GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Honda Civic CR-X

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white_crx_gt1.jpg
Red rims? Apparently we can get them in GT1.

ballade_crx.jpeg


STATS
Years: 1983-1991
Country: Japan
 
Class: Sport Compact
Type: 3-Door Hatchback
Host: GT1, GT2, GT4, & GT5


* specs and testing below currently for 2nd gen models. '91 CR-X Si in GT2 and '90 CR-X SiR in GT4 and 5
 

Price as Tested
: $5,438 (GT2 used lot)
````````````````````````$5,414 (GT4 used lot)
                        $14,991 (GT5 used lot)

GT5 Mileage: 3,867.5

Construction: unit steel

Length: 149.6" // Width: 65.9" // Height: 50.0"
Wheelbase: 90.6"
Overhang: @4 feet 9 inches
Track: 57.2" front & rear
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Weight: 2,173 pounds
Wgt. Dist: 64 / 36

Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
Steering: unassisted rack & pinion
Tires: 195/60VR-14 Dunlop D87
Suspension: double wishbones / coils / anti-roll bars
Brakes: vented discs + ABS


# The CR-X of GT4 was given an oil change before all specs & testing below

# the CR-X of GT5 was
not given oil change or rebuild...
 
Engine: 1.6 liter DOHC inline 4
Construction: aluminum block & heads
Aspiration: normal
Fuel Syst: PGM-Fi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.19 x 3.05"
Compression: 10.2:1
 
GT2 Horsepower: 158 @ 7,500 rpm
GT2 Torque:        
112 @ 7,000 rpm
 
GT4 Final Hrspwr: 157 @ 7,600 rpms
GT4 Fnl. Torque:  
112 @ 7,000 rpms

GT5 Tested HP: 156 @ 7,500 rpm
GT5 Tstd. Torq: 111 @ 7,000 rpm
 
Lbs per hp: 13.75 (GT2) // 13.84 (GT4) // 13.92 (GT5)
HP per Liter: 99.1 (GT2) // 98.4 (GT4) // 19.58 (GT5)
Crdts / HP: $34.42 (GT2) // $34.48 (GT4) $92.89 (GT5)
 
GT2 Redline: 8,000 // Rpm Limit: 9,000
GT4 Idle: 1,000 // Redline: 8,000 // RPM Limit: 9,000
GT5 Idle: 625 // Redline: 8,000 // RPM Limit: 8,500
 
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Differential: limited-slip was option IRL
 
0-60 mph:
GT2 Si: 8.1 seconds          
GT4 SiR: 9.583 seconds
GT5 SiR: 8.463

0-100mph:
GT2: 22.2 seconds        
GT4: 22.333 seconds
GT5: 20.864

400M:
GT2: 16.540 @ 87 mph   
GT4:
17.934 @ 89 mph
GT5: 16.788 @ 89 mph

1 KM:
GT2: 29.633 @ 115 mph    
GT4: 30.553 @ 117
mph
GT5: 29.565 @ 116 mph

1 Mile:
GT5: 40.660 @ 128 mph 

GT2 Test Track: 1:53.186
GT4 Test Track: N/A
GT5 Daytona Lap: 1:03.258

Brakes. 100-zero mph: 3.35 seconds (GT4)
                                   5.533 seconds (GT5)

Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 3,250
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 38 mph
2nd: 62 mph
3rd: 90 mph
4th: 117 mph
5th: 153.15 @ 8,500 rpm (GT2 '91 Si)
      149.77 mph @ 8,100 rpms (GT4 '90 SiR)

GT5 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 39.8
2nd: 59.5
3rd: 87.6
4th: 113.5
5th: 147.7 @ 8,250 rpm
 

crx_underdrift.jpg

-----------EXTERIOR / HISTORY-----------

 
Why has the Honda Civic become one of the most popular racers in the latter part of the past 25 years? Tell you what, it didn't start out that way. For those who can't remember back that far (or weren't born yet), during the '70s Civics were some of the most efficient cars on the market; but they were also rust-prone, slow, noisy, and avoided by most any performance driver.
