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UPDATE - The modern equivalent of the CRX-Si

A while ago I started this (now closed) thread
which documented my quest to find a modern equivalent of my 1990 CRX Si.
There were a lot of great suggestions and input on that thread and I had test drove quite a few of them but they either didn’t have the same “zip” or they didn’t get the gas mileage.
Well, I wanted to update those who had followed along because today I finally drove the first (U.S. available) car I have found in the last 10 years that matched the quickness, agility and gas mileage of the CRX Si !

It was a Fiat 500 “Pop”.
Yeh, I know. A Fiat (rolls eyes).
… and a sadly (in my eye) hideous looking car to boot.

A friend had just purchased it after looking at quite a few small cars himself. He too had driven the “Velocitor” and like myself loved everything about it but it’s lack of low end “zip”(well that and it’s head room). He convinced me to give this car a drive and he was right. It was FUN! I really don’t know if it would corner as well as the CRX as the Fiat looks a bit top heavy. I tried once to get it to give some body roll but it stayed nice and flat. As my friend had only had it a few days and was glaring at me for doing that, I didn’t try it again.

Still, I can’t see purchasing it. Not yet at least. Besides the fact that the back seat is not “adult” sized and I can’t yet get past the look … I’d want to wait at least a year to see if these things have all the reliability you’d expect from a Fiat … made by Chrysler.

Maybe though, just maybe this is the re-emergence of the lightweight, quick and nimble sports car!
Has anyone else with a past history in a CRX-like “zipster”, driven the Fiat 500? Love to know what you thought. Also love to hear from anyone who has driven a similar car lately. How about the “Abarth” ?

I guess you tried the Subaru WRX? That should be pretty close to the CRX.

Yes. The WRX I test drove (this was now about 2 years ago) had the performance I was looking for but the gas mileage was way off the mark! If you drove it in the city like you were a little old lady, you might get in the mid 20’s so the WRX did not fit the bill.
I haven’t looked back since then to see if the most recent models addressed that.

I’d go for a Mini, myself. If I could stand to put it on and take it off when I drove it.
MPG doesn’t really affect me since I don’t drive enough for it to be a major factor in my choices. I’ll pay a little more in gas for a bit of extra fun while I drive.

How 'bout the little two-seat Mini?

Now there’s a Fiat 500 turbo (in addition to the base and Abarth). That’d be closer to the Si.

Subaru did address poor mpg and made improvements in the 2012 models.

how about the Honda CRZ

The CRZ is a different beast.
Here is the review of my CRZ test drive.

I know you weren’t jazzed about the power of the Veloster. Try the Veloster turbo - it’s out now. I drove one, unfortunately an automatic one - haven’t been able to find a stick shift one to try yet because they’re still pretty rare. Just on my “I can’t go too fast because my SO and the sales lady are in the car with me” evaluation, I’d say it’s probably somewhere between my CRX and my MR2 in straight line acceleration. Handling is, as with the base car, top notch. All in all, for what they’re charging for it, it’s a pretty nice car, and is reminiscent of driving a CRX with a B18 swap.

I have a 500.

I don’t care for the look of the Pop or Lounge models as they are just a little too jelly bean like. So I popped (no pun intended) for the Sport model.

While the running gear is the same there are a few body additions that really wake up the appearance in my opinion.

My previous car was a 2000 Honda Insight with a full 66 horsepower so the 101 horsepower of the Fiat is a nice improvement.

It’s a fun car which I use for commuting and I have no use for the back seat. I’ll probably remove the rear seats altogether to free up some extra cargo space. I haven’t had a car with a back seat in over 6 years anyway so it’s not a big deal either way to me.

The Abarth is a bit too “boyracer” for me and out of my budget anyway. I expect the 500T to be a good seller for Fiat but I like to keep my vehicles simple and would prefer not to go turbocharged, and it would also be out of my budget as well.

So far it’s been a good car. I only have about 6k miles on it since May so it’s too early to say how everything will hold up but I like the car and it’s fun.

My gf actually traded in her Fiat 500 Sport for a Fiat 500 Abarth back in June, the day before her birthday. Needless to say, she had a really good b-day this year.

If you think the Fiat is hideous, then you now know how I feel about the Honda CRX.
We obviously have opposite tastes in vehicles.

So, continue your search.
I would tell you about the Abarth, but since you don’t like the looks, what’s the point?


I really would like to here your opinions on the Abarth. In the spirit of full disclosure … when I bought the CRX I really disliked how it looked. I much preferred the Volkswagon GTI but in the end, I was won over by the CRX’s “kick in the pants” 1st and 2nd gear response and by the fact that the CRX was less practical then the GTI (hey … I was in my early 20’s)!

The upcoming Focus ST should fit the bill. There’s a Fiesta ST in the works as well.

Or the competitor, the Speed 3 from Mazda

The 2012 Mazda speed 3 only gets 18 mpg city and 25 mpg hwy.
A “replacement” for the CRX needs to get at least 30mpg in city … and that would be in “sport” mode at that!
The Focus ST shows promise. I’ll put that on my radar.

Anything quick will use gas, anything that saves gas won’t be quick.

It’s pretty obvious at this point that you’re looking for a car that is as peppy as you falsely remember the CRX being (this evidenced by your dislike of the acceleration of the base Veloster, which is something like .05 seconds quicker to 60 than the Si was) while getting HF gas mileage.

That car does not exist. Give up the search.

bscar2 - Give a look at the Fiat 500 Sport. It is quick and gets 30+mpg.

shadowfax - I am surprised by both your negativity and your desire to be publicly rude to someone you have never met. You have clearly been following this thread and it’s predecessor so you know that I have recently driven both the CRX Si and the Veloster within minutes of one another. So I can offer a first hand comparison of the two for others.
Plus you know that I have now found 2 cars that perform like the CRX Si in my garage currently does.
Up until now you have actually offered some positive and insightful input to this discussion and given me some good leads towards cars to look into so I am concerned as to what’s really behind that last post? Are you okay?

I can get about the same mpg out of a Mazda 3 or a Ford Focus. Bigger cars, and better equipment offered compared to the smaller cars for a similar price.