Originally Posted by kam327
Very interesting. I too went to the site and noticed that the dozen or so versions of that car in 1987 varied widely in gas mileage, with as little as 26 city / 30 hwy with a 5MT just like the subject car and same engine displacement. How the hell did they increase fuel economy by 70% for the "HF" version?
The only light the wikipedia page sheds on it is that the HF version weighed about 150 lbs less than the regular version, which since the regular version weighed only 1,865 lbs is a substantial reduction.
Of course those cars all weighed so little back then due to a lack of any safety features or creature comforts, that's how they stood a chance of getting reasonable mileage despite a lack of direct injection and other technical goodies.
Which leads us to the fact that you may have gotten close or in some limited cases even better mileage than the '12 Focus in your 25-year-old compact but you would've been toast in any sort of accident whereas the Focus will keep you relatively safe as shown by several posts on this site.
I can shed a little more light on that, the "HF" Civic's and CRX's had a completely different drivetrain , they used a special 1.5 3valve VTEC-E
(the "E" being a very different design than the regular VTEC systems of the day). Whereas the regular VTEC was designed to adjust timing and lift for power, the "E" system was for economy only(lots of overlap to reburn exhaust gases)... they used a small 1.5 motor, that got a measly 60hp (the regular 1.6EFI motors in the other civics were around 91hp by comparison), and had an aggressive EGR system that reburned the spent gas over and over again making it quite the gas mizer. These cars were pathetically slow, even though they wieghed less than 2300lbs. They also used special lighter wheels (they had expensive forged aluminum wheels and hard LRR type tires). I think their may have even been some underbody plastic covers (completely covering the lower side of the engine and car) as well. (back then, no cars had the undertrays like they do today. It wasn't a very "fun" car to drive, but, they were quite amazing on gas... LOL.