By Tamami Laser; with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan
Honda’s N-BOX is so popular in Japan that sales have topped more than 1 million units since launching in 2011. The N-BOX has been the top-selling mini-vehicle (also known as “Kei Car”) in Japan for two years in a row (2015 and 2016). It also held this title for 2012 and 2013. Now, Honda has debuted an all-new second-generation N-BOX.
Introducing the new Honda N-BOX during a press conference in Japan are (right to left) Sato Kashiwa, Creative Director, Asako Suzuki, Honda Motor Co. Executive Officer and Sales Planning Manager, Kimiyoshi Teratani, HMC Operating Officer, and Kiyonari Shirato, Sr. Researcher, Honda Institute of Technology. Yasuhiro Nakada (left), Honda R&D Center Power Products Development Supervisor, holds Honda’s new LiB-AID E500 portable battery inverter power source.
The new N-BOX was created “for the happiness of families in Japan,” with the goal of setting a new standard for family type small cars. N-BOX rides on a new platform, offers new powertrains, increased comfort inside the cabin, and enhanced safety features. (video: Honda)
Wrapped in all-new yet unmistakable styling, N-BOX models receive standard LED headlights with ring-shaped positioning lights, a high-efficiency floor frame and high-tensile steel. Ultra-thin front pillars help to improve outward visibility. Sophisticated vehicle assembly techniques employ laser brazing technology to join the roof and body side panels. Vehicle weight has been reduced, while fuel economy and passenger comfort is improved.
This video (in Japanese) shows the complete press conference in Japan where Honda Motor Co. executives introduce the new N-BOX to the media. (video: Honda)
N-BOX gains the Honda SENSING™ suite of high-tech safety and driver-assistive technologies, including a new feature to help prevent false backward starts. The new N-BOX is the first among all Honda mini-vehicles to feature Honda SENSING™ as standard.
N-BOX customers in Japan can select the 660cc DOHC naturally aspirated 3-cylinder engine that puts out 43kW (58PS) at 7,300 rpm and 65N-m (6.6 kgf-m) of torque at 4,800 rpm, or the turbo with 47kW (64PS) at 6,000 rpm and 104N-m (10.6 kgf-m) at 2,600 rpm. Both are teamed with the CVT and offer front- or four-wheel drive.
Honda’s i-VTEC system has been added to the N-BOX “Earth Dreams” engine. An electric wastegate is a new feature for the available turbocharged engine. Performance and response for the standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and suspension system have also been improved. (video: Honda)
Sporty new N-BOX Custom models (above) also debut, offering a unique look via the “Celebrity Style” theme. The front fascia projects a wide stance while the grille extends to the corners. Sequential turn-signals are mounted above the grille. New inline LED headlights illuminate six lights on low-beam and nine lights on high beam. A full-width garnish that adorns the tailgate is flanked by three-dimensional style rear combination lights.
The new N-BOX receives improved space utilization inside the cabin. Floor surface space is expanded by 25 mm. The front passenger seat offers a 570 mm slide mechanism for increased versatility. Rear liftover height is reduced by 75 mm for easier loading of items like a bicycle, while floor-to-ceiling height is increased by 55 mm.
The modern instrument panel with a layered look projects a high-quality appearance. Honda relocated the meter cluster to the top of the instrument panel (above the steering wheel) for easier viewing and added a 4.2-inch LCD Multi-Information Display. Audio and climate controls are easy to reach by the driver and front passenger.
Flexible four-passenger seating offers a choice of trim and color combinations. New seat frames, cushion shape and thickness help to improve comfort. The shape of the under-floor fuel tank is modified to assist space efficiency. A new saddle-type tank that straddles the driveshaft is used on 4WD models. A 360-degree super UV/IR cut package is applied to all glass to reduce the amount of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) rays inside the cabin.
Sophisticated in-dash multimedia systems are available for N-BOX. Navigation systems offer 7- or 8-inch touchscreens and a wealth of features including “Drive T@lker” that corresponds to destination search using a smartphone app, and Apple CarPlay™.
Honda SENSING™ features for N-BOX include Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), False Start Prevention, Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System, Lead Car Departure Notification System, Traffic Sign Recognition, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) System, Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), False Backward Start Prevention and Auto High Beam headlights.
Honda’s sales target for the new N-BOX is 15,000 units per month. Prices range from ¥1,385,640 (about US$12,620) for the base front-drive N-BOX G with Honda Sensing to ¥1,880,280 (about $17,100) for the N-BOX G-EX Turbo with 4WD. N-BOX Custom models run from ¥1,698,840 (about $15,500) for the G-L with Honda Sensing to ¥2,080,080 (about $19,000) for the G-EX Turbo 4WD.
LiB-AID E500 Portable Battery Inverter Power Source
Here’s another new product from Honda that’s an ideal accessory for the N-BOX: The new LiB-AID E500 also has gone on sale in Japan at Honda Cars dealers. Honda says the compact portable battery inverter power source* supplies up to 500W(VA) of electricity using Honda’s unique sine-wave inverter technology. The unit’s lithium-ion battery can be recharged from a wall socket or a car’s accessory socket for indoor or outdoor use.
E500 is designed to supply stable electricity similar to a household power grid, allowing the use of appliances that are affected by the quality of the power supply, such as PCs and microprocessor-controlled equipment.
Honda says the E500 supplies direct current (DC) electricity as conventional batteries and power sources can, and also is equipped with an inverter that can supply 100V alternating current (AC) electricity.
Honda’s quoted recharge time using a wall socket (in Japan) or a car’s accessory socket is around 6 hours. Once fully charged, E500 can power a 300W appliance for about an hour, or a 500W appliance for around 35 minutes.
LiB-AID E500 JN carries a retail price in Japan of ¥79,920 (about US$730), while E500 JN1, including an accessory socket charger, lists for ¥86,400 (about $790) (prices include 8 percent consumption tax).
* LiB-AID doesn’t generate electricity. It stores it in its lithium-ion battery to supply electricity. Generators can generate electricity using gas- or gas-powered engines to power an alternator, but don’t store electricity.
News source, photos and videos courtesy the copyright holder, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. Features and specifications for N-BOX and LiB-AID E500 apply to models sold in Japan. Product information, specifications and prices are subject to change without notice.
Story (text) © 2017 CarNichiWa.com