Mugen power finally makes its way to a Kei car
The Honda S660 microcar is the one to embrace it.
Japan is the country where people are always on a binge to test innovative and mind-boggling ideas. A highly disciplined country where rules are observed with unwavering faith, it has laid down emission norms for all automakers with obstinate attitude to cap the carbon emissions.
As 'regular-sized' cars generally spout emissions that near the limit set by the officials, several automakers such as Toyota, Honda and Suzuki have come up with Kei cars which are shrunken down and for some, are cute alternatives of regular cars that are city-friendly, seat five occupants abreast and emit substantially lesser nitrogen oxides. This concept has been a runaway success in the country. However, this never made the voracious enthusiasts exhilarated as performance took a huge toll. That is set to change as Mugen, renowned for modifying JDM vehicles, has thoroughly worked upon Honda S660, a Kei car that was a sporty and enticing spiritual successor to the Beat, also a Kei car from Honda. All I can say is this JDM modifier has started ground-up working on things and the changes are radical but not superlative unlike their trend of oozing out the most from the any car's potential that they get their ambidextrous hands on.
What comes as an approbation is that this microcar, verboten to the west, gets things hyped up around it sans any increase in output or torque. Yes, the changes have been made only to accentuate the dynamic effectiveness of the vehicle. For starters, it gets new dampers from Yamaha to contain the body roll and jiggly movement. Secondly, It also reduces vibrations, suspension dissonance and makes the car feline. Thirdly, the diamond-cut aluminium wheels said to be finished in Graphite Gun is worthy of mention. However, the quirky bit is that in terms of proportion, these are 15 by 5 inches at the front and 16 by 6 at the rear.
Furthermore, the barebones car has also been given panache thanks to the aero-designed bumpers and side skirts. The material used is polyphenylene Ether, a chemical compound that is used in making an array of medical products. In case you wish to up the styling quotient, LED fog lights is also on offer. Then, a sports silencer is available for the exhaust in stead of the regular muffler.
A car gets a lot of its character from the spoke design and can arouse a love or revulsion sensation instantly. Hence, wheels from PPE are ordered and swathed in Graphite Metallic shade. As the performance doesn't get an insane remap, it continues to lay down 64 PS (63 hp) and 77 lb-ft (105 Nm) of torque. The 3-cylinder engine is turbocharged which should translate into good performance on the road. To make up for the deficit in power, it weighs just 830 Kg for spirited driving. As for the tranny options, there is a choice of either a 6-speed manual or a CVT.
Companies providing performance mods are awash with ideas but there are a few who find a Kei car worthy of splurging their time on. Mugen has surely expanded its until now, parochial range of modified cars with this S660 microcar but do keep in mind that these tweaks will set you back by a hefty sum of money, transcending some thousands of American dollars. So you're spoiled for choice, whether this JDM compact but reliable and fun to drive machine or any other used car. What will be your pick?