The Honda CRX, originally launched as the Honda Ballade Sports CRX in Japan, was a compact sports car manufactured by Honda. The first generation CRX was sold in some regions outside Japan as the Honda Civic CRX. The name "CRX" and what it stands for is widely disputed, the more popular meaning is "Civic Renaissance Model X", although some believe it is an acronym for "Civic racing experiment".
The Honda Civic CRX was first produced in 1984 and was a lightweight sport hatchback. In the American market, the CRX was marketed as an economy sport hatchback, having room for just two passengers. Japanese and European markets, however, received a more powerful ZC 130 hp engine and 2+2 seats. Redesigned in 1988 and produced to 1991, the CRX was always popular for its performance, nimble handling and good fuel economy. In the US its performance model, the Si (note: 1590cc SOHC engined, unlike the Japan-market Si 1590cc DOHC), was a favorite. Honda's 1992 Del Sol was marketed as a CRX in some markets.
The original 1.3 liter car and the later American-market CRX HF model could reliably achieve better than 50 mpg, more than a decade before gas-electric hybrids appeared on the market, and at no price premium over the base model; the 1.3 liter was rated at 51 mpg for CITY and 60mpg highway.<ref>Gas Mileage of 1989 Honda Civic CRX HF, fueleconomy.gov website</ref> The Japanese Si and European 1.6i-16 models came with a 1590cc DOHC engine developing 130 bhp. Though similar versions of the same engine, the Japanese Si engine was stamped ZC, whilst the European equivalent was stamped D16A9.
The chassis was significantly changed in 1988 from its original torsion bar front and live axle rear with telescopic dampers, to fully independent double wishbones and coil over springs and dampers all around in line with is sister Civic/Ballade models. Honda also refreshed the looks of the car although it looked very similar overall to the original, it was an all new body. This 2nd generation CRX was available with a 1495cc SOHC, or an updated version of the 1590cc DOHC ZC engine. Many of these were fitted with fuel injection as standard.
In 1989 Honda added the 1595cc B16A VTEC engine to the lineup. The VTEC engine used Variable Valve Timing and Lift to provide increased power in the high rev range, while still allowing low fuel consumption and stable idling. The B16A produced 150 bhp in the European 1.6i-VT model (where the engine bore the designation B16A1) and 157 bhp in the Japan-market SiR model. The CRX was the second car to receive a VTEC engine, shortly after the Integra and just before the NSX.
The VTEC-equipped models 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 Japan-market CRX was the glass roof panel, which stretched from the top of the windshield and went all the way back to the hatch opening; such equipped models are extremely sought after.
In 1992, Honda replaced the CRX with a new, Targa topped, Civic-based model called the Honda CRX Del Sol. This model was badged as the Del Sol in the Americas and simply the CRX in Europe. It is because of this that the Del Sol is generally considered the "3rd Generation CRX" among enthusiasts, although it was arguably a very different car and seemingly Honda had quite different design goals when they built it. In the United States, the Del Sol came in three trim lines: S, Si, and VTEC; the latter featuring a 160hp DOHC engine. Production of the CRX Del Sol ended in 1997 and thus the CRX line was retired.
There have been many rumours of a CRX comeback, none of which have come to fruition. One such rumour involved the Honda REMIX concept which was presented at the recent LA Auto Show. Designer Ben Davidson denies that any design elements were taken from the CRX and Honda also claims there are no production plans for the REMIX; it was simply a design exercise.
The Civic CRX was Motor Trends Import Car of the Year for 1984. It also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1985. The redesigned CRX was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1988. The CRX Si was Motor Trends Import Car of the Year for 1988.
In Australia, the 1987-1991 CRX was assessed in the Used Car Safety Ratings 2006 as providing "significantly worse than average" protection for its occupants in the event of a crash.<ref>Australian Used Car Safety Ratings</ref>
- The skateboarding video game Tony Hawk's Underground features a drivable modified CRX in the New Jersey level, owned by a group of street racers known as the "Street Warriors".
- The video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV introduced a car called the "Blista Compact" which looks extremely similar to the 1st generation CRX.
- The video game Forza Motorsport features the CRX JDM SiR which can be modified with various performance and cosmetic upgrades.
- The video game Gran Turismo features the CRX which can be modified with Mugen options.
- The video game Flatout 2 has a car called the "CTR" that looks very similar to the CRX.
- The video game Juiced features Honda CR-X(EF8).
- During the early nineties, the CRX had its own one make series in the United Kingdom
- Several Seinfeld episodes flash a Y-49 Yellow CRX parked in front of Jerry Seinfield's apartment building when changing scenes going back to the apartment.
- 1988 Honda CRX Brochure, (1987), p. 21-22.
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- JDM CRX Resource A wealth of information on JDM MK2
- Tuner-Junction - Tuner-Junction CRX forum
- Honda-Tech - Honda-Tech's CRX forum
- CRX-UK owners club - UK based owners club, mainly focusing on the MK2
- CRX Resource - Serving the CRX Community (off and on) since 1995.
- Red Pepper Racing THE mark 1 CRX forum also includes, manuals, FAQ, galleries
- CRX SiR (EF8) - JDM specific resource for CRX tuning and maintenance.
- Honda Press Library - CRX series - official library of original press information and "fact books" on all of the CRX series (in Japanese, though contains many images including concept artwork)
- CRXPT.com - Portuguese CRX Community
- CRXAUSTRALIA.com - Australian CRX Online Community
- CRX.lt resources and community
- The CRX Community
- Hungarian Honda community, started by CRX lovers
- Ontario Canada CRX Community