Honda CR-X

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Honda CR-X
Manufacturer Honda
Production 1983–1991
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 3-door hatchback/Kammback
Layout FF layout
Related Honda Civic
Successor Honda CR-X del Sol
Honda Insight (first generation)
Honda CR-Z

The Honda CR-X, originally launched as the Honda Ballade Sports CR-X in Japan, is a front-wheel-drive sports compact car that was manufactured by Honda between 1983 and 1991. It was replaced by the Honda CR-X del Sol for the 1992 model year. Although there are many supposed definitions for the acronym CR-X, the most widely accepted is "Civic Renaissance Model X".[1]

In the US-spec, the CR-X was marketed as an economy sport kammback, with room for two passengers. The European-spec car received a ZC 130 hp (97 kW) engine and a 2+2 seating arrangement. Redesigned in 1988 and produced to 1991, the CR-X was popular for its performance, nimble handling, and good fuel economy. In the United States, its performance model, the Si (with the SOHC (D16A6) not the equally sized JDM Si 1590cc (ZC) DOHC engine), was a favorite[according to whom?]. Honda's 1992 CRX del Sol was marketed as a CR-X in some markets.

First generation[edit]

First generation
Honda Ballade CR-X.jpg
Production 1983–1987
Chassis EC1 AF AE532
Engine 1.3 L 58 hp I4
1.3 L 60 hp EV1 I4 (1984–1986)
1.5 L 58-76 hp EW1/D15A2 I4 (1984–85)
1.5 L 91 hp EW3/4 I4 (1985–87)
AU/NZ Spec:
1.5 L 108 hp EW5/D15A3 I4 (1985–1987)
1.6 L 135 hp ZC1/D16A1 I4 (1986–1987)
Wheelbase 2,200 mm (87 in)
Length 3,675 mm (145 in)
Width 1,625 mm (64 in)
Height 1,290 mm (51 in)
Curb weight 760–860 kg (1,676–1,896 lb)

The first generation CRX was sold in some regions outside Japan as the Honda Civic CRX. At its introduction, the CRX was available in Japan at Honda Verno dealership sales channels, and accompanied the Vigor, the Quint, and the Prelude.

1987 Honda Ballade Sports CR-X 1.5i (Japan)

The original 1.3 liter car (chassis code AE532) had an EPA Highway mileage rating of 52 miles per U.S. gallon (4.5 l/100 km; 62 mpg-imp) [2] in 1984 and was reported to often achieve over 70 miles per U.S. gallon (3.4 l/100 km; 84 mpg-imp) in favorable driving conditions. The later 1.5 liter American-market CRX HF (High Fuel economy) model (chassis codes EC1 and AF) could also reliably achieve very good gas mileage, more than a decade before gas-electric hybrids appeared on the market, and at no price premium over the base model; the 1.5 liter is rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (under the new rating system) at 42 miles per U.S. gallon (5.6 l/100 km; 50 mpg-imp) city and 51 miles per U.S. gallon (4.6 l/100 km; 61 mpg-imp) highway.[3] The Japanese Si and European 1.6i-16 models came with a 1590 cc DOHC engine putting out 135 bhp (101 kW; 137 PS) in the UK-spec model and 140 bhp (104 kW; 142 PS) in the JDM model. Though similar versions of the same engine, the Japanese Si engine was stamped ZC, while the European engine was stamped ZC1.

Japanese buyers took advantage of the largest 1.5 L engine while still paying the same amount of annual road tax.

1987 Honda CR-X Si (US)

Second generation[edit]

Second generation
Production 1987–1991
Engine 1.5 L 62 hp D15B6 I4 (1988–89)
72 hp D15B6 I4 (1990–91)
1.5 L 92 hp D15B2 I4
1.6 L 105 HP D16A6 I4 (1988)
1.6 L 108 hp D16A6 I4 (1989–91)
1.4 L D14A1 I4[citation needed]
1.6 L 130 hp D16A9 I4
1.6 L 140 hp D16ZC I4
1.6 L VTEC 150 hp B16A1 I4
Wheelbase 2,301 mm (90.6 in)
Length 3,759 mm (148. in) (1990–91)
3,754 mm (147.8 in) (1988–89)
Width 1,674 mm (65.9 in) (1990–91)
1,669 mm (65.7 in) (1988–89)
Height 1,273 mm (50.1 in) (1990–91)
1,270 mm (50 in) (1988–89)
Curb weight 820–1,000 kg (1,808–2,205 lb)

The chassis was significantly changed in 1988 from its original torsion bar front and semi-independent rear, to fully independent wishbones all around in line with its sister Civic/Ballade models. Outside of North America, this second generation CRX was available with a 1493 cc SOHC or an updated version of the 1590 cc DOHC ZC engine. Many of these were fitted with fuel injection as standard.

In September 1989 Honda also added the 1595 cc B16A VTEC engine to the lineup outside of America. The VTEC engine used Variable Valve Timing to provide increased power in the high rev range, while still allowing low fuel consumption and better idling at low RPMs. The B16A produced 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) in the European 1.6i-VT model (where the engine bore the designation B16A1) and 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) in the JDM SiR model. The CRX was the second car to receive a VTEC engine, shortly after the Integra, although the CRX was more popular and common.

Honda CR-X SiR

The VTEC-equipped models also received a makeover, with updated bumpers, lights, bonnet/hood, brakes, suspension and dashboard design amongst other things. Additionally, some of these design changes were added to the concurrent non-VTEC models.

