Featured: Why Is The Integra Type-R So Perfect From The Driver’s Seat?

Why Is The Integra Type-R So Perfect From The Driver’s Seat?

Avatar By Davide Cironi
November 2, 2015
7 comments

Photography by Davide Cironi

People spend their holidays under the warm sun here in Sardinia, that’s nothing new.

But after being given the chance to take a Honda Integra Type-R through the Italian island’s inner roads, my lady has been left at the seaside watching the horizon, asking herself, “…why?”

She can probably hear why. This car’s Spoon exhaust amplifies the car’s 1.8-litre 4-cylinder VTEC engine. It’s bossy, especially at its redline of 8,500 rpm. All around the island, listeners are hearing it through the straight pipe. For me, inside the Integra, it is just a powerful and friendly drug.

The locals are probably used to it: this road is used for hill climb racing, and I can totally see why. It goes up, down; fast, then tortuous. Then, even faster, unraveling to an insanely fast long, open chute.

This alleged “best FWD ever” screams up in rage toward the mountain, and I understand its reputation, even starting to think that the Integra Type R is probably one of the best-built sports cars ever. The driving position for the Recaro seat is pretty good. The distance from the steering wheel to the gear knob is as handy as on a race car—driver movements are rapid and easy, even at higher speed. My word, this car is fun as hell. The road is called Alghero-Bosa, from the names of these two towns it connects. Over the sea, Sardinian landscape is amazing, but the asphalt ahead hypnotizes my eyes, and I can’t stop pushing the car. I’ll return to nature later.

The sun is getting stronger on me and the Integra, which, luckily, is white. This color makes it look like a race car at the end of a championship, when all the sponsor stickers are removed, leaving the livery matte and worn. Everything reminds me of the track: how the engine revs, its exhaust note, the seats and sunshade band…but the thing actually makes me go nuts is the suspension set up. Its tires are like scalpels, with smaller wheels for precision and faster acceleration.

The cherry on top, so to speak, is its mechanical differential that kills understeer and allows me to use all of the power and torque the 1.8 offers. On roads like these, you know what that means: absolute happiness.

Well, sunset on the Riviera. Game over, but still time for a last run going back to Alghero. Soon, it’s “Goodbye, Miss Japan 1995, you probably are the best front-drive sports car…ever.”

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Peter J SmithBryceDonGreg SparkRoss Mccorquodale Recent comment authors
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Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith

I’m no fan of Honda cars, but, the Integra had what was, arguably, the sweetest shifting gearbox of any car at it’s price range.

Don
Don

If it is the so called best FWD on this fantastic road, why does the car didn’t stay in lane or is the driver such a dumb ass?

Bryce
Bryce

Yes the inability to stay in your own lane is it the driver or the Honda chassis? easy way to be killed.

Ross M
Ross M

Don’t misunderstand me – I like Hondas and have been involved in racing and rallying them for a very long time. Mechanically they are some of the most reliable cars ever made. But there is a lot wrong with the DC2 Type-R and its close cousin, the EK9 B16B Civic. Some say that they are the best handling FWD cars to ever be made in Japan. This might be true, because they are delightful to drive. But European manufacturers such as Alfa, Lancia and Saab have made much better. You could say that the B- series Type-R engine is the… Read more »

Greg Spark
Greg Spark

Agree with most of what you say, Ross. But no point in changing the VTEC point, a lower setting doesn’t improve performance at all but might make you feel better. The point of this car lies in it’s design brief – a track tuned road car aimed at driving enthusiasts. As an every day driver it is very flawed (no low end torque/power, noisy, hard – although actually quite a compliant ride at higher speeds), but as an out-of-the-box tool for raw driver involvement it has arguably(!of course) not been bettered since. For road use the suspension setup is near… Read more »

Mark Yarrish
Mark Yarrish

Very fun car! I drove the US spec one, it is an amazing FWD car!, similar to my ’00 civic si, but just a little more refined.

Thistlebeeace
Thistlebeeace

Nice video. You’re not kidding about that road – I got to drive it last month, although unfortunately only in a Panda.

It [i]was[/i] a rental car, at least… 😉