Just spent a few hours inside Honda's R&D centre in Wako, on the very outer edges of Tokyo's vast sprawl. Apparently, we’re only the second group of non-Honda people to enter the building since it was built in 1961.

Of course they'd locked all the secret stuff away, but we did get to meet Honda's R&D and styling boss, Nobuki Ebisawa.

Honda's hybrid sports car plan

Honda working on active aero

He explained Honda's styling philosophy of dynamism and functionality, neatly illustrated by the firm's first four wheeled vehicles, the pretty little S500 roadster and the original min pick up, the T360.

Dynamism and functionality does sound a bit glib and dynamism, certainly, is a much overused word in the car industry. But looking at how different the two cars are, and then sitting the CR-Z alongside the Insight, you begin to see his point.

Ebisawa also admitted that not that long ago, Honda design was too disparate, with little to relate a Civic to an S2000 or a Jazz.