1996 Honda Del Sol

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1996 Honda Del Sol
Available in 3 styles:  Del Sol 2dr Coupe S shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

30–33 city / 36–38 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2
1996 Honda Del Sol 3.5 2
$ 4,721-5,397
April 21, 1996
There has been a tendency in the last few years for two-seater fun motoring to be lost in the facets of advanced technology and higher prices.

At American Honda Motor Co., the high-tech aspect is retained. The cost of the 1996 Honda del Sol remains in the very affordable category, giving drivers with tight budgets a chance to enjoy sunshine motoring.

Back in the early days of the old MG two-seater, open- air motoring was a rather spartan proposition, both from the standpoint of mechanical development and creature comforts.

Today's open two-seater del Sol is a graphic example of the strides that have been made in engineering and driver/passenger accommodations.

The '96 del Sol is offered in three models, an S, Si and VTEC, and two configurations, a coupe or roadster. A lightweight roof panel that can be removed and stored in the truck converts the all-weather coupe into an open-air two-seater.

In convertibles, this open-air effect obviously is achieved by the push of a button. When the top is put back up, you still have a convertible with a fabric roof, not a hardtop.

Hairshirt motoring went out of style with high-button shoes. As a consequence, Honda's top-of-the-line del Sol VTEC model has such standard features as AM/FM stereo cassette, a power accessory group, dual airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and 14-inch alloy wheels.

The VTEC is somewhat like the adage, "Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?" It is the most expensive model with a base price of $19,600.

The engine in the S and Si is a 1.6-liter (97-cubic-inch) four-cylinder, but, as you go up in model grade, the technology provides progressively more power. The del Sol VTEC has a twin-cam four-cylinder motor with a slightly different bore/stroke configuration that displaces 97.3 cubic inches.

The del Sol S has a new engine for '96. It is a 16-valve 4 that powers the all-new Honda Civic line and is rated at 106-horsepower. This motor is the first production gasoline engine to meet California's low-emission vehicle standards, and features tumble-flow intake porting, which improves engine driveability and fuel economy.

While the single overhead cam motor in the S may not be as powerful as those in the Si or del Sol VTEC, the frugal- minded will still get 33 mpg city and 38 mpg on the highway, all for a base price of $15,080.

That's with a five-speed manual transmission. A four- speed automatic raises the price $1,000 and drops the mileage to 29/36.

Actually, the Si model uses a 16-valve (four valves per cylinder) variable valve timing motor, but in single overhead cam form. This engine is rated at 127-horsepower, and has been given improved low and mid-range throttle response.

It certainly is well above the performance benchmark of one horsepower per cubic inch, but pales in comparison to the performance of the 1.6 motor in the del Sol VTEC. This engine is a 16-valve double overhead cam 4 and about as high tech as you can get.

Power is rated at 160- horse power, or a rather potent 1.6 horse per cubic inch. At this level, Honda says, the VTEC engine produces more power per liter than any other normally aspirated (non-supercharged or turbocharged) motor on the road.

Apparently, Honda feels that its del Sol VTEC is a roadster or coupe for the road racer types, since the only transmission offered is a five-speed manual.

Its dual overhead cam engine and standard amenities put the cost up a bit. However, with a curb weight of but 2,522 pounds, small overall dimensions, and a five-speed gearbox, it lies in the category of a low flyer.

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

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