Japan has some interesting rules that allows for cars extremely small cars with small engines (63 hp max) to qualify for large tax and regulations discounts. These lightweight “kei” cars produced some very interesting offspring, including the Honda Beat of the 1990s. With its go-fast looks, mid-engine/rear-wheel drive design, and roadster body, the Beat was like a Toyota MR2 that got shrunk in the wash.

It’s been thirteen years since the last Beat was made, but now Honda may be looking to get back in the business of small car fun for the 2011 model year. If the Beat does come back, it will likely share the platform of Honda’s other current kei cars, the Life and the Zest. This means it would be a front-engined car with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. So while it may not be everything the original Beat was, the OSM-inspired styling will still be a more attractive alternative to Daihatsu’s Copen.


Source: 7tune

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  (289) posted on 04.20.2009

FYI: The Daihatsu Copen is a 2-door roadster with an aluminium retractable hardtop. It debuted at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show as the Copen concept, based on Daihatsu’s front-wheel-drive light-car platform. It a lovely car. I hope Honda can give the beat a real face lift to match the Copen.

  (231) posted on 04.19.2009

The Beat was part of a wave of kei car-sized sports cars in the early 1990s; its competitors included the Suzuki Cappuccino and Mazda’s Autozam AZ-1. Together they predicted the arrival of the Smart Roadster over a decade later, while Japan would not see a new model of the genre until the recent Daihatsu Copen.

  (421) posted on 04.18.2009

FYI guys: The Honda Beat is a mid-engined two-seat roadster kei car produced from in May 1991 to February 1996. The Beat was the last car to be approved by Soichiro Honda before he died in 1991. The total number of cars produced was around 33,600. The design of the car originated from Pininfarina, who then sold the design plan to Honda. The Beat was one of many cars designed to take advantage of Japan’s tax-efficient K class. Now with its new design and engineering concept we hope to get a better beat this time.

  (177) posted on 04.18.2009

Small cars are cool. Honda is cool, too. So I don’t think there’s going to be much of a problem.

  (180) posted on 04.18.2009

I think it would be better if they will opt for the all wheel drive. I hope it would really come back. I’m sure it would be a hit in European market.

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