When Honda began producing a supermini MPV in 1997, the company named it after the word "capacity," with the belief that it will perform to its full potential. Indeed, the Japanese automaker intended for the Capa to be compact, light, easy to operate and environmentally friendly. In the end, though, the vehicle -- named the Honda Capa -- was not capable of having a long production run. By 2002, it was history.
Honda debuted the Capa in 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show; it was then known as the J-MW. Thereafter, the company announced that the tiny car would go on sale on April 24, 1998. Designed as a five-door hatchback, the Capa was based on the platform of another Honda supermini: the Logo. It had a water-cooled 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that provided up to about 97 horsepower at 6,300 RPM. The engine is paired with Honda's Multimatic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or a four-speed automatic gearbox. Although the standard layout was front engine front-wheel drive, customers had a choice of getting an all-wheel drive (AWD) instead.
The year 1999 saw the first updates on the Capa. The bumper was slightly remodeled, and a tachometer and Honda's Brake Assist system were added as standard equipment. This was also the model year in which the AWD and less expensive automatic transmission option made their debuts. The following year, there were more model updates; the front grill, bumper, and seats were refreshed, and Honda introduced the Capa Special Edition model.
These enhancements, however, did little to boost sales of the Capa, which were never good to begin with. So, in 2001 Honda announced the arrival of the Mobilio as the successor to the Capa; and in February of the following year, the company announced that it was pulling the plug on the car.