 
So what happened? Did the Civic start competing on tarmac because a few dedicated grass-roots drivers were persistent enough to race them, or did Honda itself get involved? Well I'm gonna sidestep that question even though I just asked it. There's too much info on Civics already out there, and I don't have much to add. A great site I found is: http://www.crxsir.com/racing.html in case you're interested. But otherwise let's get back to our game and how the Civic CR-X fits in.
 
The very word ‘Civic’ conjures up politically correct images: “thank you” “pardon me” and “I'd like to offer you something to drink my African American friend”. Stuff like that. Unlike the words ‘Viper’, ‘Mustang’, or the mysteriously intimidating letters ‘NSX’, the word "Civic" doesn't sound threatening or racy at all...which is what makes the Honda Civic CR-X Si such an interesting choice. Just imagine the very first driver who said: “Yeah, I'll kick you around...in my CIVIC”. Bet he had to prove his worth. ;-)
 
It seems the Civic's excellent racing reputation started in the '80s just as the CR-X came on the scene. Customer demand was changing too; not only did we want a poddish fuel-efficient gogetter, we wanted it to last and not look so ordinary. And in response, Honda decided to create sportier versions of their best-selling hatch. 
 
There are a handful of versions Polyphony Digital has added to our games. A '91 CR-X Si appears in GT1 and GT2. For GT3, the CR-X was not included, but in GT4 and GT5 we have the '90 CR-X SiR. As a final treat, we also have the first-gen '83 "Ballade" Sports CR-X 1.5i in both these later games....a nice treat to see where it all started. The CR-X was not just super-light and amazingly sporty, it could make amazing gas mileage, rivaling some of today's hybrid cars.
 
Unofficially, CRX stands for Civic Renaissance eXperimental. Some of its best assets are: light weight, sharp looks, and extreme maneuverability in corners. The CR-X weighs anywhere from 2,173 pounds to 1,973 if it has a race-kit in GT2 (which you will probably never need by the way). In GT5, the lowest we can get one of these will is 1,939 pounds, interesting that we're not lower than the race-modified car from GT2.  
 
Nobody except Civic / JDM-haters will argue with us about this car's looks, but its maneuverability? It is something we WILL need to use since the car's 64% front weight distribution makes it nose-heavy.

To sum it up: the CR-X is great but I sometimes wish it were better. And here's why.

 

---------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------

Bet you can predict what's going on here.
 
We have an 87 octane-sipping 1.6 liter 4 designed not for racing; but for that lift of pep to get around town, and for  the need to get by any slower cars that are encountered presents itself. Do the math! The CR-X appears in several GT games, so I'll break it down as best I can.
 
GT1
Honestly I don't have much personal experience with the CR-X from this game. Here in GT1, it's often regarded as a great beginner's car, but some pros also use it to create challenging races against stronger Ai autos.
 
GT2
I can't tell you how many times I've been preparing for some of Gran Turismo 2's more daring races, poring thru the selections of my Vaņilla Rice memory card (which of course features plenty of riceboy material), and have WANTED to pick the CR-X. Unfortunately, again and again it doesn't get chosen, and the job winds up going to a Civic Type R or the '93 Si, or even one of my Civic sedans. Some of GT2's most prestigious races: the GT Regionals, True Sports Car Cup, Historic Cup, etc. can be won in a Civic....but never in my red CR-X, which always remains in the garage--its poor tires going flat. 
 
As any of us know, there are tons of Civics in the first two games...GT1 and GT2, and many in GT4 as well. Some of them go far beyond the scope of what a pedestrian front-drive hatch was ever meant to deliver (which is usually pizza or Chinese food). To me, the CR-X in GT2 (with its sportier look) falls short. The problem? Not enough power! Here, the slightly more-advanced Mugen CR-X pro.II version is not immune. Matter of fact, the regular CR-X does better in the long run  since the Mugen won't accept a race-kit.
 
But getting back to the power issue: we have Honda's famous 1.6 aluminum block 4-cylinder, which starts with 158 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. Going back to GT1 for a moment, the dealer really fvcks up here: he's claiming just 108 horsepower, which was the most basic real-life CR-X non-Si power. Don't worry, once it's dyno-tested in your garage, you'll be pleased to know the CR-X in GT1 actually makes 158 hp, not 108 :)
 
At the most, we can crank out 263 hp @ 8,100 rpm in GT1. In GT2? All we get with a Stage 2 NA tune is just 208 naturally-aspirated hp at 7,900 rpm with 139 ft-lbs. @  7,400. And, unlike the CR-X from the first game, there IS no Stage 3! Huh? In either game, there is no turbo, but even a '93 Civic Si in GT2 can attain 240 hp with just NA tuning. Now do you see why my CR-X winds up collecting dust?
