TORQUE GT ● BLOG
Is the Honda S660 the greatest KEI car ever made?
Although Kei cars have been available in Japan for the past 50 plus years we’re starting to experience a greater demand for smaller city going vehicles in many areas of the world and especially here in the UK. You only have to spend a short time in city traffic to realise the advantage of driving a smaller, more agile car.
The S660 offers obvious practical advantages to city driving but the best thing is the unrelenting smile it brings to your face. Its simply impossible not to love this car.
But before all that, a little background as to how the Kei car came about. Due to economic difficulties facing Japanese households post WWII there was a clear need for more affordable vehicles. The Kei car was born and although extremely basic at first and limited to a 100cc engine, it evolved into something more sophisticated and car like. Over the years engine capacity was incrementally raised and now sits at 660cc.
Today, Kei cars are ever more popular and now make up around a third of all domestic new car production.
Most Japanese manufacturers have released a Kei car at some point but few can claim to have produced anything really interesting.
The majority are boxy and basic so you wouldn’t be the first to see them as uninspiring or perhaps even ugly. Serving a need rather than stirring the soul.
The S660 bucks the trend and some. This is Honda getting their mojo back, showing the world they still have a personality. The S660 doesn’t really make sense on paper but this is the exact reason its so brilliantly unique!
Scoring top marks on the fun factor, the S660 is the perfect example of ‘smiles per mile’. And in a time when we’re surrounded by very familiar looking cars its refreshing to jump in a car that’s so… unfamiliar!
So, how’s it drive? Well, you’re quickly reminded this is a 660cc Kei car as the performance far from blows you away. But don’t let this put you off as the truth of the matter remains, this is an absolute hoot to drive and will get you ducking and weaving through traffic with the dexterity of Floyd Mayweather.
A massive attraction to the S660 is the gearbox. Honda has a fantastic reputation for creating crisp, purposeful gear changes and its right up there with the very best. You’ll find yourself firing up and down the 6 gears for little more reason than how awesome it feels.
Rear wheel drive, mid-engined and less weight than a roller skate the S660 handles exceptionally well. You can throw it around with complete confidence and even though its not fast, its nimble and consequently exhilarating to drive especially with the roof down.
Which leads me to the topic of looks. From one or two angles its not impossible to see a squished second generation NSX, whether that’s a good thing is down to interpretation but there’s no denying the S660 turns heads. Maybe this is partly due to its micro machine scale but I for one love the look of the S660. Sure, it doesn’t have the elegance of an NA1 NSX or the retro appeal of its predecessor (Honda Beat) but what it does have is a unique quirkiness that is especially rare nowadays.
With these playful looks and characterful driving style the S660 makes a compelling argument as one of the happiest cars in existence!
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