Navigating Through the Honda Del Sol and its Targa Top

Table of Contents

Let’s learn about the Honda Del Sol, a two-seater Targa-top car with multiple engine options and top-notch performances. This is also the vehicle that became an icon of the nineties. But why so? We will find it out together in this article.

Overview of Honda Del Sol

We all love fast convertible cars that combine performance and style. The Honda Del Sol is one of those and definitely the vehicle we need in our garage. It is a two-seater car by Honda. It offers a distinctive style, thrilling performance, and a cozy cabin. All these features have urged automobile lovers from around the world to fall in love with the Honda Del Sol.

Honda manufactured the del Sol from 1992 until 1998. This vehicle features a body that mimics a mid-engine car design and is based on the Honda Civic front-engine chassis. In the 1990s, the Del Sol became the icon of that era.

There’s a lot more to this model that we will dig together in this article.

History

The Japanese manufacturer Honda produced the Honda Del Sol in 1992. It replaced the Honda CR-Xin at that time. There was a very famous project, i.e., EG2, which had the goal to change and bring a positive impact in the small sports market with its features and styling. The Del Sol was specially produced under that project.

This vehicle gained popularity among car fans quickly because it combined the features an of a coupe with the fun of a convertible. One of the distinctive and versatile features is its removable roof panel. By folding the rooftop into the trunk, the vehicle is transformed into a semi-convertible. These are the features that made the Del Sol the successor of the popular Honda CR-X.

Throughout its production period, the Del Sol was offered many engine options. The table below shows the summary of the engine options and their performances (Approximately) in respective years.

Honda Del Sol Model YearEngine OptionsPerformance (Approx.)
19931.5L SOHC 8-valve I4  102 hp, 98 lb-ft torque
19941.5L SOHC 16-valve I4125 hp, 106 lb-ft torque
19951.5L SOHC VTEC 16-valve I4160 hp, 111 lb-ft torque
19961.6L SOHC VTEC 16-valve I4125 hp, 106 lb-ft torque
19971.6L SOHC VTEC 16-valve I4125 hp, 106 lb-ft torque  

There is no doubt that the Honda del Sol was made to be an icon in the nineties in the sports car market. The unique roof design of the Del Sol led to its elegant and streamlined look, making it one of its iconic features. S and Si were the two main adjustment levels; the latter has additional performance-oriented components.

In 1994, this car underwent a minor facelift, which updated its both front and rear styling. This update resulted in the modification of the vehicle’s headlamp and taillight designs.

In 1997, Honda stopped the production of the Honda Dell Sol, and a new variant was introduced in its place, i.e., the Honda CR-Z. The Honda del Sol still has a sentimental place among its fans because of its adaptable Targa rooftop and sleek appearance.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

This vehicle kept giving multiple engine options throughout its production period. The displacement of its engines varied from 1.5 to 1.6 liters. It also included a number of advanced technologies, including VTEC (variable valve timing and lift electronic control) and SOHC (single overhead cam).

There were basically 5 key engine options. The first engine, which was produced in 1993, used to produce about 102 horsepower with 95 lb-ft of torque and 1.2L SOHC 8-valve 14. The one in 1994 with a 1.5-liter SOHC 16-valve I4 used to produce 106 lb-ft of torque and about 125 horsepower. The third available option had improved performance because of VTEC technology in 1995. This 1.5L SOHC VTEC 16-valve 14 was used to produce about 160 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque. Lastly, In 1996 and 1997, a 1.6L SOHC VTEC 16-valve I4 with 125 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque was developed.

The Honda manufacturers normally produced both manual and automatic gearboxes in the Del Sol. Both aid the drivers to get a suitable driving experience freely. As the vehicle has multiple engine options, thus its performance was highly dependent on the type of engine. The Honda del Sol became famous because of its sleek, small stature and its delightful ride, particularly in city settings.

