Today we’ll be addressing as to why the CR-X is one of the best sport compacts of its time, and also why it is so praised to this day.
But first off, let’s talk about the history of this well known hatchback.
First Generation CR-X.
The first generation CR-X was a pretty lightweight car, weighing only around 800 kgs (and some versions being even lighter than the 205 Rallye!). In 1984 Honda introduced two models which were sold in the US Market; the Economy and Sport. The only differences between these models were the engines fitted into them, while the Economy one had a new 1.3L SOHC CVCC with an aluminium block (yep, no VTEC for North America), the Sport variant had a 1.5L 12v SOHC engine, making about 76 Bhp and 84 Nm of torque.
Japan had much better versions, sporting a 1.5L 12v Electronic fuel injected engines (while the NA cars were carburated), making 100 Bhp and 96 Nm, it was later in 1986 when the US market recieved the CR-X Si, which had a 1.5L PGM-FI, making just about 90 Bhp… yeah. In the other hand, Japan and Europe received the new CR-X 1.6i-16v which made about 135 Bhp with a redline at 7000 rpm and a shorter gear ratio… now what do you think about that? The new model also came with stetic upgrades which included: new headlights (which were more aerodynamic), a new rear spoiler, 14-inch alloy wheels new colors for the lower body work. Top speed for these models were around 193 km/h… wasn’t bad at all for such a small car.
Suspension wise, this car featured MacPherson struts, anti-roll bars and tube shocks in the front, and a beam axle with integral anti-roll bar, trailing arms, and a Panhard rod in the rear. It also sported front vented discs and rear drum brakes (standard for every model) which was pretty normal for the time.
Now, you might be going “Yeah, this car sounds great, where can I get one?”, now hold on a minute man. This is a first generation CR-X, it’s not that hard to get your hands on one, kinda. The cheapest, most decent looking one I could find is 4,000 USD$, but it has 350k miles and the guy’s mechanic said it was “okay”, so be careful when trying to buy one of these.
Now let’s talk more about the evolution of this already great car.
Second Generation CR-X.
New generation, new specs. First off, the chassis was changed almost completely, replacing the old stuff with double wishbone suspensions on every axle. The exterior was worked on, including bumper lights, a new hood, new brake systems and a completely new dashboard (Japan had an option for a glass roof, they really did keep the good stuff to themselves didn’t they?). Now let’s compare both the American and Japanese variants of the CR-X.
America received (again) three different variants: the DX (which was standard) equipped with a 1.5L 16v D15B2 DPFI, the HF, which is the same as the economy model, with a 1.5L 8v D15B6 MPFI engine, and the Si, fitted with a 1.6L 16v D16A6 MPFI. Now sure, they don’t sound too bad, but wait until you hear the Japanese lineup.
The Japanese Domestic Market sported the 1.6L 16v B16A engine, it produced 158 Bhp and 150 Nm, with VTEC engaging at 4,5k rpm and a rev limiter at 8,2k rpm, now I’m pretty sure the Japanese knew the VTEC was too great for silly Americans, so they kept it for themselves… and Europeans.
So what makes this car so great, you might be wondering. Well, it’s simplicity and huge potential for track racing. As you see from the title, I’ve called the CR-X a polyvalent car. Polyvalency is defined as:
“Having many different functions, forms, or facets or having a valency of three or more.”
Now, “having a valency of three or more” is a chemistry related term, but it just associates so well to the Civic Rallycross (CR-X), because this car is so good for amateur track racing, autocross and drag racing.
People bought them because they were so fun to drive, I mean, It’s an exceptionally well handling car (specially the 2nd Generation), they were incredibly light, the VTEC was great (unless you were American), and they were pretty cheap on launch (around 3,500 USD).
So you could say that this car was perfect for a young car enthusiast, thus making it a highly known and desireable car.