Motoring … Clocking up the smiles with Richard Jones


Journalist, car enthusiast and new dad Richard Jones test drives the Honda NSX

There’s nothing better than a bracing family walk along the coastline to blow off a few cobwebs.

Well, actually that isn’t strictly true, because while Isabelle and I did have an amazing time at the beach, I also took the opportunity to blow off a few cobwebs of my own in a super car costing £150,000.

By now regular readers of this column will have guessed this wasn’t our regular ‘daddy-daughter day’.  You’d only have to look at the pictures of the Honda NSX to notice the lack of room required for a car seat or a pushchair.

But as it’s not every day you’re invited to test a 581bhp car that has a top speed of 191mph, I drove up to north Wales with the family where I spent a good few hours with Elinor and Belle before leaving my wife and daughter to their own devices.

And wow, what a car. The selfish abandonment of my family was totally worth it!

The original NSX of 1990 was renowned not only for its speed and handling, but also its reliability and how easy it was to drive. Fast forward 30-years and the same winning formula applies, only this time it comes with a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that improve performance and reduces the amount of fuel used. Its braking system recovers energy and it switches effortlessly between power sources.

Talking about fuel efficiency might sound like a desperate attempt to justify my reasons for testing this car on a family motoring page, but when you consider it does almost 30 miles to the gallon it is hard not to be impressed. And yes, while we are on the issue of family-friendly motoring, I agree the boot space isn’t great, but what it lacks in storage it more than makes up for elsewhere – for example, a 3.5-litre V6 engine!

I attempted making this argument to Elinor on the way home, but despite pointing out the boot was big enough for a small child (jokes) and the in-car storage included a glove box and an area for your wallet and keys she wasn’t having any of it. She did however concede it looks amazing.

For me though - pure fun aside - what impressed me most is how comfortable it is. Adaptive suspension means it rides bumps incredibly smoothly and because it can run on electric power it’s also very quiet. It’s also incredibly easy to drive, once you are accustomed to its size and all the various buttons.

Out on the open road the NSX is as outrageously fun as anyone could wish for, but surprisingly it excels in a busy town too. Its nine-speed automatic gearbox makes it simple to control and its large wing mirrors mean vision is decent for a car of such stature.

I’ve had the privilege of driving many fast cars but the NXS is among my favourites. From a standing start it leaves you breathless, but fear not as grip is plentiful. The engine doesn’t have the same deafening roar of its rivals, but what it lacks in noise it makes up for intelligence.

As for my daddy-daughter day out, once the driving was over I treated Belle to an ice cream and sat her down to explain the benefit of downsizing our home and using the money to buy a supercar. Unfortunately, her favourite phrase at the moment is ‘go away daddy’ – to which Elinor just laughed.

Normal ‘Clocking up the Smile’ service will resume next month, and in the meantime I will continue to weigh up the pros and cons of the NSX to see whether I can find a space for it in my fantasy garage.

  • Published on 18th January 2019