Honda is redoubling its Kei-class effort here at the Tokyo Motor Show, and the opening salvo of its new N Series is this square-rigged model, the appropriately named N Box. The N Box is actually launching in two versions, the standard model and the Custom, which includes showier head- and taillamp modules and a unique grille.

Honda N Box blind spot mirror systemThe N Box rides atop a new minicar architecture that employs a new 660cc engine and a center-mounted tank not unlike that of the larger Fit. As is typical for this class of car, there's a surprising amount of space inside the N Box thanks to its rectilinear proportions and dining chair-like seating. In fact, there's plenty of room for six-foot adults, save a slightly pinched footwell and limited elbow room because of the car's narrow dimensions. The rear seat is even more generous, with limo-like legroom and a flip/fold feature that allows for the storage of bulky objects in the passenger compartment. Unfortunately, the rear chairs don't actually side forward to accommodate more space in the cargo hold, though the seatbacks will fold forward for larger objects.

One of the N Box's most unique features is its blind spot mirror array, which functions as sort of a poor man's version of a side view camera system. Basically, a pair of convex mirrors mounted to the inside of the A-Pillar reflect onto a convex mirror mounted on the front of the door-mounted side mirror, allowing the driver to parallel park with ease. There's also a large convex mirror mounted inside of the rear cargo hatch on the same assembly with the center high-mount stop lamp that doubles as sort of an inexpensive backup camera. Check out our Short Cut video after the jump for a closer look.




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Honda to Begin Sales of N BOX, First Model of New Mini-vehicle N Series

TOKYO, Japan, November 30, 2011 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced it will begin sales of the N BOX, the first model of the new mini-vehicle N Series, on December 16, 2011. Honda created the N Series with a passion to create the best and new vehicle for Japan, and a newly-designed platform and powertrain were adopted for the N Series models.

Honda, which has great experience in producing minivans, developed the N BOX with the goal of creating a "mini-minivan," condensing the attractiveness and values of a minivan into a mini-vehicle. Featuring an innovative platform, the N BOX realizes spaciousness, comfort and economic efficiency beyond the concept of a mini-vehicle.

Through the combination of the new platform, the center-tank layout, and the newly-developed powertrain, the N BOX features one of the largest cabin spaces*1 among all mini-vehicles in the market. This new platform embodies Honda's M/M (man maximum/machine minimum)*2 concept, the origin of Honda's automobile design. The center-tank layout is Honda's unique packaging technology, first adopted for the Fit, which innovated the concept of a "small car."

The newly-developed engine and transmission enabled the N BOX to realize both dynamic driving and excellent fuel economy. With the adoption of the idle stop mechanism, which has been adapted from hybrid vehicles, the N BOX realized top level fuel economy in its class*3.

Customers can choose from several types and packages to accommodate their preferences. In addition to the base grade, which offers the spaciousness and sense of security suitable for a family with children, N BOX Custom is offered for customers who seek a vehicle with strong individuality and a sense of presence.

*1
Honda internal research, after the current mini-vehicle standards were applied (as of November 30, 2011)
*2
Honda's "man maximum, machine minimum" concept is a basic approach to Honda car design calling for maximizing the space available for people and minimizing the space required for mechanical components
*3
Honda internal research, "super-height" class (as of November 30, 2011)