News Release 1997
| Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

AutomobileJapanApril 18, 1997
Honda Introduces New Mini Vehicle, the "Life"

Tokyo, April 18, 1997 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. introduced its new "Life" mini vehicle today. It has an individualistic, stylish design and an excellent package for daily use. It also offers superb performance, with both driving stability and ride comfort. The Life will be sold through Honda Primo dealerships nationwide from April 27.

This vehicle is not only "easy to handle, functional, and economical", which are advantages of mini vehicles, but also has a spacious cabin, with priority given to driver and passenger comfort.

Excellent packaging was a development prerequisite. The luggage space was designed to accommodate various user needs.

The Life has a highly rigid body, resulting in good performance, with excellent driving stability and ride comfort.

The exterior design is friendly and stylish, and was designed with modern styling and functionality in mind.

The Life sets a new standard for mini vehicles at a reasonable price. The most up-to-date features are included. The Life has a driver-side SRS air bag, heat-absorbing green glass that absorbs ultraviolet rays in all windows, an anti-bacterial steering wheel, and an arm rest as standard equipment.

Life T-type
Life T-type

Monthly projected sales in Japan: 8,000 units.

Development theme

Honda aimed to create a vehicle with new attributes over and above those of other mini vehicles, i.e., being "easy to handle, functional, and economical".

As a result, the Honda Life has the following three new mini vehicle features.

  • "Multi-utility" achieved through spacious cabin and luggage space.
  • "Good driving performance" with both steering stability and ride comfort.
  • Fun, tasteful, new "Styling"

Major features

  • The overall height of the vehicle is 1,575mm(1), so the cabin is spacious enough for four adults. Sufficient head clearance and vertical side windows mean that passengers do not feel confined.

    (1) The G and T types, which have a roof rail as standard equipment, are 1635mm high.

  • The hip point is high for optimum driving comfort and to make getting in / out easy.
  • The vehicle has a new two-way trunk lid mechanism. The 135(2)-liter capacity increases to 167(2) liters when the lid is set at the lower position, and tall luggage can be stored easily. If the lid is closed at the height of the trunk garnish and the rear seat is folded, then a 397-liter(2) luggage space is available.

    (2) measured by Honda using the VDA method


  • The basic frame consists of a rigid lower body and cabin. Honda aimed for a style with a strong, reliable, solid feel, and a body with a friendly, high-quality design.
  • The attractive front view was achieved via a large multi-reflector placed high up and a large bumper grill.
  • The vehicle, which has a large bumper and oblong combination lights in the rear, is easily identified by cars behind.
  • The large tailgate is operated using an easy to reach inner handle.
  • A roof rail is installed, which can be used in various ways and complements the stylish design.
  • Eight body colors are available for all types.


  • The driver's seat is large, square and 40mm wider than the passenger seat, which makes it comfortable even during long-distance driving.
  • The rear seat has a 200-mm-thick high-density cushion. A headrest is attached to improve comfort.
  • An armrest is installed in the driver's seat (in automatic models, except for the B type) and at the center of the rear seat. The rear seat is divided in the ratio 6 : 4 and can be reclined in nine stages. When both the front and rear seats are reclined, sufficient space for long items is available.
  • A key-less entry system integrated with the interior light is installed as standard equipment in the G and T types.
  • Eight storage spaces are available, including a large-capacity glove box, a driver's pocket, and a card & ticket holder thus improving the utility of the cabin.
  • An automatic air conditioner is installed in T type models as standard equipment, which offers excellent cooling performance. The B and G types have manual air conditioners as standard equipment.
  • All windows in the G and T types are power windows, enabling drivers to open / close windows easily.

Driving performance

  • The hyper 12-valve engine (maximum output: 48ps/6,300 rpm, maximum torque 5.8kgm/5,500rpm, fuel economy at 10.15 mode: 20.0km/l(3)) which rated highly due to its excellent acceleration and fuel economy over the practical rpm range, has been refined. It offers nimble driving, even on hills and when the car is fully loaded.

    (3) 5-speed manual transmission

  • The gear ratio of the 3-speed automatic transmission vehicle was modified to achieve smooth and economic driving.
  • The optimum gear ratio of the 5-speed manual transmission and the improved shift rigidity give a sporty and reliable shift feel.
  • The front McPherson strut-type suspension has a large-diameter stabilizer, and the rear torsional beam suspension has a hollow stabilizer, resulting in stable driving.
  • The minimum turning radius is 4.5m, and the power steering, installed as standard equipment, improves the maneuverability.

Safety, environment

  • The highly rigid I.5 BOX body has crumple zones at the front and back.
  • The driving environment is driver-friendly with a high eye point and large door mirrors.
  • Visibility is guaranteed even at night thanks to large multi-reflector headlights.
  • A driver-side SRS airbag is installed with all types as standard equipment. An ABS (four-wheel anti-lock brake system) is available with all types as an option.
  • The rear seatbelt can be used to fix a child seat by adjusting its length. No tools are necessary.
  • The metal used in the catalyzer has been modified, thus reducing the amount of NOx in the exhaust gas.
  • All resin parts that weigh 100g or more have an identification number, so that they can be easily categorized and recycled.
  • The use of specified CFC materials in the manufacturing process has been eliminated. In addition, non-asbestos materials are used for friction surfaces, and no TCE (trichloroethane) is used in manufacturing the bumpers. Other measures were also taken to reduce the use of materials affecting the environment.


Type B -type G -type T -type
5 MT 3 AT 5 MT 3 AT 5 MT 3 AT
Vehicle Identification HONDA.E-JA4


Overall LxWxH (m) 3.295/1.395/1.575 3.295/1.395/1.635 3.295/1.395/1.635
Wheelbase (m) 2.330
Track Front/Rear (m) 1.225/1.225
Ground clearance (m) 0.155
Interior Dimensions
(L/W/H) (m)


WEIGHT (kg) 750 760 760 770 770 780
with ABS 760 770 770 780 780 790


Minimum Turning Radius (m) 4.5
Fuel Consumption(km/l) 10.15Mode * 20.0 16.6 20.0 16.6 20.0 16.6
60km/h Constant Speed * 27.6 21.5 27.6 21.5 27.6 21.5


Steering Type Rack & Pinion

Braking System Front Hydraulic Servo-assisted solid discs
Rear Hydraulic Servo-assisted leading-trailing shoe drums
Suspension Front/Rear McPherson struts/ Torsional beam
Stabilizer Torsion bar (Front & Rear)
TYRE 155/70 R12 73S 155/65 R13 73S


Construction Transversely-mounted water-cooled inline 3 cylinder
Valvetrain SOHC belt-driven (Two intake valves and two exhaust valves per cylinder)
Capacity (cm3) 656
Bore x Stroke (mm) 66.0 x 64.0
Compression Ratio 9.8
Max. Horsepower (PS/rpm) 48/6300
Max. Torque (kgm/pm) 5.8/5500
Fuel Supply Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
Fuel tank (liters) 30


Engine Type E07A
Transmission 5MT 3AT
Ratios 1st gear 4.083 2.631
2nd 2.294 1.515
3rd 1.500 0.930
4th 1.096 -
5th 0.885 -
Reverse 3.909 2.047

* The value examined by the Ministry of Transport

<< Return

Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.