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Honda S660 test drive: mid-engine roadster with turbo driving fun

Jens Katemann
Driving report K-Car Honda S660
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Lunchtime in the Honda development center in Utsunomiya, Japan. The local test drivers have a break and a uto motor und sport the opportunity to do a few quick laps in the S660 on the handling course. But openly please! Quickly unlock the folding roof, roll up like sushi and stow it in the appropriate compartment under the hood. This is much easier and faster than getting into the two-seat sardine can. The car in K-Car format - that's what the tax-privileged small cars are called in Japan - is only 3395 mm long and requires us Central Europeans to twist a few times before we can get inside. But once on board everything fits: The seating position is sufficiently low, the seats offer enough lateral support. There are also instruments without all the connectivity bells and whistles - the S660 is all about pure driving pleasure. But it is better not to have luggage with you.

Honda S660 with around 100 HP liter output

Then let's see. The one-liter three-cylinder turbo is already growling willingly in the rear, but 658 cubic centimeters and 64 hp suggest rather modest performance. We don't get official information, but things are progressing much faster than expected. No wonder: The S660 as a hand switch weighs only 830 kg. The gear change is quick and easy, although it is the unfamiliar left hand with the Japanese right-hand drive that has to sort the gear steps. Crunchy gearshift with short distances, that's how it should be in a roadster. For a Japanese car - where the chassis is traditionally designed to be more comfortable - the S660 wobbles little in the bends and can be steered precisely through the bends with the somewhat smooth-running, but sufficiently responsive steering. Cool: The Honda developers put on 165/55 R15 tires at the front and 195/45 R16 at the rear. Disc brakes at the front and rear ensure the right deceleration before the bends.

After just a few laps on the test track, the driver and car merge into a single unit and one question arises: Why is this car not available in Germany? After 15 minutes the fun is over. You'd love to take it home with you - there's certainly room in your hand luggage.

Honda S660 also with CVT transmission

But before that, the switch to the automatic version is due . And then finally comes the disillusionment. Whatfelt lively and lively, now just seems sluggish. The continuously variable CVT transmission is as overwhelmed as the author juggling more than two balls in providing the right gear ratio. What the Japanese and Americans find in it remains an unsolved mystery for us.

Finally, the price question: In Japan, the Honda S660 currently costs 2.18 million yen, which is the equivalent of 16,000 euros. In Germany, at least 21,000 euros would be due if it were offered here. But it probably never will, because the only attempt to sell a K-Car Roadster with us was unsuccessful with the Daihatsu Copen a few years ago. Or maybe we're just a little too big for the S660.


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