2024 Acura Integra Type S Road Test: Just our Type

2024 Acura Integra Type S Road Test: Just our Type

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It’s so often the case that a truly special driver’s car reveals itself within the first couple hundred feet behind the wheel. The 2024 Acura Integra Type S is one of those cars. In fact, the Integra Type S doesn’t even need that amount road to show itself, because so much of what makes this car magical to drive can be felt standing still in the driveway.

The fizz starts when you push the well-weighted clutch in, then hear the buzzy and vibrating 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder spring to life. It sends vibrations through the car and straight into your body thanks to the purposefully lacking balance shafts. Little turbocharged motors are typically lacking in character, but the Integra Type S’ engine feels like it’s alive and bumbling with energy at idle. Before you even start to find revs, this engine presents as one designed for performance.


Take a spin through the six-speed manual transmission while stationary, and it quickly becomes obvious why Honda is the standard when it comes to manual transmissions. It’s a combination of the natural fluidity moving through the pattern – going both up and down, each gear seemingly selects itself as your wrist guides the stubby shifter along – and the mechanical click-clack connection you feel through your hand with each shift. The sheer amount of satisfaction it brings to make every last gear change is enough to make any manual enthusiast giddy.

I ease off the clutch for the first time, and start to roll those thick 265-section-width tires forward, quickly revealing the perfectly weighted steering rack, clueing me in on how serious this chassis is. The view forward is spectacular past the thin A-pillars. The exhaust goes bang, ratta-tat-tat on the overrun as I ease up to the first stop sign. And the brakes only require a gentle whisper to the mega-responsive pedal to bring this hatchback to a stop. It only takes that couple hundred-foot stretch to realize that this Type S is exactly what I know it to be: a Honda Civic Type R in a different outfit.

Honda Civic Type R and Acura Integra Type S
Honda Civic Type R and Acura Integra Type S

The comparison is impossible to avoid, and the Honda community may spend the next 50 years debating which one is better – trust me, there will never be a clear-cut answer – but it’s undeniably great that we all get to choose between these two similar driving beasts. Thankfully, no matter which one you choose, neither will ever be the wrong answer.

The first night of testing the Type S is a chilly one, but stubborn me keeps the windows down to ensure I soak in every last bang and pop the Integra’s unique exhaust has in store. To combat that chill, summer breeze, I crank the standard heated seats in the Type S. If the test car were so equipped, I could even activate the optional heated steering wheel. You can’t do that in the Type R with its unheated bucket seats and unheated steering wheel. However, the Integra’s leather seats are sure to get way hotter in summer, and without a ventilated seat option, the cloth-covered Type R seats may end up being the more comfortable option. And as far as performance is concerned, the Type R’s buckets are undefeated in both support and comfort. The Integra’s power seats are a nice luxury to have, but why are they not memory-supported? Half the enjoyment of power seats is in being able to switch between drivers easily, but if someone else drives your Type S, you’ll be on the hook for finding that perfect driving position on your own again, just like your friend in a Type R. At least the Type S has power lumbar, which is an amenity the Civic has no answer to.

Acura’s unique damper tune for the Type S is another driving aspect that the Civic is answer-less to. The Civic Type R is a stiff-riding car; there’s no denying that. And the Type S is, too, but the extra forgiveness in the Integra’s ride is a godsend on the Midwest’s terrible roads. Instead of thinking, well, it’s bearable in the Civic, the Type S offers up a ride that can pass for enjoyable when you have the dampers in their Comfort mode. If you’re driving on rough roads frequently or simply don’t care for being beat up on your commute as much, the ride quality of the Type S is quite possibly its biggest selling feature. Acura calling out the Type S as a street performance car could not be any more accurate, because the street is where this hot hatch trumpets its Acura supremacy the best. Course, throw both onto a racetrack, and it’s practically a sure thing that the Type R would be the preferable weapon.

Both truly are driving weapons, though. The limited-slip differential doling out power to the Integra’s front wheels is the most impressive ingredient of all alongside the Dual-Axis torque steer-quelling suspension design and unflappable chassis. It’s not often – well, it actually almost never happens – that I get out of a car after properly putting it through its paces and don’t have at least a few critiques or items to improve on. With the Type S, however, every last aspect of how it drives gets a gold star. It’s confidence, grip and sheer performance bottled into a FWD hot hatch.