Honda CR-X

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Honda CR-X
Honda CR-X 1987.jpg
Model years1984–1991
AssemblySuzuka Plant, Suzuka, Mie, Japan
Body and chassis
ClassSport compact
Body style3-door coupe
LayoutFF layout
RelatedHonda Civic
SuccessorHonda CR-X del Sol
Honda Insight (first generation)
Honda CR-Z

The Honda CR-X (styled in some markets as Honda CRX), originally launched as the Honda Ballade Sports CR-X in Japan, is a front-wheel-drive sport compact car 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 Experimental".[1]

In the US, the CRX was marketed as an economy sport Kammback, with room for two passengers and small rear seats only for the Japanese models. The European-spec car received a ZC 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) engine and a 2+2 seating arrangement. Redesigned in 1988 and produced until 1991, the CRX was popular for its performance, nimble handling, and good fuel economy. 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
Model years1984-1987
Chassis EC1 AF AE532 AS
Engine1.3 L 58 hp I4
1.3 L 60 hp EV1 I4 (1984–1986)
1.5 L 58-76 hp EW1/D15A2 I4 (1984–86)
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)
  • 5-speed manual
  • 3-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,200 mm (86.6 in)
Length3,675 mm (144.7 in)
Width1,625 mm (64.0 in)
Height1,290 mm (50.8 in)
Curb weight760–860 kg (1,676–1,896 lb)


In 1983 for the 1984 model year, Honda introduced an all-new two-seater that shared the drivetrain with the Civic but offered unique styling and interior furnishings. In North America, the CRX was marketed in two versions: economy and sport. The economy model used a new aluminum 1.3 liter CVCC engine. The sport model featured an aluminum 1.5 liter four-cylinder with three valves per cylinder and available with a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic.

For 1985, Honda replaced the economy model with an HF (high fuel) model featuring a 1.5 liter engine which uses an aluminum block but the 1984 CVCC cylinder head (two valves per cylinder) instead of the new aluminum head with three valves per cylinder. In spring 1985, Honda introduced an Si (Sports, injected) model featuring a more powerful 1.5 liter SOHC PGM-FI engine. The Si model included a power sunroof, standard dual remote exterior mirrors, rear wiper, 13-inch alloy wheels and an Si-exclusive ducktail spoiler for the hatch.

For 1986, Honda updated the CRX with new aerodynamic headlights. The Si received body color matched lower cladding, a revised rear spoiler, new bumper covers and 14-inch alloy wheels. The interior was upgraded and added a center console with cassette tape storage. 1987 was virtually unchanged from 1986 and would be the final year of the first generation CRX.

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 through Honda Verno dealership sales channels, and accompanied the Vigor, the Quint, and the Prelude. The R. Straman Company of Costa Mesa, CA converted 310 Honda CRX's into convertibles from 1984 to 1987. The Straman-built CRX Spyder was the cover car on the July, 1984 issue of Road & Track Magazine.

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


The CRX design was inspired by the Alfa Romeo GT Junior Zagato which the Honda CRX designer owned.[2]


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 CRX Si (U.S.)

Project Synchronicity Honda CRX was a collaboration between American Honda and Racing Beat to install a second 1.5 liter engine with automatic transmission into the hatchback cargo area.[3] The installation of the second powertrain "took six months and cost $20,000 dollars". Phase Two of the project was to have Racing Beat install two 1.8 liter engines with automatic transmissions from the Honda Accord into Synchronicity. The Honda CRX would be called Super Synchronicity because of the increase of performance from two larger engines.[4] Both Honda Accord 1.8 liter powertrains were fuel injected and upgrades were made to the suspension. A Mugen body kit and upgraded wheels were also installed.[5]

Fuel economy[edit]

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)[6] 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.[7]

U.S. model curb weights[edit]

Manual Automatic Manual Manual
1984 1,819 lb (825 kg) -
1985 1,819 lb (825 kg) 1,713 lb (777 kg) 1,953 lb (886 kg)
'86-'87 1,865 lb (846 kg)[8] 1,898 lb (861 kg)[8] 1,713 lb (777 kg)[8] 1,978 lb (897 kg)[8]

Second generation[edit]

