1998 Acura Integra Type R vs 2010 Honda Civic Si

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1998 Acura Integra R vs. 2010 Honda Civic Si

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1998 Acura Integra

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It’s a time Inside Line could and test. A perfectly preserved Acura Integra Type R just 5,400 miles on its odometer and new car smell still through its interior. Recently from somewhere deep in the bowels of American Honda’s California, headquarters, it’s unmodified, unmolested and almost

And it’s quite likely the Integra Type R left on

We beat the snot out of it.

By now, all its brother Type Rs have ruined with stupid stolen, salvaged and ruined But this one is hermetically sealed-in-a-mayonnaise-jar-underneath-Funk—Wagnalls-front-porch Except for the fresh oil in the Type R it’s pure 1998.

It was an service-training vehicle and, Acura decided to sell it this year, it was never When it was made available to Honda employees for purchase, than 100 of them signed up for the of buying it. Gary Robinson, an old and the new head of Acura Public won the lottery.

And then he made the of mentioning his purchase to us over

Heck, we’d have for a whip around the block. But he let us it and put a couple hundred miles on its used odo. And for some context, we also borrowed a Honda Civic Si coupe with Honda’s FP Factory parts.

This isn’t a test in the traditional sense because comparing a new car to one that’s than a decade old is just stupid, but comparisons are inevitable.

All of us who drove an Integra Type R then (it made it to America in the model year) still it as the best-handling front-drive car ever But memories are fuzzy, fungible created in the crucible of their

The questions are: Has the Type moment passed? And just how far has small car performance come Bill Clinton was smoking in the Oval Office?

We decided to out.

One Change, Just One

For sake, Inside Line up a new set of tires for the Type R before The car’s spooky preservation the original Bridgestone Potenza were still wrapped the white wheels. That’s for museum display, but 12-year-old dry out and one of our goals was to survive the test.

Bridgestone doesn’t offer the in the Type R’s dinky size anymore, so Tire recommended the Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec as the closest Like the RE010, Tire classifies the Z1 Star Spec as an Performance Summer tire and both the highest rated of its type by Tire Rack and the best seller in its category. We Tire Rack to shave of tread off the new Dunlops to simulate the miles that we couldn’t put on

That Tire Rack was to not only shave the tires but get to us in just two days is dang a miracle of logistics.

Old School Done Right

By standards, the Integra Type R is archaic. Forget the dinky, wheels. Look at how thin A-pillars are no airbags in there.

cowl barely comes up to knees, the steering wheel has horn buttons on its spokes, the head unit is pure Pep and the slider-based ventilation controls look at home in a ’48

But there are plenty of elements to the design that made us The instrumentation is all in one single, easily pod directly in front of the driver, the seats mold well to any the shifter is perfectly positioned and directly connected to the five-speed and that low cowl means of greenhouse glass for better Yeah, the tall deck knocks out a bunch of rearward but the Integra otherwise remains a of ergonomic virtue.

And with the Si parked next to it, the Integra absolutely tiny. The Integra’s overall length, 101.3-inch and 51.9-inch height are all 3.1 inches than the Civic coupe’s At 66.7 inches wide, 2.2 inches slimmer than the

On Inside Line ‘s the Type R weighed in at a svelte pounds 270 pounds less the Civic Si.

So the Civic Si is a full NFL end say, Jared Allen of the heavier than the Integra.


It had been almost years since anyone at Line had driven a stock Type R, but once inside it was again at first sit. never have been cars as closely tailored as the Type R and there are fewer of now than there were Compared to today’s thickly tubs, getting into an old is almost like swinging leg over a motorcycle or mounting a

You feel somehow exposed, as if the weren’t there at all.

the key and it’s a real bare key and the R’s hand-massaged 1.8-liter engine rocks to life. deadening had been stripped the Type R to cut weight, and sometimes the sounds like it’s in your lap. Rated at 195 it’s down a mere two from the 2.0-liter K-series plant in the Civic Si.

And it makes 195 hp at a wailing 8,000 rpm 400 rpm short of its This car is unquiet in the best way.

Getting to that means tipping into the pedal, and that means the sensation of a real mechanical cable. This isn’t a hooked up to a rheostat that’s a signal to some computer, but a thick steel cord works against a spring on a body. It’s an honest you feel in your big toe.

And a sensation we all miss.

More Hardware

There’s never a better front-drive shifter the Integra Type R’s and just as good as we had remembered it. The are distinct, the effort is light and the movement is instinctive. You mold hand to the shifter so you can feel all the bits whirring away in the bay through it.

This thing might a license plate on it, but it has the personality of And its direct mechanical connection the driver is made even special by the abundance of electronically machines sold today.

Honda Civic Type R

The R’s engine produces no low-end torque. And even at its rpm torque peak, it’s making 130 pound-feet of twist. It built to go drag racing.

It was for the driver who knows how to keep an boiling while squirting corner to corner.

By any measure, the Si’s bigger, 197-hp is more civilized and better than the Type R’s. Its is less raucous, it builds speed with less and it’s much quieter at its redline than the Type R is at its What they have in is that distinct moment the VTEC variable valve system kicks in and engine gets frantic.

Despite the great exhaust note, its simply doesn’t invite the the Type R’s does.


The Type R’s is taut and the front tires sutured to the pavement. Some of is due to the double-wishbone front suspension was once every Honda’s distinctive engineering feature. of it is due to the lightweight wheels and tires and power steering.

The Civic steering ratio, at 13.62:1, is quicker than the Type 16.1:1 rack-and-pinion, but it’s by the electric power steering to which it’s attached and the 18-inch wheels this car was It’s nonetheless very It just pales in comparison to the old R.

In fact, on the slalom course the Si bit into the pavement with initial turn-in than the R. That’s likely a function of its wider (215/40ZR18) Dunlop SP tires and quicker steering. cars have a helical differential working for them the corners. But the Type R’s offers more feedback and better manners.

The Civic Si is through the slalom at 69.7 mph the stability control turned The old Integra Type R, however, is scalding. With no stability to turn off, it blasted the slalom at a stunning 71.8

That’s just a little bit than the last Porsche S we tested and it’s more 3 mph faster than a 2010 SS. Some exotics and the Corvette ZR1 beat it through the slalom, but not else.

More Hard-Core

Throw in 0.92g of stick on the pad (the Civic Si only 0.88g) and the Type R rises to the top rank of performance cars. is the best-handling front-drive car Inside has ever tested it just to be 12 years old.

The Integra outstopped the Civic, despite its 15-inch wheels and tires and smaller 9.5-inch-diameter front rotors (the Civic’s 11.8 inches). The Type R in an astonishingly short 110 feet 60 mph; that’s 14 feet than the Honda could

The Type R kicked its ass at the drag too. The Integra’s 6.8-second clocking and 14.9 seconds at mph quarter-mile performance also beat the Civic Si’s 0-60 time and 15.4 at 92.5 mph bests. That’s all due to the extra weight the Civic is around.

Yes, the Integra Type R buzz annoyingly on the freeway. the suspension is balanced more for than comfort. Of course the Si is an easier car to live with day in virtually every way.

But the R is still the performance standard which all other small must be judged.

The Acura of

There’s simply nothing in the Acura lineup that close to being as mechanically as the Integra Type R (or the late, NSX, for that matter). drive, silken V6 engines and controls are still poor for a perfectly tuned chassis, a engine and a direct connection driver and car. When the Type R was new, it was the embodiment of we all hoped Acura would be.

If ever decides to go searching for its it’s downstairs in Gary parking spot.

Honda Civic Type R


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