Typically, the Montreal Auto Show is not a venue known for concept car introductions, but while Honda was busy showing off its Urban SUV concept in Detroit, it unwrapped this new Gear subcompact concept at the Canadian auto show.
According to Honda’s brief release, the Gear is inspired by fixed-gear bicycles, but we can’t help but see cues cribbed from a handful of Hondas mixed throughout. The front clip has a retro vibe much like the new N-One microcar sold in Japan, but appears draw its inspiration more from the first-generation Civic than it does the N360. Moving to the side, the cab-forward profile screams Honda Fit, but the lack of rear doors, the kick-up in the quarter windows, and slanted C-pillars recall the last European Civic Type R. Squint had, and the smoked wrap-around tail lamps could remind you of the third-generation Civic hatchback.
Despite all these old-school Civic cues, there’s a good chance this car is considerably smaller than today’s Civic. Honda provides no dimensional detail, but the Gear is described as a subcompact – it could possibly be Fit-sized, but there’s also the possibility the car is even smaller. Honda says the Gear is an approach “to providing the automotive answer for young, urban, Gen-Y lifestyles” – a phrase we’ve heard used to describe the likes of the Chevrolet Spark and Scion iQ.
We haven’t heard much about Honda looking to pursue such a vehicle in these parts of the world other than the retro-cute N-One wasn’t designed for North American consumption, and likely couldn’t be re-engineered for this market even if Honda were interested in offering a stylish, subcompact laden with personality. If nothing else, the Gear suggests Honda could very well be interested in a vehicle for our shores – but nothing is certain at this point in time.
You tell us: does the Gear speak to you? Could it play in the sub-compact niche here in North America, and serve as formidable competition to the Fiat 500, Chevy Spark, and Scion iQ, among others? What would this car need in order to succeed in North America?