Is it time for the ugly (sorry), yet still charming, Honda CRX to make a return to our strange and confusing new world? It worked pretty well in 1984 when it hit the market; why wouldn’t it work again? What’s that? Sedans are dying. With gas prices surging, maybe throwing the ball back to yesteryear’s small, sporty cars isn’t a bad call. After all, the ’80s are back; we are in a lukewarm war with Russia, bangs are back, and synthesizer music rules the radio waves. So, how do we feel about the Honda CRX coming back?
Is the Honda CRX coming back?
We have no clue. Like most other automotive manufacturers, Honda has to shift daily to adapt to our chaotic new world. The point is, we have no idea if Honda has any plans to remake the cult-classic Honda CRX, but the line of thinking makes enough sense to explore.
Gas prices are over $4 per gallon on average in America. On the east coast, gas prices are hitting the low $5s, and in California, $6+ is no rare sight. So, why wouldn’t Honda consider bringing back a small, super-lightweight, fun-to-drive coupe that gets killer gas mileage and doesn’t cost a ton of cabbages?
Is the Honda CRX a good car?
According to Road & Track, it was a fantastic idea!
“The more brilliant a concept, the harder it is to make it better,” said Road and Track about the CRX in 1987. “Since its 1984 introduction, we’ve been in love with this little sweetheart. We’ve called it a New Wave sports car. We’ve commissioned a Spyder version. We’ve analyzed everything from stock form to boy-racer trim. Now, best yet, a sparkling black CRX Si has arrived right here at our offices.”
This excitement shows us a nice view into the feelings toward the CRX in context with its time. People loved it back then, and gas was a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, the car market had a great deal more diversity in the mid-’80s. The CRX was great because it was better than so many others in its category. These days it would be damn near the only one in its category.
In what world does having a car that’s light, fun, and killer on gas not work in 2022? If Honda did it right, it would work.
Is the Honda CRX fast?
The Honda CRX, like most cars, comes in a variety of flavors. From the base HF trim to the sporty Si trim, the Honda CRX is similar to the Mazda Miata; It’s probably not right to call them “fast” from a power perspective. However, like the Miata, a CRX can be quick due to its incredible handling.
The HF trim came with a 1.5-liter, eight-valve four rated at a surprisingly-antiquated 58 horsepower (1986 spec). Even though this may be an upsetting power figure for some, the CRX made up for it by getting 52 mpg combined. R&T notes that these figures might be a bit dated. The CRX HF is likely getting something closer to 45 mpg combined by today’s standards. Either way, that’s tough to beat.
Despite the HF’s low hp, it paved the way for the hot-hatch version of the CRX, the 91-hp Si. OK. 91 hp still isn’t all that attractive on its own, but when you consider how little the CRX weighs, a better picture begins to form. In 1986 Honda listed the Honda CRX HF at a spritely 1713-lbs while the Si came in at a still-slender 1954 lbs.
Thankfully, the folks at R&T did the math for us. “The HF used each of its 58 ponies to pull 29.53-pounds of CRX; each of the Si’s was lugging 21.47-pounds. That’s only 8.06 lbs less in raw numbers, but about 28-percent better.”
It only works one way
Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many old nameplates resurrected in seriously underwhelming ways. I’m looking at you, Acura Integra. The only way the CRX comes back and isn’t a complete waste of time is if Honda literally recreated it. Keep the engine tiny, the power low, and the cost down. Give us a true retro throwback of significance. The sad truth is, at the current rate, if the CRX came back tomorrow, it would probably be a shapeless crossover hybrid that offers nothing to the automotive market.
Anywho, here’s to hoping.