Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced a full model change for its Life minicar featuring a new crash-compatible body frame designed to provide greater safety in collisions even between vehicles of differing size and weight. The Life is equipped with the new ultra-low emissions certificated i-DSI engine, and a tilt-up sliding front passenger seat*1. The styling is unique, and the car is available in twelve attractive colors. The new Life will be available for sale starting September 5th at Honda Primo dealers throughout Japan,
The design objective driving the development of the third-generation Life minicar was to focus more than ever on making technology serve people, enhancing safety, environmental performance, comfort, ease-of-use and styling.
• The Life's new crash-compatible body uses the engine compartment to efficiently disperse and absorb collision energy during a vehicle-to-vehicle collision, thus significantly improving self protection while also reducing aggressive behavior toward other vehicles.
• The newly developed 660cc inline 3-cylinder i-DSI engine and i-DSI turbocharged engine are combined with a 4-speed automatic transmission to provide superior performance at low to medium speeds,
• Variable seating and luggage space configurations enable occupants to easily rearrange the interior space for a variety of uses.
• Twelve attractive body color choices are available for all models.
• The suspension has been redesigned for enhanced stability and comfort.
• Body and engine noise and vibration suppression is top-of-class level.
Principle Features of the Honda Life
- Safety Performance -
• The Life's newly developed body is designed to address crash compatibility issues by using the engine compartment to efficiently absorb and disperse the energy of impact in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions, thus enhancing self-protection for vehicle occupants, while at the same time reducing aggressive behavior.
• The use of a lower member prevents misalignment with the other vehicle's shock absorbing members during a collision while at the same time absorbing and dispersing the energy of impact. The main frame and upper frame are also structured for efficient energy absorption, enabling the engine compartment to absorb energy efficiently, thereby significantly reducing the load on the passenger compartment.
• A structure that absorbs shock to the head and leg areas helps reduce injury to pedestrians.
• In addition to equipping the shoulder harness of the driver's seatbelt with a pretensioner, the driver's hip belt has also been outfitted with a pretensioner. The restraint system is designed to reducing occupant injury through the use of a two-stage load limiter and precise control of body restraint.
• The roof and pillars of the passenger compartment interior are designed to protect against shock to the head.
• The driver's and front-passenger seats are both equipped with SRS airbags.
• The right and left rear seats are equipped with ISO FIX fixed child safety seat bars.
• All models equipped with ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and brake assist.
- Design -
• Combining the latest technology and functionality with fun styling, the proprietary design captures the fun in functionality.
• The front view of the vehicle is designed to convey a sense of security by displaying the lower member of the crash-compatible body, which runs vertically between the bottom edge of the bumper and the front pillar.
• The side view features a roofline that describes a dynamic arc, imparting a lively sense of motion, an impressive 'roomy package' with the longest wheelbase available in a minicar (passenger car), and a protruding tire form with fenders flared toward the front and back.
• Enlarged multi-reflector headlights extend from the body in a three-dimensional design that provides a brighter, wider area of illumination.
• The large, rear combination-lights are designed to enhance both visibility and aerodynamic performance.
• The multi-angle outer door handles are rounded so as to be easily pulled from any angle.
• The interior design aims to convey the pleasure and comfort of advanced technology, and provides a bright, cozy space that offers ample functionality, ease of use, and the convenience of the latest technologies.
• A two-tone beige and gray color scheme coordinates interior features like the instrument panel and seats to fit into the same color palette, conveying an image of brightness and quality.
• A multi-information display*4 uses text and pictures to convey information in an easy-to-understand format. Meant to manage communication with the driver, it provides a broad range of vehicle data, including various warnings, fuel consumption levels, a tachometer, a trip meter, and notification when the vehicle is due for inspection. It also displays birthdays and other calendar-related information.
• The rounded inner door handles are easy to grasp and offer a firm finger hold, providing operability in an attractive design that matches the multi-angle exterior door handles.
• Available in 12 chic, basic, sporty, and fun exterior colors.
• A session with a creative designer from another field gave rise to a color collection that includes the three exterior colors Matcha Creme, Vanilla Creme, and Caramel Creme, and the interior color Bitter Brown.
- Packaging -
• The 'roomy package' concept seeks not simply to expand interior spaciousness, but also to provide user-friendly, attractive packaging that is comfortable and pleasurable.
• Achieves an additional 30 mm*5 of interior height by lowering the vehicle floor while minimizing overall vehicle height to ensure driving stability, reduce air resistance, and improve fuel economy.
• The development of a new compact engine reduced in length from front to back and the use of a crash-compatible body enhances crash safety performance while reducing the vehicle nose length by 95 mm*5. This allows for the longest wheel base available for a minicar (passenger car), enabling superior driving stability and an interior space that feels roomy despite a low overall vehicle height.
• Enables comfortable driving positions by making the steering column cover more compact and adjusting the angle of the steering wheel and the position of the accelerator pedal, as well as through the use of adjustable seat positions that accommodate drivers of varying physiques.
