Due to the fact that in the Japanese market there was a shift in priorities in the compact car market and the demand for light high station wagons increased (the leaders in the new category of mini-cars were Daihatsu Move and Suzuki Wagon R), Honda Concern in 1997 released a model called Life . The car got this name thanks to the van of the same name, which was very popular in the 1960s. Life is the successor to the Today hatchback and is built on its basic components, but Life has a body height of 1575-1635 mm versus 1350-1370 for the hatchback. Thanks to the high saloon and low floor (Life's ride height is equal to Today), the car is very convenient when disembarking and boarding passengers. The semi-hood layout (1.5BOX style) makes it as roomy as possible, without restricting free access to the engine - Life drives a 3-cylinder 0.7-liter unit with 48 horsepower. It works in conjunction with a manual or automatic transmission. As the successor to the Honda Today, Honda Life has maintained a roughly similar layout. About Today here are reminiscent of some points in the interior design. For example, a dashboard and a large driver's seat. It is wider than the passenger by about 40 mm, which makes it more convenient for long-term driving. The rear seats, divided in a 6: 4 ratio, are equipped with headrests and thick pillows (200 mm thick padding). There are armrests on the driver's seat and rear sofa, the back of which is with an adjustable tilt. All this makes Life comfortable and convenient, comparing favorably with some rivals in the "kei" class. The basic equipment is poor - only air conditioning, and for a fee foglights, a rear wiper and a spoiler were installed. In an expensive version, Honda Life will offer a central lock and power windows, radio, 13 inch alloy wheels. The engine at Honda Life (JA4) is a three-cylinder E07A, a 660 cc aspirated engine, SOHC design and PGM-FI injection. Maximum power is 48 hp. and achieved at 6300 rpm, the torque reaches a value of 57 Nm (at 5500 rpm). The engine is connected to a mechanical 5-speed gearbox or to a 3-speed automatic, with front-wheel drive. In the first case, fuel consumption in the 10/15 mode is about 5 liters per 100 km, and in the 60 km / h mode the car consumes 3.6 liters of gasoline per 100 km. With an automatic transmission - 6.0 l / 100 km in 10/15 mode and 4.7 l / 100 km at 60 km / h. Given the high-speed nature of the engine, in reality, fuel consumption exceeds the declared values. The E07A unit itself should be recognized as quite unpretentious, and if all the requirements were met, it could go back to overhaul of 200-300 thousand. km
From Today, the Honda Life model has inherited not only some interior components, but also the chassis. The car has a front independent suspension (MacPherson strut) and a rear semi-independent. Front disc brakes, rear drum brakes. The tire size corresponds to the typical standard for mini-cars of those years - 155 / 70R12. At the same time, in combination with a small wheelbase of 2330 mm and a track gauge of 1225 mm, a very small turning radius is guaranteed - only 4.5 meters. The interior of the car has dimensions 1640 x 1170 x 1310 mm (L x W x H). According to these indicators, the car is not better and not worse than classmates. But it is especially necessary to note the design ideas implemented in the design of the luggage compartment. If desired, you can get a more spacious and wide space. To do this, the backrests of the rear row of seats overturn, the luggage compartment floor rises with the help of an adjustable trunk lid, and an even space is obtained. At normal times, this cover is slightly lowered, so the trunk is somewhat recessed.
Honda Life had all the necessary safety systems for its time and class. Standard equipment includes a driver's pillow, side impact protection beams integrated in the doors, three-point belts for all seats, and an optional anti-lock braking system ABS. The semi-hood layout also better meets passive safety requirements. Life can be called a hatchback and compact MPV at the same time. In fact, this is a 5-door station wagon (Tall Wagon). Well equipped, quite dynamic and safe. The model can be called transitional - a complete change of line occurred only a year and a half, when a new standard for cars of this class appeared. The Honda Life JA4 has many positive aspects, if you start from the need to get a compact, practical and economical car. Perhaps the only drawback is that the cars of this series were produced for a short time and are not widespread, therefore spare parts are mainly on order.