Looks, charm and tech, the Honda E has everything you’d want from an electric city car.
- Compact size is great for town
- Innovative multi-screen interior
- Spacious cabin for its class
- Very high-quality driving experience
- Smaller battery won’t suit everyone
- Rear passenger space limited
- Not much boot space
- Less range than several rivals
Honda E Tech specs
- Power: 154hp
- Torque: 315Nm
- Range: 222km
- Top speed: 145km/h
- 0-100km/h: 8.3 seconds
Honda E Introduction
As soon as you clap your eyes on the cute Honda E, you want to pick it up and put it in your pocket. Few other cars today have as much pure charm as this electric Japanese city car. It backs those looks up with some novel tech, including a camera system that replaces traditional door mirrors.
The 35.5kWh battery may seem small, but there’s much more to the Honda E. A rear-wheel-drive setup makes for a more involving drive, and it delivers a ride quality you’d expect to find at least one class size up.
Design and Specs
The Honda E is very much a compact city car, but it makes good use of its size. It’s a simple and unfussy exterior design with clean lines and door handles that sit flush with the bodywork. When you unlock the car, those headlights appear more like eyes waking up. Unusually, the charge port is placed on top of the bonnet, making it easy to access, and don’t worry, there is a drain hole there for when it rains.
Regardless of exterior colour, the front headlight section, glass charge port cover, A-pillars have a contrasting black finish, as does the roof, which includes a glass section over the front seats. The door handles sit flush with the body, and designers cleverly integrated the rear door handles into the window surround to give the appearance of a two-door hatchback. But the more obvious element on its sides is the door mirrors, or rather the lack of them. Instead, what you get is a pair of small, stubby cameras that provide a live feed to two display screens inside the car at each corner of the distinctive dashboard.
Two specification grades are available with the Honda e, and both are generously equipped. Standard items include automatic LED headlights with high beam support, 16-inch alloy wheels, electric windows, heated front seats, rain-sensing automatic wipers and a reversing camera.
The higher-spec Honda e Advance gains 17-inch alloy wheels, Parking Pilot, a Multi-View Camera System including the Centre Mirror System, a heated steering wheel and a 230-volt power socket. Honda doesn’t equip the car with a spare wheel, only a tyre repair kit.
It may be small, but the Honda E doesn’t feel cramped in the front seats. A clever dashboard layout spans the car’s width and comprises five display screens to give the Honda a genuinely unique look. In front of the two-spoke steering wheel, there is an 8.8-inch display.
Joining that is a dual 12.3-inch display for the infotainment system, with the screens for the mirrors at either end. The driver can switch these two 12.3-inch displays at the touch of a button, so your passenger can easily input a destination without having to reach across. The lack of a dividing unit between the front seats creates an open space around your feet, adding to the sense of spaciousness. It isn’t quite as good for those sitting in the rear, as legroom and headroom are limited, and the door design doesn’t allow for easy ingress and egress.
A centre unit sits below the main dashboard and is slightly recessed. It housing numerous connection options, including a HDMI port and a three-pin power socket, allowing you to connect a games console like a Playstation to the car if you wanted some entertainment when recharging the battery. How cool is that?!
There is a console between the front seats housing the drive select functions and electronic handbrake. You won’t find a regular gear selector here; instead, Honda uses push buttons that again help to maximise interior space.
You’ll almost squeal with joy in tighter urban confines when you discover the incredible manoeuvrability and tiny turning circle that the Honda e enjoys. Due to its rear-wheel-drive layout, the front wheels can turn to far greater angles resulting in a tiny turning circle. It steers and handles precisely while also doing a first-rate job at absorbing bumps and suppressing road noise within the cabin.
The Honda e drives with a surprisingly high level of refinement and comfort. It feels very well made inside, with no squeaks or rattles, and little road noise when moving. Being electric and rear-wheel drive adds to the sense of zip when accelerating out of corners, and with the Honda e Advance model, the electric motor’s output increases to 154hp.
Despite its small size, the Honda doesn’t drive as you might expect. The combination of that build quality and how it rides across various surfaces makes it gorgeous to drive. A beautifully weighted steering and that super-smooth power delivery contribute to making this a car that you’ll want to drive everywhere.
Battery and Range
There is only one battery size with the Honda e — 35.5kWh — capable of a driving range of up to 222 kilometres. That may not seem like a huge battery compared with larger cars, but there are some benefits, such as having a lower carbon footprint in production and requiring less time to recharge. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a car as compact as this, then you’re unlikely to be covering greater distances daily, so the overall range is unlikely to be an issue. The Honda E can also fast-charge at up to 60kW, getting to 80 per cent capacity in around 30 minutes.
A choice of two power outputs is also available depending on specification. The standard car uses a 136hp electric motor that drives the rear wheels. With the higher grade Honda e Advance, the power output increases to 154hp without impacting on driving range.
Honda E Summary
Amongst the growing number of small but upmarket electric vehicles, the Honda E stands out with its unique styling, tech-laden interior and overall quality that will recalibrate what you think of the Japanese brand.