The sport compact Honda del Sol was initially called the Honda Civic del Sol upon release. This two-seater roadster was manufactured from 1992 to 1998, and it was meant to replace the popular Honda CR-X model. In 1992, this front-wheel drive vehicle made its debut in Japan and in the United Kingdom, and it reached the American shores a year after. Here’s a quick look at the Honda del Sol’s short but good run.
Driving with the sun
Del sol is Spanish for “of the sun,” so when loosely translating the name of the Honda del Sol, it means Honda of the sun. This is a reference to the car’s sunroof, which gives its driver and passenger natural light inside the cabin. Despite its appearance and vibe, the del Sol is not a full convertible. Instead, it only has a removable hardtop and a retractable rear window called a targa top.
1992-1994: First few years
The Honda del Sol was first sold in Asia and in Europe before it reached the United States. Initially, it was made available in two trim levels—S and SI. The base S model was furnished with 13-inch steel wheels, and it was powered by a 1.5 L SOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine. At first glance, it’s hard to see that the del Sol is designed like a front-engined Honda Civic. On the contrary, a lot of people mistake for a mid-engined car. The SI trim, on the other hand, was furnished with 14-inch alloy wheels, and it was powered by a 1.6 L SOHC 16-valve four-cylinder VTEC engine. It was also packed with features such as power side mirrors, cruise control, rear disc brakes, and front and rear anti-sway bars. Both models were equipped with rear spoilers, power steering, heated mirrors, front fog lights, a traction control system, etc.
1995-1998: Modifications and improvements
Every year, a new upgrade or improvement was done with the del Sol. Most of these upgrades were noticeably plenty in 1995 and 1996. In 1995, the car was officially known as Honda del Sol in the United States as the word “Civic” was dropped from its name. On the other hand, the name del Sol was dropped in the European market and it was resold as the new CR-X. Aside from having redesigned targa tops, the engine of the del Sol also received some upgrades. VTEC models also received new anti-lock brakes, which improved the safety of the vehicle. The American version of the del Sol was also furnished with interior changes such as new materials for the seats and carpets. The following year, the model received further enhancements in the engine with the new B16a2 VTEC engine, which could churn out 160 hp. It also underwent several exterior changes with the elimination of its auxiliary headlights, addition of a small airdam, etc. Production of the vehicle finally ended in 1997 but it was sold in Japan and Europe until the following year.