The Honda e is the latest trendy electric hatchback everybody is talking about. The cute little Japanese car looks clean and modern but with a slightly timeless look – is it just us, or does it remind you of the old Golf GTI?
Honda describe the little EV as “the end result of the questioning” – however, apart from the car overflowing with huge LCD screens, is it really answering questions other electric hatchbacks haven’t already? Like the Renault Zoe and Mini Electric…
But before we get into all that, let’s take a look under the bonnet – or floor in this instance…
[Image reference: https://bit.ly/2PWTlLf%5D
The Honda e’s battery pack is little disappointing in comparison to what’s already out there, with a 35.5kW battery, producing 152 horse power, 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds (9 seconds for the base model) – puts it below the Nissan Leaf (40kW battery). The range is also nothing special, with 137 mile range from the higher-powered, higher-tech “Advance” model and 124 mile range from the base model – The Honda e isn’t bringing anything new to the table. However, in his Top Gear review of the car, Chris Harris pointed out that less than 1% of journeys in the UK are longer than 100 miles. In fact, the average journey to work is about 23 miles!! So, are we panicking over nothing?
Unlike its rivals; the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf – the Honda e is actually rear wheel drive and even has a Sport Mode drivers can tap into if they are practising their traffic light street racing in the city – and with 316Nm of torque, not many ICEs are going to keep up in the first couple of seconds.
Now for the big question: How much does it cost?
Quite a lot! – is the short answer. The Honda e comes in two models – the base model starts at £28,215 climbing to £30,715 for the higher-spec “Advance” model (this includes the £2,500 government grant). But by the time, you’ve added additional accessories from one of the 4 Honda Genuine packages available (£835 each by the way), you’re looking well pass the £30k mark, which for a low mileage hatchback with an average-sized battery – you’ve got to be a big Honda fan. You do get £500 thrown off the price though if you’ve taken it for a test drive, before you buy, just to tempt those Honda fans out there.
On the plus side, when it comes to charging the car, Honda have proven to have a couple of tricks up their sleeve. Unlike the first Renault Zoe, the Honda e can charge via a AC and DC connectors. Honda claim that the e can charge up to 80% on a 50kW rapid charger in 31 minutes – however, Honda’s own charger from their “e:PROGRESS” Network only offers a 22kW rate, so, if you wanted to charge your Honda on one of those, you’d have to wait a little longer (over an hour). It’s also worth remembering that the charging rate is irrelevant if the car can only take a certain amount of energy. The Honda e draws the line at 100kW, which is good by today’s standards as the majority of the UK’s public chargers are between 7kW – 100kW.
[Image reference: https://cnet.co/2Quf0Kh%5D
The powertrain also offers three levels of energy regeneration – the default mode has mild regen, creating very little resistance for the car. Regen can be increased by clicking on the paddle to the left of the steering, and then decreased by clicking on its counterpart. If you’re feeling brave and the road’s clear, you can activate the Single Pedal Control, enabling drivers to accelerate and decelerate by pushing your foot down to go and taking it off to brake – generating and saving the most energy. However, from what I’ve read – this is quite an aggressive setting.
So, let’s have a look inside the car, since that’s where you’re going to be spending most of your time. Plus there’s nothing more exciting than playing around with new tech.
[Image reference: https://bit.ly/3tkQ1bb]
Although the car may take a little while to charge, Honda have taken the liberty of adding a 13amp socket inside the car, so while you’re waiting, you can catch up on some Netflix on your iPad, laptop, phone, and any other device for that matter. Dishing out 230V, Top Gear’s Chris Harris points out you could even plug in your playstation.
Speaking of inside, let’s explore what little gadgets Honda has given us to play with.
As soon as you get into the car, you are overwhelmed by screens, the entire dashboard is made up of five displays – two 12.3inch touchscreens that basically have anything and everything you need, from navigation, heating, air-con (which is all controllable via the Honda+ app), Apple Car play, Android Auto and even your very own aquarium! Who doesn’t want one of those?! On top of that, you’ve also got an 8.8inch instrument display behind the leather steering wheel, for power, charge status, drive mode and safety features.
If you look up, you’ll see the panoramic sun roof, making the little hatchback feel extra spacious. There’s also no huge centre console, and with a completely flat floor like most new EVs, we are beginning to see what Honda means when they say the “cabin feels like a comfortable lounge”. You can even throw in a couple of premium leather cushions in the back seat (for an additional cost of course), to go with the bespoke upholstery seats, made of nappa leather and grey fabric in the front. These can be heated like the steering wheel – not too shabby, I must say!
[Image reference: https://bit.ly/3slpFnV]
Like the Audi e-Tron, instead of conventional door mirrors, the Honda e has a Side Camera Mirror System – providing live images to the two 6inch screens positioned inside the vehicle both ends of the satin-finish mid-tone wood dashboard. The Centre Camera Mirror System, (only available on the Advance model), displays the view from the rear end of the car. Honda says, “this ensures a natural feel and vision for the driver” and “reduces blind spots”. Parking is also super easy, as you don’t have to do it! Honda have included their Parking Pilot to do that for you (only on the Advance model). In fact, between the Parking Pilot and Lane-Keep Assist, you’re barely driving the car at all! You don’t even need to read the traffic signs, it does that for you too! Cool, right?
For those of you who do still want to be driving their car in the future, from what I’ve read – the car drives pretty damn well, especially when you compare it to the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe which have been criticised for having no feel.
[Image reference: https://bit.ly/3slpFnV]
With a 50/50 weight distribution and low centre of gravity (19.7inches above the road), the car sounds like you can throw it around a bit. In Chris Harris’s Top Gear review – he says, “it’s fun to drive, feels agile” and “the steering is really quick”. So it sounds like the Honda e has a lot to offer, driving-wise.
To wrap this up, the Honda e sounds like a fun little car to tear about in, but there are a few things we can’t deny; the range and battery size are below average. However, this is Honda’s first fully electric hatchback – it’s only the beginning! So we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us down their road to zero.