The Integra was brought to Australia in May of 1986. Seeing I was less than 3 years old at the time, any recollection of seeing this car on the showroom would be unlikely. It was delivered as a 2 door coupe based on the Civic of the same years, outputting a peak 90kw from a 1.6 litre engine, which was extremely large for a naturally aspirated (all-motor, non turbocharged) engine at the time. Characterised by it's pop-up headlights, and it's very 80's (eg, boxy), it apparently did quite well overseas, and I still see a few around on the streets now. They can be had for about 4-7 grand still, performance wise, they have power specs superior to a 2003spec 1.8l Mitsubishi Lancer. The 1st Generation Integra was also seen in the form of the Rover 416, a 4 door Integra with Rover badges. It was the only 4 door Integra (despite not having the Integra or Honda name to be marketed in Australia)
Superseded in May of 1989, the 2nd Generation Integra hit the streets. Only found in the LS trim (as opposed to the RS, LS, GS and eventual GS-R found in the States), the Integra incorporated the B18A engine, with 96kw's of enjoyment (hint of sarcasm). Despite putting on a bit of weight, the extra power helped scoot the newer Integra to a claimed 0-60mph (0-97kph) in about 9 seconds, with the automatic probably coming in a few seconds slower (not that I ever got to try that). Standards included a power moonroof, full electrics, power steering etc etc blah blah blah. Australia missed out on the GS-R model found in the United States, with a 1.7l B17A VTEC (variable valve timing with electronic control) engine, incorporating a blistering 118kw (160hp) engine, help brought in from the new VTEC technology which debuted in the Honda NSX. I was extremely happy with my G2 91 LS, apart from a few repairs (radiator, battery), it was in terrific condition, low km's (108000km, now 115 something), only minor gripes was it's automatic transmission, which was not the smoothest or smartest around (umm, is it time for 3rd... or 2nd duhhh), and it's lack of a sunroof (I'm pretty sure my car was a grey-import, as it had the Jap climate control feature, a B18B motor (found on late 93-2001 GSi's) and Jap characters all over it). You can have a Gen 2, with high mileage from about 7 to 10 grand.
In July of 1993, the G2 was discontinued, and the four round headlight Generation 3 took to the scene. Available in the base model (GSi) and the higher performance (VTi-R), it's body was similar to the G2, but more refined, and rounded to suit the 1990's. The addition of cup holders (oooh, what a feature!), and an arm-rest were extremely welcome. The GSi was fitted with a B18B motor, rated at 107kw, the VTi-R with a B18C (only available in manual transmission), rated at 125kw, the B18C series soon to come to the famed Type R. Minor facelifts at 1997 or 1998, can't remember which, included a slightly more aggressive front bumper, and the addition of ABS to GSi models. In 1999, Australia was soon to be taken hold from the same car which graced the Japanese markets in 1997, the Type R.
The Type R came into Australia at the expense of the VTi-R. It could be seen as a 'stripped-down' Integra, with all unnessaries removed, such as aircon, and most parts replaced with high performance, lightened versions. The engine has been hand tuned, blah blah blah, for an extra 16kw, bringing it to 141kw, at a sky high 8100 rpm. In my eyes, the idea of owning a Type R would be great, but living with it day to day, worrying about it being shat on or stolen plus it's stripped sound insulation (eg, lots and lots of road noise), isn't worth it, as I'd never take it to the track. As far as 0-100 goes, 7 seconds is claimed, 7.5 is more realistic. Despite being slower in a straight line, than a turbo 180SX, which could be had for 12 thou or so, the Type R has Honda's reputation for build quality, and excellent handling characteristics which proclaim it to be the best Front Wheel Drive car on the planet. It's handling has made it excellent for those twisty corners, and I think it has come 1st, in B-class stock racing in Australia for the past few years. As far as stock NA cars under 1.8 litres or less, it cannot be beat.
The Generation 3 was finished in Australia in July of 2001. 8 years is extremely long for one car generation. VTi-R's are hard to come by at the moment, well kept models can fetch a premium, a 94 VTi-R can come at about 16 grand for one of average km's, a few thousand higher than it's Red Book value. G3's now, start at about 12k for a well kept 93 GSi, ranging all the way to a $30 000 low mileage 99 VTi-R. As a daily driver, a VTi-R holds more appeal than a Type R, as the small compromise in performance, (maybe a 1/2 a second less in 0-100), is more than made up for it with it's luxuries. It still handles fantastic, and is still an attractive car (no big rear wing). You just don't get the famed Type R badge.
A month later, the Fourth Generation All-New Integra (patent pending, hahaha) debuted in Honda showrooms. Much bigger than the 3G Teg, the 4G Teg came in two trims, the base model and the Type R. Gone was the sunroof, in came some other luxuries, and some more kgs. The new Integra showcased the new 2 litre K series motor, with i-VTEC (the I stands for Intelligent, fantastic!!!) which produced more low end torque, which meant more pull at lower rpms. By now, everyone had their own take on the variable valve timing thingy (Toyota with VVT-i, Mitsubishi with MIVEC, Porsche, Mercedes and Subaru all introducing different forms) so Honda made it 'intelligent'. The VTEC engagement was much smoother, and gave it less of a 'raw feel'. In late 2002, Honda had a limited time only Special Edition, which included thingies like a nice baby spoiler, leather, and probably some other stuff.... this was brought over to 2003 which brought in the Integra Luxury, which had a sunroof, and the other SE stuff.
The 4G Type R, mated to a sweet shifting 6 speed gearbox, was faster than the previous 3G, but only in Japan. The Australian spec was detuned from a blistering 162kw to a more subtle 147, greater than the 3G, but due to the extra weight of the newer model, was actually slightly slower. Not really worth of the Type R badge, it could be seen more as a sequel to the VTi-R model. The increased size of the Type R can be attributed to the influential American market (and their larger 'average' arses). Suspension was changed and the feel of the car was less raw. Mixed reviews in Australia set the Integra back behind the Subaru Impreza WRX, the Nissan 200SX in the 40 grand sport car segment compared to in the States, where the Acura RSX Type S came number 1 in 2003's Top 10 Car List (and the Integra was a finalist/winner through all 3 generations)
Despite the Integra name only being sold in 3 countries on the planet, (Japan, Australia and Canada), and the actual car sold in 4 places (known as the Acura (Honda's luxuxry pseudonym) RSX in the USA), the car is still an extremely good value as a new car, combining nice performance with excellent handling, a car for all you twenty year old males to do up, with excellent aftermarket performance support, and as a 1st car for sons and daughters, sportiness and attractiveness at an affordable price.
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