Honda City Turbo II: The 80s hatchback with a motorbike in the boot RETROspective

Honda City Turbo II: The 80s hatchback with a motorbike in the boot RETROspective


The Honda City Turbo II was ahead of its time. Not just because it was a wonderful little Japanese hatchback, but also because it came with the mighty Motocompo in the boot. The idea was genius: you would drive to the edge of town, then ride the last mile to the office on the scooter. It was the ultimate urban mobility solution, 40 years before anyone really started talking about urban mobility solutions. But is Honda about to bring this idea back to the future? Magazine’s Jack Rix finds out as part of our new mini-series… Series 30: Geneva Online Motor Show: First Look: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?

when it comes to motorbikes honda is right up there with the big guns the gold wing the fire blade the super blackbird these are the machines of myth legend and biker focal nothing says proper bike like a honda and then there was this one this is the mighty honda moto compo from 1981 robbing away down there is a 49 cc two stroke producing a scarcely believable 2.5 horsepower top speed 18 miles an hour oh yes the freedom of the road this is what it’s all about the moto compo is what honda called a trunk bike a sort of suitcase scooter designed to fold down and fit in the boot of your car the idea was genius you’d drive your car to the edge of town and then ride the final mile to the office on the scooter it was the ultimate urban mobility solution 40 years before anyone really talked about urban mobility solutions in fact honda actually designed whole cars around it with boot space tailor-made for the moto compo cars such as this the honda city honda’s early 80s urban runabout but this isn’t just any honda city this is the honda city turbo 2 the pumped up performance version and sure enough there’s just enough room in there for a fold-up moped the moto compo weighs just 45 kilograms and it’s just one meter long so putting it in the car is child there fits perfectly i mean there is literally no room for your shopping anymore but hey that’s what ocado’s for and i’m pretty sure they had that back in the 80s ladies and gentlemen madness what they definitely had in the 80s was baggy trousered scar enthusiasts madness who despite being virtually unknown in japan at the time starred in a couple of japanese tv ads for the city suggs car and a city car it must be live the turbo was the pet project of hirotoshi honda son of founder sachiro honda the idea was to take the city with its tall boy upright seating for four and give it a bit more oomph and chunkier styling just check out those flared wheel arches and that bonnet bulge in japan it became known as the bulldog which is a bit unfair on bulldogs anyway old man honda was so impressed with the prototype that he fast tracked it into production making this the very first turbocharged honda hirotoshi san went on to run mugen honda’s de facto tuning division in 1983 this turbo 2 version came along this time with an intercooler meaning the 1.2 liter motor now produced a meaty 110 horsepower nearly twice as much as the bogo model could manage it weighs just 735 kilograms about the same as a mini of the same era so not 62 miles an hour took just 8.4 seconds it still does while not as zingy as a naturally aspirated motor any turbo lag is kept in check by an innovative 8-bit processor basically it has the brain from a nintendo there’s even more 80s goodness elsewhere there’s a cassette deck and plenty of room for your 80s cassettes a digital turbo boost gauge a digital quartz clock a refrigerated glove box and those graphic decals on the car and on the moped the question is what’s the city actually any good in the city let’s start with a good bit shall we it’s small and easy to park at just 3.4 meters long and 1.6 meters wide it’s only slightly bigger than an original mini it’s nippy so easy to dive in and out of traffic and it comes with a moped actually the moto compo was more of an optional extra but you’d be ticking that box wouldn’t you but it wasn’t all good this unassisted steering is really heavy especially at low speeds and the car only really comes alive above 30 miles an hour way above urban speed limits and there’s no space for your shopping in the boot on account of it being full of moped ultimately then and despite its genius the city turbo didn’t really catch on in 1986 the city was completely discontinued sadly the moto compo died with it but here’s where we reach a crafty plot twist because honda having recently shown off some new folding e-bikes has just trademarked the name moto compacto are they plotting a comeback for the car and scooter combo after all they already make the perfect car in which to transport a mini moto the all-new all-electric honda e a turbo 2 for the 21st century only without the turbos you can see the similarities straight away just look at those headlights little round circles right at the edges of their faces both cars have ridiculously dinky overhangs and both look good in white but just how far has the city car come since well the city the honda e then honda’s first proper attempt at an electric car what do you get well you get 125 miles of range if you’re lucky you get 152 horsepower and this car is rear-wheel drive which is potentially quite a lot of fun when it’s raining a bit like this but the real benefit of that is a super tight turning circle a bit like a london black cab and then we get to this utterly mad scandinavian lounge style interior with these gray fabric seats and fake wood trim down here and in front of me no fewer than six screens including cameras and screens instead of wing mirrors what’s it like to drive well quite fast in fact up to 30 or 40 miles an hour at least because you’ve got that instant torque this is not a light car by the way it’s pretty hefty but it controls that weight really nicely it feels sporty it feels planted it feels chunky it feels over engineered like honda has really sweated the small details but which one will get you across town quickest the old timer with its turbocharger or the 21st century startup with its e-motors and instant torque there’s only one way to settle this you

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