OWNER'S RIDES | JEMAINE’S HONDA INTEGRA GSR

This sporty Japanese coupé perfectly blends performance and everyday usability.

You’ve heard it before. “One of the front-wheel drive greats,” people say, or even “The best handling front-wheel drive car of all time”. High praise, really, for an unassuming little coupe.

It’s little wonder that Honda thus chose the third-generation Integra platform to bear the second-ever ‘Type R’ badge after the legendary NSX Type R, with the introduction of the Integra Type R in 1995. Descriptive terms used on the original ‘DC2’ Integra Type R included ‘stripped-out’, ‘basic’, ‘hardcore’ and ‘bare-essentials’ – built for purists and enthusiasts that demanded nothing but complete accuracy during spirited driving.
 

When the time came for Honda to release the fourth-generation ‘DC5’ Integra, it was difficult to stay out of the shadow of its predecessor. How would it ever be possible to improve on something excellent? In the end, it was decided that the newer Integra would be larger, more practical, and to a certain extent, more comfortable.

That’s what led Jemaine, the owner of this Integra to pick this over its 4-door Honda stablemate, the Accord Euro R. Having a daily commute in peak-hour traffic steered her choice toward a car with an automatic transmission; and being an Integra, excellent handling was a given.
 

Jemaine’s Honda Integra is a final-year GSR model produced in 2006 just before the Integra lineup was discontinued. Power comes courtesy of a 2.0-litre ‘K20A3’ engine – a slightly less spicy version of the Type R’s engine with a lower compression ratio – mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Apart from the rear spoiler that has been borrowed from its bigger brother the Type R, the bodywork has remained exactly as how it left the factory. The original 16-inch wheels have been swapped out for a sharper-looking set of 17-inch WedsSport TC105N wheels wrapped in Bridgestone POTENZA S007A tyres in the 225/45 R17 size.
 

“FOR A SPORTY TYRE, THEY’RE EXTREMELY QUIET"

Using the car daily allows Jemaine to experience the Potenzas in all conditions, and she’s had nothing short of a stellar experience. “For a sporty tyre, they’re extremely quiet. When the mood arises for a bit of spirited driving, they just grip in all conditions, and react to steering input immediately!
 

While the Integra is all about its handling prowess, a few choice performance modifications have also been done to give the car a bit more grunt. A MUGEN air box and air filter allow the free-revving engine to breathe a little easier, and a freer-flowing Fujitsubo RM-01A exhaust system provides a slight power bump and fruiter exhaust note.
 

Handling hasn’t been completely ignored, however, and the Integra’s handling prowess has been augmented with some choice bolt-on parts. Summit Racing strut bars have been bolted to the front and rear of the chassis, while an Ultra Racing pillar bar stiffens the chassis from the inside. At all four corners, BC Racingdampers replace the factory units to reduce body roll during cornering. A Hardrace rear camber kit has also been installed to dial in some negative camber for maximum grip during cornering.
 

Working in tandem with the POTENZA S007A tyres to scrub speed off are a set of specially imported GReddy 6-piston brake callipers, which serve a secondary purpose of filling out the space beneath the 17-inch wheels nicely.
 

As a daily driver, the cabin is where the most time is spent – thus an investment was made to have the seats, door panels and steering wheel refinished in leather by a reputable upholstery shop. A trio of Prosport Performance gauges occupy the centre of the dashboard, providing real-time updates of oil temperature, oil pressure, and water temperature.

The Honda Integra first made an impression on Jemaine as a teenager, when her uncle made the decision to purchase one off the showroom floor. Having been in love with the styling ever since, the decision to purchase one has paid off.

DRIVER-CENTRIC POSITIONING

Every drive is a joy – the driver-centric positioning of the controls, the agile and responsive chassis, and the rev-happy VTEC engine – all work together to put a smile on Jemaine’s face.

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