Honda e first drive

Honda e first drive

Zap-Map verdict: “Honda has announced itself on the electric vehicle stage with a model that looks almost identical to the concept that the public clamoured for. High-tech, stylish, and fun, the Honda e might not have a long range, but it’s a great runabout.”

honda drive

  • OTR: £26,660
  • Category: City car
  • Tax: £0 VED – 0% BIK
  • Cost to charge: £5.70
  • Emissions: 0 g/km CO2
  • Cost per mile of range: £195

Range & charging

honda drive

Honda hasn’t entered the EV range arms race with the compact e. Instead, it is designed to be a premium, high-tech EV, with a focus on urban driving. As such, the official range is ‘only’ 137 miles on a charge – still plenty enough for most drivers most days.

There are two different configurations available:

  • ● Honda e – 100 kW – 35.5 kWh – 137 miles
  • ● Honda e Advance – 113 kW – 35.5 kWh – 137 miles

In real world driving, we found that the 137 miles figure is likely to be matched or exceeded should it be driven as Honda expects. That’s to say, stick predominantly to urban driving, and the Honda e will rack up the miles between charges.

On this first drive, we took in a number of faster routes and the range couldn’t match that quoted by Honda. It wasn’t far off, with a calculated range of 112 miles come the end of the 70 mile round-trip – though that’s with testing both the Honda’s efficiency and performance capabilities. Interestingly the display still had 41 miles of range remaining, so that proved very accurate within a short time.

The range will be suitable for more drivers than you might think, but it’s not an EV for those regularly covering long distances.

On the road

honda drive

The Honda e is a great car to drive – it’s fun, agile, and brilliantly set up. The city car isn’t uncomfortable over rough roads, and it can deal with motorway speeds easily, but the suspension is stiff enough to allow the e to nip around city corners – and prove grin-inducing on a twisty country road.

It’s one of the best cars in its class to drive, ignoring whether you are looking at electric or more conventional fuel types. It handles as well as the BMW i3, though with what feels a lower centre of gravity and wider stance.

It also has a party trick that few can match. Only the Smart cars and famous Black Cab will be able to turn as tightly, making it easier still to drive in tight confines.


Comfort & Practicality

honda drive

The cabin is effectively a lounge, with plush seats and a definite Scandi-interior design theme going on. Apart from the dashboard that is, but more on that later. As such, it’s a comfortable and rather lovely place in which to sit, with a surprising amount of space inside.

That said, the Honda e is still a city car, and constrained by its dimensions. Since it’s a five door hatch, access to the rear seats is simple enough, but tall adults won’t thank you for being put in the back for long. It looks big enough for a couple of child seats though. Likewise, the boot is compact – capable of fitting in a food shop or luggage for a short trip, but that’s about it. Let’s say it’s not a car for doing a big tip run. But then no cars in its class are.


Tech & Specifications

honda drive

Back to the interior, and Honda has gone big on tech. As such, the entire width of the car is taken up with screens across the dashboard – five by my reckoning. That’s a driver’s instrument panel, infotainment system, passenger’s infotainment system, and flanking these on either side a couple of rear view monitors. Yes, the Honda e is the first car on sale in the UK to come with cameras instead of wing mirrors as standard across all trim levels.

The user interface looks good and works well; both a significant improvement on current systems found in other Honda models. As such, although the Honda e’s screens could prove a distraction, they are no worse than other models, and give a definite feeling of prestige.

Overall, the Honda e isn’t cheap, but that won’t matter to many. If you’re looking for an urban runabout, there are few better. Likewise, it will work as a second car for many – and be used on all but the longest trips I wouldn’t wonder. Essentially, the Honda e is a premium product, but if you’re able and willing to pay that premium, it’s worth it.

Honda e rivals

bmw i3 - honda e rival

BMW i3 BMW’s electric supermini feels similar in concept to the Honda e, but executed a little differently.

mini electric - honda e rival

Mini Electric Cool, fun-to-drive, pricey . . . it’s definitely an alternative to the Honda e, and one of its main rivals.

vw e-up! - honda e rival

VW e-up! Not as stylish, but a longer range and lower price for a compact EV may appeal.

All information above correct at time of publication. Official economy figures, pricing, and tax rates supplied by the manufacturer. Cost to charge based on 0-100% charge at home on a tariff of 16 p/kWh.