Actually, I bought my 2nd generation Integra GS new in December of 1989. The previous generation was also nice, but I didn't really like the flip-up headlights. I knew the day I bought the car I would keep it until it quit. Now even more so, since I've only put 41,800+ miles on it.....no that's not a typo. I've babied the car's engine, paint, and interior since I bought her, and the near-mint condition is proof of that. Knowing Acura's record for engine reliability, I went one step further and have been using 100% synthetic oils (Amsoil, Mobil 1, and now Castrol's Syntec) in the engine and transmission since 13,000 miles. Thus, the engine still pulls strong like the day I bought her.
The pros I've had are:
1. Reliable. Acura/Honda's have a reputation for general reliability and this model carries on that tradition (except for the A/C.)
2. Attractive and clean styling. Arguably the best looking "Integra" of the past 3 generations. The new RSX doesn't count. BTW, this is the only 2nd gen model that doesn't sport the Acura "A" badge on the front or back which adds to the clean look. This model year also seems to have a nicer front fascia styling than 92-93 which began to have the big smiling face lower grill ('91 was the year they started using the "A" badge.)
3. Torquey engine. The car loves the city streets. It zips in and out of traffic with bike messenger quickness. On the highway, it loves to be revved up in lane changing situations. The engine just pulls and pulls and does so with a refined growl.
4. Suspension. The suspension is geared towards performance driving, but not so harsh as to make the daily commute unpleasant. Having an all wishbone suspension along with coil springs-over shocks makes for an excellent platform for future upgrades. Most Acura/Hondas presently use MacPherson struts up front minus the front wishbone setup.
5. Paint. Assuming one washes and wax/polish at bi-monthly or weekly intervals, the quality paint job from the factory will look new and feel creamy for as long as you want.
The cons I've had are:
1. Somewhat expensive timing belt change maintenance interval ($600-800 for whole package) which is a must as the car ages (every 90,000 miles or 7 years). Otherwise, if it breaks while the engine is on, get ready to shell out $3000+ for a new engine or major repairs.
2. Suspect A/C system. Most Hondas and Acuras have their A/C installed at the dealer (probably not with the higher end models) Therefore, they are not the most reliable systems and will usually have leak problems within 4-5 years.
3. Easy to reach hood latch cable. This makes it one of the easiest Acura/Hondas to break into the hood from outside. Thus, disconnecting any alarm's power wire to the battery is easy. I recommend getting an electronic hood lock for any 2nd gen integra. This is an independent unit from an alarm.
4. Frame-less door windows which are a security risk. Considering all Integras are popular among car thieves, keeping your car should be more of a concern than having a few coins and some valuables taken from the car. Therefore, I recommend some kind of alarm and/or the Auto-Club brake lock (not the easy to defeat steering wheel lock). This comes from experience.
5. Clutch & Shifter. Shifter is somewhat vague and can from time to time have a hard time going into gear. The clutch is too soft for my taste, but that's an Acura/Honda trait. I'm planning to replace it with a performance clutch from ACT to give me more feel when the unit gives out....that may be a while since I've heard these clutches going until 107,000+ miles or so with normal driving.
6. Muffler. The original muffler on these cars tend to rust out quickly. A change to an all stainless steel replacement is a good idea. My theory is that the non-straight through design (L-bend offset) tends to let moisture collect more easily in the muffler can area. 3rd gen Integras began using the the straight through can design.
I'm on 12 years with this car....will see how it holds out for the next 12 years......
Amount Paid (US$):
1990Model and Options:
GS, 5-speed manual.