Car reviews - Honda - CRX - 2-dr coupe
Full of life, zesty 1.6, fun handling, spunky styling, impressive economy, usable package (for two), quality Honda engineering, growing classic status
Room for improvement
Hard noisy ride, unthrashed examples rare, parts and servicing can be expensive
18 Jun 2003
HONDA released the Civic-based CRX Coupe in November, 1987. It attracted buyers with its sporting performance and excellent handling in a high quality, compact package.
The CRX is strictly a two-person vehicle which leaves room for a good sized luggage space behind the seats.
The steeply raked bonnet provides the driver with an excellent view of the road and the seats are positioned a long way back from the windscreen, which gives the impression of an airy, spacious cabin.
The rear hatch has a screened glass panel which improves the driver's rear view and makes parking much easier.
The single equipment level included alloy wheels, power steering, electric windows, remote adjustable rear view mirrors and, from early 1989, electric sunroof and a high mounted stoplight. Air- conditioning and a rear wing were available as extra cost options.
The CRX was superseded by a new model in May, 1992.
The CRX is powered by a 1.6-litre engine which was state of the art at the time with twin overhead camshafts, a 16-valve cylinder head and electronic fuel-injection.
The power output was a very healthy 94kW at 6750rpm and 140Nm of torque at 5750rpm.
These figures and the relatively low weight give the CRX a significant performance advantage over its rivals.
The engine works best in the medium and high speed ranges but still has good low speed power.
The suspension provides very competent, predictable handling with minimal understeer or torque steer.
The ride is good on smooth roads but there is some noise transmission to the interior on coarse surfaces.
Fuel consumption can be as low as 7.0L/100km when carefully driven on the highway and can rise to 9.5 in stop-start traffic.
The high build quality virtually eliminated manufacturing defects and Honda covered the CRX with a two-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
Reliability and long life are guaranteed if the car is driven sensibly and serviced according to the book.
Look for a documented history of service which has been completed according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Check that the more expensive service items such as timing belt, coolant and brake fluid changes have not been skipped to save money.
The engine has an aluminium cylinder head and block and must have the correct anti-corrosion additives in the cooling system.
The timing belt must be regularly inspected and replaced to prevent damage to the cylinder head and valves.
Metallic paint can fade if the car has been regularly parked in the open. This can be easily checked by comparing the exterior colour with the colour under the bonnet or inside the door openings.
The Civic CRX has sporting performance and good looks but if you need more than two seats look at the rivals.
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