The Honda e oozes personality with its virtual fish but you will need to splash out writes Geraldine Herbert
Why you will like it? Watch faces light up and heads turn when you tootle by in the new Honda e.
Is it a looker? Honda’s first all-electric car has a distinctly retro yet futuristic vibe, but it’s the little details like the signature front and rear lights and flush door handles that catch attention. Even with Covid restrictions, people are not shy when it comes to expressing their views.
How smart is it? It’s crammed with tech and includes a really novel video aquarium feature with fish you can virtually feed. Wing mirrors are replaced by two screens at the end of the dashboard, and work better than traditional mirrors.
What’s it like to drive? On the road, it is agile with good grip and light steering and is really engaging to drive. The 35.5kWh battery gives a range of just 222km, and it will charge to 80p% in 30 minutes on a fast-charging system; on a home-charging 7.4kW unit, charging will take more than four hours.
What’s it like inside? Outside it may look small, but inside it’s deceptively spacious and there’s a lounge-like ambience in the bright and cheery cabin. Five neatly integrated, high-resolution colour screens span the entire width of the car, creating a digital wall. While there is plenty of room up front, rear-seat passengers don’t get quite as good a deal – so fitting four adults inside may be a squeeze. There’s also just enough luggage space for a couple of shopping bags in the 171-litre boot, but probably best to jettison passengers and fold the back seats down if you’re planning a more extensive shopping expedition.
How safe is it? The Honda e comes with a host of active and passive safety aids, including three new safety technologies to the Honda e including Collision Mitigation Throttle Control, preventing sudden acceleration in either reverse or drive upon starting the car when there is an obstacle in the way; Low-Speed Brake Function which applies emergency braking while driving at low speed, and Lead Car Departure Notification System which notifies the driver when the car in front has started moving
Will it break the bank? Pricing starts from €29,995 for the Honda e when all the grants and VRT rebates are taken into account and €32,995 for the e Advance. It’s hard not to be impressed with the Honda e – it is fun, quirky and impossible to drive without a smile on your face. But, while it ticks every conceivable box, the real downside is the price. The dilemma facing many carmakers is that big batteries provide better range but cost more, so by reducing the range the price can also be kept down. But the range on offer in the Honda e doesn’t justify the price tag – particularly when the likes of the new Peugeot e-208, with a starting price of €26,809, offers a range of 350km, or the Mini Electric with a similar range to the Honda e is on sale for €27,240.
Our rating? The Honda e is a fabulous addition to the electric car market; it’s just a pity about the price tag.
The Good: Fun to drive, very clever tech, quirky looks
The Gripes: Pricey, Short range, tiny boot
LIST PRICE: €29,995
BATTERY AND RANGE: 35.5kWh battery 220 km
BOOT SPACE: 171 litres
12th November 2020