Honda Starts Sales Of N-ONE Retro Minicar

If you subscribe to the theory that Honda keeps all its really cool products in its home market of Japan, the announcement that the N-ONE retro-styled minicar has hit the market probably won’t do much to convince you otherwise.

The N-ONE joins the N BOX and N BOX + models in Honda’s current minicar lineup. Designed with the principle of “M/M” (for man maximum, machine minimum) in mind, the N-ONE features a funky vintage design inspired by the N360 (which ultimately made it here in more powerful N600 form).

The idea is to fit as much interior space as possible into a diminutive package, while delivering reasonable performance and impressive fuel economy.

Honda claims the N-ONE will return 27.0 km/liter in Japanese market testing, or roughly the equivalent of 63.5 mpg by our standards.

The secret, of course, is to use an engine that most Americans would deem “too small.” In base form, the N-ONE gets a 660cc three-cylinder engine, that will likely be capped at the kei car limit of 63 horsepower (though, oddly, Honda doesn’t specify output).

For those wanting more thrust, the 0.66-liter triple is also available in turbocharged form, but again the specific output remains unclear.

Honda will offer the N-ONE in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variants, as well as a plethora of trim levels, ensuring that the minicar will be a hit with Japanese consumers.

There’s no shortage of safety features or available accessory items, and we can’t help but wonder if the time is right for such a vehicle in the United States. Fiat is enjoying brisk sales of its 500 hatchback here, and the N-ONE is meant to counter that very car in Japan.

Honda sold enough N600s in the United States that there could be a demand for the N-ONE here, too. It may not be a great fit for suburbia, but we see the N-ONE as a a city car with plenty of potential. Bring it, we say, and the buyers will come.


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Comments (4)
  1. What is wrong with the author and green car report when they use a term such as N600 instead of the freaking model name of the actual car that was offered in the USA? You smoking dope or something? Do you even reread what you wrote before posting? Do you not have a lay person read it first before posting so it makes sense to lay people? Are you not being paid for accuracy, clarity, and good communication in your writing? How does this happen so much at GCR? I am not impressed...again. I wish there were a better alternative. And this is such a simple thing to correct but somehow you guys screw things like this up on a consistent basis.
    Give us the dirt Kurt! N600 = Honda Fit??????????????????????

  2. No Erik, the N600 does NOT equal the Honda Fit in this case. If you would have bothered to read my article before criticizing it, perhaps you would have realized that.

    The Honda N600, introduced in the U.S. in 1969, was an evolution of the Honda N360 microcar, launched in Japan in 1967.

    Since links aren't embeddable, you'll need to look up "Honda N360" on Wikipedia yourself.

  3. Wow, what a whiny reader, complaining about a website that is free and not as a big scale as Motortrend. Seriously, people are too whiny these days. But yeah, read the article carefully.

  4. Erik - Or try honda600coupe dot com. The Honda Fit is a MiniVan compared to the N/Z600s :)

    As the happy prior owner of both a 1971 N600 Sedan and 1972 Z Coupe that predated the Civic, I would welcome the opportunity to buy a current version of Honda’s kei car. Especially one that has more room inside, meets current emissions and safety standards, has air conditioning, auto everything, is quicker, goes faster, and still gets better mileage, like the N-ONE. Too bad NHTSA, IIHS, and CARB won’t let that happen, so will stay happy with Fit EV "MiniVan" instead.

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