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The ONE you’ve been waiting for

This week, Honda unleashed it’s newest model, and one that looks poised to follow a trend in recent years toward premium small cars: the N-ONE.

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Previewed at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the N-ONE is the next model in Honda’s new N series, the lineage of which they would have you believe goes all the way back to the N360 of 1967. While that car was succeeded by the first Life in Honda’s line up, there is a undeniable – and intentional – family resemblance, making the N-ONE much in the vein of the New Beetle, Mini and Fiat 500 in recasting utilitarian transportation of old as the posh compact of today.

What does the N-ONE have to offer? Well, for one, along with the previous N BOX, it features Honda’s own CVT, a unit which has done wonders for mileage, offering a 50% better rating than the slightly larger Life (which continues with a 4AT). It also marks the return to a four valve DOHC engine which promises superior smoothness, responsiveness and power: horsepower and torque are both up about 10% in the non-turbo model versus Honda’s previous engine. The result? A JC08 mode mileage of 27.0 km/l, an increase only 19.6 in the Life, and approaching the stripped-down class leader, Daihatsu’s Mira e:S, which registers an impressive 30.

Numbers alone, however, won’t make this car a hit. That’s what they styling is for. It’s as beautiful and elegant as a car in the kei class can be, and while such things are subjective, it’s a more satisfying and modern take on the language than either Suzuki’s Lapin or Daihatsu’s Cocoa.

I’ll be conducting a proper drive and review of the car shortly, with pictures to accompany. Until then, feel free to peek through at the link above and decide whether Honda’s new offering is worth a look.

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