Honda CRX (1984 - 1997)

Used car model guide

5.8 out of 10

Want a small second-hand sportscar that's fast, characterful, reliable and practical? Look no further than Honda's CRX: it's affordable, fun and great to drive.

+ More

Detailed ratings

Overall
58 %
Economy
6 / 10
Space
5 / 10
Value
7 / 10
Handling
6 / 10
Depreciation
5 / 10
Styling
6 / 10
Build
6 / 10
Comfort
5 / 10
Insurance
6 / 10
Performance
6 / 10
Equipment
6 / 10

History

The CRX was originally nothing more than a coupe derivative of the little Civic 3-door supermini, albeit with a slightly more warmer 1.6-litre engine. A cult following was established after the launch in 1984 and when the Civic range was facelifted a few years later, the CRX became more of a model in its own right. A sportier V-Tec version was added to the line-up soon after with a 1.6-litre variable valve timing engine that developed prodigious power and made a glorious noise.
In 1992, Honda decided to further separate the CRX from the Civic range by giving the car its own two-door targa bodystyle. Underneath however, the mechanicals were much the same, buyers choosing from the fuel injected ESi or the faster variable valve timing VTi.
A fascinating option was the clever electric roof initially optional on the VTi only; stilts rise automatically out of the boot, swallow the top then retract again. It became standard on the ESi from January 1995. CRX production finally ended in 1997.
+ More

What you get

A great affordable and very reliable sports coupe. The purists say the CRX is nothing more than a Civic with a smarter body but you won't care about that once you get one out on the open road.
Probably the best buy is one of the last old-shape coupes with the V-Tec engine fitted; you won't be able to wipe the smile off your face. The newer shape wasn't as well received. If ever a car was designed around one feature (in this case, the electric fold-away roof), it's this one. The engines were more refined but not as exciting. You pays your money...
+ More

What to look for

Not much goes wrong unless previous owners were over-enthusiastic (and many will have been). Look for signs of heavy front tyre wear, possible accident damage and any kind of abuse from rallying or racing. A service history is vital.
+ More

Replacement parts

(ex Vat - based on a 1996 1.6i Convertible - approx) A clutch assembly is around £120. Front brakepads are around £45 with rear brake shoes at £40, a full exhaust about £380, a radiator about £140 and an alternator around £265. A headlamp lens is about £155.
+ More

On the road

All the engines are willing but, as suggested earlier, try and buy yourself into a VTEC version. At around 5,000 revs, the engine lets out a glorious wail under heavy acceleration which is addictive. This is particularly prevalent on the old-shape models. The newer coupe had more refined but less characterful powerplants.
It isn't only about the engine either. The gearbox is a delight, sweet and slick, far better than most modern-day transmissions. The steering too is sharp and precise, complementing handling that enables you to place the car exactly where you want it.
+ More

Overall

Real drivers wanting affordable motoring from a great-looking reliable little coupe will find it here.
+ More