Light-hearted looks cloaked a serious spec, including a front-mounted, 12-valve, three-pot engine with an intercooled turbo boosting up to 12.8psi. Despite a heady 9300rpm cut-out, there was real urge from 2000rpm. A 679kg kerb weight and close-ratio, short-throw gearbox brought swift acceleration, although top speed was artificially limited to 83mph. Still, goading the engine was fun and the brakes were powerful.
The Cappuccino featured allround independent suspension, rear drive delivered via an LSD and a 50:50 weight distribution, which allowed swift turn-in and throttle-adjustable mid-corner balance. The ride was fine when cruising, although it fidgeted over smaller bumps.
The tiny boot, narrow cabin and a driving position inhospitable for six-footers were shortfalls, but the three-piece aluminium roof allowed Targa-style and fully open layouts. The car’s price was ambitious, mind.
What happened next…
Unlike the grey import-only Honda Beat, the Cappuccino was a bona fide UK model, selling here from 1993 to 1996. Today, there are just under 190 left on UK roads and a further 459 SORNed, according to howmanyleft.com. They do come up for sale, though. At the time of writing, there was a 1994 example with 83k miles, three owners and a full service history for £6950 and a concours 1995 car (forensic £36k refurb in 2006, mostly dry storage since) with 84k miles for £17,990.
For: Handling, grip, looks, build quality, roof
Against: Price, ride, poor leg room and luggage space
Price £11,995 Engine 3 cylinder in line, 657cc, turbo, petrol Power 63bhp at 6500rpm Torque 63lb ft at 4000rpm 0-60mph 11.3sec 0-100mph na Standing quarter mile 18.5sec, 73mph Top speed 83mph Economy 35.9mpg