Honda e review


What is?

It was the Urban EV Concept that became a legend, the legend that became a prototype, and the prototype that became the most beautiful and desirable car since the Suzuki Jimny. It’s the Honda e, Honda’s first purely electric consumer car (yes, Honda tested the EV Plus in 1997, but only about 350 were made), and we want one.

Gorgeous. Paint me a picture.

Honda clearly isn’t going to sue Tesla with this one, the dimensions are Fiat 500-odd, wider than a Jazz but actually narrower if you take into account that it doesn’t have side mirrors. It is indeed an urban race. A range of 137 miles means you won’t want to stray too far from town, but a choice of 134hp and 152hp versions, both of which performed decently, particularly up to 30mph, a chassis that showed some of Honda’s love of handling. and configurable settings. the driving experience means it’s not out of reach if you fancy a ‘nice’ ride… and have battery to spare.

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That doesn’t sound like a good electric vehicle deal. It is?

The cheap Honda e is not. While Honda has kept the dimensions in check and the battery pack to a compact 35.5kWh, pricing starts at a particularly hefty £26,160 for the base car, rising to £28,660 for the more powerful and capable Advance model. And both include the £3,500 government grant. So to justify prices that dwarf the much larger VW ID3, Honda didn’t hold back on the tech.

Let me guess, self-driving and lasers?

Yes only. As standard, you get cameras for the outside mirrors and the rearview mirror, 100kW DC fast-charging capability in 30 minutes, an app to precondition the car and keep it on while charging, plenty of collision detection avoidance systems (including automatic braking). automatic, adaptive cruise). , lane-keep assist, automatic high beams) and several acres of screen. And it’s all wrapped in a subtly retro color and material palette designed to match the bold exterior, available in white, black, grey, blue and highlighter yellow.

The Honda e arrives in a wave of affordable new small electric vehicles, finally broadening the choice beyond longer-range but more premium and expensive products like the Teslas, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron. Honda takes on the new Peugeot e-208 (and its sister vehicle, the Corsa-e), Mini Electric, Fiat 500 Electric and Renault Zoe, and hopes that customers will see beyond its high price and low range, and buy with your hearts, not your heads

Do you want to know which are the best electric cars? Click here to see the top 20

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What’s the verdict?

Honda’s first electric car is incredibly cute, beautifully designed and packed with technology… but you’ll pay the price

Far from it, Top Gear doesn’t recommend the most powerful model available, but here we’d lean towards going for the entry-level car. Not only are the performance gains negligible, but much of the kit – the interior screens, the exterior mirrors, the seat upholstery – is standard and we’d save £2,5000, minus the reversing screen, park assist (Honestly what the fuck is your parking lot if you can’t safely drive a car that size into a space?) and the audio system upgrade.

Whichever version you choose, the Honda e has two fairly obvious drawbacks: limited range and high price. Honda is rolling the dice here, that customers will have what I’ll call “Suzuki Jimny Syndrome” and fall so deeply in love with the car that they’ll see past its pitfalls. To be fair, Honda isn’t shying away from the 137-mile range, calling it a conscious decision to spend money on tech and only equip it with a battery suitable for a car of this size. As one engineer eloquently put it: “If you want to make an iPhone, why design an iPad just to put a bigger battery in it?

The truth is that we all want more range from our electric vehicles, but let’s face it, do we need it? Would we rather have paid the same price for a less exciting, less equipped car, but with 50 miles of range? No, I probably wouldn’t. It’s a city car, you should plan on using it as such, and if you need to get somewhere 300 miles away quickly, you should either rent something decent or treat that trip like the anomaly it is and plan a trip of two. stop fast charging strategy.

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