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Inside the New N-BOX: A Comprehensive Ride Through Honda’s Latest Evolution

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TEXT: 西川昇吾(NISHIKAWA Shogo)  PHOTO: 西川昇吾(NISHIKAWA Shogo)

  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023
  • Honda's third generation N-BOX Custom: fully remodeled into the third generation in October 2023

N-BOX evolved into its third generation in the autumn of 2023

The best-selling car in Japan is Honda’s N-BOX kei-car, which sold 218,478 units in FY2023, making it the best-selling model including regular cars. The N-BOX was fully remodeled in October 2023 to become the third generation. So, a young automotive writer in his 20s checked out the new N-BOX in a variety of situations.

So many surprises before you even start driving!

We were surprised when we borrowed a PR car and opened the rear doors to put our luggage in the back seat for a test drive. It opens and closes so quietly that it is hard to believe that it is an electric sliding door of a kei-car. To be honest, this level of quietness is probably a bit rare, even in the sliding doors of regular cars. I was suddenly surprised by the N-BOX.

And when you enter the car, you are overwhelmed by its spaciousness. ‘Is this a kei-car?’ You might think, “Is this a mini car? It is spacious and has good visibility. The small compartments are also highly practical in terms of size and partitioning, and all of them impress you with their cleverness and well-thought-out design. This is a point that makes you feel that this area has been thoroughly researched. This kind of meticulous attention to detail is probably one of the reasons why it is the “best-selling car in Japan”.

Easy cruising on highways

When I started my test drive, I was further surprised by the ‘quietness’ aspect. In town, the car is so quiet that it is hard to believe it is a kei-car. Road noise, as well as mechanical noise from the engine and other sources, is quite unnoticeable. At low speeds, I felt that the ride quality was good. The overall angularity and quietness of the car gave the impression of a very smooth ride.

Enter the motorway and accelerate to merge. As the car we borrowed, this time is a turbo engine grade ‘Custom’, merging is stress-free. To my surprise, the car cruises comfortably even in the 120 km/h section of the New Tomei Expressway. As expected, wind noise is a little more noticeable than in a normal car, but considering it is a light car, it can be said to be of high quality. It also has ACC and is very comfortable to cruise at high speeds. The straight-line stability is also so high that it is hard to believe that it is a light-height wagon, and the driver feels less fatigue than expected on the motorway, which is an impressive point.

The N-BOX has one of the longest wheelbases of all current minicars (the N-ONE and N-VAN are the same, at 2520 mm). This longer wheelbase is also likely to play a role in making high-speed cruising easier.

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