Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Honda S660

2015 Honda S660

Once upon a time in 1991, Honda once made a midship kei car called the Beat and it's a wonderful kei sports car offered style and driving excitement never before seen in Japan. Now, fast forward to today, and it's time to meet its worthy successor to the fabled Beat. This is the new S660, and yes, this is the real deal. The midship Honda kei-car is back and this time, it was made to take on the metropolitan and open roads while following the Beat's footsteps.

2015 Honda S660

It costs 1,980,000 Yen and even though it's more expensive than Daihatsu's modern Copen, the S660 promises to be the kei sportscar enthusiasts wanted to have. Even though it's an underpowered sports car, performance is irrelevant because this is a lightweight midship sportscar focuses on its handling characteristics.

Before telling you about the S660's character, let's look at the design and at first glance, this is much like a mini-me NSX just like you expect from the concept car as seen from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Unlike most production cars stripping off the cool stuff from concept cars, the S660 looks nearly identical to its concept form and that's good.

2015 Honda S660 interior

The interior looks much like the old NSX but it's driver focused so the driver can focus solely on driving unless you opt for the optional InterNavi which is kinda distracting to see directions on your GPS in such a small screen. If I have a problem about the S660's interior, it's the rear visibility because of its small size. Because the back's heavily occupied by the engine, looking at the back while driving in reverse is a nightmare and you'll never know what to expect from behind. Cyclists? Lorries? Pedestrians? You can't really tell because you couldn't see what's behind at all.

There's another problem with the S660 and I'm talking about the roof because this doesn't have a closing mechanism. You can't close it manually, nor letting it close at the touch of a button. You just have to connect it yourself because the roof is located at the front and when it does start to rain, you just have to stop, rush at the boot, get the roof, and connect it. Don't worry, this isn't as complicated as attaching a roof on your Lamborghini convertible but this is still a time-consuming experience because by the time you attached the roof, the sun shines on you. Bummer...

2015 Honda S660

The performance is the turning point for the S660 and the engine that powers it is a 64HP 660 turbocharged engine derived from Honda's N kei cars. Does the old Beat had that kind of heart? Nope. What about gearboxes? Unlike the Beat which has a 5-speed manual, the new S660 comes with either a 6-speed manual or a CVT gearbox and if you're wondering why there's a CVT in the S660, that's because of fuel economy and this gearbox allows the S660 to have a fuel economy of 24.2km/L.

On the CVT variant, it offers a Sport Mode, which allows this gearbox to be more responsive and more engaging. Those paddle shifters on this variant are always ready when you're going to engage its Manual Mode but even though the CVT variant is fine, it's still flawed by the good-old 6MT variant which adds some zest to the S660. My pick would be the 6MT variant because this keeps the enthusiasts alive and running while driving.

When you handle the S660, you will notice that all of the Beat's magic retains thanks to is sport-tuned suspension. Get the hammer down and the S660 really shows how a kei sports car should be, light, agile, and fun, just like the good old Beat!

The S660 is an easy car to drive and it doesn't really matter if you're not concentrating because even though the engine maybe underpowered, its mobility is highly accessible, even beginners can slip though the bends when they put their foot down. Yes. You can powerslide in those but just for a short time because it's a too little car to slide through. It's a very sneaky car and you'll never know what kind of tricks will this kei car pull out.

So, what can I say about the S660? Well, what I like about the S660 is how the Beat's teachings remained in its handling characteristics, its sporty design, and the way it pleased the drivers. What I don't like about the S660 is its pricing too much for a small car, the poor rear visibility, and the roof that requires too much manual labor. Love it or hate it, this car will make you super jealous because it's made for Japan only.

Colors: Premium Star White Pearl, Admiral Grey Metallic, Premium Mystic Night Pearl, Premium Beach Blue Pearl, Carnival Yellow II, and Flame Red.

Photo: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

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