As a 1989 VW 1.6 NA owner, I love mine. I know a couple people that have replaced the Electric fuel choke with a mechanical one and run their car without an alternator and one even has a mechanical starter that I thought was rather interesting looking.
As for the CRX, while reliable. That engine will be long gone while the diesel VW engine being an iron block and not aluminum will far outlast it
Can't really find any technical documents, but Aluminum blocks require cylinder sleeves which need to be replaced every couple 100k miles, whereas iron and steel blocks do not require sleeves because they are not soft metals. The problem with iron and steel blocks is when they overheat and warp the damage is far greater than it would be for an aluminum block.
I am not aware of any aluminum block diesel engines, mainly because the sheer pressure of a diesel combustion would punch holes in a thin walled aluminum engine and the sleeves would possibly warp from pressure.
I do like CRX's and Honda has a name in quality and reliability.