The Honda Civic Type R is easily one of our favorites, with its excellent chassis, engine and overall driving experience. But if you want something like the Civic Type R, but with a few more luxury touches, then you’ll want to check out the 2024 Acura Integra Type S. It’s basically a more grown-up Civic Type R.
The Integra Type R is very closely related to the Civic Type R, since under the skin it’s mostly the same, but with some changes that make it appeal to a wider audience. Under the hood there’s the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as the CTR, but it has a bit more power with 320 horsepower on tap. The four-cylinder is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. If you want an automatic then neither the Civic Type R or Integra Type S are for you.
In addition to having the same engine as the CTR, the Integra Type S also shares the same dual-axis front suspension, Brembo brakes, steering rack, springs, dampers and sway bars. That means all that we love about the CTR is there. The one big change is that the Integra Type S has a different exhaust system that deletes the front resonator to bring joy to your ears. In the Sport+ drive mode you’re greeted with all the pops and crackles, which you don’t get with the CTR.
While the Integra Type S shares its mechanical parts with the CTR, Acura recalibrated nearly everything. The dampers, power steering and throttle have been modified to provide a slightly different, but still excellent driving experience.
On the outside, the Integra Type S is the stand out of the two with its wide fender flares that give it a more muscular look. The large rear wing has been deleted as well, which would clearly be too much for the Integra Type S. During our time with the Integra Type S, more people sharing the road gave us a thumbs up compared to the Civic Type R.
How does it drive? The Integra Type S is a perfect example of Honda’s engineerring prowess. The engine changes give it a larger powerband and better throttle response. The six-speed transmission is also excellent with its short accurate throws. Clutch engagement is also a stand out.
The Integra Type S features three drive modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+ that adjust the damping to provide a smooth comfortable ride if you want or a much more aggressive set up. While the Civic Type R’s suspension can be a bit harsh on bumpy roads, the Integra Type S manages to find a better balance between sport and comfort.
The Comfort drive mode is a bit too soft for our tastes with its light steering and softer damper settings. Sport and Sport+ are what we chose most of the time. But even in its sportiest Sport+ drive mode the Integra Type S manages to hug the road, but without the harshness that you get with the CTR. While the. CTR is calibrated for the track, the Integra Type S is a better daily driver.
Inside the Integra Type S doesn’t get the same excellent seats as the CTR, which is a disappointment. The seats here are less aggressive and more akin to what’s in the standard Integra. We wish Acura offered a sportier seat setup with larger bolsters to keep us planted in the driver’s seat, although the suede inserts do a good job. Also the front seats are heated, which is something you won’t get with the CTR. While the exterior styling does a great job of differentiating the Type S from the CTR, the interior feels a bit too much like the Civic.
The interior gets a similar mesh grille design and the same touchscreen. Even the center console is pretty much the same. This makes the Integra Type S feel a little less special. It’s nice that the Integra Type S gets a touchscreen infotainment system instead of the frustrating system in the rest of the Acura lineup, but it’s easy to tell that it was pulled straight from the CTR. A 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D audio system is standard and is an upgrade over the CTR’s audio system.
The rear bench is wrapped in a better material than the CTR and just like the Honda, the middle seat has been deleted, making it a four seater. Thanks to a bit more sound deadening material, the Integra Type S has a quieter interior than the CTR.
The 2024 Acura Integra Type S is priced at $51,995, which means that it’s about $7k more expensive than the 2023 Civic Type R. That price puts the Integra Type S in the same ring as the Audi S3, BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35. Those models may have all wheel drive, compared to the front wheel drive Integra, but none of them are available with a manual.
At the end of the day, we still love everything about the Honda Civic Type R, but the Acura Integra Type S is a more livable hot hatch. It’s performance is nearly identical to the CTR, but the small changes make it feel more mature and the car that we could easily commute in everyday and then hit the twisties on the weekend with.