 
In either game, it costs a lot to fully mod a CR-X, but it's worth it in GT1 for expert drivers who know their cornering. I've actually read accounts of some folks getting pretty far into the game in a Civic or CR-X, tho I've never tried it myself. In GT2, be prepared to conquer those Compact Car races over and over. ;-(~ If it weren't for the high-paying Trail Mountain Enduro, it would take awhile to earn back any profit on a fully-modded CR-X. So now let's talk about this car as it appears in GT4.

GT4

With 3 NA tunes and 3 turbos to choose from, the CR-X SiR in this game has more potency, and (again) feels at home for some amateur drivers, as well as pros who are more adept at tossing this suburban deity at its limits. 250 horsepower is the most that'll get tweaked from a Stage 3 NA tune, and about 280 hp can be harvested from the Stage 3 turbo! Though this doesn't sound like much, you may be surprised because the CR-X SiR can do some major damage in this game...don't forget that weight reductions are also available if you need 'em. Overall, the CR-X SiR in GT4 has more longevity than the Si from either GT1 or GT2.

 
There's also the '83 CR-X from the GT4 Historic Lot. This nerdy weakling can be raced in a few series, but doesn't go nearly as far since about 180 hp is all it'll take with a Stage 2 turbo (a few horses less can be had with the Stage 3 NA kit). Comparing the '83 car to the '90 car when both are fully tweaked is like comparing a spry (but weak) 5th grader to a spry (but slightly bulkier, much faster) 11th grader. The '90 SiR gets alot more action in this game.
 
GT5
Here, the CR-X is at its very best, so far as power goes. 244 @ 8,400 hp with 155 foot-pounds at 7,900 is the best we can achieve with additional engine stages, but on top of this we can stack some turbos. Now we're up to 316 @ 8,400 with 197 @ 8,400, more than can be had in any previous GT game. 
 
Oddly, the CR-X (and many other JDM cars) won't see much action during lower races. The Sunday Cup, FF Challenge, Compact Car races, and many others are so EASY in this stupid game, that I rarely drove a CR-X until reaching this game's Expert Series. Does that sound right to you? But it's true. During the Expert Series Turbo Challenge, finally I could race a CR-X (and many other JDM cars) without cheating or excess underdogging. It can also a good stab during the Expert-level Japanese Championship.
 
So what a history eh?  Either this car isn't strong enough, or it's too strong, depending on whatever game you've got. But in all cases, the next chapter shall provide some insight as to why this car should be driven at all.   
 

--------------CHASSIS / HANDLING-----------------

Despite speed issues, once we get the CR-X on the road, we'll find that here it is blessed...especially during those tighter, low-speed corners. Hairpins. Chicanes. Esses. This is CR-X territory. It eats 'em up.
 
But in the real world of Gran Turismo (heh heh) we also have straightaways, high-speed curves of all shapes and sizes, on or off-camber. The CR-X eventually betrays us in these areas. Not just with poor power upgrades and sluggish torque, but also understeer and nervous steering....all the typical stuff front-drive cars are famous for. It's all here for us to enjoy. Lack of power ultimately compounds our handling problems... makes this car's window of error even greater.
 
The SiRs in GT4 and 5 display the most variety, of course. They've got awesome brakes, so pretend you're a truant student running into class just as the bell rings; for the CR-X in these games love late-braking into turns. The virtual safety-net that caught me as I drove my CR-X in GT4's Japanese '90s Challenge and GT5's Turbo Cup and Japanese Championship was almost always there. And if it's not there, not to worry 'cause damage control can be employed to save the car from disaster, should it get braked too late.
 
Understeer that shows up while braking can suddenly (and sometimes violently) shift to extreme front-end grip as you let off the brakes; depending how the car's suspension is tweaked, so careful as you brake & steer. The CR-X has a habit of ‘pulling’ into the inside of turns, and then running into sand or grass as both actions are performed. This is most true in earlier games (GT1 through 4), not so much in GT5, even while using sport tires.  

