Photos: Raphael Orlove

Listen: this is very important. Do not drive a Honda Beat, ever, because it will ruin you for other cars and you will then have to buy one.

Do not go down to a place like Duncan Imports and test drive one, even on a whim. That will be it for you. Your life will be forever different, and in ways you may not be prepared for.

After that, even the best Porsche 911 will feel like a pickup truck that is also towing a boat. A Lotus Evora will feel like the Mercury Grand Marquis your grandparents drive to church.

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You won’t care that you have to slide the seat all the way back just to get your wide American ass in and out. You won’t care that it literally looks like a child’s toy inside. You won’t mind that it has only three cylinders, or only 650 cc of displacement, or no forced induction. You’ll realize that all those other cars with their huge and turbocharged engines are just weak and lazy, and they can only do a third of what the Beat can do and half as well. You’ll understand that all you ever needed was 63 horsepower.

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You will spend your life furious that Honda never saw fit to bring the Beat here from Japan when it was new, even though you know it’s a kei car and those rarely make it out of Japan in general. You’ll know there would have been no business case for one in the United States. You won’t care. You’ll be in agony for being denied this joy so long. So many years, wasted.

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Any other gearbox won’t measure up to the Beat’s super short, super tight shifter that just kind of clicks into place. You won’t be able to respect any car that doesn’t have the Beat’s immediate steering. You will demand every car interior have a zebra print interior.

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You will need every car you drive to rev to 8,100 RPM. You won’t be able to live with an engine that doesn’t SCREAM INTO YOUR EARS LIKE IT IS MADE OF ANGRY HORNETS INSTEAD OF METAL. You’ll lose respect for any car that has more than three cylinders. How wasteful!

You’ll hear it constantly from other people, that the original NSX was the best Honda ever. No. You will hurl a chair at them, scream that they are wrong, that they are fools for sleeping on the tiny but magical Beat.

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You will reset your idea of what a “toy car” is, inside and out, and reevaluate the fun you’ve been having in cars up to this point in your life. You’ll realize you’ve been wrong about so many things. Your life will change. Your eyes will be open. For the first time in a long time, you’ll tell your spouse or your parents or your friends who are now worried about your behavior, you are awake.

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Do not drive a Honda Beat. There is no coming back from that.

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Special thanks to friend of the site Gary Duncan for letting us tool around in a Beat.