By Steve & Tamami Laser
Honda’s N-Box has been a huge success in Japan where it’s one of the best-selling Kei cars on the market. And now the lineup is preparing to expand again with a new spinoff dubbed N-Box Slash. That’s how you pronounce it, yet “N/” will become the logo for the car.
To maximize cabin room, the gas tank is located under the seat while the compact transversely mounted front-drive powerplant takes up little space under the hood.
Kei cars are remarkably small by American standards. The size is limited to 11.2 feet (3.4 m) in overall length, 4.9 feet (1.48 m) wide and a generous 6.6 feet (2 m) high. Engines can’t be larger than 660 cc and passenger capacity is limited to four.
Introduced to the Japanese market in late 2011 and joined by the N-Box+ (above) the following year, it features minivan-style sliding doors and a choice of normally aspirated or turbocharged 660 cc DOHC 3-cylinder engine teamed with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Another version launched in late 2013 called N-WGN (above) has a bit more sporty styling. We saw this new model unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show. The N-WGN Custom offers a G Turbo Package (above) with front- or all-wheel drive.
In addition to the dramatic upswept beltline styling, the new N/ has swing-out rear side doors like N-WGN yet the door handles are hidden near the roof to give it “coupe-like” styling (or at least two-door styling).
While this creates a custom look, the real humdinger is the choice of styling themes: “Street Rod,” “Bright Rod,” “California Diner” (above – our favorite), “Hawaii Glide,” and “Tennessee Session” (below).
There’s little chance we’ll see Honda’s N series in the U.S. While it could be modified to meet crash-test and emissions standards (if Smart can do it…) tiny cars are not popular enough to justify the investment. In the meantime, we can dream of cruising Odaiba in Honda’s N/ California Diner.
News source and photos courtesy of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Story (commentary) © 2014 CarNichiWa.com