What's New for 2000
The Type-R is back, and it arrives with two more color choices. The four-speed automatic transmission has been enhanced for better shift quality, and all Integras now have a tune-up interval of 100,000 miles.
Integras have always been sporty, practical, fun-to-drive and reliable. They are popular cars with a wide demographic group. The current iteration is no exception. What has most people buzzing is the return of the enthusiast-favorite, the Type R, which had disappeared for the 1999 model year. In addition to the Type R, there's a GS, LS and GS-R.
While comfortable for two and even livable for four full-sized adults, the Integra is first and foremost a driver's car. Think of it as a Japanese BMW 3 Series and you won't be far off. Sure it has fewer cylinders and the wrong set of wheels pulling it around, but if you can't afford the price of entry (or maintenance or insurance) for anything from Bavaria, the Integra makes an adequate substitute. With a fully independent four-wheel double-wishbone suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars and a thick steering wheel that gives excellent feedback about what's going on down below, the Integra is one of the top-handling front-drivers in the world.
If competent handling was all the Integra had to offer, it would still be worth considering, even in today's competitive sport-compact market. Fortunately, Acura didn't stop there. The base engine, sold on GS and LS trim, is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder unit that makes an adequate 140 horsepower. Step up to the GS-R and you're rewarded with a VTEC-enhanced 1.8-liter inline four that boasts 170 horsepower and 128 foot-pounds of torque. The Type R is about as close as you can get to a street-legal race car for this price, and it makes a mighty 195 horsepower at 8,000 rpm, thanks to its hand-polished intake and exhaust ports and a high-flow exhaust system. Did we mention the 8,500-rpm redline? You can bet that "R" is for rrrrrev.
The Integra sport coupes and sedans are quick and comfortable, with excellent build quality. Seating, headroom and overall ergonomics are typical Honda: straightforward and functional. The shifter is one of the best in the industry, with a shape that fits the hand perfectly and a relatively short throw between gears.
The bad news for the Integra is that the styling hasn't changed since 1994, and it's beginning to look a bit old hat. That means with cars like the Mercury Cougar clawing at the market, Acura will quickly need to prepare the Integra for life in the 21st century.