways" support, necessary during fast conering. The service from the dealership was outstanding, the car being perfectly prepared for collection, however the required air conditioning (the cabin gets hot due to engine output) was not yet dealer fitted. It appears that this was not a fault of the dealer but of Honda UK who do not always control the supply of parts correctly. To get the parts, my dealer had to write to Honda and inform them that I would hold off an order for 20 civics if the parts were not supplied (the dealers idea not mine)...the parts were sent rapidly!!! Of course I wouldnt suggest to other dooers that this is the way to get things done, but the same trick works with Ford ;-) I would choose another Honda without question (I want a Civic Type R, please). Honda really know how to make a great car, it is such a shame that they have not a clue about promoting the product...a dealer friend tells me that they bang their heads against
the wall talking to Honda, the maker is simply content in the fact that they make great cars hence the "whisper" of a promotion for the new civic and the logo. So, the Type R, it is not to everyones taste (my wife loved driving it but hated being a passenger - too scared), it takes total concentration...but what fun!!!
First things first: The Integra Type-R is not for most people. I'm glad we understand that now. The Integra Type-R (ITR) was built as an uncompromising driving machine. Many manufacturers promote their cars as being great to drive but Honda decided to make the drivers' ultimate front-wheel drive coupe. To do this they went to lengths almost unheard of on a road car. The engine (a work of art) for starters, has the internal specification of a racing car. Titanium is used, forged pistons, hand polished internals, free flowing exhaust system etc, etc. The engine itself is Honda's four-cylinder B18 1.8 Double Overhead Camshaft VTEC unit. With the trick engine internals and exhaust system this equates to 190BHP and a 0-60 time of 6.2seconds. No turbos, no supercharger. The VTEC system means that up to 6000RPM the car is quiet and sedate. However, over 6000RPM the VTEC system switches camshaft profile and it all goes a bit mad! The car screams its way to its 8500RPM(!) revlimiter like a cat with its tail on fire! As a comparison, an Audi A3 1.8 Turbo produces 180BHP. I would also like to point out that the ITR produces the best engine note this side of a Ferrari F355. Period. Moving away from the bits that make it go we come to what makes it stay. The suspension system was honed at the Suzuka and Nurburgring race circuits. The car has a close ratio 5 speed gear box and a limited slip differential to harness the power. The brakes are equiped with ABS and have four pot callipers on the front. You stop. The balance this car has is remarkable for a FWD. The weight distribution means you have ultimate control over the chassis and can understeer or oversteer in safety. It grips amazingly too, thanks to that limited slip diferential. Inside, the car comes with two of the best seats (Recaros) to be found in a road car but they are not very wide... It has airbags as standard, a titanium gear knob, a leather steering wheel, a stereo, s
ome fake carbon fibre and that's about it. People often complain about the dash being boring but at least it is not offensive like the new Toyota Celica's! Overall this is an amazing car and I love mine to bits. I chose it over a Subaru Impreza Turbo (also brilliant) for its exclusivity and that engine and handling. BUT the ITR is noisy and firmly sprung. I don't care and don't find it particularly bad but others do. A Hi-Fi upgrade for motorways is essential. The back seats are also very small! The only other problem I have had is the lifespan (or lack of it) of the front tyres! If you are looking for a coupe, and driving and the appreciation of ultimate engineering is your criteria, then this is for you. If you simply want a smart good looking coupe that is quiet and comfortable then look elsewhere. I love mine and wouldn't change it for anything.(well maybe a Skyline GTR or a Mitsubishi Evo 6)...
