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Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun

© Bart Spijker
ER Classics Desktop 2022

From 1987 to 1992 Honda had the second generation of the CRX on the program. At the time, you saw the coupé regularly on the Dutch and Belgian roads. Today, a beautiful specimen is a rarity. And that applies completely to the CRX with the 1.4 sixteen-valve engine. We drove exactly that version, and we liked it very much.

Sicco Dijkstra of Dijkstra Classic Cars & Youngtimers offers the great unknown within the CRX program at the time. That is the 1.4 GL we drive today. It was never available in the Netherlands. Belgium did have it on the menu, and the first owner bought our report car there. She was probably one of the last to opt for this engine in combination with the CRX, because it was not registered until March 1990. And that, while the D14A1 engine as far as the Honda CRX is concerned was already allowed to be retired in 1989 by the Japanese manufacturer.


Surprisingly much space in the front

The first buyer made a great choice, and we are eager to experience it for ourselves. We get into the beautifully lined CRX. The entry of the three-door coupé is low. But the space on offer for the driver and passenger is really generous on all sides, even with 1 meter 95 you will find a great place in the interior. This offers excellent and wear-resistant materials, a good all-round view and above all: a fantastic seating position. The latter is enhanced by the beautiful sports seats, which offer a top seat and ditto support. It is immediately hit, the position in relation to the steering wheel, poker and pedals is well done. Meanwhile, you look out on a continuous dashboard in the doors with logically clustered buttons and well-arranged meters. In addition, the CRX carries an electrically opening sliding roof. And we're going to use that, because the last February Saturday is sunny.

Lively and like to tour

We are on our way, and when the liquids have reached the right degree of heat, the motto is: do business† And then you notice how smooth the CRX entry-level motor is. The 1398 cc engine with four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts and two Keihin carburettors produces 90 DIN hp and a maximum torque of 112 Nm at 4.500 rpm. In contrast to most atmospheric sixteen-valves, there is also quite a bit of life in the engine at the bottom, and that liveliness around the middle area even more shine. Certainly from that moment on, the Honda CRX 1.4 GL continues nicely in all resistance. You really don't have to direct the tachometer to 7000 revolutions per minute to get that done, something that can be done easily and quickly. But it doesn't have to be to get the hallway going fairly quickly.

Beautiful balance

The character of the 1.4 is also more civilized and balanced than that of the rousing 1.6 engines, which continuously encourage you to look for the edge. That does not alter the fact that the 1.4 also invites to drive in a sporty way. If you don't feel that need, this CRX version reveals itself as a very pleasant and resolute all-rounder. This generation of CRX models does not have that kart-like of the first series. But this CRX also sticks wonderfully to the road and offers really wonderful course stability, which is partly due to the wide track and the college chassis with double wishbones at the front and rear. The damping works decisively, but short bumps are absorbed with a pleasant touch of comfort. This is in no way at the expense of driving dynamics, but the configuration does enhance the touring characteristics of the CRX. Masterly, how Honda combined nimbleness and maturity in this coupé.

Wonderful steering character, accurate operation

In addition, the CRX does not turn around for sharp and decisive cornering with a lot of balance. He can be wonderfully guided into the bend, the steering system has hardly any delay. The limit range is far away, but if you tap that, the excellent communicating CRX shows it very nicely, with a hint of understeer. The assisted and sublime steering offers a lot of feeling and ventilates it very nicely. This excellent dosage also applies to the braking system with four discs all round. Slowing down happens in a balanced way and with feeling. And that qualification actually applies to the entire ministry. The short-stroke circuit is accurate, the clutch can be dosed well and communicates well.

Sportico touring car for two persons

With this Honda you get a lot further than a sporty tour around the church. Thanks to the excellent seats, the excellently balanced chassis and (not unimportantly) excellent sound insulation, it is good for hundreds of energetic kilometers in one go. Do that with a maximum of two people, because the bench in the back is really an emergency place. The handrails can be lowered so that the relatively small luggage space can be expanded into a perfectly usable space. It is easily accessible via the large tailgate that hinges in the roof.

Desire every day

This beautifully constructed Honda CRX offers a wonderful mix between playfulness and maturity, even after 32 years. That is why it can be used in many areas and in many ways. Today, as mentioned, few copies remain. And certainly not with a 1.4 engine on board. But those who are willing to pay € 9.950 will receive an absolute top coupé with economical, extremely reliable and impeccable Japanese technology. And an enthusiast's car, which you can use whistling every day. The Honda also has only 78.000 kilometers of life experience behind the Japanese molars. This CRX in Sexbierum is good for years of pleasure. And it evokes the desire to drive it at any time of the day. Because this really is an unimaginably good and balanced coupé, and a very rare one, too.

Many thanks to Sicco Dijkstra from Dijkstra Classic Cars & Youngtimers

Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun
Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun
Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun
Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun
Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun
Honda CRX 1.4 16V. Rare coupe fun

9 Comments

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  1. The CRX, thing was once also available with the first VTEC engine..
    The Dutch importer then let a copy drive there as a demo.
    Anyone who wanted could have the thing in front of the showroom for a day or so.
    That car has turned a ton in a year.
    After that year, Honda Ridderkerk took the engine apart and measured it.
    Pedaling for a year, not letting it get to temperature and tearing had not caused any significant wear.

    And stairs we did with the thing…
    We also had it for the showroom for a day or so, oil pressure regulated solenoid was loose and then the racing cams were permanently switched on, no driving at low revs but ooooo how much that thing wanted to rev….
    With the solenoid connected you really got a kick in the back at 5k rpm somewhere…

    Wonderful thing….
    Most of them have passed away…

  2. Have had a lot of fun with the 1.6i 16V I had (I can say that it is the nicest / best car I have ever had) but the seating comfort was not really suitable for really long journeys (at least 300km per day). In order to have a good grip on the steering wheel, the seat in front of me had to move forward slightly so that my thighs did not fall completely into the seat. Result: everything rested on my hips and that sometimes broke on long rides. The steering wheel should have come a little further into the cabin to be able to slide the seat all the way back, I could have found a perfect sitting position with my 1,83 (while my spiky hair scraped against the roof). Anyway, for normal, everyday rides it was a perfect companion that I could (then) do everything I wanted with. My brother called it a “toy car”, but for a 2-person car, the luggage space was more than adequate. And when my father once needed my car, he said “I'm going to put the car on”. I'm pleased that there are still quite a few original copies of the Civic CRX of this model, including the one I owned for 5 years and started my love for Honda (drive a Jazz now).

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