2003 Honda S2000Enlarge Photo
Honda is missing a halo car to bring people drawn to performance into their showroom. The S2000 fulfilled that role, and reflected back to the S600 and S800 of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Now, the only sporty car is the Civic Si which is also very practical, but not the dedicated track-fiend like the roadster used to be.
Now Motor Trend is reporting that Honda has filed a patent that mentions an engine mounted in a center frame. The magazine suggests that this is code for a mid-engine car. They further suggest that the car would be a replacement for the S2000 which would combine the styling of the sports car with the Japanese-market only Honda Beat, a mid-engine roadster kei-car.
The concept looks great and Honda is in desperate need of some rear-wheel-drive fun in their models. But later on in the article, there seems to be three power train options that could be installed in this car: a gasoline engine, a hybrid drive train, or an electric motor. This means there could be an issue that will ruin the car if it goes beyond the concept stage.
First, the concept of this car is very similar to the Toyota MR-2 Spyder. Though more sporty than the MX-5, it couldn’t topple the Mazda’s crown as best-selling roadster due to horrible practicality and was killed due to poor sales. Honda could look at this example and try and give their roadster a gimmick, i.e. turning it into a hybrid. Most reviews of their “sporty” CR-Z lament that it can’t out-perform the Honda Fit.
So this is a two-sided coin. Honda could make an awesome car by learning from the CR-Z’s mistakes…or not.
[Source: Motor Trend]