The Honda Life, one of the oldest minicars, dating back to the 1970s, is getting an upgrade. As a Kei car, the Life is limited to a 660 cc inline three-cylinder normally aspirated or turbocharged engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Both AWD and FWD versions abound, including the base-model Life G-Type, sporty Life Diva and premium-level Life Pastel. In addition to being the first Kei car offered with a backup camera, the Life can also be outfitted with a motorized front seat that can lift passengers with special mobility needs out of the car. As with most Japanese minicars, you'll have to wait ten years and move to Canada to get one of your own. In the meantime, enjoy a nice Pontiac G3 Wave. Press release below the jump.
Honda Announces the All-New Life TOKYO, Japan, November 6, 2008– Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that sales in Japan of the all-new Life will begin on November 7, 2008. Continuing a tradition of superior comfort and utility, the new Life offers enhanced drivability and is the first minicar in Japan to include an audio system with a backup camera as standard equipment.*1 In addition, a special mobility-assistive version of Life with lift-up frontpassenger seat will go on sale December 5. he all-new Life was developed with the concept of “daily smile technology” to achieve a level of drivability and utility customers can enjoy in their everyday lives. Based on this concept, Honda evaluated every aspect of the vehicle from the customer’s point of view to develop a minicar that will put a smile on the customer’s face every day. Customers may select from three Life variations to express their individuality and lifestyle: the Life G-type is simple, modern and practical, the Life Diva is perky and sporty, and the Life Pastel* is refined, elegant and fashionable. With an emphasis on advanced safety technologies, the Life is also the world’s first automobile equipped with a driver-side i-SRS airbag system with continuously staged inflation, which accommodates a broad range of occupant positions and potential collision situations. < Drivability > Large windows and slim pillars allow for excellent 360º visibility. The first minicar in Japan to include an audio system with a backup camera.*1 Advanced Honda Smart Parking Assist System provides automatic steering assistance for moving forward and backward during parking.*2 < Comfort and utility > Spacious cabin comfortably accommodates four adults. Manual driver’s seat height adjuster helps to achieve an ideal driving position, enhancing visibility while making entry and exit easier. < Interior with enhanced functionality and comfort > Larger, thicker, softer and more comfortable rear seats. Storage compartments throughout the vehicle for superior convenience. Center pillar grip for easy entry and exit, even for children and seniors. Since first introduced in 1971, the Life has evolved with the times, always offering exceptional value while focusing on the people and lifestyles of each era. Today, Life is currently being enjoyed by more than 1.5 million customers in Japan, the largest number among Honda automobiles sold in the country.*3 Note: “Pastel” was named after the pastels used by artists, the Life Pastel is for drivers looking to express their own colorful, interesting lifestyles. *1 Not available on Life C-type *2 Available on Life Pastel *3 Honda calculations ♦ Key Features of the All-New Life Drivability · Slim front pillars, large triangular windows with integrated sashes and windshield wipers designed for reduced visual obstruction all contribute to enhanced frontward visibility and an increased sense of security during driving. · Side window height has been optimized for greatly enhanced side visibility, helping drivers navigate past ongoing vehicles more safely and making turns with increased confidence. · The protruded front position lamps integrated on top of the headlights act as makers, aiding the driver in better grasping the vehicle width. · The large tailgate window and rear quarter windows help enhance rearward visibility. Newly designed rear seat backs with adjustable, built-in rear head rests also contribute to greatly enhanced rearward visibility. · The audio system with a backup camera (the first in Japan as standard equipment on a minicar*1) enhances ease of parking. The easy-to-view 4.3-inch liquid crystal color display also displays audio information, an analog clock, important dates and more. · Newly enhanced Smart Parking Assist System provides steering assistance during parking.