The most adorable little convertible and I were born in the same year, we’re both incredible, but only one of us came with zebra-print seats.
In 1991, during Japan’s “bubble era,” Honda gave us the car that is impossible to look at without saying: “Awww.” The Beat is a pocket-sized kei car, a precious tax-incentivized-sized vehicle made in Japan for Japan.
Was the Beat the fastest kei car? Well, no, but because it was so low to the ground, light, and small, it felt fast at any speed. That 656cc engine paired to a five-speed manual wouldn’t break any 0-60 records. But if we learned anything from our former resident JDM fanboi Patrick George (RIP), that didn’t matter.
(PG’s takeaway, somewhat ominously, was that you should not drive a Honda Beat because it will ruin you.)
Jalopnik contributor Ken Saito spent even more time in one and concluded it’s the most fun you can have at 25 mph. He also got some of the most flattering Beat photos a kei car’s ever been treated to, so if you’re still thirsty for Beat frames after watching the video, you’re welcome to revisit this classic from 2017:
The Beat wasn’t a sports car like the others on the market—a beefy M3, or an angry Mustang, or an all-too-serious Camaro—but it was a sporty car, with child Barbie Jeep-looking gauges and a comically small door handle. And most of all, one that brought you joy.
Watch the video above to see just how much the Honda Beat means to us. And if you want more premium JDM paradise content, make sure to watch our Bubble Cars series.