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Acura’s Type S Manual – FOOTLOOSE

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Acura’s Type S Manual – FOOTLOOSE

Acura’s Type S Manual


According to Acura – and they’d know better than I know – the company’s Integra Type S is a ‘new interpretation of sophisticated street performance engineered for a new generation of enthusiast drivers’. And while I find the new(ish) Integra to be attractive across all trim levels, from its $30K base to the $50K Type S, I’m hard-pressed to find the ‘new interpretation’ in a front-wheel drive, 4-passenger hatch with – to its credit – 320 horsepower and a 6-speed manual trans. The hatch – with the Integra’s expanded footprint – may be rare, but hot 4-doors are neither new nor rare. It’s only recently, due to the popularity of car-based crossovers, that they haven’t received their share of attention.

Acura’s Integra Type S can, we’ll hope, turn our collective attention deficit disorder into an entertaining time behind the wheel, a societal reminder of what driving can be when combined with a semi-accessible price point. Built with the same recreational intent as Honda’s Civic Type R, VW’s Golf R or the now-discontinued Subaru WRX STi, the Type S provides a viable solution to those drivers wanting but one car to do most – if not all – of just about everything they want to do in their commute or road trip. 

To that end, those 320 horsepower driving the front wheels will get the Type S from 0-60 in just over 5 seconds (according to the test team at Car and Driver), arrive at 100 in 12.3 seconds, and not wither until it’s seen that side of 160 miles per hour. And it will do all that while accommodating four people in comfort, or you, a companion and one of your bikes with the rear seat folded.

Of course, doing it is one thing; how Acura does it is something else entirely. And while the Integra Type S uses a decidedly conventional menu, when compared to the small number of direct competitors currently in play it pursues a path perhaps only a Honda product would take.

Sitting atop a wheelbase of almost 108 inches, and with an overall length of 186 inches, despite its ‘compact’ spec its footprint is close to what Accords used to offer. And that’s reflected in its interior space, with 97 cubic feet of passenger volume in combination with 24 cubic feet of stowage behind the rear seat. As mentioned, with the rear seat folded you have enough length and width to swallow a road bike with both wheels on, and should be able to accommodate even the largest bikes with the front wheel off. This is as close as you’ll get to a wagon-like functionality without offering a wagon. And that, of course, begs the obvious: Why not offer a wagon, as Acura once did?

Regardless of how well the Integra Type S handles your three passengers, it’s you behind the wheel that remains the singular focus. You can forget most of the negatives typically associated with the hot hatch: harsh ride, noisy powertrain and cheap interiors. You won’t confuse the Type S with Bentley’s Continental GT, but it benefits from sound mitigation to a degree that those Hondas, Subarus and Golfs typically don’t. And this thing is tossable, offering a point-and-shoot proposition with excellent chassis control, braking (almost 14 inches of vented disc in front) and cornering grip. 

That capability is enhanced by the 6-speed manual trans. Despite the Acura’s front-wheel drive, there is nothing vague in its shift actuation or clutch engagement; everything is smooth, predictable and connected. Notably, in a 10-day period when I was able to drive the Supra 6-speed manual, Nissan’s 6-speed Z and the Acura Type S, I most enjoyed shifting the Acura – the Supra’s actuation was exemplary, the Z’s quite good, and the Acura’s perfect. 

That fairly sums up the appeal of Acura’s spec. In all performance metrics this is a true GT, blessed – obviously – with two additional doors and a stuff-swallowing hatch. I wish Acura’s design team would dial back the front overhang a tad (is there automotive orthodontia?), and perhaps make a more urban-resistant 18-inch tire available, but those are the only changes I’d suggest. At an as-tested price of $52K it’s not cheap, but that window sticker undercuts the much more one-dimensional Supra by almost 10%, while doubling its capability as a daily driver. If you can find one in dealer stock, take it around the block.

Boldt, a contributor to outlets such as, Kelley Blue Book and Autoblog, brings to his laptop some forty years of experience in automotive retail, journalism and public relations. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, The Washington Automotive Press Association and L.A.'s Motor Press Guild. David is the Managing Editor of txGarage, a regular panelist on the AutoNetwork Reports webcast/podcast, and the automotive contributor to Dallas' Katy Trail Weekly.

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