Exterior

The Honda Del Sol features a removable Targa top, which allows it to be transformed from a closed coupe to an open-air vehicle. Since the top can be stowed in the trunk, it offers a convertible-like feel. Its two-seater configuration comes with a lift back design. Another defining visual element of the Del Sol is the pop-up headlights, sporty characteristic features of that era.

Moreover, the car used to come with wheel options featuring alloy wheels with sizes ranging from 13 to 15 inches. There’s a different wraparound design at the rear window, which again gives the Del Sol a unique profile.

The Honda Del Sol underwent a significant weight lift in 1995, which resulted in a complete restyling of its front and rear area, thereby giving it a refreshed appearance.

Inside the Honda Del Sol

Honda vehicles are truly driver’s cars with all the well-purpose and well-arranged interiors. From the shifters to the pedals and armrests, everything is placed such that it gives comfort in the long run.

This two-seater car is sporty and compact. However, its Targa top is the main feature, which makes it quite different from others. Other than that, the dashboard and instrument panel are quite state-forward, with the tachometer and speedometer being framed right by the steering wheel.

The hood from over the instrument panel is equipped with hazard lights, cruise control, auxiliary lights, and the rear defroster. Things don’t remain too smooth in the cabin, as you have to bend into an awkward position to reach the center storage compartment. Similarly, the cup holder rack is also part of the storage lid, which is a hassle in itself to remove. Moreover, there are lockable storage compartments behind the seats as well, but they need the seat backs forward to be reached.

Though it is a compact car with an even congested interior, there’s no compromise on the comfort. It is equipped with bucket seats that feel sporty and offer an outclass driving experience while also maintaining a level of comfort for everyday use.

Though the Honda Del Sol is a small car, its cargo capacity is surprisingly 10.5 cubic feet, which is pretty modest for a sports car. Its design allows for maximized utility without compromising the sleek profile of the vehicle.

As for the infotainment, there’s not anything too extravagant. It is just a 4-speaker system, 20-watt AM/FM/ cassette system, typical of that time.

The three of its available trim levels are priced as below:

Model YearPrice
S$15,080
Si$17,300
VTEC$19,600
Driving Experience

When in motion, the Del Sol has more of a family characteristic, being nimble and light. Then there’s a double wishbone suspension in Honda that makes it more responsive. Though the car remains under control and is pretty solid, some of its rigidity has been lost due to the targa top.

Overall, it is a lightweight construction vehicle with responsive handling and nimble chassis that makes it such a fun-to-drive vehicle. The option to remove the Targa top added a unique open-air element, making it an even more thrilling experience.

The VTEC trim is found to have better and larger tires with even stiffer suspension settings. Resultantly, it gives more flat cornering and a firmer ride.

Conclusion

Overall, the Honda Del Sol has many unique features to offer. From its targa top to pop-up headlights, there are many. Unfortunately, these features are not without malfunctions. In general, the Del Sol has all the virtues of an intelligent Honda, combining technology and quality. It is indeed a livable sporty vehicle, with quite a reasonable price for all those amazing features.

Pros

  • convertible-like experience
  • practical interior
  • lightweight construction and responsive handling
  • gives a sporty look

Cons

  • limited passenger capacity
  • pop-up headlights are prone to maintenance issues

Automotive Journalist Verdict

Automotive experts found the Honda CR-X del Sol quite alluring, and we all know the reason: The Targa top design. Though journalists praised it for being an outstanding car in terms of performance, they couldn’t resist criticizing the limitation of cargo space. For this reason, Del Sol faced quite a tough competition in its segment.

FAQs

How is the Del Sol in terms of fuel efficiency?

The Del Sol is estimated to reach 25 mpg for the city and 30 for the highway. However, its combined mpg turns out to be 27, which is pretty modest for its class.

What are common maintenance issues with the Del Sol’s pop-up headlights?

Though pop-up headlights are one of its identifying features, many users have reported problems related to alignment and motor reliability. Regular maintenance can ensure proper functioning.

Written by: Motorcardata

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