Second generation
1991 Honda CRX Si in Tahitian green
Model years1988-1991
Engine1.5 L 62 hp D15B6 I4 (1988–89)
72 hp D15B6 I4 (1990–91)
1.5 L 92 hp D15B2 I4
1.5 L 103 hp D15B
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 I4
1.6 L 120hp
D16A8 I4
1.6 L 125-129hp
D16A9 I4
1.6 L 130 hp
D16ZC I4
1.6 L VTEC 150 hp
B16A1 I4
Transmission5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (DX only)
Wheelbase2,301 mm (90.6 in)
Length3,759 mm (148 in) (1990–91)
3,754 mm (147.8 in) (1988–89)
Width1,674 mm (65.9 in) (1990–91)
1,669 mm (65.7 in) (1988–89)
Height1,273 mm (50.1 in) (1990–91)
1,270 mm (50 in) (1988–89)
Curb weight820–1,000 kg (1,808–2,205 lb)


The chassis was significantly changed in 1987 for the 1988 model year, from its original torsion bar in the front and beam axle and trailing link in the rear to 4-wheel double wishbone suspension, 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.

Honda CR-X SiR

The VTEC-equipped models also received a makeover, with updated bumpers, lights, hood, brakes, suspensions and dashboard designs 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.


In September 1989, Honda added the 1595 cc B16A VTEC engine to the lineup outside of North America. The VTEC (variable valve timing and lift electronic control) engine provided increased power at high RPMs 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.

The CR-X equipped with the 1.6 DOHC engine (ZC engine) or the 1.6 DOHC VTEC engine (B16A) came with a different hood since the B16A and ZC engines were taller and required additional hood clearances in comparison to the 1.6 SOHC engines. The ZC engine was only slightly taller than the 1.6 SOHC engine and required additional hood clearance to clear the cam gear cover. A CR-X equipped with the ZC engine had a hood with a bump on one side which offered the additional necessary clearance. Cars equipped with a B16A engine came with a hood that was raised across most of the engine bay to offer additional overall clearance for the taller engine.

US market[edit]

Three different trim levels were available: The standard (unlabeled, sometimes called the "DX") equipped with the 16-valve 1493 cc D15B2 engine and dual-point fuel injection (DPFI), the HF ("high fuel efficiency") model with the eight-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. Base models were available with an automatic transmission, all others only offered a five-speed manual transmission. 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.

Features and equipment[edit]

Air-conditioning was a dealer-installed option on all models. The Si model came with a power sliding sunroof and 14-inch alloy wheels. Underneath, the Si model was equipped with a rear anti-sway bar along with variable ratio rack-and-pinion steering. The 90-91 Si models had 4-wheel disc brakes.

Colors and trim[edit]

There were a total of six colors offered each model year. Four color options were available on the CRX and CRX Si and two color options were available for the CRX HF. Color availability would vary based on trim package and the interior color would depend on the exterior color choice.[9]

1988 1989 1990 1991
Blade silver metallic N/A X X N/A X X N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Barbados yellow N/A N/A X N/A N/A X N/A N/A X N/A N/A N/A
Superior blue metallic X X N/A X X N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Polar white X X N/A X X N/A X X X N/A N/A N/A
Rio red N/A X X N/A X X X N/A X X N/A X
Flint black metallic N/A N/A X N/A N/A X N/A X X N/A X X
Torino red pearl N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A X N/A N/A X N/A
Celestial blue pearl N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A X N/A N/A X N/A
Frost white N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A X X X
Tahitian green pearl N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A X

Curb weights[edit]

Manual Automatic Manual Manual
1988[10] 1,922 lb (872 kg) 1,819 lb (825 kg) 2,017 lb (915 kg)
1989[10] 2,048 lb (929 kg) 1,834 lb (832 kg) 2,138 lb (970 kg)
1990–1991[10] 2,103 lb (954 kg) 1,967 lb (892 kg) 2,174 lb (986 kg)

Changes by model year USDM[edit]


  • First year of the second generation CRX.


  • Si and base model (DX) change to door mounted seatbelts to comply with federal regulations. Revision due to automatic seatbelt requirements.[citation needed]
  • Si model's horsepower increased to 108 hp (105 hp in 1988) due to revised camshaft.


