acura integra : I had this same decision to make a few months ago -- I had already likedthe Maxima SE for quite a while, and was ready to get it... I went outand test-drove the Integra GS-R because of the nice words that I'd heardabout it. At the Acura dealer, I was immediately found by an eager salesman, andhe was glad to show me the car. He drove it first, to get the car outof the "crazy" area in which we were in, and he revved the engine a bitand surprised me at how high it really revs... After he stopped and let me drive, I liked the car quite a lot -- eventhough it had a plastic shifter (and maybe the steering wheel wasn'tleather wrapped either, I can't remember), and the shifter's shape isweird, I liked the somewhat short throws and that the engine could revso high without complaint... The engine is just as loud (or quiet) as any other good engine at thesame RPM's as the other... the only problem is that with the GS-R, yourev it about 50% higher than another engine to get decent power...After I drove the car for a while, I realized it's shortcomings, and I'mcontrasting these to the Maxima's virtues:
acura integra : 1) The Acura engine has virtually *NO* torque... Sure, it's got almostas much HP as the Maxima, but you don't feel HP -- you feel torque. Ifyou're cruising around at 2000RPM in the Integra, well, cruising is ALLyou can do... floor it and not much happens (well, I didn't mean 1stgear...). To get any kind of almost decent acceleration, you have to goover 5000RPM... In the Maxima, you can be cruising at 16000RPM and ifyouy floor it, it responds better than the Integra at 3000-3500RPM... The Maxima has 205 ft-lbs or torque, while the Integra has 127 ( give ortake a few... I forget)... But that's a HUGE difference. The Maximahas much better driveability because it has a pretty good torque-to-hpratio (205:190), versus the GSR's pitiful 170-127 ratio... 2) The Maxima is much bigger, and it weighs a little more -- MUCHbigger, a LITTLE heavier... The Integra is either an EPA subcompact ora compact, while the Maxima is an EPA-rated Midsize sedan. Because ofthis, the Maxima feels much bigger inside, and can seat four people verycomfortably (the fifth might feel out-of-place because of the twobutt-pockets in the rear seat).
acura integra : 3) Even though the Maxima is bigger and heavier, it is still faster dueto a MUCH more powerful engine... No amount of VTEC magic can offsetthe Integra's displacement, or lack thereof...4) The Maxima has a better steering wheel (The SE has a nicer wheel). IMHO, the Maxima SE's black leather-wrapped steering wheel is MUCH nicerthan the Integra's. But that's not what's most important about thewheel -- this is: the Integra's wheel has two small horn buttons in thespokes, while the Maxima's horn can be actuated by just hitting themiddle of the wheel... while the button extends far out enough that youcan hit the horn without taking your hand off the rim. 5) Aah, the Integra's engine. Quite a piece of work... 170HP from ameasly 1.8 naturally aspirated liters. How? Very good design. But noteven magic could offset it's puny 1.8 liter displacement. (Now ifthey'd put an NSX engine in it, I'd get it in a heartbeat :) ). And asI said earlier, the Integra's engine is just as loud as a normal engineat the same RPM's. But here's the kicker -- the Maxima's VQ engine hasmore power at lower RPM's, LOVES TO REV, doesn't rev quite as high, andis quieter at the same RPM's than the Integra. So the Maxima is quieterat the same RPM's, and it has great performance at much lower RPM's. Sothe end product is a machine that can race Integra GSR's (and win),while producing much less noise...
acura integra : 6) The Integra has frameless windows with ONE seal. How long do youthing a glass pressed against a rubber seal is going to keep outmosture? Not much longer than the original warranty... The Maxima'sframed doors have three seals above the windows... Count 'em: 3. Onenear the top of the door, one on the car right below that one, andanother on the door right below that one. No matter how long theIntegra's one seal can last, the Maxima's three seals will lastlonger...7) The Maxima's optional BOSE sound system is a LOT better than theIntegras, while even the Maxima's standard Clarion 100W CD/Tape/AM/FMaudio system is better than the Integra's. 8) I just don't like the Integra's dashboard and interior as much as Ido the Maxima's -- but that's just a personal thing.9) Did I mention that the Integra has much higher gearing, and has about3000RPM at 60MPH, and 4000RPM at 80MPH? In the Integra, either of thesespeeds causes a continuous drone that, on a cross-country trip, wascalled "...Chinese water torture..." by Car and Drive Magazine a whileback (in a Comparo w/ Audi A4, Contour SVT, etc...). The Maxima is justa blast to drive, and it remains quiet even at high RPM's.
acura integra : I think by now you can guess which car I decided on -- The Maxima SE. Yep, I got a '97 Maxima SE 5-speed, with Bose, Sunroof, ABS, andSecurity & Convenience Package, and without Leather (I hate leather). Ilove this car -- the way it handles is more than good enough for me, andthe engine is simply superb! In any gear, at any RPM, it'llaccelerate. Going up a small hill at 30mph in 5th gear... it'llaccelerate. Flooring it at 15mph in second it explodes -- it becomes arocket. Onramps are a breeze -- with the power you have under yourright foot, they have no choice but to let you merge into thefreeway... Or maybe fifth gear accelerating on the freeway from 65mph-- the acceleration rivals that of many automatic transmission carsAFTER they kick-downshift... Having cruise control on at 60mph going up a big hill -- the speedometerwon't decrease by a millimeter! This is the best cruise control systemI've seen so far! And, finally, IMHO, the Maxima looks better (please no flame wars... this is just my opinion... purely aesthetic). But I hate the Integra'sfour eyes... Now after all this talk about how much better the Maxima is, you must besaying, "Bullshit! This guy is being payed by Nissan for sure!" Well,in a word, NOT! I'm simply a college student (check the sigfile) thathas been obsessed with Maximas since the old generation was still beingproduced, and have finally got a '97 SE 5-speed. I'm telling you thisbecause I love the car and I want you to have just as good an experiencein buying a car.
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