Not only did Acura make an Integra with a SOHC D-series engine, they also made one trim level with Honda’s legendary Real Time 4WD.
Offered on Honda Integras in Japan and other markets, but not the United States, the Acura Integra DB9 ZXi4WD and Xi4WD was truly one of the strangest but functional Acura Integras that Honda ever made. Don’t take my word for it. Here are a couple of screenshots from a 1994 Honda Integra brochure showing off this particular trim level.
Right off the bat, although it’s hard to see in these particular catalog shots, AWD Acura Integras are easily identifiable by the rear wiper out on the back window and the slightly increased ride height. Acura Integras of this year measured 1370mm in height but according to Tradecarview, thanks to these Honda Integra AWD models carrying Honda’s Real Time AWD system, Honda raised the overall ride height by 20 mm to 1390 mm or about .7 inches, which is a lot.
Although I don’t have official press release information from Honda why they decided to equip their Integras with AWD, many of these AWD Integras ended up in markets where the extra capabilities were appreciated. That means anywhere where it snowed during winter or where Hondas could be found off the beaten path.
Powering the Honda Integra DB9 AWD was a SOHC ZC engine that was similar to the D-series engine in some respects. Power was nothing to write home about with just 120 HP at 6,300 RPM and 105 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 RPM. Notice that different tuning and agressive cam timing in these engines enabled this particular ZC to get all of its torque at a relatively low 3,000 RPM. I’ve copied and pasted the ZC specs below.
SOHC ZC engine
- Valve mechanism: SOHC belt driven intake air 2 exhaust 2
- Displacement capacity: 1,590 cc
- Inner diameter × stroke: 75.0 mm × 90.0 mm
- Fuel supply system type: electronically controlled fuel injection type (PGM – FI)
- Reference spec (MA6 Dumani)
- Maximum output: 88 kW (120 PS) / 6, 300 rpm
- Maximum torque: 142 N · m (14.5 kgf · m) / 3,000 rpm
Equipped with Honda’s PGM FI fuel injection system, this ZC was not only slightly torquier than the average Integra, compared to a traditional AWD vehicle, it was somewhat frugal on fuel.
Paired to the ZC engines was an optional 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.
Although I can’t read Japanese, I’ve listed the transmission ratios for both the manual and automatic below.
- 1st- 3.384
- 3rd- 1.266
- 4th- .942
- Final Drive ratio- 1.954
- 1st- 2.526
- 2nd- 1.428
- 3rd- .974
- 4th- .733
- Final Drive ratio- 1.954
Given that these Integras are equipped with RT-AWD, I suspect that gearing is changed when AWD is enabled under low traction conditions. You can see these transmission ratios for yourself by going here.
If you’re getting an Integra with AWD, it’s the five-speed that you want with its very aggressive first gear off the line. Even the automatic, although not as aggressive with its gearing, should give an adequate punch in low traction situations where you need a bit of a torque multiplying off the line.
Consider that lightest DC2 Integra for 1994 weighs just 2248 pounds and the heaviest DC2 with the largest B18 engine weighs 2645 pounds.
The ZXi4WD Integra weighs 2600 pounds if you option the manual and the 2645 pounds for the automatic, and there lies the decision of WHY Acura equipped its 4WD Integra with a D-series engine instead of the slightly more powerful B-series.
With the extra weight of the Real Time AWD system weighing down the rear, to keep the weight down and to balance out the front a little better, Acura decided to go with the lighter ZC SOHC engine.
If Acura went with the B18C1 engine, yes they’d be gaining a whopping +50 HP but just +25 lb-ft with most of its torque above 6,000 RPM compared to the ZC, not ideal for something that needs power down low.
There is a method to Honda’s madness.
Lowkey you can get upset all you want because B-series engines and USDM Integras go together like peanut butter and jelly but you’re going to have to accept that SOME Intregras built elsewhere had SOHC engines and one of the trim levels offered happened to have AWD ala Honda’s RT 4WD.
What does it look like from underneath?
It’s a shame that most people will focus on the single cam engine underneath and not marvel at the engineering that went into pulling this car off in stock form. Consider that some Honda enthusiasts spend tens of thousands of dollars to swap in an AWD system from something like a Honda CR-V or EF Wagovan into their FWD Honda Civics/RSX etc. where this is already AWD from the factory.
That being said, here’s what it looks like from underneath thanks to a Honda-Tech forum member who owned an AWD Acura Integra and was smart enough to snap some photos from underneath. Don’t mind the taillights if you can.
With its springs fully extended, you can see just how much suspension travel these AWD Acura Integras have. Where Honda would’ve routed the exhaust, they’ve moved the exhaust piping to the side to make way for the driveshaft that sends power to the rear differential.
With a tiny rear diff, don’t expect to somehow slap a giant turbo onto your ZC and think you’ll keep up with Lancer Evolutions and Subaru Imprezas as this rear diff is probably engineered for stock power and maybe a little more.
Here’s a clean example and yes, you can buy one now!
Now, you’re possibly wondering what a clean example looks like. Our good friends over at Vistec R Imports actually have one stateside as of this writing and are sold it for the grand price of just $13,500. Click here to see some screenshots of said Integra before it sold.
Vistec ended up selling their 4WD Integra to RealTime Racing, an American professional race team with a rich history racing Hondas.
As you click through the photos, you can see all the visual differences I pointed out earlier.
That .7 inch lift in ride height is undeniable and is probably not as noticeable if you’re loaded with passengers. That also means this is probably the only Integra you can take speed bumps at full speed without one ounce of fear that you’ll rip your oil pan out.
Outback, you can see that rear window wiper arm that isn’t there on the standard DC2 sedans.
This is a particularly clean example and RTR will certainly have something to talk about when they pop their hoods at the local car meets.
And now with the 25-year import rule finally making its way to cars that the younger car enthusiast drooled over in video games and magazines, it means that certain years of the third generation Acura Integra are ready to import, including this rare SOHC AWD Acura Integra if you can find one.
Here are a couple of videos of these AWD Acura Integras in action!
In this first video, you can see this AWD Integra doing its thing in VERY snowy conditions. The way Honda’s RT-4WD works is when the front wheel detect slippage, a multi-plate clutch system sends power to the rear wheels without input from the driver. There is no locking diff in these systems.
And in this video someone masterfully swapped over the RT4WD system from the ZXi 4WD Acura Integra into their Civic. Although it’s not an Integra, at least you can see power going to all four wheels.
People aren’t exactly uploading videos of their stock ZXi 4WD Integras on Youtube so you take what you can get.
There you have it, folks. Honda made an AWD Acura Integra with a part-time AWD system in its RT-4WD package.
Do you have anything to add to this post? Comment below and I’ll add it into this blog post or post corrections where necessary.