We were looking for a new car, a car for us, (but mainly for Heather, my wife), that would not involve consideration of the children, who now don't live with us (it is remarkable how our cost of living has fallen !). So we both had a test drive of the Honda Integra R. Why this car ? Well, for a start, at the moment, you can buy one from a Honda dealer for under £17,000 new, wheras a year or so ago you could not get a discount from the £20,500 new price. It has the looks and performance figures that the wife says she is looking for, and being 'over 50', the insurance premium quoted has not caused apoplexy. We took a test drive in a 1998 R registered model that had done 12,000 miles. Championship White, they call the colour and most of them are this colour (but we would want a red one, if we do buy one). Heather had first shot (with me in back). I noted that the suspension was quite 'hard' and there was a bit of road noise, but I found it quite acceptable. So how was it for you, I asked ? She grimaced slightly, so I 'had a go' myself. I was enthralled !! OK, it will not win any awards for quiet running, but the steering really is 'pin sharp', the acceleration is 'like a rocket', and the handling superior to anything I had driven before (including several Mercedes and Alfa Romeos). At the end of my 20 mile run - along the Edinburgh By-Pass- I was convinced that I wanted one, and assumed Heather felt the same (after all, this was one of the cars on her short list, and it was 'her turn' for the new car). She told the salesman that "we will think about it", and we then discussed our opinions. Oh did we differ !!! The Recaro seats that I found gripped my bum and kept in its place, she found 'far too narrow', and the engine feel and sound that I found "enthralling", she described as "an unpleasant vibration". She also had diffi
culty getting in and out of the seats (so did I, but my main difficulty was having the inclination to get out of the driver seat !). She reckoned that she could not contemplate having to drive down to Chester or Sheffield in something so lacking in refinement ! I can't say that I totally agreed with her, and a car purchase is something that we must agree on, but it did demonstrate how important it is to have a long test drive - we were out for over an hour in total. So it's back to the drawing board, it seems. We wanted to see an Accord Type R, but this dealer did not have one (see opinion on this model). And what about that Alfa Romeo 156 with the V6 engine ? Well, we eventually bought an Accord Type R, but I preferred the Integra. Apparently the reason for the price reduction is that they cannot meet the emissions regs from 01 Jan 2001 and that is why most Honda dealers have some at this discount. There will be a new model in about a year, but the Integra R has 'classic' looks. But if it was only me making the decision on THAt afternoon - I was compeltely "sold", and an order (for a red one) would have gone in that afternoon. Since writing my original opinion on this model, there are a number available at Honda dealers at the price indicated (£16,995), mainly in Milano Red and Championship White. Indeed one Edinburgh dealer has 2 red ones in stock (!). Three months ago, he was telling me that they were "very difficult to get" (but he did have a new white one in stock (!?). The Black colour is definitely more difficult to find. This 'run-out' pricing should have an effect on second hand prices. The 2 year old one for our test drive was listed at £12,950, but I would bet that it would now be possible to get one of that age and mileage at under £10,000 for cash/no px. Some kind of bargain, if you are athletic enough to cope with getting in and out and can live with the
noise. In this respect, I found it no worse than the Imprezza that I tried. If you are in the market for a coupe, try this one and compare it with the offerings from Ford and Vauxhall - I'm certian that you won't be disappointed. And if it is a second hand one that you are looking at - then BARGAIN HARD !! Footnote. If you find the integra too raucous, then even better deals are availble on pre-registered Preludes - £15,450 for either manual or automatic now at our local Honda Dealer (Chathams Edinburgh www. chathams.co.uk) That would have tempted me 2 months ago.
I took a Honda Integra Type R on a track day recently. I actually own a Peugeot 306 GTI 6 and I'm sorry to say that I wish it was an Integra. This is a truelly great car. Ok a little old looking now and a bit 80s on the inside, the performance and handling is to die for. Revvvvvving to 9000, it just goes on and on and on. A strange sensation at first, but one you soon become very satisfied with. 0-60 is in the 6 second region, and in my experience it felt as fast as an Impreza Turbo. The car handles brilliantly, infact better than my 306 which has been described by magazines as sublime! Available in white, red and black. It is only the white one that comes with the crazy red Recaro seats, the others have black Recaros. Resale values are high as the Integra is quite a rare sight in the UK. A bargain when bought on import, but waiting lists are 8 months!! A true drivers car, you wont impress the ladies by saying "I've got an Integra Type R", but who cares when a car drives this well.
The Honda integra can do 0 to 60 in 6.2 secs. The Recaro seats give the car a rally feel and the v-tech kicks in at about 5'000 revs and gives the car alot of extra speed. I dont atually drive the car but my dad would recomend it to anyone. It gives a spark to driving if you like a fast car and you have got some extra cash then go to your nearest honda dealer and hand over that cash.