*5 Honda in-house measurements.
- Utility -
• The F model features a front-passenger seat with a tip-up slide mechanism developed to enable the care of children seated in rear child seats without exiting the vehicle. Tipping up and sliding the front-passenger seat permits rear, aft, and sideway walk-through. The D model is equipped with front bench seating, and the C model with separate front seats.
• Varied seating positions can be configured through simple operation to serve a variety of uses.
• Features a variety of interior utility spaces to meet a range of needs, including an upper storage compartment for the driver's seat and a two-level instrument panel tray designed to provide easy access to items normally used in a vehicle.
• The three-stage door makes it easy to get in and out and to load and unload the vehicle. Since larger cargo is often loaded from the back, the rear door opening angle is a wide 79 degrees.
• The Honda smart card key system*6 enables users to lock and unlock the doors and tail gate, and to operate the ignition with an ultra-thin portable card. The system also includes an immobilizer effective in helping to prevent vehicle theft.
*6 Factory option on the D and F models. Packaged on the D model with a fully automatic air conditioner.
- Engine and Transmission -
Newly Developed 660cc 3-Cylinder i-DSI Engine and i-DSI Turbocharged Engines
• With a short stroke that ensures low friction even at high motor speeds, the new Life's highly fuel-efficient i-DSI engine is ideal for driving around town as well as medium and high-speed driving. Each cylinder is provided with two spark plugs, and uses staggered firing to produce rapid combustion. This enables the engine to attain a higher compression ratio, which provides superior anti-knock performance despite the short stroke, thus achieving both a low fuel consumption rate of 19.8 km/liter*7 (i-DSI engine in a front-engine, front-wheel drive vehicle) and a high engine output.
• Honda has newly developed an i-DSI engine with a turbocharger. The high combustion efficiency of the i-DSI reduces knocking, which tends to occur in turbocharged engines. The engine combines ample power with low fuel consumption and clean environmental performance -- even at high speeds -- and is the first mass-produced turbocharged vehicle to be ULEV certified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
*7 10-15 mode; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport test values.
Newly-Developed, Electronically-Controlled 4-Speed Automatic Transmission
(Prosmatec Transmission with Lockup Mechanism)
• The new transmission features an active lockup mechanism that engages even at low speeds, and achieves top-of-its-class fuel economy through precision control that is tuned to the vehicle's driving conditions and throttle opening.
• This is the first time Honda has incorporated its proprietary direct control system used in Accords and other models in a minicar. Linear solenoids provide precision control of the clutch pressure, ensuring a smoother gear shift feel.
• The Prosmatec (PROgressive, Shift schedule MAnagement TEChnology) transmission provides a smooth ride when ascending or descending hills. The system evaluates driving conditions based on the throttle opening and acceleration, and optimally controls the timing of gear shifts.
- Chassis -
• The chassis imparts a smooth and pleasant ride with both superior handling and stability even at high speeds. The front end employs a MacPherson strut suspension with a highly rigid lower arm, and the rear end uses a compact H-beam suspension, yielding superior ride comfort.
• Vibration damping and noise reduction technologies make use of the newly-developed engine and the new frame body. The rigidity of the lower block structure, the cylinder block, and the crankshaft reduce the vibration of the engine itself, as well as radiated noise. Using a lightweight vibration damping material to achieve thorough noise reduction processing and vibration damping produces a ride quieter than other vehicles in its class.
• The body frame parts are made of high-tensile steel plates. Using highly rigid high-tensile steel reduces vehicle weight while enhancing rigidity, which was difficult to achieve in the past with conventional processes.
- Environmental Performance -
• Offers significantly reduced levels of exhaust gas pollutants such as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides through the use of a high-efficiency engine and equipment like an oxygen sensor and a linear air-fuel ratio sensor for high-precision control of the air-to-fuel ratio, as well as a catalytic converter positioned directly below the front exhaust manifold. Achieves superior environmental performance with pollutant levels that fall well below amounts permissible under 2000 exhaust gas emission standards. All models are ULEV certified by the Ministry of land, Transport and Infrastructure. The turbocharged engine-equipped model is also the first mass-produced turbocharged car of its kind to gain ULEV certification.
• Achieves the low fuel consumption rate of 19.8 km/liter*8 (i-DSI engine, front-engine, front-wheel drive vehicle) through the combination of the i-DSI engine's highly efficient fuel combustion technology and a lockup mechanism-equipped, four-speed automatic transmission, meeting 2010 fuel efficiency standards. This, along with the vehicle's ULEV certification, qualify it for Japan's green tax rebate*9.
• The majority of internal and external fittings are made of plastics that offer superior recyclability. The new Life is the first minicar to completely eliminate the use of polyvinyl chloride, a material considered difficult to recycle, in interior fittings. In fact, over 90%*10 of the materials used in the vehicle are recyclable.
• The new Life is the first minicar to reduce the use of lead to less than 10% that of 1996 levels.