Is there a "modern" equivalent for the CRX Si?

My 1990 Honda CRX Si is one of the best purchases I have ever made.
Over 150 thousand “E-Ticket” miles and still going. However, like myself it is beginning to show it’s age and therefor I am prepared to replace it. Question is, with what?

The new Honda “sport sedans” seem to be heavy, underpowered and gas hogs to boot.
I would think that perhaps the Subaru WRX or the Mitsubishi Evo would have the same handling and zip of the old CRX but their gas mileage is also pretty poor. By comparison, my CRX gets 37mpg … and that is driving it in a less than conservative fashion.

Does anyone here have a suggestion for a lightweight, nimble, quick car that gets 30+mpg ?
DO they even make those any more?


The Impreza WRX is probably the closest new car to what you are looking for. I have heard many people get high 20s to low 30s out of those in the MPG department. The WRX is also quite a bit less expensive than the Evo, and either one will make your CRX seem like a snail by comparison. You might also look at a newer Civic Si. That might meet your criteria, but few cars can match gas mileage with the CRX while matching fun level.

I thought this exact question was the motive behind the new CR-Z. 6 speed manual, fun, but a hybrid (for gas sipping) I really do not know anything about them though.

The Golf TDI achieves the excellent fuel mileage and handling, but it is neither light nor quick. Another fun car would be the base Cooper. I wish Toyota would stop teasing us with its FT86 and actually sell the thing.

2006 or so Scion xA?

New Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio looks like it might be a possibility as well. Seriously, they are much better than you think.

All vehicles are much heavier nowadays due to safety equipment that was not mandated in 1990. To keep the performance similar, engines are much larger and mileage is generally lower.

Personally, I find myself lusting for a contemporary CRX-HF. Sigh.

I feel the same way about my 1998 Civic DX. It’s one of the best purchases I ever made.

The modern equivalent of the Honda CRX Si is the Honda Civic Si. I know the four door sedan is large and heavy, but if you can get your hands on a two door coupe, you might be happier. I don’t think Honda is making Civic hatchbacks anymore, but if you can find a used Civic Si hatchback that is in good shape…

If you can get your hands on one, a Civic Type R is better, but last I heard, the Type R wasn’t being sold in the U.S.

Another option might be the sport edition of the Honda Fit.

As a last ditch effort, you could purchase a Civic Si and modify it to make it lighter by using a light weight suspension kit and doing other modifications.

Thanks everyone.
I had done a little reading on the CR-Z a while back and it seemed a disappointment. The report was that is was heavy and underpowered and for that trade off, didn’t give that great a gas savings. A shame because I kind of liked the look.

I did just go and read some reviews on the 2012 Civic Si. Wow! What a nondescript, uninspired, bland looking car. The report seems to indicate that it does has some pep but doesn’t handle like an SI should. Seems there is more body roll and under-steer then one would expect.

The “US News” review suggested “in terms of performance, it can’t compete with the MazdaSpeed3 and the Volkswagen GTI”

Anyone experienced either of those cars?

I still need to test drive a Mini Cooper S. I hear those are sporty.
I will also read up on the "Hyundai Accent & Kia Rio ". My fear with those cars is their reliability.
I once told this to a guy who was boasting about the warranty on his car. “That is perhaps one of the biggest differences between my Honda and your car. I have absolutely no idea what the warranty is on my Honda … because I have never needed it.” :slight_smile:

Mazdaspeed3, Cooper S, and GTI drink gas like a fish compared to your CRX.
I have confidence in Korean products in terms of reliability. But Accent and Rio are not sport cars.

If you can forgo the quick part, I’d try the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, and Mazda 2. There’s also the less versatile Fiat and base Cooper.

LFFG, that is contrary to what I have read about the CR-Z. This hybrid is supposed to be a “sport hybrid” with the ability to switch between sport settings (for more power) and economy settings (for better fuel economy). If you are looking for both decent power and great fuel economy at the same time, you won’t find that anywhere to the same degree in which you found it in your CRX. In terms of safety, the CRX was a death trap. Even the tiny Smart car has better safety ratings than the CRX.

I agree about your comments about the new Civic. The body design is boring. Does this car have to be new? Why not include used cars in your search?

You would be disappointed with the difference in reliability you would get with a VW or the Mini Cooper. Hyundai and Kia should be more reliable, and they usually come with great warranties.

Is there rust?
If not, give your CRX a makeover including new struts and drive on.

You read what someone else thought of the CR-Z. After a test drive, you might agree, but then again, you might not. I suggest that you stop by a local Honda dealer, drive one, and see if you like it. The worst that can happen is that you won’t like it. But at least you will know.

I think that if I had never owned the CRX I would like the CR-Z … but here is a quote from one of the “press” reviews - “Overall, the CR-Z will be fun to drive for some shoppers, but considering what Honda designed it to be: a fuel efficient sports car, it’s a disappointment.” It apparently doesn’t get better gas mileage than a Mini Cooper and yet is outperformed by the Mini. I have now gone and read about the others. The GTI and Mazda 3 sounded sporty but didn’t get the mileage. The Kia and Hyundai models mentioned above got good mileage … but were clearly not “zippy” performers. Still, I think I will give the CR-Z a test drive. Honda has been a good car.

BTW - I am looking for new … or VERY low mileage 2011 … because I am not a shopper. I find something I like and stick with it. I am the original owner of my CRX and I want it’s replacement to be with me 20 more years as well. That’s an easier trick to pull off if the car isn’t already a few years and 10’s of thousands of miles old when you get it.
Still, if there ISN’T an equivalent new car to the CRX … I guess I’d be silly not to look at one that was only a few years old.
That certainly beats 20!

