Kei cars have a huge following in Japan and no model has benefited from the sub-sub-compact's cult status more than the Honda Beat. Originally introduced in 1991, the 64-hp Beat was a boon for enthusiasts on a budget, with a 660cc three-cylinder mounted amidships and delivering power to the rear wheels. When production ended over a decade ago, it left a gaping hole in Honda's line-up between the Zest and S2000, and if recent reports are to be believed, the situation will be rectified in 2011.
According to Best Car, Honda is hard at work on the Beat's successor, but unfortunately, the previous model's mid-engine layout and rear-wheel drive won't be employed on the next generation. Using the same platform and 660cc engine found underneath the Life and Zest, the next Beat's engine will be mounted up front, sending power to the front wheels. There's also talk of an all-wheel drive variant, but consumers in Japan shouldn't hold their breath. Pricing and a release date haven't been disclosed, but we wouldn't be surprised to find a Beat concept on the floor of the Tokyo Motor Show later this year.