When thoughts turn to fun Hondas, we'd wager you'll have to go pretty far down the list before you remember the existence of the CRX 1.6i-16. Certainly, you'd be forgiven if NSXs, Type-Rs, and perhaps even VTis popped up before you got to the hottest version of the first generation of this angular little coupe, launched in 1986.
Still, it's deserving of more than a moment of your attention. Despite only packing a 1.6-litre motor, some clever engine design and a 16-valve head - a portent of Honda's wizardry to come - meant it nevertheless kicked out 137hp. That might sound paltry now, but we can't think of anything else around at the time that could match its specific power output.
So for its time, the CRX was pumped. It was light, too, tipping the scales at 900kg, and as a result, it was quick. 0-60mph came up in a fraction more than seven seconds, and as you'd expect, the performance was served up at the top end of the rev range, to a gloriously hard-edged four-cylinder soundtrack, perhaps not quite as aggressive as later Hondas', but just as characterful.
It handled, too. Autocar praised its front-end grip and neutrality, the feelsome steering and the way a mid-corner lift would bring the front end into line and move the rear without tipping you into snap oversteer. In fact, it went as far as to describe the way the CRX got down the road as "sheer driving pleasure".
All of which makes you wonder why it's still so far down the pecking order of performance Hondas today. Well, the answer lies perhaps in the time it was released; coupes were old hat, and the hot hatch was about to reach the height of its popularity. Despite this, Honda soldiered on with the CRX, winning the hearts of those who wanted a halfway house between hot hatch practicality and the rakish looks of its chief coupe rival, the Toyota MR2 - which, incidentally, was down on power even after its 1987 facelift.
Today, its comparative obscurity means the CRX has escaped the ludicrous price rises of some 1980s classics. Having said that, you won't find any in the bargain bins where they resided just a few years ago. Given current prices, £6,500 for this low-mileage, clean-looking, two-owner example with a long MOT sounds sensible; indeed, it's quite tempting if you're still seeking an exciting 1980s classic at a reasonable price. Perhaps, then, it's time to venture a little further down your list of fast Honda wants - or to add to it.
SPECIFICATION - HONDA CRX 1.6I-16
Engine: 1590cc 4-cyl, naturally aspirated
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
Power (hp): 127@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 103@5,500rpm
First registered: 1986
Recorded mileage: 57,635
Price new: £7,950
Yours for: £6,500
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