I’ve had the same car for 17 years. It’s a “Vogue Silver Metallic” 1998 Acura Integra LS, 2 door automatic, and a week ago it crossed the 100,000 mile mark.
I’ve been happy with it. It’s solid, well-made, and has had few problems. Although Acura is Honda’s luxury brand, this car is basic. Not sure what I mean? Here’s an incomplete list of features this car lacks:
- Automatic on/off for headlights and parking lights
- Keyless entry (I think it was optional. I added an aftermarket system)
- Adjustable rate for the intermittent windshield wiper speed
- Electric seat adjustments (was possibly optional… I don’t remember)
- No interior dome light
- Steering wheel stereo controls
- Outside temperature display
- Variable valve timing (whether for increased fuel efficiency or increased performance)
Granted it is from ’98 and we’ve come a long way since then.
I still like it. It’s comfortable for me. It’s pretty low to the ground so visibility over other cars isn’t great, but I’m ok with that. The cost of ownership has been fairly low. No chronic problems or mechanical disasters. I get 29 mpg with pure highway driving. Maybe around 25 mpg for city driving.
Poor automatic transmission
Shifts are rough and slow. The car loses power a bit then mildly lurches forward when moving up through gears while accelerating. It’s been like this as long as I can remember. I don’t know if this is specific to my car or to all Integras. You can partially mitigate the jerkiness by increasingly lifting your foot off the gas pedal as you approach the point where the transmission shifts, then pressing the pedal in as the shift finishes. I think I do this unconsciously now.
This is a common problem on third generation Integra hatchbacks. There’s a small lever attached to the hatch. You slide it sideways to trigger a solenoid on the car body that releases the lock, then lift to open. Mine stopped working maybe in 2004. Now I must insert the key and turn clockwise with one hand and lift with the other.
A search for “integra trunk actuator” turns up lots of results (a few: hatch lock stuck, G3 Rear Hatch Opening Problem 98+, hatch opener not working, How to Fix an Acura Integra Hatch Actuator, Fixed My Broken Trunk Latch). Some people suggest replacing part 74840-ST7-A01. I tried it but it didn’t fix the problem for me. I think I might have an additional problem where power isn’t reaching my trunk. Possibly due to a blown fuse.
Assorted smaller problems
- Rear window washer fluid sprayer stopped working years ago.
- Trunk light doesn’t work (and was fairly ineffective when it did).
- Radiator cracked and needed to be replaced maybe around 60,000 miles.
- Antenna stopped going up and down around 96,000 miles.
- The rubber bits on the outside are deteriorating. Gaskets around the sunroof, windows, between body panels, etc.
- The paint on the top of the arms that hold the side mirrors has gotten bubbly and chipped off.
- The engine is fairly weak—basic 1.8 liter Honda inline 4. Either 137 hp or 140 hp, depending on who you ask.
- The suspension is basic—the ride has certainly never been posh.
- The heater is slower and doesn’t get as hot as Emily’s 2003 Toyota Corolla. The air conditioning is usually good enough, but is certainly not overpowering.
- After having disassembled and reassembled various pieces of the interior over the years to replace the stereo or speakers, I’ve noticed that the paneling tends to be made of a harder, more brittle plastic than Emily’s 2003 Toyota Corolla. The plastic feels more likely to break when pried. Whereas the Corolla plastic feels more rubbery and resilient.
- Not a lot of sound dampening. Ambient road noise tends to be louder than most newer cars.
- Update 2015-10-14: The little green circle around the “D4” indicator in the instrument cluster stopped working around 100,600 miles.
- Update 2016-1: The green indicator light on the cruise control master on/off switch stopped working around 101,000 miles.
- Update early 2017: The passenger side door has started sounding worse when opening and closing. A mild grinding that didn’t used to happen. The sound almost completely went away after cleaning the hinges a bit.
- Update 2017-10: The sensor for the driver’s side door has started thinking the door is open if you push on it or make a hard right turn. This causes the overhead light to flicker if it’s on the “light on when doors are open” setting.