Honda vs Acura: Is the More Expensive Integra Type S Worth the Premium over its Civic Type R Counterpart?

*OFFICIAL* Pricing on the 2024 Acura Integra Type S | Hot Hatch BARGAIN !?
*OFFICIAL* Pricing on the 2024 Acura Integra Type S | Hot Hatch BARGAIN !?

Honda vs Acura: Is the More Expensive Integra Type S Worth the Premium over its Civic Type R Counterpart?

When Acura first debuted the reborn Integra five-door hatchback, initial responses were lukewarm. Not only was it a little too similar to the Honda Civic it was based on, its performance specs weren’t terribly impressive either.

Some were quick to point out though, that the base Integra wasn’t meant to be a hardcore hot hatchback and suggested there would be a more powerful, more aggressive version to come.

And they were proven right when Acura recently debuted the 2024 Integra Type S, with wider bodywork, a 320hp turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission and lots of other high-end performance gear.

If you’re thinking that sounds a lot like another hot hatchback that Honda builds, you’d be right. The Integra Type S is nearly identical both in mechanicals and in overall profile to the Honda Civic Type R.

That makes the Integra Type S a unique proposition, and many enthusiasts have been wondering whether the Integra Type S is worth the premium over its Honda counterpart. The answer isn’t so easy.

MSRP – Does It Even Mean Anything?

Earlier this month Acura announced that MSRP for the incoming ’24 Integra Type S will be $51,995 with destination. The 2023 Civic Type R, meanwhile has an MSRP a little over $44,000.

But there are some major asterisks next to that Type R MSRP, because it’s virtually impossible to actually buy a Civic Type R at (or even near) MSRP anywhere in America.

Looking around Auto Trader or CarGurus, many dealers have new Civic Type Rs with asking prices as high as $65,000 or $70,000. Yikes.

Some research around Facebook groups and forums shows that even getting a new Type R with a “tiny” $5,000 markup is considered an ultra sweet, unicorn deal in the current market.

One Car With Two Suits?

But let’s assume, hypothetically that could you could actually buy either one of these cars for sticker price. What exactly does that extra $8,000 get you if you choose the Integra Type S over the Civic Type R?

Mechanically, it doesn’t get you much. The Integra does make an extra five horsepower over the 315 horsepower Civic Type R, but the cars are nearly the same otherwise.

Your extra money does get you different styling and a “premium” badge if that sort of thing matters to you. And though the current Civic Type R is a lot more restrained looking than the previous one, the Acura is still a more subdued car overall — especially in the cabin.

Inside that cabin, you’ll get white and black perforated leather seats with suede inserts which aren’t nearly as loud as the Type R’s red seats and carpets. You’ll also get seat warmers, a 16-speaker ELS sound system, and other small bits to bring it upmarket from the Civic.

Then again, the current generation Civic actually has one of the nicest interiors in its class so it’s not like Type R buyers feel like they are stuck in an econobox.

We’ll have to wait until the Type S starts rolling off the assembly line before any performance comparisons are done, but the two cars should be very close, with the Type R having a slight weight advantage of about 100 pounds.

More Choice is Always Good

In a normal car market, you could simply look at the MSRPs of the two cars and decide whether the Acura’s premium badging luxury appointments were worth the extra money or not.

But as we just mentioned, this isn’t a normal car market. For whatever reason, Honda cannot or will not build enough Civic Type Rs to meet demand. So it’s $44,000 MSRP is basically irrelevant at this point.

The bigger question, then, is whether the availability of the Integra Type S will relieve some of that market pressure.

The MSRP difference between the two cars is fairly substantial, so it will be interesting to see whether the Acura will have the same overwhelming demand as the Type R.

Surely the first Type S models will sell for big premiums, but will those dealer premiums stick around after the car has been around for a few months? And how will production numbers compare with the Type R?

One interesting to note is the Integra Type S will be built here in America while the Type R is imported from Japan, so that could have an effect on availability.

There’s fair chance the higher MSRP or lack the legendary “Type R” badge could keep both demand and markups lower for the Acura, or the Integra Type S could be subject to the same ongoing, extravagant markups as the Honda, only with a higher MSRP to start from.

While we are glad that there’s now a truly high performance Integra available, we’d be even happier if Honda could work out its production situation so perspective buyers of either car don’t have to deal with this stuff.

Because as much we like these cars, and whether you are actually in the market for a hot hatchback or just a casual observer, most people will agree there’s just something not right about $65,000 Civics and $75,000 Integras.

More From Driving Line

  • Looking for the other alternatives to the Civic Type R? Toyota’s AWD GR Corolla is well-worth a look.

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