The CR-X is one of the early models of sport hatchbacks created by one of the leading makers in the automobile industry—Honda. It was first launched in Japan in 1983 as the Honda Ballade Sports CR-X. When it entered different markets around the globe, especially the American auto scene, it went through a lot of mechanical and aesthetic modifications. Engine upgrades, body enhancements, and technological add ons were just some of the notable changes on this Honda car over the years. Here are some of the innovative CR-X developments for the last 14 years.
1983-1988: The first generation
The first generation CR-X was first sold in Japan using the name Honda Civic CR-X. Some people speculated that CR-X means “Civic Renaissance-Experimental.” This model came in the US market in 1983 as an economy sport hatchback, having only two passenger seats. The original 1.3-liter chassis in the Japanese model was changed to a 1.5-liter model, which is available exclusively to the American market. This upgrade received positive feedback from car owners and even received high fuel-efficiency ratings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for achieving optimum gas mileage. The European version contained a more powerful engine that boosted 130 horsepower. Two more passenger seats were also added.
The first generation received high praises from a lot of peopleranging from ordinary car owners to automotive experts and enthusiasts. In 1984, the Civic CR-X was named the Import Car of the Year by Motor Trends. Car and Driver’s magazine included it in its Ten Best list of excellent cars the following year.
1988-1991: The second generation
Significant changes were made in the second generation’s chassis. The separate tension bars found in the first generation were re-constructed into a one whole independent wishbone suspension. The newer models became evidently faster with the addition of a powerful D15B6-VTEC engine. The engine’s performance was enhanced by the Variable Valve Timing mechanism that allowed the car to run fast at low RPMs to save fuel. Second generation models were sold in the USA in three trim levels: the standard or DX, the HF or High Fuel Efficiency, and the Si. Only DX models were available with an automatic transmission, the others were in five-speed manuals. All models in the second generation had a glass panel installed on the upper rear, the portion above the tail lights. This safety component was added to improve rearward visibility. The Si also came with a powered sunroof. With its unique design and outstanding performance, it was named as Motor Trends’ Import Car of the Year.
1993-1997: Third generation
In 1992, Honda released Civic del Sol. In terms of body style and form and driving performance, it was very different from the previous CR-X models. However, some car enthusiasts believed that it was the “3rd Generation CR-X.” In USA, it came in three different trim levels: the S, The Si, and the VTEC. Its production and sales continued only until 1997. Car dealerships stopped restocking the model and in 1998, Honda discontinued the CR-X line.
In 2012, thirteen years after CR-X’s demise, Honda introduced the CRZ—the successor to the CRX line.