The Acura Integra is sold as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan, though technically both offer a hatchback rear door. The sedan is a bit longer than the coupe and provides extra room for rear-seat passengers. For each body style, there are three main trim levels available -- LS, GS and GS-R. A fourth trim level, the Type R, is only available as a coupe. The LS, GS and GS-R come with standard features like 15-inch wheels; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; air conditioning; a CD player and a moonroof. The GS and GS-R also have a leather-trimmed interior. The Type R takes a more austere path. Though air conditioning is standard (in previous years, it wasn't), it does have a number of performance-enhancing changes, such as reduced sound deadening material, additional structural bracing, larger brakes, a race-tuned suspension, performance tires and aerodynamic enhancements.
LS and GS come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. It makes 140 hp and 124 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with this engine, and a four-speed automatic is optional. The GS-R also has a 1.8-liter engine but with more power: 170 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. The automatic transmission isn't offered for the GS-R, nor is it available on the high performance Type R. The Type R's engine is similar to the GS-R's but, through substantial tuning modifications, makes 195 hp. It comes mated to a close-ratio five-speed manual with a limited-slip differential. None of these engines are particularly torquey, but they are fuel efficient; LS, GS and GS-R manual transmission-equipped cars earn an EPA estimate of 25/31 mpg city/highway.
The Integra comes standard with dual front airbags and antilock brakes. Outboard rear passengers get three-point belts; the center rear position in the sedan has a lap belt only. Side airbags aren't available. In NHTSA crash testing, the Integra received a four-star rating (out of a possible five) for its protection of the driver in frontal impacts. The front passenger position received three stars. Side-impact and frontal-offset crash tests haven't been preformed.
The Integra coupe can seat two people in the rear; the sedan can hold up to three. Like most sport hatchbacks, the coupe's rear seat is best suited for children or those of smaller stature. Drivers are greeted with easy-to-read gauges, high quality controls and, on manual transmission-equipped cars, a precision shifter. The overall design is dated when viewed alongside those found in newer, competing vehicles, and certain elements, like cupholder placement and sound system controls, suffer from poor ergonomics.
Though the Integra is dated in many regards, its mechanicals are still generally up to the task of providing a fun and energetic drive. This is most true of the race-oriented Type R. On kinky roads, the Type R acts as your own personal sushi chef as it slices and dices its way through the gnarliest of corners. On regular city streets, though, the Type R's buzzing exhaust and stiff suspension will be too much of a nuisance for most drivers. The GS-R trim is well rounded in terms of performance and comfort. And though they aren't as fast as the GS-R, the LS- and RS-trim cars, with their fuel efficient engines and reasonably nimble handling, can be useful as short-distance commuter cars.