The original 1.33 liter car and the later American-market CR-X HF (High Fuel economy) model could reliably achieve very good gas mileage, more than a decade before gas-electric hybrids appeared on the market, and at no price premium over the base model; the 1.3 liter was rated (at current ratings) at 41 mpg city and 50 mpg highway. The Japanese Si and European 1.6i-16 models came with a 1590 cc DOHC engine putting out 130bhp (97kW; 132PS). Though similar versions of the same engine, the Japanese Si engine was stamped ZC, whilst the European engine was stamped D16A9.
The R. Straman Company of Costa Mesa, CA converted 310 Honda CR-X's into convertibles from 1984 to 1987. The Straman-built CR-X Spyder was the cover car on July, 1984 issue of Road & Track Magazine. These conversions are known as a coach convertible.
The chassis was significantly changed in 1987 from its original torsion bar front and semi-independent rear, to fully independent wishbones all around in line with its sister Civic/Ballade models. Although Honda tried to update the look of the car with a new body, the end result looked very similar regardless. Outside of North America, this generation 2 CR-X was available with a 1495 cc sohc or an updated version of the 1590 cc DOHC ZC engine. Many of these were fitted with fuel injection as standard.
In September 1989 Honda also added the 1595 cc B16A VTEC engine to the lineup outside of America. The VTEC engine used Variable Valve Timing and Lift to provide increased power in the high rev range, while still allowing low fuel consumption and better idling at low RPMs. The B16A produced 150bhp (112kW; 152PS) in the European 1.6i-VT model (where the engine bore the designation B16A1) and 157bhp (117kW; 159PS) in the JDM SiR model. The CR-X was the second car to receive a VTEC engine, shortly after the Integra, although the CR-X was more popular and common.
The VTEC-equipped models also received a makeover, with updated bumpers, lights, bonnet/hood, brakes, suspension and dashboard design amongst other things. Additionally, some of these design changes were added to the concurrent non-VTEC models.