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Honda Today
Honda Today.jpg
1990-1993 Honda Today JA2
Body and chassis
ClassKei car
LayoutFront engine, Front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
PredecessorHonda Life (1974)
SuccessorHonda Life (1997)

The Honda Today was a kei car (minivehicle) produced by the Japanese automaker Honda beginning in 1985. It was replaced by the Honda Life in 1998. Honda's smallest car being produced at the time was the Honda City, which was a supermini and it had an engine larger than kei car legislation allowed. The Today represented a reentry into kei car production. Honda had abandoned kei passenger cars in 1975, choosing to manufacture the Honda Acty kei truck, and the Honda Street microvan for that segment. Previously, Honda's smallest car was the Honda Civic, followed by the smaller Honda City in 1981.

The "Today" name has since been used by Honda for a 50 cc scooter manufactured in China, available from 2002 until 2016.

First generation

Honda Today JW1-JW4, JA1-JA3
Honda today honda collection hall.JPG
1985 Honda Today JW1 (original version)
Body and chassis
Body style3-door hatchback
3-door light van
Wheelbase2,330 mm (91.7 in)
  • 1985-1990: 3,195 mm (125.8 in)
  • 1990-1998: 3,295 mm (129.7 in)
Width1,395 mm (54.9 in)
  • 1985-1990: 1,315 mm (51.8 in)
  • 1990-1998: 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Curb weight
  • 1985: 550–560 kg (1,212.5–1,234.6 lb)
  • 1994: 620–730 kg (1,366.9–1,609.4 lb)

The first generation Today (JW1) was introduced in September 1985 as a three-door hatchback, on a wheelbase of 2,330 mm (91.7 in). The rear axle was a torsion beam with coil springs. The Today was originally only available as a light commercial vehicle, to suit Japanese tax requirements. The Today was initially launched with three different model specifications, with the entry model being model 'F', followed by a model 'M' and the top of the range 'G'. The Today was only intended for the Japanese domestic market.[1] It was introduced at newly established Japanese dealerships called Honda Primo locations alongside the Primo "headliner" sedan, the Honda Civic. The flat roof hatchback design appearance was shared with the incrementally larger supermini Honda City, the compact Honda Civic, and the mid-size Honda Accord AeroDeck. Originally available with either a four-speed manual or a two-speed Hondamatic semi-automatic, it was powered by a water-cooled two-cylinder Honda EH series OHC 545 cc engine - the same as used in the Acty kei truck.[1] A five-speed manual became available on a special edition Today G in September 1987. Another special edition appeared in February 1987; the Today M-based Pochette received special colors and was aimed at female buyers. The Pochette became a regular model by 1990 and remained available into the second generation.

In a market where three-cylinder engines were the norm, this unit (developed for the Acty truck from the 1974 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle engine) was outdated and was replaced by the three-cylinder four-valve E05A 547 cc engine by February 1988, along with a minor facelift in which the car's round headlights were replaced by aerodynamic lenses matching the rest of the Honda family.[2] The second generation also received a regular three-speed automatic with a torque converter rather than the earlier Hondamatic, and for the first time a passenger version became available (in March 1988).[2] The suspension was also upgraded, as was the dashboard. Chassis codes are JW2 for the commercial model and JA1 for the car version. The range were F, M, G, Ri, and Ri-Z (JW2) and XG and XTi (JA1). Later, lower cost XE and XL passenger versions were added as light commercials began losing their domination in the segment. Power outputs varied, since commercial vehicles suffered less stringent emissions regulations. The lower end models all produce 36 PS (26 kW), although the passenger models required an electronic carburettor. The fuel injected models have 44 PS (32 kW) in commercials, 42 PS (31 kW) in passenger models, and 40 PS (29 kW) in passenger models with the automatic transmission.[2][3]

660 cc era

Together with the new regulations in March, 1990 the bumpers were enlarged to give the car a length of 3,295 mm (129.7 in), and the engine was enlarged to 656 cc. Power is 42 PS (31 kW) for the carburetted versions, 52 PS (38 kW) for the fuel injected ones. By April 1990, came a permanent four-wheel drive version with an independent rear axle. The new chassis codes were JW3/JW4 (commercial 2WD, 4WD) and JA2/JA3 (passenger version 2WD, 4WD).

The second generation Today was introduced in 1993 and was designed around passenger comfort, unlike the more utilitarian original model. The original commercial model, called "Today Pro" in some years, was kept in production in parallel until 1998, when kei car regulations were changed. The lineup was then reduceded in September 1994 to the basic Pro F, the Humming X, and the four-wheel-drive Pro QP and Humming QX models. The fuel injected version was discontinued and the five-speed manual was only available coupled with four-wheel drive.[4] The well-equipped Humming models were an attempt at recapturing the buyers who were put off by the lack of a rear hatch of the second generation Today, and proved more popular than the newer model.

