Starting Price: €29,995*
Price as tested: €32,995
- It looks great, it is very fun-to-drive, the interior is brilliant.
- The range is just not that practical unless you are a city dweller – which is a real shame.
WHAT IS IT?
The Honda e was one of those concept cars that we saw around the Motor Show circuit for a few years before it finally arrived in the metal looking just a fraction soberer than the initial designs. The Honda e is Honda’s fully electric city car and as such, doesn’t pretend to be a long-range maestro, which is just as well, because it isn’t. Without wanting to get too bogged down in the range conversation, if you need your car to do more than 200km on a full charge then you may as well stop here because, despite a WLTP range of 222km, this car is unlikely to do much more than 160-180km with you doing some serious hypermiling. But taking that aside, and we will deal with that later – the Honda e is a remarkable-looking car that offers a really quirky and charming experience.
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
The Honda e is unique. There really isn’t anything like it on Irish roads. The styling harks back to early Honda’s but sitting under 4 metres long, with distinctive 3-ring LED lights at the front and the rear. There are no conventional wing mirrors, instead replaced by two cameras which project a wide and clear display into 6” screens inside the door. It takes a bit of getting used to, at first, but you very quickly come to like this view, which is especially clear and useful at night. There is also the option to use a camera at the rear instead of the conventional rear-view mirror. There are flush door handles at the front and rear which give the car very clear lines and the Advance model also gets 17” alloy wheels which are very smart. At the front, the charging point sits under a reinforced glass lid which is opened from the key fob or via a special Honda app.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
The clever design carries on to the interior, with what Honda calls a “Lounge” feel, with very different colours and materials used. It feels like an upmarket place to be, with very nice fabrics used throughout. The cabin is dominated however by the 2 x 12.3 inch touchscreens, which make the Honda e feel like a branch of Power City at times. Parked up, you can watch some fish swim about in the “Aquarium” – but there is also a 3-point plug and a HDMI cable so you can plug in game consoles or the like too. These screens have a variety of customisations and there are a plethora of apps available too. Honda manages, somehow, not to make these distracting while driving, and there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted too, so you can put these screens to good use with Google Maps and Spotify etc. It feels surprisingly spacious inside the Honda e, despite its diminutive proportions. EVs make much better use of space and the cabin actually feels quite airy and your rear-seat passengers really don’t do too bad at all in terms of head- and legroom. The boot is pretty small, offering up just 171 litres, but you can fold the seats flat to the boot floor and this gives a more generous 861 litres.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
A hoot. The Honda e feels urgent, and our model was the more powerful of two (154PS vs 136PS) and because it’s an EV there is instant torque and acceleration. But it’s the manoeuvrability of the car, especially around town that makes it so fun. There is great steering, and a ludicrously good turning circle of 4.3 metres, allowing it to turn “on a sixpence”. Parking is super easy too and those side and rearview cameras become second nature really quickly. It is an EV, so we have to talk about range and here the Honda e shoots itself in the foot slightly. Honda pitches this as a city car and for that role, it is simply brilliant but here in Ireland, we are a nation of commuters. If you have a charging point at home or at your office, then you will be able to live with the car’s restricted range, but longer drives across the country would be quite a nuisance. The WLTP range of 222km doesn’t really seem likely under any circumstances after our week with the car. 160-180km seems about right on a full charge of the 35.5 kWh battery (which takes just over four hours on a 6.6 kWh home wall box and just 30 mins to 80% on a 50kW fast charger). If you can live with the range and the charging frequency this is one of the most enjoyable cars to live with, as it is so much fun, so charming and so innovative. The challenge for the Honda e is that €33,000 is a lot of money to spend on what feels like a novelty. I loved it.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
Well, in this case, you would be much better spending the extra money and getting the Advance model with the extra power and the extra equipment (Multi-View Camera, Heated Steering Wheel, 230V electrical outlet, Premium Audio) and you will have a gorgeous premium-feeling car that will be a hoot to drive and in a family, a really excellent second car.
IS IT SAFE?
The Honda is brimming with safety items and innovations and there is a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. There are items such as Collision Mitigation Brake System which keeps an eye out for pedestrians and objects when you move off. There is a Lead Car Departure Notification System, Low-Speed Brake Function, Adaptive Cruice Control, Lane Keep Assist and Road Departure Mitigation System. In the event of an accident, the range of advanced connectivity services also includes impact Alert and E-Call for roadside assistance in emergency situations.
The Honda e is a charming car and great fun to drive, great fun to be in and brimmed full of tech. If you can live with the limited range and luggage space then you’ll really love it. Around the city, its size, steering and tech make it perfect.
Honda e Advance
Engine: 35.5 kW Battery
Power: 154 PS
Torque: 315 Nm
0-100km/h: 8.3 seconds
Fuel Economy: Range 222km (WLTP) – we say, circa 160-180km
Top Speed: 145 km/h
Transmission: Single-Speed Automatic
Annual Motor Tax: €120
Luggage Capacity: 171 litres
Price as tested: €32,995
For more information log-on to www.honda.ie