Oh, about giving my CRX a “make over”. I have certainly given that some thought.

To really get it back up to snuff - I need to get an engine rebuild. It has some oil blow-by as well as quite a bit of seepage (I have to park it over a tray of oil absorbent). I’m sure the fuel injectors could use replacing as well as the water pump.
The transmission has a noisy bearing that I have ignored for 50k miles.
There is a short in the electrical system that keeps the rear defroster on all the time.
As for the body - the windshield is terribly pitted and has a small crack near the bottom, there is a dent in the door where my wife just recently backed into it, the headlight covers are fogged, one of the turn signal covers has a rock hole through it, the wheels are scuffed and scratched, the paint is well past it’s prime, the trim around the windows has oxidized to the point where the black has gone to grey and even some surface rust, and it leaks into the trunk (I keep it garaged so that hasn’t caused a rust issue but does dissuade me from driving it in the rain).

So I could probably spend $10k or so and get my beloved CRX back to near mint … but it would still be 21 years old so I would always be waiting for it to fail.

It may just be time to let go. :frowning:

Like jtsanders said, you are making a mistake by making decisions based on other people’s opinions. You really should drive a prospective car before you rule it out. You can find a bad review about almost every car, so if you only go by reviews, you might end up never buying another car.

You’re not going to like the Mini. I keep up with the supercharged variants easily in my CRX with stock Si motor, and I leave them in the dust in the twisties, and that’s on stock suspension.

Where do you live? There are pockets of CRX enthusiasts throughout the US. We’re usually happy to help with bringing them back up to snuff. We like to see more of them on the road :wink:

Based on your list, here’s what I’d do:

Pull the engine and transmission and sell them to a junkyard.
Swap in a B16 or B18 with tranny (almost a direct swap, parts would cost what rebuilding your old engine would cost). Now you have a good engine and transmission.

The windshield is no big deal. The door dent can be either pounded out from behind or you can just put a new door on there. Stock CRX wheels are easy to come by and cheap - hell I’ve gotten sets of them for free from people who just want to clean out their garage. The turn signal cover can probably be bought from someone with a parts car for 15-20 bucks. The oxidized trim is easy - Tape off either side of the trim, then spray some black outdoor spraypaint onto a shop towel, and rub it into the trim. I did this 7 years ago to that little rubber bit on the rear wiper mount, and it’s still jet black. The leaking into the hatch is likely a clogged sunroof drain. That’s also an easy fix.

In short, you could refresh your car for a lot less than 10 grand, especially if you find a club to help you out. This might be a good way to go if you really like the CRX, because nothing made today comes close to being as tossable unless you get a little roadster with no practicality whatsoever.

You’re right about the CRZ. It’s a dog. It looks like the next CRX, but it certainly doesn’t drive like it. I’m hearing more positive things about the Mugen CRZ, but that will be pricey.

So I went and test drove a CRZ this afternoon.
I DO like the look and the cockpit wraps around you like the CRX does. The interior feels like the CRX. Then I drove it.
First gear had some getty-up and then 2nd and 3rd were just there and by 4th I had lost interest. I tried it in “sports mode” (it has a button for that) and I even turned off the air-conditioner. I will say. If I had never driven a CRX Si I would probably have liked it. I mean you could really sort of feel the ghost of the CRX in the build of the CRZ but it was really just a faint image of it.
I told all this to the twenty something salesman who was riding with me and I could see he really wanted to roll his eyes. So I ask him, “Have you ever driven a CRX?” He hadn’t. "The do me a favor and drive mine."
We climbed into my Si and he hadn’t got 50feet from the parking lot before he said “Wow”. I laughed.
He commented that it really had a lot of power and I pointed out that it had nearly 30HP less then the CRZ we were just in. HE then had a fun test drive.

When we got back I ask him if Honda made anything like that and he just said flat out “No”. He did say that the 2012 Civic Si would be worth a try as it had a 100 more HP then the CRZ and only weighed about 200lbs more(about 1000lb more then the CRX) … but he still didn’t think it would the same level of “fun” as the CRX. He also had no idea when they’d be getting those in so I couldn’t test drive one.

BTW - I ask about the CRV Mugen and he said that package was mostly body mods and not really performance. We both thought that was a strange departure for Mugen.

test drive a Speed 3, you might like it. Several companies make aftermarket stuff for it as well. You’re right about the mpg though, but when you’re flogging it in the twisties, you might not care. And, at $25k fully loaded, new, it’s a budget pocket rocket. A compromise would be the normal 3 hatchback; not as speedy as the Speed, but still a fun drive. Both are about the same price fully loaded; the normal hatch comes with a sunroof in GT trim while the Speed won’t, but you get navigation and keyless entry/start with the Speed if you get the tech package

Mugen supposedly tweaked the motor and the suspension for the CRZ - -which is the odd departure - the Mugen edition hondas lately have been just what you said - Body kits and stickers.

The Speed3 wouldn’t be a bad one to try out, if you still want to get rid of your CRX.

I will say this - from the way you talk about your car, trust me, I’ve seen it before. You will get rid of the CRX and then kick yourself for years afterward. The guy I bought my latest CRX from 10 years ago is still giving me crap for “stealing” his car away from him :wink:

I recommend that you at least keep it as a fun car even if you get another one - you won’t get much money for it selling it.

Try to hold out for another year. Words on the internet is that Honda is working on a CRZ Type R, Fiat has a 500 Abarth, and Toyobaru has been teasing us with its FT86

Has no one mentioned a Lotus Elise? It is the only car still made that approaches the CRX in light weight. Sure it is expensive, but if depreciated over 20 years . . .

Enjoyed your story of the CRZ test drive. Let us know what you do purchase (if anything).