Honda e review 2020

The Honda e is a fun and funky small electric car that brings a whole new take on the compact EV formula

£29,586
Average price
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2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Impressive technology
  • Great fun to drive
  • Quirky styling

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Limited range
  • Cramped interior
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Model review

Honda is a manufacturer known for its innovation - it has the mantra ‘the power of dreams’, after all. It was one of the first manufacturers to venture into the world of hybrid cars, while its FCX Clarity was the first hydrogen car that consumers could go out and buy. 

In recent years, Honda has arguably taken more of a subdued approach – producing reliable, safe and sensible choices, with the exception of the Civic Type R hot hatch and NSX supercar

But recently this Japanese firm seems to be back on top form, and perhaps the model that shows this best is the brand’s new ‘e’ EV – yes, this quirky electric car really is called the ‘e’. 

Latest model

Previewed by a concept known as the Urban EV in 2017, the e’s design really hasn’t changed all that much in its steps to being a production car. Not only does it look unlike any Honda in the range, but it’s one of the boldest cars on the market today – a true lesson in how to stand from the crowd. 

It’s a similar story when it comes to the cabin, which is a light and airy place headed up by no less than five media displays spread out across the dashboard. It really is an all-new model for Honda, and one that’s following a different path to other electric cars – striving to be stylish and upmarket, with less of a focus on range and value for money. 

Value for money

From the outset, it was clear that Honda’s top priority wasn’t to make the e as cheap as possible, and that means that next to rivals this Honda might seem expensive. Prices start from £27,160, which is similar to that of the more spacious Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e – both of which have a much longer range. However, neither can rival the technology included with the Honda e – including a completely digital interior littered with digital displays, along with the cool camera system that replaces door mirrors. The top-spec Advance model is expensive, though, costing almost £30,000, even before optional extras. 

At the time of writing, the Honda e had only been in showrooms in a few months, though there were already savings available on new models. We saw a top-spec Advance model for £25,000, which is a welcome £4,500 off the list price. 

Looks and image

If you value quirky styling, there are few better new car options available than the Honda e. With its cool retro-futuristic design, lack of door mirrors and headlights at the front and rear that have the same design, there is nothing like it on the roads today. The bubble-like shape, tiny overhangs also add to the funky look, and it should be applauded for its originality. 

It’s a similar story inside, though the cabin is dominated by technology. From the cameras on the doors that relay images to displays at both sides of the dashboard, to the large slab of screen running across the width of the cabin, it’s as modern an interior as you can find today. 

There’s more to it than just technology, as the cabin is also light and airy, with wood trim almost bringing a lounge-like feel to the interior. The fit and finish and quality of the cabin are also superb throughout – feeling far more upmarket than what we’re used to from Honda. 

And the positives don’t stop there as the Honda e is also brilliant to drive. With power being sent to the rear wheels, there’s a sense of urgency to the way it drives, while it feels agile and the steering has a well-weighted feel to it. But it’s also exceptionally easy to drive, with great visibility, dinky dimensions and a tiny turning circle. Regenerative braking also means you can drive this Honda for the majority of time with a single pedal – as the car slows down as soon as you lift your foot off the accelerator. 

Space and practicality

At less than four metres long, the Honda e is not a big car, so it’s not surprising that it’s not the roomiest hatchback around. Front seat occupants won’t be short for space, however, as with a standard-fit glass roof and lack of transmission tunnel, it feels capacious. Rear space isn’t all that good, and the Honda e can only seat four as there isn’t even a fifth middle seatbelt. On the plus side, all Honda e versions feature five doors, so you won’t have the impracticalities of living with a three-door car, like you do with the Mini Electric or Fiat 500. 

The boot is the worst part of the Honda e, though, as it measures just 171 litres, meaning there’s space for a few shopping bags but little else.

Powertrains

While just one powertrain is available on the Honda e, the top-spec Advance model does come with slightly more power. 

Both models feature a 35.5kWh battery pack, which can be topped up at a rate of 50kW – meaning a full charge at a rapid charger could take as little as half an hour. The standard model also features an electric motor producing 134bhp and 315Nm of torque – enabling a 0-60mph time of 8.8 seconds and top speed of 90mph. 

The Advance model’s power is increased to 152bhp, which reduces the 0-60mph time to 8.1 seconds, though the top speed is unchanged. 

Both Honda e models have a claimed range of 137 miles, though choosing larger 17-inch alloy wheels reduces the given range to 131 miles. 

Running costs

While you might pay more for the Honda e initially, you’ll soon recuperate some of that money with its low running costs. Charging costs should be fractional compared to traditional fuel – especially if you’re able to plug in at home – while you won’t have to pay road tax with it, either. 

Depending on how often you use your car, you might have to charge the Honda e more than other EVs with larger batteries, though if you have an AC home wallbox installed, it will only take around four hours for a full charge. 

Things to look out for

The Honda e is still too new to truly know how reliable it is. And though a lot of the technology is new for the brand, the Japanese firm has a brilliant reputation for its cars’ dependability, so you shouldn’t worry about it breaking down on you. 

Rivals

The small hatchback segment is a particularly popular one for EVs, and this Honda e already has plenty of rivals, including the Mini Electric, Renault Zoe, Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e. The upcoming Fiat 500 electric will also go head-to-head with this Honda. 

Depreciation

Electric cars typically hold their value really well, and given the Honda e’s already strong demand and desirability, we feel it’ll likely hold onto its value far better than even many of its rivals. 

Which e to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

100kW 36kWh 5dr Auto

Most MPG

100kW 36kWh 5dr Auto

Fastest model (0-60)

113kW Advance 36kWh 5dr Auto

Trims explained

Two trim levels are available on the Honda e – the standard car and a higher-spec ‘Advance’ model.

Honda e

There’s certainly no shortage of kit or technology on the Honda e, with all models coming with the side camera mirror system and a large dual 12.3-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get climate control, heated front seats, ambient lighting, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. It also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a glass roof, automatic LED headlights and a range of safety kit – including adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking.

From £27,160

Advance

Upgrade to the Advance and it adds a slightly more powerful electric motor, along with a heated windscreen and steering wheel, self-parking functionality, a premium sound system, the option of larger alloy wheels and a multi-view camera system. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also fitted.

From £29,660

Summary

  1. Funky design grabs attention wherever it goes
  2. Interior is brimmed with technology
  3. Loads of standard equipment
  4. Very fun to drive
  5. Electric range falls short of rivals…
  6. Though it has very quick charging capability
  7. Airy interior
  8. Small boot
  9. Quite expensive to buy
  10. A truly unique EV that’s one of the most desirable in its class

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