First Look: Honda N-Box Custom (Video)
Check out Japan’s best-selling kei car, which is stuffed full of tiny goodness.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the N-Box to Honda despite it looking like an Element that has been left in the rain too long. It’s incredibly popular in Japan and sells around 20,000 units per month in its very competitive segment. Whether it would have any degree of popularity beyond a cult status outside of Japan, we’ll probably never know. Thankfully though, HondaPro Jason is always ready to travel and put up a video on cars we may never see on his YouTube channel.
The first thing we notice is just how boxy Honda’s N-Box Custom is. Kei cars are mostly boxy as it’s the only way to make the most of the kei car dimension regulations. Cars that meet the regulations get tax breaks and cheaper insurance as well as the ability to fit in parking spaces.
The concept of the kei car was born out of Japan’s post World War 2 financial devastation. The only transport people could really afford was motorcycles, and motorcycles can’t carry people or goods. Kei cars were inexpensive and didn’t use a lot of valuable materials, but still provided convenient and cheap workhorses for small businesses to use to get up and running. Now, they are promoted to help keep down emissions and to make the most of limited space in cities.
The Honda kei car Jason is checking out here is the top of the line model. The N-Box Custom comes with a CVT transmission and a 660cc engine. However, it can also be optioned for a turbocharger if the naturally-aspirated 57 horsepower isn’t quite enough. For reasons we can’t figure out for a tiny city car, all-wheel drive is also an option.
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Jason shows us just how packed with features and creativity the N-Box Custom is. Honda really has used everything they can to fit as much as they can in the tiny package while leaving space for occupants. One of the benefits of tight regulations is that companies have to be creative to get the best out of them. Something Honda has turned into a specialty.