AT a first glance, the electric Honda E looks like a toy car – and in some ways, it is.
It’s got a low range, a very compact design, and it’s tremendous fun inside and out.
The Honda E is surprisingly brilliantCredit: Sean Keach / The Sun
The interior features a huge display arrayCredit: Honda
But to call it a toy car belies the fact that this is a brilliantly clever motor.
It’s oddly retro-futuristic – the sort of car you imagine sci-fi writers dreaming up in the 1960s.
That’s not just thanks to the clean and boxy design, but also the lashings of gadgetry inside.
The first thing you notice is the screen array that runs across the entire dish from left to right.
On the extreme left and right are displays showing visuals from the cameras on the side of the car.
Yes, there are no wing mirrors. The Honda E uses little poke-out cameras. It sounds annoying, but you get used to it surprisingly quickly.
Honda says this makes the car more aerodynamic (by 3.8%). I’m pretty sure it’s just because it looks cool. And that’s fine, always.
There’s a classic rear-view mirror made of glass, but this can also be transferred to a camera view with a quick flick.
Then the middle part of the dash display is made up of two very wide 12-inch screens.
It’s a very unique design, and looks absolutely fantastic.
You can even dedicated a portion of the display to a whole setting, like a cherry blossom tree. It’s very zen – cruising around in total silence, enjoying the majesty of nature, all while saving the planet. If that doesn’t give you peace of mind, what will?
Most importantly, the screen supports Apple CarPlay.
So if you’ve got an iPhone, you’ll be able to emulate the experience in the car.
That gives you access to your usual mapping services, music collection, apps, texts and more.
It’s an electric car, as signified by the E in Honda E.
Electric driving now seems an inevitability, so expect to see more of these pint-sized ‘leccy motors in the comings months and years.
The battery is small at 35.5kWh (a £42,500 Tesla Model 3 has a 50kWh capacity, and a Jaguar I-Pace offers 90kWh).
This works out at a range of 137 miles.
It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s more than enough for most daily life. It only falls short for road trips.
Other than the lighter weight a smaller battery offers, there’s another benefit: charging time.
Even on a fairly slow charge of 11kW overnight, it’ll take 3 hours and 30 minutes to “fill up”.
But if you find one of the increasingly common 100kW DC chargers, you’re looking at about half an hour.
Electric is also very cheap – you’re looking at less than a tenner to get a full charge.
It’s also quite nippy, turning around zero to 62mph in about eight seconds.
That might not sound incredible, but the initial launch is thrilling because the electric motors deliver instant torque.
And while this isn’t technically “tech”, the dinky motor has a phenomenally tight turning circle of 4.3 metres.
There are loads of driver assistance features.
You’ve got forward collision alerts, and an adaptive cruise control that manages speed on a highway – while stopping you crashing into the car in front.
There’s also lane departure systems, traffic sign recognition, and parking sensors and assistance cameras too.
My only real gripe is that it’s very easy to knock the heated seat button with your knee. I’d find my bottom suddenly toasting, only to look down and realise I’d knocked the switch.
Confusingly warm bums aside, Honda has created a great city car.
This isn’t for taking across the country – it won’t be practical for that until Britain’s charging infrastructure is significantly better. That’s years away.
For some people, this will be the perfect car for staying local.
And it’s a great second car if you want a cheap option for your commute, popping to the shops, and doing the school run.
- Honda E Advance for £29,165– buy here
The Sun tested a Honda E with a total price of £31,265.
It’s a compact car, but that’s perfect for city drivingCredit: Sean Keach / The Sun
Charging is in the bonnet, so you can plug in from either sideCredit: Sean Keach / The Sun
All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed. Always do your own research before making any purchase.
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In other news, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is the electric car of your dreams.
Check out the new Bentley Bentayga Hybrid – a silent 17-foot “dream machine”.
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