Second generation

Honda Today JA4/JA5
Honda Today 011.JPG
Honda Today Pochette 2-door (pre-facelift)
Body and chassis
Body style
Engine656 cc E07A I3
Wheelbase2,330 mm (91.7 in)
Length3,295 mm (129.7 in)
Width1,395 mm (54.9 in)
  • FF: 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
  • 4WD: 1,370 mm (53.9 in)
Curb weight650–760 kg (1,433.0–1,675.5 lb)

In January 1993, a redesigned Honda Today was announced. Unlike the first generation, which was originally designed to meet the light commercial car requirements, the second generation Today was designed as a passenger car from the outset. Thus, the suspension was tuned for a more comfortable ride and the car did not have a hatchback - in its place was a trunk lid that opened downwards to form a tailgate, like the 1992 Civic three-door (although unlike the Civic, the Today's rear window does not open). This increased the rigidity of the bodyshell; the unusual rear windshield was shaped in a "J line" and was meant to maximize the view to the sides.[5] The interior is not symmetrical: the driver's seat is slightly larger than the front passenger seat. These features were decided on after research indicated that the car's target audience were mostly single young women who often drove alone, with little need for cargo space. Initially only available as a two-door, in May 1993 a four-door version was added, named the Today Associe. On four-door models with power windows, the rear windows were still manually operated.

The 1993 Today was available with two engines, a standard 656 cc three-cylinder fuel injection E07A engine, and a high output version of the same engine with MTREC technology for the Xi model (called Rs in the second generation). MTREC stands for "Multi Throttle Responsive Engine Control" and features individual throttle bodies for each cylinder. This engine was borrowed from the Honda Beat, although the Today's engine was tuned for more low-end torque than the high-end Beat. MTREC-engined models received a three-spoke steering wheel and a tachometer. Both engines were available with either a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic gearbox. All-wheel drive (using Honda's Realtime 4WD technology) was available with the Q trim level; unlike in the first generation Today, four-wheel drive was also available with an automatic transmission. Until 1996, Today buyers could still specify the traditional Japanese fender-mounted mirrors, still popular with professional drivers.[6]

For the Today's February 1996 facelift, Honda eliminated the tailgate rear door, and replaced it with a traditional hatchback door. This necessitated a thorough redesign of the rear end (resulting in a look very similar to that of the Honda Logo, which appeared a few months later), because the rear window had originally wrapped around to the sides. The five-door arrived one month after the three-door and was now simply called "Today", forgoing the "Associe" name. The front was also reworked, gaining a tiny grille and with different bumpers. The chassis numbers remained JA4 and JA5 (FF/4WD). One characteristic shared with both generations was the use of only one windshield wiper arm for the front windshield.


In light of the Suzuki Wagon R's success, Honda decided to introduce a modern version of its 1970s Honda Life "StepVan" microvan, and reintroduced the Honda Life model name in 1997. When the kei car regulations changed in October 1998, necessitating a redesign, the Life received a redesign, while the Today, which was a modern interpretation of the first Honda Life three-door hatchback, was discontinued.

Media appearances

The Honda Today featured frequently in Kōsuke Fujishima's You're Under Arrest as the main transport for the lead characters. The vehicle featured was a highly personalized minipato (police mini patrol car) with modifications such as nitrous oxide, turbo and others, and with a Motocompo folding bike stowed in the back compartment.

The Honda Today is also featured in Gran Turismo 4.

It appears alongside many of its kei car contemporaries in Kat's Run: Zen-Nippon K Car Senshuken for the Super Famicom.

It also Appeared in Patlabor as an Main Car for the Characters

The car used to have slight modifications to Miyuki Kobayakawa


  1. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (5 March 1987). Automobil Revue 1987 (in German and French). 82. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 314. ISBN 3-444-00458-3.
  2. ^ a b c 自動車ガイドブック [Japanese Motor Vehicles Guide Book 1988~'89] (in Japanese), 35, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1988-10-25, p. 131, 0053-880035-3400
  3. ^ Automobile Guide Book 1988~'89, p. 239
  4. ^ "ホンダ トゥデイ 1994年9月(平成6年9月) 発売モデル" [Honda Today, 6 September 1994 model release]. Goo-net (in Japanese). Proto Corporation. Archived from the original on 2016-04-03.
  5. ^ "ホンダ トゥデイ 1993(平成5)年1月 発売モデル" [Honda Today, 5 January 1993 model release]. Goo-net (in Japanese). Proto Corporation. Archived from the original on 2016-04-03.
  6. ^ "トゥデイ(1996年2月終了モデル)" [Today: Model built until February 1996]. Old Car Catalogue (in Japanese). Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Archived from the original on 2011-01-13.
This page was last edited on 6 November 2019, at 23:11
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