Is the Honda Del Sol a Civic or CR-X?

Honda introduced the Civic Del Sol in 1992 for the 1993 model year. Based on the Civic platform, the Honda Civic Del Sol roadster replaced the CR-X coupe as the sportier version of the Honda Civic. 

The nameplate confusion comes from Honda’s branding of the Del Sol as a Civic Del Sol in some markets and a CR-X Del Sol in others. So, with which Honda model does the convertible roadster Del Sol align more closely?

A red Honda Del Sol on display
1997 Honda Civic Del Sol VTEC | Honda Media

Honda Civic Del Sol

HotCars says that Honda introduced the Civic Del Sol variant to the United States Del Sol S and Del Sol Si models. The U.S. models featured the same engines as the Civic along with the Civic’s platform and drivetrain. 

The Del Sol S featured a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 102 horsepower, while the Del Sol Si came with a 125-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder, just like the Civic. Toward the end of its production run, Del Sol models featured an optional 160-hp 1.6-liter VTEC powertrain with the distinction of delivering 100 horsepower per liter of engine displacement. That’s quite the accomplishment considering a 1995 Mustang GT 5.0 only made 43 horsepower per liter, according to MotorTrend.

Although the Honda Civic Del Sol looks like a mid-engine sports car, its front-engine, front-wheel drive layout is the same as the Civic. The Del Sol also offered two transmission options, a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual, like the Civic. However, the Del Sol’s two-door, two-seat convertible roadster body style broke the Civic mold in a big way.

Honda CR-X Del Sol

For some Asian and European markets, Honda dubbed its targa-topped creation the CR-X Del Sol, which in some ways makes more sense than the Civic label. First, the CR-X also shared the Civic platform, but years before the Del Sol, as a two-door variation of the popular Honda sedan. As such, the CR-X featured the same drivetrain components as the Civic with similar pricing and available options. 

Next, the Del Sol arrived on dealership lots a few years after Honda discontinued CR-X production. This timing led some enthusiasts to believe the Del Sol’s arrival filled the gap in the Honda lineup. 

To add to the confusion, depending on which member of the worldwide market was discussing the Del Sol, either name correctly identified the car.

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Which is it? Civic or CR-X?

Are you still trying to decide if the Del Sol is a Civic or a CR-X variant? The answer is a little of both. While the Del Sol is a sporty, two-door like the CR-X, it takes its uniqueness one step further with its two-seater layout. Add in the roadster body style with its inverted rear hatch and removable targa top, and the Del Sol comes into its own style. 

However, at its roots, like the CR-X, the Del Sol rides on the Civic platform, and not even its faux mid-engine looks can change that. One could argue that the Civic gave rise to the CR-X, which then led to the Del Sol. In the end, even Honda bowed out of the argument and deleted the Del Sol’s middle name, shortening the nameplate to Del Sol.