One of the options for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) CR-X was a glass roof, a fixed glass panel which stretched from the top of the windshield to the top of the hatch opening. Relatively common in Japan, these are sought-after models in other markets.

Second-generation CR-Xs in the US could choose between three different trim levels: The standard (unlabeled, sometimes called the "DX") with the 16-valve 1493 cc "D15B2" engine and Dual-Point Fuel Injection (DPFI), the HF ("High Fuel efficiency") model with the 8-valve 1493 cc "D15B6" engine and Multi-Point Fuel Injection (MPFI), or the Si (Sport injected) model with the 16-valve 1590 cc "D16A6" engine and MPFI. "DX" models were available with an automatic transmission, all others had five-speed manuals. The Si models all came with a power sliding sunroof. A modification was made to the rear of the vehicle on all second generation vehicles in that a glass panel was installed on the upper half of the rear of the vehicle, above the tail lights which aided in rearward visibility in addition to the glass hatchback. This panel is heavily stippled black.

Third generation[edit]

In 1992, Honda replaced the CR-X with a new, Targa topped, Civic-based model called the Honda Civic del Sol, otherwise known as simply the Honda del Sol. The del Sol was also badged as the CR-X del Sol in some markets, and known as simply the CR-X in others. It is because of this that the del Sol is generally considered the "third Generation CR-X" among enthusiasts, although it was arguably a very different car and Honda had seemingly quite different design goals when they built it.[citation needed] In the United States, the del Sol came in three trim lines: S (VXi in Japan, later VGi), Si (ESi in Europe), and VTEC (SiR in Japan and VTi in Europe) ; the 1994–1997 models featured a 160 hp (120 kW) DOHC VTEC-engine. Production of the del Sol ended in 1997, and thus, the CR-X line was retired.

Articles on the CR-X have compared its appearance to that of the Honda Insight.[4][5]

In 2010, thirteen years after the end of CRX production, Honda released the CR-Z, regarded as the spiritual successor to the CRX.[6]


The CR-X was Motor Trend magazine's Import Car of the Year in 1984. The CR-X was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1990. It also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1985. The redesigned CR-X was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1988. The CR-X Si was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1988. The 1988 CR-X Si was named one of Road & Track's 10 Best Cars of All Time.


In Australia, the 1988–1991 CR-X was assessed in the Used Car Safety Ratings 2006 as providing "significantly worse than average" protection for its occupants in the event of side impact.[7] On the other hand, both versions of the CR-X got good safety marks (5 and 4 stars) in the NHTSA Crash Test Results For 1997 US NCAP[8]

The U.S. version of the second generation CR-X employed the use of side impact door beams on some models. These models can be identified by the mounting position of the safety belts. If the belt is mounted in the door, the beams are present. If the belt is mounted in the body, there is no additional reinforcement. 88 and 89 HF's along with 88 SI's and DX's have the B-pillar mounted restraints, like all versions sold outside of the U.S.[citation needed]


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the USA has determined frontal crash test ratings of Honda CRX of different model years.[9]

Model year Make Model Type Curb weight (lb) Frontal driver rating Frontal passenger rating
1984 Honda Civic CRX 1,882 5 stars.svg 4 stars.svg
1989 Honda Civic CRX 2,310 4 stars.svg 5 stars.svg

U.S. model Curb Weights[edit]

Manual Automatic Manual Manual
1984 1,819 lb (825 kg) 1,713 lb (777 kg) -
1985 1,819 lb (825 kg) 1,713 lb (777 kg) 1,953 lb (886 kg)
'86-'87 1,865 lb (846 kg)[10] 1,898 lb (861 kg)[10] 1,713 lb (777 kg)[10] 1,978 lb (897 kg)[10]
1988 [11] 1,922 lb (872 kg) 1,819 lb (825 kg) 2,017 lb (915 kg)
1989 [11] 2,048 lb (929 kg) 1,834 lb (832 kg) 2,138 lb (970 kg)
'90-'91 [11] 2,103 lb (954 kg) 1,967 lb (892 kg) 2,174 lb (986 kg)


Honda CRX Si at an autocross

Like the Civic, due to the wide availability of parts, the CR-X is popular for motorsport usage. In the United Kingdom, there was a one-make series dedicated to the series 2 of the CR-X[12] which soldiered on a few years after the series 3 was introduced and was popular for showroom stock racing series. Nowadays, the car is popular for drag, autocross, and road racing events.


  1. ^ "CRX". 
  2. ^ "Compare Side-by-Side". 
  3. ^ Gas Mileage of 1987 Honda Civic CRX HF, website
  4. ^ "Inside Line: News, Road Tests, Auto Shows, Car Photos and Videos". 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  5. ^ Adrian Akau (2010-12-24). "2010 Honda Insight world premiere". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  6. ^ "2007 Tokyo Auto Show Preview: Honda CR-Z". Inside Line. edmunds. 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2008-02-22. Honda says the name of its sporty two-passenger concept for Tokyo — CR-Z — stands for "Compact Renaissance Zero." 
  7. ^ "Safety Report". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  8. ^ "Archived NHTSA crash test results from". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  9. ^ "NHTSA Crash Test Results For 1997 US NCAP"., Inc. Retrieved January 2, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d Helm Inc., Honda Civic CRX Service Manual 1986, p. 3-9
  11. ^ a b c
  12. ^ "Mardi Gras Motorsport: Company History". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 

External links[edit]