Even the '83 CR-X Sports 1.5i model I just drove can corner surprisingly aggressively, even on its stock soft radial tires. Unlike the cars of GT4, the CR-X in GT5 can and WILL grip-in aggressively while braking, not just when brakes are off, and perhaps this is a side-effect of not having ABS braking in this car. A limited-slip can sometimes become necessary for the 1.5i, even when power is near-stock, although this isn't as necessary for later cars.. Sometimes when the '83 exits corners, it has a habit of trying to destroy its 13" tires.  
 
Stomp on that go-pedal, and now the CR-X understeers at the limit again, but has hoards of traction before it does. Matter of fact, I found I didn't need a limited-slip device till I was deep into Stage 2 turbo country (about 220 bhp), and even then, it was used more to augment traction--it wasn't completely needed.
 
There is torque-steer, of course, as the car gases out of corners, but it is easily tamed. Unless you forgot to take off those lead shoes you're wearing. :) In some wider curves (once you get good), the CR-X becomes like an angry little squirrel--underdrifting sideways with loud skittering motions across the entire track, only to regain its composure as the gas is released, and the car's front-end is tightened.   Quite a lot of fun, actually.
 
So for those of us who can pilot an underpowered machine like the Honda CR-X to victory and earn mad cash, it's all worth it. They will have the satisfaction of adding some Mustang, Viper, and Jaguar meat with their usual rice.
 

 

red_crx.jpg

PROS--------------------------------------------------------

1). Bargain priced...ready to roll from day one. This car virtually has "Sunday Cup" written all over it.
 
2). There's usually always a CR-X to be had in used car lots. We never have to hunt for them. GT5 is the exception here. Since only a certain amount of cars get crammed into one lot, you may have to wait quite awhile to find one of these.
 
3). Nice to see Gran Turismo kept the CR-X in GT2 and GT4/5 along with its successor the del Sol. I do miss it in GT3. Well, not really.
 
4). Lightweight. Race-kit available in the first two games.
 
5). Great maneuverability & grippy FWD traction at lower speeds. Wanna tackle that double 90° corner at Seattle? The complex hairpins and chicanes of Route 11? So does your CR-X.
 
6). Suspension and brake tuning can be minimal for any low-powered racing situation. Racing or sports tires are the best ally for more challenging races.
 
7). Gotta admit that 8,000 rpm redline is really sweet.
 
8). Really excellent brakes. Under pressure, experienced players (and some intermediates) will quickly learn to use these brakes to extreme advantage.
 
9). Limited-slip not needed for a long while, even in GT4 or 5 (this does not include the '83 Ballade Sports, though). The CR-X had LSD as an option in real-life, and my guess is PD modeled the game-car with this option.
 
10). GT4 & 5: two versions of the CR-X to play with. First-gen ('83) and 2nd gen ('90).
 
11). GT4 & 5: the '90 CR-X SiR gets 3 NA kits and 3 turbo options!
 
12). GT4 & 5 again: quite the fuel sipper.
 
13). The FUN factor! This car has the potential to be more stimulating than some other, more powerful machines.
 

CONS--------------------------------------------------------

1). Low power, less torque. Beware of anything below 6,000 rpms...that's not where you want to be revving, dude. Sometimes it's impossible to avoid this unless the car has a full-custom transmission set properly.
 
2). Acceleration in a CR-X pretty much bites at any level, no matter the power. It blows away Kei cars, basically.
 
3). *hack cough* UNDERSTEER!! The front-end gets more and more prone towards loony behaviour (odd moments of excessive grip mixed  with understeer) as more power is used. Beginners who loved the CR-X at the Sunday Cup may suddenly bail for another car.
 
4). No turbo in GT1 or GT2. NA tunes in GT2 don't take us as far as they do in GT1 (208 versus 250 hp). Odd.
 
5). Race kit in GT2 of course costs a bundle...and how often is it really needed in a car that rarely tops 120 mph? On the other hand, the extra downforce does help for those who want to progress, since the power-ups are so lame in this game. 
 
6). The Mugen CR-X Pro II version (GT2) doesn't accept a race-kit at all. Nor does it accept any additional power.
 
7). Noisy. Grandma might get annoyed.
 
 

 

Published: February 2nd, 2006
Edited for GT4 content: ?
Edited for GT5 content: June, 2011
 
 

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