Pros: Outstanding engine, nimble handling, styling has aged well, very reliable
Cons: Outdated interior, weak stereo, stock tires are terrible
I'll start by saying this is one of the best cars I've ever owned.
I purchased a GS-R coupe, which is the performance-oriented model with the DOHC VTEC engine and 5-speed manual. The engine is the highlight of the car. It has very good power for passing at any speed, even over 75mph. It pulls away from stoplights with ease. Even with my leadfoot, I still manage 24mpg around town. The engine in its stock form is whisper-quiet, even at higher-RPMs. Should you decide to stomp on it, the engine produces a sweet sound that is very race car-like...always brings a smile to my face!
Appearance wise, it draws plenty of looks. The headlamp design is very unique and I have yet to get tired of it. The overall design flows well and looks very sleek. It looks good from any angle. My only gripe is that the round headlamps are rather [Dodge] Neon-esque. I particularly like the 6-spoke 'blade' wheels. Their polished finish always has everyone commenting on them. For a 6 year old car, it still turns heads and looks sharp.
The interior of the car is my only gripe. The Integra used the same interior for 1994-2001 models. My 1999 model feels outdated and out of place on an otherwise fantastic car. In 1994, the interior would have been very nice and edgy. Now, I find it boring and tired. The interior materials are of good quality, but I am disappointed that power seats is not even an option. The leather is only so-so in quality. It lacks that soft feel that some of the other Acuras offer. It has a slight vinyl feel. Opt for cloth if you can. The GS-R has a standard sunroof which I find to be great for bringing in some extra fresh air. The car's rear seat is rather pathetic, only seating 2, not the 3 like you'd expect. There is no middle belt. The rear seat is fine for anyone under 5'6" tall (short adults or children). There is actually a decent amount of legroom for a 2-door car. When compared to a Mitsubishi Eclipse or Honda Prelude, the Integra is much more suited for carrying 4 passengers. The large trunk was a huge selling point on the car, being much larger than the competition. I have been able to carry a decent amount of luggage and even a wheelbarrow in the back.
The car's stereo is rather lacking for a $20,000 car. The CD player is a standard option but it is severely underpowered and just doesn't sound good. I immediately went to an aftermarket CD player and got a tremendous improvement even with the stock speakers.
Being the GS-R (Grand Sport Racing), I expected some superb handling. I was not disappointed. The stock tires are absolutely awful and squeal something fierce. They do terribly in any condition, even the dry. The car turns very predictably with just a hint of understeer. There is very little body roll and the car feels rock solid. This car goes exactly where you point it. A common gripe I have with cars is their poor low-speed (under 15mph) handling for manuevering in parking lots and into driveways. Not the Integra...this car feels great even at low speeds and has a nice tight turning radius.
If you are looking for a cheap handling improvement, talk to your local dealer about installing the Integra Type R's rear sway bar. For $150 this will turn the car into a beast (it turns on a dime).
Having had the car for nearly three, I have had ZERO problems. Nothing on the car, and I mean NOTHING has broken. There are no rattles, squeaks, or vibrations. This is outstanding for a 6-year-old car in my mind. The car still feels like it is brand-new. I have had to replace the brakes (not surprising at about 55000 miles), a set of tires (at about 40000 miles), and one headlamp bulb.
Overall, I love the car. It is fast, looks good, has been extremely reliable, and is fun to drive. It may share the same chassis as a Civic, but it is in a whole other world.