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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
10:46 AM 18th July 2021
cars

A Honda Sort Of Day

Every now and then car manufacturers kindly stage range days. It is a chance for busy journalists to catch up on cars they have yet to drive, or indeed refresh the memory banks.

The good folk at Honda have done just that, and I was delighted to take full advantage of the opportunity.

First to come under my scrutiny was the Honda e, which I had driven last year at the UK launch event. Being Honda’s first fully electric car, meant another drive was in order.

What is it?

The Honda e is being positioned as an urban-commuter car and its importance cannot be underestimated, kicking off as it does Honda’s electrification journey. The Japanese company has pledged to have electrified all its car sales by 2025.

There is no doubting the Honda e’s cutesy looks and judging by the attention the car attracted on the launch drive, many will buy on looks alone. Of course, there is so much more to describe, not least the minimalist interior, brimming with all the latest cool tech and offering a relaxed and comfortable environment. There’s room for four adults too, surprising in one so compact.

Fast Facts

Honda e Advanced
Price £29,160 (after £3,000 government grant)
Range starts at £26,660
Single electric motor producing 113 kW
Battery capacity 35.5kWh
Charging time 0-100% 3h 30m
0-62mph in 8 seconds
Range 125 miles (WLTP)

How does it drive?

The short answer is very well! Rear-wheel drive, a turning circle to rival a London taxi, coupled with eager electric acceleration, all make zipping through crowded streets a doddle. And let us not forget the compact dimensions which should ensure the ‘e’ will fit into the tightest parking spots. Press a button, and it will also park itself, with the driver solely in charge of the brake pedal.

The low centre of gravity and weight of the battery ensures a distinct lack of pitch and roll and the ride comfort is impressive too.

My test route included some fast A-road cruising as well as some urban crawl. Only a little road noise intruded at higher speeds.

Range-anxiety remains a worry for the EV novice and therefore I would suggest the ‘e’ is perhaps not the car for the high mileage driver.

Honda’s press notes suggest that the average commute in the UK is around 23 miles, so the ‘e’ may well be ideal for that. Installing a larger battery would have created weight and packaging issues. I suspect most buyers will own another car for longer journeys.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely! Though of course there are caveats. Having home charging is the key here as the UK’s woeful charging infrastructure still has some way to go. The price is a little on the bullish side but style costs!

Being a Honda, you can be reassured of engineering excellence and the build quality is top drawer, so no worries there. It is a safe car too, with a huge array of crash prevention features.

The Honda e comes brimming with tech. Probably the most interesting feature are the video cameras which replace the side mirrors. They are adjustable and easy to use. Less wind noise too. The view is displayed in two dashboard end screens.

The matt wood dash also incorporates a TFT screen directly in front of the driver, providing the usual information and customizable to suit. The rest of the dash houses two 12-inch touchscreens, capable of displaying a bewildering array of information, from the satellite navigation to a host of apps.

A passenger can operate the screens and then swap the contents to move essential information nearer to the driver.

Uttering the words ‘Okay, Honda’ will allow access to the car’s many functions without taking hands off the wheel. It seemed to understand my dulcet tones.

Verdict

Although aimed at the urban dweller, the new Honda e is capable of travelling further afield. It boasts a comfortable interior, excellent driving characteristics and is likely to bring a smile to the face of not only the lucky buyer, but also those who witness it flash silently by.

Undoubtedly a premium product, there are no shortage of buyers willing to pay for such automotive niceties and I am sure this will be the urban car to be seen in for quite some time.

And yes, the Honda e is as good as I remembered.