Sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,300 – $4,000*


1993 Honda Civic del Sol Si


1993 Honda Civic del Sol S


1994 Honda del Sol interior


1994 Honda del Sol


1997 Honda Civic del Sol

Pros:
  • Acceleration (Si and VTEC)
  • Antilock brakes (VTEC)
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • No antilock brakes for lesser models
  • Cargo room
  • Noise
  • Rear visibility

Any del Sol ranks as cheap and cheerful transportation, and might be worth a close look for that reason alone. Naturally, you also get Honda’s well-deserved reputation for quality and dependability.

Overview

Replacing the departed CRX, Honda’s uniquely styled, Civic-based 2-seat “semiconvertible” opens to the sun via a lift-off aluminum roof panel. Sharing front-drive running gear with Civics, del Sol was the first open Honda sold in the U.S. market. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine powered the base S model, while the sportier Si carried a 1.6-liter 125-horsepower four with variable valve timing. Five-speed manual and optional 4-speed automatic transmissions were available, and a driver-side airbag was standard. So were power windows and a tilt steering wheel.

Yearly Updates

1994 Civic del Sol
Dual airbags were installed for ’94. A VTEC edition joined the del Sol lineup, with a 160-horsepower twin-cam engine that featured variable-valve timing. The VTEC came only with a 5-speed manual gearbox, and rode a tauter suspension that included stiffer stabilizer cars and springs, and 195/60VR14 performance tires.
1995 Civic del Sol
Antilock braking became standard in the VTEC del Sol, but was unavailable in other models.
1996 Civic del Sol
A 106-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine went into the base S model for 1996, with either 5-speed manual shift or an automatic transmission. All del Sols gained a redesigned front bumper and air dam.
1997 Civic del Sol
No change was evident for 1997, which turned out to be the del Sol’s final season.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Initially, the base S model carried a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, while the sportier Si held a 125-horsepower, 1.6-liter four with variable-valve timing. A 160-horsepower engine powered the VTEC model, added in 1994. The 1.5-liter engine disappeared after 1995, replaced by a 106-horsepower 1.6-liter four for the base S model. S and Si models had a standard 5-speed manual transmission, with 4-speed automatic optional. Only manual shift was available in the high-performance VTEC edition.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.5/91
Engine HP 102
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 98
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
35/41
29/36
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 106
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 103
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
34/39
29/36
35.1

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 125
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 106
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
30/36
28/35
33.4
28.9
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 125
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 106
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
30/36
28/35
33.4
28.9
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 111
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

26/30

25.1

Road Test

Fun to drive, the del Sol is an impressive performer–at least with manual shift. Acceleration ranks as good in the S model, enthusiastic in the midlevel Si, and downright inspiring in the high-performance VTEC. An early Si with manual shift sprinted to 60 mph from a standing start in just 8.8 seconds.

Automatic-transmission and base-model performance are less pleasing. On the plus side, the tiny coupes handle well and maneuver nicely, with good chassis reflexes, helped by responsive power steering. All models are economical. Hard braking isn’t so great, showing nosedive and only fair resistance to wheel lockup. Unlike most convertibles, wind buffeting is minimal with the top removed, but body flex and twisting are noticeable on rough roads. With the roof panel in place, the car feels more solid. However, early models had problems with the roof seal that caused water leaks and loud squeaks.

Head room is good, leg room ample. Visibility would be fine, except that thick rear pillars create huge blind spots. Two locking bins are located behind the seats, accompanied by a small glovebox and a shallow center console bin. The dashboard ranks as excellent. The small, lightweight top lifts off and stows easily, but cuts into trunk space. Engine and road noise get rather strong.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Honda Civic del Sol Si 5-speed

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 1
10%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 36

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
93.3 157.3 66.7 49.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.5 11.9 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.5 40.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Civic del Sol 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 118
Injury 103
Theft 156

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air-conditioner condenser corrodes due allowing the refrigerant to leak out. (1994-95)
Blower motor
Description: The blower motor makes a high-pitched squeal, which only some people (and possibly dogs) can hear. (1994)
Climate control
Description: Temperature-control lever can be hard to move due to binding linkage for the air mix door. (1993-94)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks into the trunk through the antenna mounting hole. (1993-94)
Seatbelts/safety
Description: Seatbelts may not retract or may retract slowly. Also, the button that keeps the seatbelt tongue from sliding down breaks. The belts should be serviced under the Honda Lifetime Seat Belt Limited Warranty. (1993-97)

Recall History

1994
Description: Passenger airbag module can separate during deployment, and airbag would not inflate properly.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.