Honda Motor Co. Ltd. today launches sales of the Edix, its new compact minivan, in Japan.

The short, wide-body van is made distinctive by its 2-row/3-seat configuration. The center seat in each row of independent seats is mounted on long slides that allow for a configurable, V-pattern layout. The fold-flat rear seats also are removable for expanded cargo room.

The Edix is equipped with a choice from two 4-cyl. engines: a 2L DOHC with I-VTEC, or a 1.7L VTEC engine. The 2L engine comes mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission, while the 1.7L is equipped with a 4-speed automatic.

While the interior design focuses on the six independent seats with modern chair design, the exterior features an aggressive front view and overall styling Honda calls “sporty and dynamic.” The look is enhanced by the short minivan’s wide stance and low center of gravity, Honda says.

Safety enhancements include an extra-large, side-and-center combination passenger-side airbag, which protects passengers in the right and center front seats, as well as use of Honda’s G-CON technology to create a frame with advanced crash-safety design.

The auto maker, which touts the Edix’s environment friendliness, eliminated the use of polyvinyl chloride from interior and exterior components wherever possible; increased use of recyclable plastics for 90% recyclability; and cut use of lead to 10% of 1996 levels.