It was the only new car in America during its time that could rival the Geo Metro in gas mileage, yet was beautiful to look at and was a hoot to drive. Long gone but not forgotten was the second generation Honday CRX HF, which is perhaps one of the true Japanese classics of the late 80s and early 90s.
There was much to love about the CRX. Its teardrop shape looked youthful and racy, making the regular Civic sedan and hatchback look downright dowdy in comparison. Yet the body did not look “plasticky” and gimicky, unlike the base Pontiac Fieros or first-generation Toyota MR2s, which were frequently cited as the CRX’s main competitors.
The sporty character did not end with the look. While the Si version of the CRX gets all the glory for being the performance version, the CRX was a very good handling car. The HF’s engine, of course, was no match for the Si, but at 52 mpg on the highway, it got almost 20 mpg more! HF, after all, stood for “high fuel economy”. It also could mean “high fun”.
While its outwardly diminutive space made it possible to park a CRX almost anywhere, the car could actually hold a lot of stuff! The rear seat is best folded down (no one but a small child can actually sit back there), and when it is, can (according to one owner) “transport a chest of drawers or a futon, with the trunklid closed.”
In many ways, the CRX was the 80’s and 90’s reincarnation of the original Austin Mini: great handling, style, and practicality. In addition, the CRX was also very reliable and typical of Honda quality. When searching for a CRX, however, keep in mind that they have often gone through several (young) owners, most of whom have driven them hard and either (1) did not take of the cars too well or (2) modified them with aero add-ons, lowered springs, etc. That said, with their prices so low thanks to over a decade’s worth of depreciation, you can’t really go wrong with them. They are genuine Hot Green Machines.