All About the 1996 Acura Integra Special Edition

The 1996 Acura Integra Special Edition is a coupe with a five-speed manual transaxle that’s fun to drive and requires hardly any maintenance.
Written by Brad Marley
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
The 1996 Acura Integra Special Edition is a spiffy little number that gets great gas mileage and is fun to drive. Even better, it’s known for being low-maintenance. Standout features of this trim level include lots of cargo space, five-speed manual transmission, and 4-wheel disc brakes.
The coupe was just hitting its stride in the mid-90’s when the Acura Integra hit the market. It wowed drivers with its fuel economy and ability to be a fun drive, which was, at the time, unexpected. But with decent reliability, excellent gas mileage, and nimbleness, this coupe came of age at a time when consumers wanted something just like this.
The 1996 Special Edition was just a step up from the base Integra trim, offering leather interior and not much else. If you want to look into the Acura Integra Special Edition,
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What is the Acura Integra Special Edition? 

The Acura Integra Special Edition was introduced for the 1996 model year and was basically a glorified version of the Acura Integra. Today, you can buy a used one in good condition for around $1900. It comes with everything you would find in the Acura Integra, except the Special Edition has leather interior that was introduced for this model. 

1996 Acura Integra overview

Before we look deeply at the special features of the 1996 Special Edition, here’s a look at the Acura Integra.
The 1996 model year came with all-new alloy wheels and covers, as well as green-tinted glass that was a departure from past models. Its main competitors in the space were, as one might expect, the
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Camry
, and the
Honda Accord
. But none of them could hold a candle to the
as far as fuel economy went, which was what they all strove for. 
For all of that, however, the Acura Integra was a nice little car that caught many drivers pleasantly by surprise. The common refrain from drivers was that this ride offered great handling and a superior ability to take corners in stride. 
It also seemed to give buyers their money’s worth—even now, a few decades after the car was introduced, you can still rev up your Integra and hit the road with powerful acceleration. And with a combined fuel economy of 28 mpg, it can still hang with the non-hybrid cars on the market.
Key specs
  • $1,900 KBB Fair Market Value 
  • 1.8-liter, 16-valve, inline 4-cylinder engine
  • 170 hp @ 7600 RPM
  • 128 lb-ft of torque @ 6200 RPM
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Drivers and front passenger airbag Supplemental Restraint System 

What’s special about the Special Edition?

Honestly? There isn’t much difference between the 1996 Acura Integra Special Edition and the regular edition of the vehicle.
The Special Edition trim comes with optional leather interior, alloy wheels on all years, and an optional rear wing spoiler. Aside from these upgrades, it was the exact same car.
Not that that’s a bad thing. The 1996 Acura Integra was a delightful surprise for those who were looking for something that maybe wasn’t a Toyota or Honda. To say it’s a “Special Edition” might be a bit of a stretch, based on the lack of upgrades, but such was the car marketing machine in the mid-90s.
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1996 Acura Integra Special Edition vs. Grand Sport Racing (GS-R) 

The Special Edition was a mere half-step up from the base model. If you really wanted to get the most out of the Integra, the Grand Sport Racing trim level is where you would want to put your money. 
The GS-R trim included:
  • 1.8 liter DOHC VTEC engine
  • Rear spoiler
  • 6-speaker stereo
  • Alloy wheels
  • Automatic transmission (available in some models)
Is the GS-R a better buy? We can’t say for certain because, at this point, the car is nearly three decades old. But if you are nostalgic about the mid-90s car market, it’s a pretty good option for a car that truly does represent that era.
But here’s the bottom line: the Acura Integra Special Edition does not differentiate itself enough from the base model for us to urge you to buy it. However, the leather interior option is a nice touch and you’re not going to break the bank if you search for one and buy it. You might pay a little more, but we suspect it’s going to be a more comfortable ride.

How to find the best 1996 Acura Integra Special Edition insurance

When you’re searching for that used car from the 90s to give you the feeling of bumming around with your high school friends, you might spend quite a bit of time comparing models, prices, trim levels, and, yes, special editions. It takes time! And you might get frustrated! That’s where
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