Welcome back to our Forgotten Sporty Cars series, where we recall some of our favorite (and not so favorite) sporty cars. A reader of The Garage asked us to take a look at the Honda CR-X, and of course we were more than happy to oblige.Ã‚Â
1984-1987 Honda CR-X First Generation
In 1984, North America met a new Civic, and with it, a peppy little two-seater called the CR-X. Small, light, and nearly bullet-proof, The CR-X won a loyal following with its good looks, user-friendly interior, and incredible handling and steering.Ã‚Â
Honda’s intent here in N.A. was to serve a fuel conscious market, and the HF model served that purpose. It’s 1.3 liter four gave you 57hp. Not much juice, but HF owner’s had gas mileage that would make modern Prius owners green with envy, not to mention a car that is more fun to drive.
Honda also offered a CR-X Si, with a slightly larger 1.5 liter four, with 91hp. Si’s also had alloy wheels, upgraded interior and exterior bits, and more aggressive suspension tuning.
1988-1991 Honda CR-X Second Generation
In 1988 the Civic was redesigned, so naturally the Civic-based CR-X was all-new as well. With the original CR-X such a success for Honda, the styling was a cautious evolution, but a far more modern looking car in every way. Trim levels consisted of HF (62hp), DX (92hp) and Si (108hp). These CR-X’s were slightly heavier, but were better cars overall. Ã‚Â
Even though enthusiasts loved the CR-X Si, Honda denied the North American market the even hotter V-TEC version, but this is a practice that Honda continues to this day. RIchard Straman converted approximately 300 CR-X’s (first generation) into convertibles.
In 1992, the CR-X was replaced by the Del Sol, a two-seat, targa-top sportster. CR-X fans wept. The Del Sol was a fine car, but it lacked the things that made the CR-X so special-minimalist in every way, super lightweight, super quick steering. A natural born autocross star.
The disciples of Colin Chapman and Lotus will tell you that Mazda was the first company to bottle the essence of his formula for a great car in a reliable form in the Miata. Sure, the Miata was an open car, like the Elan it copied. I will argue the ’84 CR-X deserves that recognition, as it is everything Colin Chapman did with his cars-small, minimalist, revvy four cylinders, with razor-sharp handling and steering.Ã‚Â
As a used car classic, the CR-X is a tough nut to crack. For its fuel economy alone, this car was a commuter’s dream, so several CR-X’s were simply driven into the ground. Rust was also an in issue. What cars remained, tuners got their hands on. Still, if you cruise E-Bay, you can find the odd, high-mileage, original CR-X for not much money.