*2 Packaging · With a front seat hip point 35 mm higher*4 than that of the previous Life, and windows, pillars and headlight markers optimized to this new measurement, the new Life offers exceptional visibility and ease of entry and exit. · The newly designed suspension has allowed for a more rearward positioning of the rear seats. As a result, the distance between front and rear seats has increased by 85 mm*4, increasing rear occupant legroom and comfort. · The lower floor in the rear combined with the square exterior design also contributes to rear occupant comfort. Although the rear seat cushion thickness has been increased by 25 mm*4, the rear head clearance increased by 60 mm*4. · Easy-to-use fold-down rear seats allow large items to be transported. *4 Honda comparison to previous Life Interior · The spacious divided bench front seat is shaped to support a stable driving posture, contributing to both drivability and comfort. · The unitary bench back seat features seat cushion length increased by 55 mm,*4 seat back height increased by 50 mm*4 and cushion thickness increased by 25 mm*4 (cushion thickness equivalent to that of the mid-sized sedan segment*5). · The storage compartments have been designed for exceptional ease of use: items commonly used fit in the higher compartments while items typically kept from outside view fit in compartments located below window level. · The attractive and convenient center pillar grip, molded with the center pillar as a single part, is placed at a height easily reached by children*6. Complementing the low floor height, it contributes to ease of entry and exit. *5 Honda 2.0 – 2.4l segment *6 1,030 mm Exterior design · Implementing a design concept of simple, smart and modern, the exterior design of the new Life is simple and welcoming. The large window surface area and rear quarter windows contribute both to the Life’s pleasing appearance and to visibility. · Sharp lines and large, functional headlights with integrated position lamps add to the Life’s refined and pleasing front view. Each Life package also features a unique front bumper. · The Life’s side view draws attention to the solid nose and body, emphasizing the sense of welcoming and security. · The key to the Life’s distinctive rear view, the large rear window also contributes to excellent visibility. · The Life comes in three highly individualistic packages: The Life G-type is simple and welcoming while emphasizing daily functionality. The Life Pastel emphasizes elegance, with its chrome-rich grille making a distinctly attractive impression. The Life Diva is urbane and stylish in design, featuring a front bumper with large aperture and inset fog lamps, sharply defined black metal headlights, refined aerodynamic partsand an overall sporty appearance. · 12 distinctive color selections are available, including four completely new colors. Power train · Two engine selections are available: the light and compact 660 cc inline 3-cylinder i-DSI engine and the i-DSI turbo engine. · The engine offers excellent normal operating range characteristics, while the four-speed automatic transmission features optimized gear ratios and torque converter characteristics for smooth acceleration. This combination of engine and transmission results in light, convenient drivability ideal for the city as well as excellent fuel economy of 21 km/l.*7 *7 Front-wheel drive Life C-type, Life G-type, and Life Pastel. Fuel economy measurement in 10•15 mode certified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Body · The rigidity of the floor and the corners of the hatchback opening have been increased, while the Life’s structure, frame and materials have been optimized for reduced weight. · In addition to the frame designed for reduced noise and vibrations, high-performance sound-proofing materials and sound-insulating walls contribute to exceptional vehicle quietness. Chassis · To ensure stable cruising and a smooth ride, in the front the newly designed suspension features MacPherson struts; in the rear it features an H-shaped torsion beam suspension for front-wheel drive vehicles, or a 3-link de Dion tube for 4-wheel drive vehicles. · The power steering settings and suspension geometry have been optimized for light, nimble handling. Safety performance · The new Life is the world’s first automobile to offer a driver-side i-SRS airbag system with continuously staged inflation, which accommodates a broad range of occupant positions and potential collision situations. All packages include this new safety technology as standard equipment. · Forming a set with the front seat i-side airbag system, the side curtain airbag system helps reduce the risk of head injury in a side impact. Availability depends on package.*2 · The vehicle’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body provides a higher level of self-protection and also improves compatibility toward other vehicles in case of a collision. · The Life’s frame has been designed to efficiently absorb and disperse the energy of a collision and reduce impact on the cabin. · The low-impact head-protecting interior is designed to reduce collision-related occupant injuries. · The body with pedestrian-injury mitigation technology helps to mitigate injury to pedestrians from injury in case of collision. Environmental performance · Front-wheel drive models are certifiedby the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as having emissions levels 75% lower than what is required by 2005 standard in both 10•15 and JC08C measurement modes. · ECO lamps on both sides of the dashboard help drivers refine driving habits for enhanced fuel economy. · The 3-cylinder engine includes a crank pulse sensor to monitor the ignition system and fuel injection timing. Special mobility-assistive vehicle with lift-up front passenger seat · The lift-up frontpassenger seat has a motorized 200 mm forward-backward sliding mechanism, as well as a newly added motorized reclining mechanism. The lift-up seat’s switches are located on the right side of the seat for easy access by the driver and quick, simple adjustments.[Source: Honda via CarScoop]