  • Minor changes to headlights, bumpers and taillights.
  • Instrument cover slightly more rounded.
  • Hazard switch relocated to the dash.
  • Si models now with four-wheel disc brakes.
  • Si models receive updated 14-inch alloy wheels.
  • Blade Silver color is discontinued


  • Barbados yellow is replaced by Tahitian green on the Si model.
  • Final year of the second generation CRX.

Production by model year[edit]

Model 1988 1989 1990 1991 Total
Honda CRX HF 12,281 9,330 7,544 8,863 38,018
Honda CRX 18,995 15,714 16,993 17,111 68,813
Honda CRX Si 17,886 18,505 13,876 14,295 64,562
Total 49,162 43,549 38,413 40,269 171,393


Third generation[edit]

1992 Honda CRX del Sol

In 1992, Honda replaced the CR-X with a new, targa topped, Civic-based model called the Honda CR-X 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 (VTi in Europe) ; the JDM SiR model (not in US) featured a 170 hp (130 kW) B16 SiR-II DOHC VTEC-engine. Production of the del Sol ended in 1997, and thus, the CR-X line was retired.

Comparison to other Honda vehicles[edit]

Articles on the 1st generation Honda Insight have compared its appearance to that of the 1984–1991 CRX.[12]

In 2010, thirteen years after the end of CRX production, Honda released the CR-Z, regarded as the spiritual successor to the CRX.[13]


Consumer reporter David Horowitz tested the 1984 CRX's fuel economy claim in a "Commercial Challenge" on his TV series Fight Back! Commercials for the CRX claimed it could reach 60 miles per gallon fuel economy; according to Horowitz's test, it bested that figure, reaching 65 miles per gallon, and passed the test.


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.[17] 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.[18]

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 HFs along with 88 SIs and DXs have the B-pillar mounted restraints, like all versions sold outside of the U.S.[citation needed]

United States[edit]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States has determined frontal crash test ratings of Honda CRX of different model years.[19]

Model year Make Model Type Curb weight Frontal driver rating Frontal passenger rating
1984 Honda Civic CRX 1,882 lb (854 kg) 5 stars.svg 4 stars.svg
1989 Honda Civic CRX 2,310 lb (1,048 kg) 4 stars.svg 5 stars.svg


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[20] which soldiered on a few years after the series 3 was introduced and was popular for showroom stock racing series. Today, the car is popular for use in drag, autocross and road racing events.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "CRX".
  2. ^ The story of the JZ,
  3. ^ Sherman, Don Car & Driver Magazine May 1985 p48-54
  4. ^ Sherman, Don Car & Driver Magazine October 1985 p94-100
  5. ^ "C/D Project Cars Past: We Track Down the Twin-Engined CRX, Newman's Own Turbo, and our '72 Pinto Race Car". 4 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Compare Side-by-Side".
  7. ^ Gas Mileage of 1987 Honda Civic CRX HF, website
  8. ^ a b c d Helm Inc., Honda Civic CRX Service Manual 1986, p. 3-9
  9. ^ "CRX Community Forum • View topic - OEM/Stock CRX Colors & Paint Codes". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Severe Error encountered".
  11. ^ "Golden Era Honda Organization - 1988-1991-honda-crx-production-numbers-ed8-ed9 •". Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  12. ^ Adrian Akau (24 December 2010). "2010 Honda Insight world premiere". Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  13. ^ "2007 Tokyo Auto Show Preview: Honda CR-Z". Inside Line. edmunds. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2008. Honda says the name of its sporty two-passenger concept for Tokyo — CR-Z — stands for "Compact Renaissance Zero."
  14. ^ "1985 10Best Cars". January 1985.
  15. ^ "1988 10Best Cars". January 1988.
  16. ^ "Vintage Review: Road & Track's Ten Best Cars for 1988". 4 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Safety Report". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Archived NHTSA crash test results from". Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  19. ^ "NHTSA Crash Test Results For 1997 US NCAP"., Inc. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  20. ^ "Mardi Gras Motorsport: Company History". Archived from the original on 4 May 2001. Retrieved 2 October 2011.

External links[edit]