It is with the utmost sincerity that I urge you to get your butt on a Honda Motocompacto ASAP. There is an incredible amount of joy that comes from riding what is, effectively, an electric briefcase on wheels. Like, imagine doing 15 mph through an airport while riding your carry-on bag. Sounds like a freakin’ hoot, right?
The $995 Motocompacto – which you can buy at Honda and Acura dealers, as well as a dedicated website – reimagines Honda’s iconic Motocompo from the ‘80s. You know, the cute little gas-powered scooter that you could throw in the back of a Honda City Turbo. Or perhaps you remember it better from the rad ads starring pop/ska band Madness.
Visually, the link between Motocompo and Motocompacto is clear. It’s a boxy li’l thing that you sit on and ride upright. But unlike the old Motocompo, the new one is a cinch to carry. At 41 pounds, it’s less than half the weight of its 93-pound predecessor.
Plus, despite being just 29.2 inches long, 3.7 inches wide and 21.1 inches tall, all of the Compacto’s bits and pieces fold into the body. The handlebars raise out and snap into place, the seat unfolds and locks into its holder, the rear wheel slides out from the back and the foot pegs pop out from the sides. Assembling or disassembling this little guy takes maybe a minute – after you get the hang of it, natch.
Honda says the Motocompacto is meant to help with first/last mile transportation, where you could theoretically ride it from your parked car to your final destination. With a range of 12 miles, you could also just use it as a way to run around the city; I could totally see taking this thing to a grocery store or nearby restaurant. That said, if you’re gonna use it as an errand runner, I’d definitely recommend making use of the metal loop on the kickstand to lock the Motocompacto up to a bike rack.
In reality, though, the Motocompacto’s use cases are numerous. Imagine having one of these at a campground or park as a way to get around. Or consider bringing it to a track day, where you can zip-a-dee-doo-dah around the paddock, making everyone who didn’t bring their own scootin’ device super jealous.
Charging this pint-sized Honda takes about 3 to 3.5 hours when plugged into a traditional 110-volt outlet, and oh my god, you guys, the charging pack is shaped like a tiny Motocompacto. It’s so damn cute.
Hold the start button on the LCD display and the Motocompacto fires up in Level 1, where no power is sent to the front drive wheel at 0 mph, meaning you have to use your feet to get started before thumbing the throttle. Level 1 also has a maximum speed of 10 mph, so speed demons will want to double-click the power button to activate Level 2, where you can not only use the throttle to set off from a stop, but also reach that 15-mph top end. Oh, funny spec time: Honda says 0 to 15 mph takes 7 seconds. I promise, it doesn’t feel nearly that slow.
Riding the Motocompacto is a blast. The tiny wheels don’t really lend themselves to patchy pavement or dirt/gravel roads, but while testing the scooter around Honda’s North American HQ in Los Angeles, it handles the occasional speed bump or manhole cover without issue. It’s easy to maneuver, and despite its small dimensions, never feels rickety or like it’ll topple over if you lean into a turn. The left handlebar has a bike-style brake that’s powerful, but not so strong that you’ll go head-over-handles if you need to halt quickly. Which reminds me: Wear a helmet. Every time.
Speaking of safety, the Motocompacto has a front LED headlight that blinks during the day and stays illuminated at night, and there’s a brake light that comes on, too. Honda also says the battery can’t deliver power to the wheels until the Motocompacto senses that every part of it is fastened into place, which is good, lest you accidentally goose the throttle during setup.
The Motocompacto only comes one way, but like the last page of a college entrance exam, the case is intentionally left blank. Honda designers want the Motocompacto to have “back of a laptop” customization potential, and it’s totally ripe for stickers, decals, murals – go wild. Start a gang of Motocompactos with matching color schemes. Or get your pals together and launch the world’s most adorable spec racing series. I’d come to every event.
$995 might seem like a lot for the Motocompacto, especially compared to a less-useful, harder-to-transport stand-up e-scooter. But look at it this way: Older Motocompos in good condition can sometimes list for thousands of dollars on Craigslist. The Motocompacto gives you the same cool factor with swift electric power. Seriously, ride one and you’ll want one. Badly.