The Strangely Named Japanese Car segment is actually among the most difficult to write here at PlaysWithCars, because there are so many bizarre names to weed through it’s challenging to pick just one. But I’ve decided to give the Honda Life Dunk its place in the (rising) sun as the inaugural entry.
In Japan, there’s a segment called “kei” cars, which are basically tiny cars with small engines that sneak around various tax and insurance requirements that are based on engine and vehicle size. Honda sells one such car called the Life, which is actually a pretty reasonable name. The car has a 660cc three-cylinder, but at least the name is acceptable.
At some point in the late 1990s, Honda realized this vehicle was underpowered and decided to put out a turbocharged version of it. A normal manufacturer may have called this the Life T, or the Life Turbo, or even the Life Sport. But Honda decided instead that it should be named the Life Dunk. I can’t explain it or even rationalize it, and I bet Honda can’t either.
In 2003, the Life was redesigned and the Life Dunk went away forever. But something tells me it won’t be Honda’s last entry into this category.