Cue the collective groans...
Honda Australia thinks it would have no issues selling the tiny, mid-engined S660 convertible. Too bad it can’t have it!
We had a bite this week with Honda Australia’s chief, Stephen Collins, to get an update on serious business issues, namely Takata, but when we mentioned we’d seen a few parallel-imported S660s around Melbourne, the obvious question was: ‘why don’t you offer it at dealerships?’
“We couldn't get it to meet ADRs (Australian Design Rules),” was the answer, citing the kei car’s lack of safety tech to enable proper mass-market importation, and oddly enough its relative NOx emissions, on top of the huge Japanese-market demand.
“Do I reckon we could sell it? Bloody oath I do..." Collins added.
The Japan-market only tyke rocks a 660cc engine making a mighty 47kW and 104Nm, channelled to the back wheels through a six-speed manual ‘box.
The fact the 3.4 metre-long roadster weighs as much as a rolled-up newspaper (ok, 830kg) means it should hustle.
According to Honda, the S660's weight is distributed 45:55 front-to-rear, while stopping power is provided by 260mm disc brakes. The S660 rides on Yokohama rubber, with 15-inch alloy wheels and 165/55 tyres up front, and 16-inch alloys with 195/45 tyres at the rear.
Instead of a regular hand-operated pull-up/drop-down convertible top, the S660 is equipped with a roll out fabric roof that can be attached between the windscreen frame and roll-over bars to provide passengers with protection from the weather.
During bouts of open-top motoring, this roll-top is stored in a specially designed space located underneath the S660's bonnet.
Available features include LED headlights, a tablet-style infotainment system, front and side airbags, hill start assistance, stability control, climate control air conditioning, and automated city emergency braking system.
Maybe if Honda pulls a surprise and goes ahead with that rumoured S1000, the business case may change…