Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Today is a car that Honda never officially offered in the U.S. In fact, we never received any of Honda’s charm bracelet tchotchke Kei cars. With enough age on them, now we can. Let’s decide if, now that it’s here, this one is priced with staying power.
So, my brother once had a truck like yesterday’s 1995 Ford Explorer. His wasn’t an Eddie Bauer edition — hell, we’re not the Rockefellers — but it was a four-door 4X4. He put something like 255,000 miles on that truck and outside of regular maintenance, I think all we changed out was the water pump over all those miles. Despite all the good memories, I don’t think even my brother would pay the $21,900 asked for yesterday’s Explorer. And that’s with it looking to be in almost as-new shape. Most of you seemed to agree as the Explorer discovered a massive 88 percent No Dice loss.
Have you ever thought that an ’80s Honda Civic hatch would be the perfect car for you if only it was one size smaller? If thoughts such as this keep plaguing you at night, ruining your sleep, then I have a solution that doesn’t involve drinking warm milk (eww) or counting pre-knitted sweaters.
This 1995 Honda Today 4WD is a Japanese Domestic Market Kei car that, from certain angles is the spitting image of its decade-older big brother. The only thing is, the Today is almost small enough to fit in your back pocket.
The Keijidōsha or light auto is a regulatory class of cars intended for city living. Initiated after the war as Japan regained both its industrial focus and consumer market, the cars have always been defined by dimension and displacement. The earliest regulations stipulated a maximum 360 cc engine displacement to meet the tax benefit. By the time this Today was produced, that maximum had increased to 660 ccs. All manner of cars and trucks have been produced over the years within the Kei class, almost all of them locked to the Japanese home market.
While the smallest of Honda’s offerings at the time, the Today’s 91-mm wheelbase was longer than that of a number of non-Kei-compliant cars on the market. That still allowed the car to overall fit within the parking space standards for the Kei regulations.
That stretched-to-the-limits wheelbase, however, gives this privately imported Today plenty of room inside for four close friends. Even more, if those four happen to be pairs of conjoined twins. It also allows room underneath for Honda’s “Realtime 4WD” a feature hinted at by the ghost of a window decal on the rear hatch glass. The remainder of the drivetrain is comprised of a five-speed manual gearbox and a fuel-injected E07A three-cylinder engine. That 12-valve mill was factory rated at 51 horsepower so don’t pull out in front of any big trucks in the car.
Aesthetically, this Today seems to be pretty solid. According to the ad, there are 62,000 kilometers on the clock or about 40,000 miles. The blue paint and decals (that really read “Today humming”) look to have stood up to those miles. Tiny steel wheels (or maybe equally small alloys, the ad shows both) underpin, and behind those, there’s no evidence of any road rot or other malfeasance. The engine bay does need a good cleaning, although it’s all there and doesn’t exhibit any noticeable leaks or evidence of past misdeeds.
Of course, this being a JDM car, it’s right-hand drive. That’s something you can get used to, although it does tend to piss off the folks at drive-thrus since there’s the extra reach. One thing that always got my panties in a bunch with RHD cars is the pedal arrangement. That’s the same as on an LHD car. I think if you’re going to drive on that side of the car you should have to use an exact mirror of the controls from a LHD car, with the accelerator on the left. I mean, how do you even dead-pedal one of these?
Anyway, off my soapbox. The ad says this Today “runs and drives great.” It goes further to note that the “AC blows cold” and that “It is also very economical getting well over 30mpg.” I don’t know how impressive 30 mpg is in today’s market, but I guess it’s nothing to sneeze at. The seller claims the price is firm but does not go into detail as to when the car was imported, nor where its present paperwork situation stands. That could be an important part of the negotiations for a prospective buyer since sitting in the DMV for hours on end is never on anybody’s bucket list. It should also be pointed out that, while the car is legal here in the States owing to the federal 25-year rule, it’s not going to be able to be licensed in California or likely any of the other states that follow the same emissions standards since they don’t offer a grace period.
With all that in mind, it’s now time for you to weigh in on this lightweight 4X4, and its $7,500 asking. What do you say, is that a deal for this Today as it sits? Or, as quirky and cute as it is, is there just not enough there to justify that price?
H/T to Jason McDowell for the hookup!
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