They don’t make ’em like they used to

honda_crx.03The 1988 Honda Civic CRX got 57 mpg! That’s better than any car on the road today, hybrids included. And it didn’t take any special research or new technology. It was just efficient. Plain and simple.

The ’88 Civic had optional air conditioning, but a/c doesn’t account for a 30+ mpg loss of efficiency. By my estimations (through watching my gas mileage average), you lose less than 5 mpg by running the a/c. So why the change? Because Americans want more, more, more. (but they don’t want to pay more at the pump)

Honda says that a small car like the CRX wouldn’t stand up to today’s crash testing. However, the Smart car gets a 4 star crash test rating because of its more durable design. Check out this video of a smart crash. And a video of an ’07 Civic. Neither look fun, but you can see that the Smart’s frame stays in shape. Small cars, with thoughtful design, can be safe.

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2 thoughts on “They don’t make ’em like they used to

  1. i think the main reason it was so efficient is because it was light weight. it didn’t need much to propel it, so a small 4-banger did the job. few options weighed it down, no power steering, no power breaks. the thing is, it really didn’t need any power anything because it was so light and the tires were sufficiently thin, it was easy to turn and stop the car.

    this is something a lot more people should complain about today, i think, is the weight of modern day cars. not enough focus is being spent on it. the weight of a modern-day mini cooper is 2500lbs, the crx maxed out at 1985lbs. and i totally agree, experts cannot say that the weight is needed to survive impacts, the smart only weighs 1800lbs and it survives impacts beautifully!

    the hybrids are going to have a big problem in the weight category though. a tesla roadster is 2500lbs, compared to a lotus exige at around 2100lbs–pretty much all battery.

  2. Alex, you said it!

    The new Tata car (look for post soon) weighs even less. Some people won’t drive a lightweight, efficient car for fear of being hit by an SUV. Even with a sturdier body. It always makes me wonder why we would excuse SUVs and forgo efficiency. No one ever says… “that car is too heavy for American highways.”

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