Cute and stylish aren't often words associated with Honda's current lineup, even overseas. However, Honda has rolled out this new retro-inspired, chic hatchback called the N-One.
The underpinnings come from the aptly-named Honda N BOX and N BOX + kei cars currently on sale in Japan. All Honda N models use a CVT to power either the front or all four wheels, and the N-ONE is powered by a 660cc engine with or without a turbocharger. Pricing begins at ¥1,150,000 ($14,375) for the base N-One G with front-wheel drive and the naturally-aspirated engine. Honda also gives customers the option to step up the N-One Premium for ¥1,360,000 ($16,997), which adds upgraded interior materials and more exterior brightwork.
But the big deal about the N-ONE is its style. Despite being a micro car, it has maxi styling. The design was inspired by the 1967 N360, Honda's first mass-produced minicar. The N-ONE has a modern update of the cheery front fascia, with circular headlights that stick up from the rectangular grille like Mickey Mouse ears. In lieu of multiple chrome bars, the headlight and grille surround is done here in black, with a body-color strip separating the upper and lower grilles. The entire car is slab-sided and very upright – like the original – and the small, mid-mounted taillights echo those from the N360. Inside, the dash is a more-rounded version of the dramatically vertical setup in the N BOX on which the N-One is based; a large infotainment screen sits in the middle of the dashboard, while a pod with the shifter, audio, and climate controls juts out in the middle of the cabin. Modern touches like LED interior and exterior lighting, xenon headlights, and a two-tone paint job are all available.
Sadly, the five-door N-One will never make it to the States. Not only is it right-hand drive only, at just around 133.3 inches long, the N-One is shorter than the Fiat 500 by a full three inches. To better utilize the limited interior space, Honda has fitted the fold-flat Magic Seat system out of the Fit in the N-ONE, which is made possible by placing the gas tank near the center of the car.
Do you think the N-One would make a good competitor for the Fiat 500? Should Honda still pursue quirky, fun niche vehicles for the North American market? Let us know what you think in the comments.