Honda is no stranger to small, economical city cars. The original 1972 Honda Civic was a smash hit in the states for that very reason. But Japan’s winding, narrow roads packed with pedestrians means that JDM cars are often quite different. Honda City, first revealed in 1981, came with a collapsable scooter for ease of mobility.
The Honda City Turbo and Motocompo were a JDM dream team
It sounds strange, but stuffing a scooter in the back of the Honda City made total sense, at least in Japan. Park your city turbo a couple of miles away, then ride your Motocompo to your destination. It shaved a couple of minutes off the daily commute, even if you looked a little silly winding through traffic on a scooter.
First, let’s talk about trims: there’s the AA trim for your typical Honda City, a VF trim for vans, and then the FA trim, otherwise known as the Turbo II. The regular City got 67 horsepower out of its 1.2L inline four-cylinder engine. Meanwhile, the City Turbo II crammed 108 horsepower in that same engine, thanks to an additional intercooler.
Performance figures of the City Turbo II aren’t excellent by today’s standards, but for a car that weighed less than a ton, 108 horsepower was more than enough. 0-60 times took about 8.4 seconds. And regardless of trim, the City could get well over 40 mpg in stop-and-go traffic. In other words, it was an excellent car, made even better with the optional Motocompo scooter.
The Motocompo was a strange little scooter
Designed to fit in the back of the Honda City, the Motocompo filled up every inch of the City’s tiny trunk. Its 50cc engine puffed out 2.5 horsepower, which gave Honda’s little scooter a top speed of 30 kilometers per hour. That translates to about 19 mph, which is faster than standstill traffic. And Honda claimed the Motocompo got 70 km/L, or 164 mpg, which meant it had a range of roughly 95 miles thanks to its half gallon tank.
Though, there are a couple of drawbacks to the Motocompo. For starters, it weighed 99 lbs, so a scrawny guy (like myself) probably wouldn’t be able to get it in and out of the trunk. Though, the simplicity of Honda’s scooter caused some problems as well.
According to Hemmings, the Motocompo had an oil gauge and a separate oil tank. That, paired with road grime and grease would make lifting the Motocompo into the trunk of your Honda City difficult and dirty. And doing that in a business suit doesn’t sound very appealing.
So most Japanese businessfolk stuck with the Honda City. They were happy to drive a few extra miles in city traffic than get covered in gunk from their 99 lb scooter. But both the Honda City and the Motocompo developed a cult following in the US, despite being a JDM product.
How to get your hands on a Honda City and Motocompo today
If you’re just after the Motocompo, they can be had for about $3,500, making an excellent and unique scooter for beginners. Though, once you pair it with the City, things start to get expensive.
There are plenty of websites, such as The Import Guys, that can make your JDM car dreams come true. But keep in mind that the Honda City (especially the Turbo II) and Motocompo have some novelty to them. For example, back in August of 2020, Bring a Trailer sold a Honda City Turbo II with Motocompo for $25,000.
Though if you live in Thailand or Mexico, then you can buy a 2021 Honda City today. Now on its seventh generation, the Honda City starts with a 1.0L three-cylinder engine that gives the car a total of 122 horsepower. The car is much larger than the original Honda City, and even makes more power than the Honda City Turbo II with less displacement.
Though, in Mexico, you can also have it with a 1.5L four-cylinder that makes 119 horsepower, as well as a six speed manual. Now, you can imagine how hard it is to find specs for a Thailand/Mexico-only car, but from what I can gather the 1.5L gets about 44 mpg combined.
Provided, this new Honda City doesn’t have a Motocompo to go with. For that, you’d have to buy another Honda bike and stuff it in the back. But it’s fun to know that this JDM car lives on in some capacity, even if the new Honda City isn’t quite as quirky.