June 11, 2015 @ 05:31 PM

Legends and Legacies: Honda Beat

Let’s look at B for Honda’s Beat in the Kei-car ABC.


(Image source: wikimedia)
Let’s look at B for Honda’s Beat in the Kei-car ABC.

I have decided to make June Kei-car month. We’ve revisited the Mazda AZ-1 in last week’s Legends and Legacies, this week let’s read about the Honda Beat. As you know, back in the 90s there was a group of kei-cars known as the kei-car ABC, the cars that made up the ABC are the Mazda AZ-1, Honda Beat and this Suzuki Cappucino.

The Beat is probably the most popular out of the kei-car ABC combination. After setting the entire motoring world on edge with the phenomenal release of the NSX, Honda shocked the world again with the release of the tiny Beat in 1991. The rear-mid engine two door roadster was the last car that Soichiro Honda himself approved before his death in the same year. The sleek design was penned by world-acclaim designer Pininfarina.

Honda offered a few versions of the Beat throughout the years it was in production from 1991 to 1996. The Beat Version F features the Aztec Green Pearl colour and alloy wheels, the Beat Version C features the Captiva Blue Pearl colour and white alloy wheels and the Beat Version Z features Blade Silver Metallic colour or Evergrade Green Metallic colour, three black gauges, mud guards, a rear spoiler, exhaust pipe finisher and alloy wheels.

(image source: bringatrailer.com)
The Honda Beat measures at 3295mm long and 1395mm wide with a wheelbase measurement of 2280mm. It sits 1175mm high 135mm clear off the ground. The Beat sits a litter taller than its kei-car competitors. To save space, the rear-mid engine had to sit more to the left in order to fit the fuel tank on the right.

The tiny powertrain is a water-cooled, four-stroke SOHC inline three that employs a single camshaft to drive four valves per cylinder. The Beat’s powertrain was modern in its class as it uses drive-by-wire throttle and each cylinder had its own throttle butterfly. But unfortunately the car was not renowned for the torque that the powertrain offers.

Floor that throttle and the Beat’s 656cc engine produces 63bhp at 8100rpm and 44Nm at 7000rpm to the rear-wheels. Mated to a five-speed manual allows the Beat to sprint from 0-90kph in 13 seconds, ok so it’s not much of a sprint. It’s actually slower than its competitors especially the Suzuki Cappucino but the Beat does not feel it as thanks to the sound the engine makes and the open top.

(image source: thetruthaboutcars.com)
But the best part of the Honda Beat is the way the car takes the corners. The Beat is famed for its agility in the corners with the perfect balance of the car and the precise steering that Honda has created for the small car.

Honda stopped production in 1996 after producing 33,600 Beats to sell to the world. While the Beat had received much love when it was first introduced, the high price and the lack of attention from the public at the ending stages of the car’s life that lead Honda to axe the model. Recently though, we saw the rebirth of the car in the form of the S660, or better known to kei-car lovers as the successor of the beloved Honda Beat.

Jerrica Leong

(image source: 55drive.info)

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