Best Honda Civic to modify
In the pantheon of very efficient production cars, there are perhaps three Hondas that truly stand out: the first generation Insight hybrid, the lean burn Civic VX, and the CRX HF.
Recently, a CRX HF owner further cemented that car’s status on the list by achieving a stunning 118 mpg (US) in a fuel economy rally in New York state.
The rally, organized by the Adirondack Motor Enthusiasts Club (AMEC), took place August 23 over 104 miles of scenic, lightly travelled, winding roads through the southern Adirondack mountains (with admittedly very MPG-friendly speed limits of 45 to 55 mph).
It’s fair to say the 118 mpg performance that Chang Ho Kim coaxed from his modified 1989 CRX surprised event officials. The marshalls – who observed each of the 25 competitors’ vehicles being filled to the brim both at the start and finish for the most accurate MPG calculations – brought Chang’s CRX back to the pump several times at the end to ensure they’d squeezed as much fuel as possible into its tank.
(For comparison, the next highest scores were 106 mpg (US) from an ecomodded 1998 Geo Metro/Pontiac Firefly and 90 mpg (US) from a 2000 VW Jetta TDI – more details here.)
In stock form, the 2nd generation Honda CRX HF is a good platform for fuel economy. It’s light (1830 lbs), has a small 1.5L 62 horsepower engine, and relatively tall gearing. It’s rated at 41 city / 50 highway / 45 combined mpg (US) by the EPA’s revised 2008 ratings.
Modifications, mechanical & racing experience helped secure win
How did Chang Ho Kim pull a 118 mpg rabbit out of his hat? EcoModder recently spoke to Chang to shed some light on his background, his CRX and his driving techniques.
EM: Let’s start with a bit about yourself. What you do for work & fun?
CHK: I am a mechanic in my own shop, FunHondas, in Maynard, Massachusetts. I mostly do general repair and maintenance of Honda/Acura cars. I do a lot of tire work as I am a preferred installer for You can type in zipcode 01754 to see what is said about me and my shop on their website.