What's New for 1997
Apart from the debut of the racy Type-R, no major changes.
Honda enjoys the distinction of landing luxury cars in the United States before any other Japanese automaker had even considered the idea. The Legend sedan, marketed under the Acura nameplate, was an interesting choice over domestic luxury sedans, and was an inexpensive and reliable alternative to European luxury marques. However, Honda couldn't expect to sell enough Legends to keep its new Acura franchise afloat, so engineers spruced up the Honda Civic platform and introduced the nimble Integra to compliment the bigger sedan in showrooms.
Since 1986, when the Integra debuted, it has garnered praise from a variety of automotive and consumer groups. Integras have always been sporty, practical, fun-to-drive, and reliable. Needless to say, they are popular cars with a wide demographic group. The current iteration, which is the third generation of the Integra, is no exception to this rule.
These sport coupes and sedans are quick and comfortable, with excellent build quality. Since 1994, they've sported swoopy, modern styling, featuring quad, circular headlamps. Unfortunately, the front fascia design is marred by a thick, black rubber molding between the edge of the hood and the fascia, and this cutline is painfully obvious on lighter-colored cars.
The Type R was added to Integra's stable late in the summer, and it could be the standard by which all Japanese sport coupes are measured. One-hundred and ninety-five horsepower at 8000 rpm, hand-polished intake and exhaust ports, and a high-flow exhaust system all make for a fire-breathing engine. Did we mention the 8500-rpm redline? Type "R" is for rrrrrev. Combined with that engine is a car that loses 93 pounds of weight, so stand by for takeoff.
With Acura's legendary reliability, we recommend the Integra, particularly for those on a budget or in need of a set of sporty wheels. Starting at just over $16,000, the Integra offers cheap thrills and low repair bills.