am_ns1412005H

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Honda N-Box Slash, the fifth model in Honda’s renewed N Series of kei cars after the N-Box, N-Box+, N-One and N-WGN. If the N-Box is a completely practical box-on-wheels with impressive levels of space in such a tiny footprint, then the Slash is its sportier, low-slung oddball cousin.

Compared to the N-Box, the Slash still has five doors (although the rear doors open normally instead of sliding out), but the roof has been chopped by 100 mm, while the roofline slopes downwards towards the rear. The beltline also features an upsweep as it moves backwards, while the rear door handles have been “hidden” in the trailing edge of the rear side windows.

The interior appears much the same as on the N-Box – with the horizontal dashboard design, bench seats and ingenious A-pillar mirror array that allows for better visibility – but with the exception of metallic billet-like trim that runs from the front doors all the way to the sides of the cargo bay. The foot-operated parking brake has also been replaced by an push-button electric unit, while the rear seats gain a sliding function.

Also new is the optional Sound Mapping System with nine speakers (including a subwoofer below the dashboard). The audio setup makes use of Kevlar cone speakers, aluminium dome tweeters and a dedicated MOSFET amplifier, while a Qi wireless charging tray is included in the package. A Pure Sound Booth sound deadening kit is also available as a dealer-installed option.

Buyers can choose between eight exterior hues (including the new Premium White Pearl II and Surf Blue) in both single- and two-tone colour schemes, while beige, black, red with a chequered flag motif, white with blue stripes as well as black and brown interiors are available. This being Japan at its most eclectic, the interior styles are called Bright Rod, Street Rod, California Diner, Hawaii Glide and Tennessee Session respectively.

am_ns1412047H

Unchanged are the 656 cc three-cylinder engines in both 58 PS/65 Nm naturally-aspirated and 64 PS/105 Nm turbocharged forms, CVT (turbo models get paddle shifters) and a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Honda quotes a fuel consumption figure of 25.8 km per litre on the JC08 cycle for the NA 2WD model. VSA comes as standard, while a Safety Package with a City-Brake Active system and six airbags comes with all but the base G variant.

Prices for the Honda N-Box Slash start at 1,380,000 yen (RM40,000) for the base NA 2WD G, rising up to 1,939,400 yen (RM56,500) for the top-of-the-range X turbo 4WD with the two-tone colour scheme.