After I bought my Integra I had both it and my Civic for a little over a week, and during that time I switched between driving the two a lot comparing the differences. I’ve already written a review of my Integra (I think), but it’s kind of hard arbitrarily rating something without having something to compare it to. So here you go.
This is the LS Integra, with the non-V-TEC B18 that make 140hp, revs to 6,800, and makes approximately 5 ft-lbs of torque. The is compared to the SOHC D15b7 found in the Civic. Good for a hair over 100hp and about 3 ft-lbs of torque.
The better engine is clearly the Integra’s. It makes enough torque you can actually drive around, keeping up with traffic, without even needing to go above 3,000 RPMs! Compared to the D-series that will frequently be needed to rev up to 5,000 in order to keep up with the flow of 200hp CUVs on the road.
There’s much less difference between the two transmission. Both feel excellent, although the Civic’s throws are a little longer. Neither come with a LSD, but it’s not a huge loss for these low power FWD cars. It’s also worth mentioning, sometimes on the Civic the D-series trans will refuse to shift into first immediately after start up. Just shift into reverse first and then it’ll go into first no problem. Anyway, the biggest difference between the two 5-spds is the final drive ratio. The Civic had one of about 4.00 while the Integra’s is 4.2X. The extra power and gearing in the Integra make it a pretty quick car compared to the Civic which struggles to match the speeds of inattentive modern day drivers. The Integra can genuinely accelerate out of corners while in the Civic you’re exit speed is completely dependent on entry speed, making it a true “momentum” car.
Another aspect of ownership to consider between the two engines, is that the D-series is much roomier in the engine bay. Although you can’t really call the Integra’s bay cramped, by FWD standards, there’s certainly much more room under the Civic’s hood. Although it’s worth noting that the Integra gets slightly worse fuel economy. With me averaging 32-25mpg in the Civic and 25-27mpg in the Integra, and that’s not mentioning the difference in wheels in tires between our two test subjects.
In my personal opinion. The B-series performance is well worth the lost space and fuel economy.
First I’d like to note that the Integra wears 14" steel wheels with the premium hubcaps and General Altimax RT43s the finest and sportiest tires available for the near extinct wheel size. Meanwhile the Civic wore the
stolen after purchase installed 15" alloy wheels, that once belonged to an Integra, along with BFGoodrich Sport Comp 2's Summer tires.
The tire/wheel discrepancy (wow that’s a harder word to spell than I though.) will be brought up again at the end, but keep it in mind through the following.
The biggest difference between the two steering systems is the ratio. The Integra’s is more precise, but takes more angle to get the same amount of steering. The author isn’t sure if that’s a slower or faster ratio, but slower seems more fitting and intuitive. This leads to more confidence making mid corner corrections as well as feels much more natural and “connected” during spirited driving. The Civic’s steering however was nothing to complain about. In fact if had much better feedback and on center feel than the Integra, however the author attributes this to the wheel and tire combo rather than the steering systems themselves. Also worth noting, is that both vehicles use the same exact steering wheel, just with different branding.
This is more of a comparison between the two specific cars, rather than the two models. Because the Civic didn’t have any anti-roll bars. It’s unknown if it came from the factory like this or if a previous owner removed the front bar (it came from the factory without a rear one, the rear LCAs don’t have mounting holes.) That being said, obviously the Civic has more body roll however it’s not much to complain about. The biggest difference the roll bars make is ride quality. The Civic rode as well as any compact car could, since it’s suspension was truly independent at all four corners. The extra grip from the sticky tires made up for the loss of sportiness as the anti-roll bars, and arguably losing the front bar could’ve increased grip.
Although the Integra’s ride quality is worse, it’s more than made up for in the corners. Thanks to the stiffer suspension the chassis is much more responsive and communicative. The author remembers one time, being wholly unfamiliar with opposite lock from mostly driving FWD compacts, turning into a gravel parking lot to fast and instinctively counter-steering before he even consciously realized the rear broke loose. Quite the testament to how well tuned and communicative the chassis is. Currently the massive weak point in the Integra’s chassis is the wheels and tires. The sidewall and comfy nature of the 14" tires mutes a considerable amount of feedback, which leads to uneasiness about where the car’s limits are in hard cornering. A problem the author will address next time new tires are needed.
It’s also worth noting that both cars respond well to trail braking, which can be effectively used to neutralize their tendency to understeer. Although the author thinks it was a little more rewarding in the softer sprung Civic. The Integra’s flatter cornering chararteristc makes judging weight transfer a little more difficult. However the author still prefers the Integra’s handling over the Civic, all in all.
Another area that distinguishes the two cars is the seating position. Back to back drives in both cars, revealed that the seat in the Civic sits quite a bit higher and has more padding, somewhat insulating the driver from the car. It’s still excellent compared to modern compacts, but its disappointing compared to the lower and less padded seat of the Integra. Furthermore the Integra has a notion of side bolstering that does little to hold you in place, but sometimes prevents your phone from falling between the seats when it slips out of your pocket.
Also the shifter in the Civic is longer and, in comparison to the Integra, feels a little rubbery and vague. The seating and shifter together feel somewhat truck-like compared to the more sport oriented Integra. Also the Integra comes with a dead pedal that the Civic doesn’t have on the manual transmission models, although somewhat ironically the automatics get one.
Without getting into details, the biggest difference between the two interiors is what decade they feel like they belong in. Despite only three years separating the two cars. The Integra feels very 2000's while the Civic’s feels like it belongs in the early 90's or late 80's with it’s tan, brown, and grey, color combo; along with the blocky idiot lights on the dash that date the car. Not a huge concern, but worth noting.
Option wise, both cars come with power locks, doors, mirrors, along with, CD player (
stolen after purchase installed from an Integra too), power steering, and cruise control. The only options the Integra has that the Civic doesn’t is a sun-roof and air conditioning: which was a declined option on the Civic.
The dash on both cars is covered in a rubbery padded material. So people who enjoy having minimal “hard touch” plastics in their cars, will actually be quite pleased. And the door cards on both cars having carpet on them along with the center console/armrest thing, which is a nice touch both styling and comfort wise.
TL;DR Integra gooder den CIVIC!!!!!!!!