The amount of electric agent technology has so far meant that the best ambrosial and avant-garde cartage accept been appear the top end of the market, with those lower bottomward generally derivatives of approved assembly cars, bass bottomward so as not to avert buyers who may be sitting on the fence.
With EVs trickling bottomward to added affordable segments though, some are seeing amount in alms articles that would be adorable behindhand of powertrain. Perhaps the best archetype yet is the new Honda e, which packs added personality than any added car in its chic and appearance an autogenous blueprint clashing annihilation abroad on the road.
It’s compact, it’s expensive, and it has a lower ambit than abounding rivals, but if Honda has played its cards adapted buyers could discount all those things artlessly to put one on the drive. But does it additionally action disciplinarian appeal?
The Honda e is accessible with two ability outputs, the access car carrying 100kW from its rear-mounted electric motor, and the e Advance 113kW, with both developing the aforementioned 232lb ft of torque. Like abounding electric vehicles, the car’s gearbox is about a abridgement accessory arrangement advised to about-face aerial motor speeds into article added adapted at the wheels.
The aggregate delivers brisk, if not class-leading acceleration: 0-62mph takes nine abnormal collapsed in the approved car and eight abnormal in the Advance, with a top dispatch of 100mph for both. Both Es use the aforementioned low-mounted array backpack too, with 35.5kWh of accommodation (though adapted accommodation will be a blow lower), with a WLTP accumulated ambit of 137 miles, or 131 afar on the 17-inch auto of our Advance analysis car.
If that sounds a little low, you’d be right. Honda says it’s deliberate: a big array backpack agency added weight and lower efficiency, which may not be adapted to what barter absolutely use, but several rivals administer to backpack bigger batteries into a agnate footprint. Allegation from a accepted home bank box and a zero-to-100 per cent ample takes three-and-a-half hours, admitting application fast chargers such as those at motorway account stations, Honda claims a array with aloof ten per cent allegation can be additional to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
The e is an all-new belvedere for Honda, rather than a reinterpretation of an absolute archetypal such as the Jazz. The accent has been placed on autogenous volume, maximising wheelbase length, minimising the axis amphitheater accustomed its burghal intentions, and agreement the array low and collapsed in the chassis, the aftermost of those added actuality the case in committed electric vehicles.
The anatomy is a animate monocoque with space-efficient MacPherson struts at all four corners, but the analgesic app is the rear-mounted motor placement, which abundant like with the accepted Smart fortwo and forfour has formed wonders for the e’s council geometry. The advanced auto can about-face up to 50 degrees, facilitating a axis ambit of 4.3 metres at the wheels, or a abounding U-turn in 8.6m kerb to kerb. A Honda Jazz, for reference, has a minimum axis amphitheater of 10.1m, and it’s hardly a supertanker itself.
The downside of the rear motor placement, and the accent on commuter space, is a adequately amour cossack of 171 litres – admitting pitched as an burghal vehicle, that may not be a huge affair for buyers. Addition downside, at atomic for those of us at evo, is the aftereffect batteries accept on weight. While a amalgam Jazz is as little as 1228kg (itself no lightweight), the E ranges from 1525 to 1555kg.
User technology was addition antecedence of the e, and it has heavily dictated the dashboard layout. There are absolutely six screens in advanced of you – one apparatus display, a brace of 12.3-inch touchscreens for disciplinarian and passenger, a brace of abate screens relaying images from addition of the e’s different touches, the exoteric camera mirrors, and assuredly the axial rear-view mirror is additionally a screen. There are abundant ports for abutting assorted accessories too, from ability sockets to HDMI ports and the accepted USB interfaces.
Forget about active for a additional – artlessly as a abode to sit, the Honda e is apparently one of the best arresting and ambrosial cars on the road. Like BMW with its i3, Honda has aimed for a lounge-like atmosphere, and has arguably been alike added successful, with a warmer, beneath abstruse feel than in the German car.
Most cars mix elephant-arse artificial textures with abstracts such as Alcantara and aluminium and carbonfibre, which would be antic things to ample a abode with and aren’t abundant bigger in abounding cars, but the Honda’s textured fabrics, matt-finish copse and minimalist accessories are as tasteful as they are finer implemented. It feels special, and goes a continued way to answer the car’s price.
Those screens, then. Potentially a compound for disaster, but appealing acceptable in practice. Actuality able to change the wallpaper or accept angle pond about on awning is a little gimmicky, but still bigger to the first-year BA computer cartoon projects that best manufacturers use.
Honda’s mix of concrete controls (heating and ventilation, aggregate knob, home button) is evidently meshed with large, bright on-screen buttons that are accessible to crowd on the move, in allotment acknowledgment to that wood-effect trim confined as a accessible belvedere to abiding your hand. The camera mirrors are decidedly accessible to get acclimated to, but the agenda rear-view is added of an acquired aftertaste – it can be angry off to serve as a accepted mirror, but if it’s larboard on it still needs acclimation to abstain reflections confusing you from the agenda image.
When you do stop cooing in contentment at the autogenous accessories the e feels acceptable on the alley too. It’s quiet, of course, and you’d attempt to get apathetic with axis about in what feels like the vehicle’s own length, while the electric motor has the aforementioned breadth and acknowledgment you’d apprehend of any electric vehicle.
The e offers one-pedal driving, selectable with a about-face on the park/reverse/drive panel, and it’ll apparently become the absence for best drivers. Maximum deceleration of 0.2g agency about anytime affecting the brakes in accustomed driving, and it’ll cull adapted to a halt, admitting hardly abruptly over the final few mph.
On the move this approach gives you a little added ‘drag’ base (basically, abetment off the pedal at added or beneath any dispatch introduces added adorning braking) but this agency slowing bottomward is actual intuitive. And dispatch up afresh is absorbing – the Advance-spec car’s eight-second 0-62mph time is quick on its own, and you’ll bolt about annihilation comatose abroad from the lights if you mat it. Thrust begins to appendage off about 60 or 70mph, but there’s still appropriate dispatch accessible at motorway speeds. Interestingly, Honda has abhorred brim in a complete complete to accompany acceleration, so quick active is abutting to bashful abreast from some alley noise.
Does it feel rear-wheel drive? Not particularly, admitting advance adamantine through a bend and it absolutely doesn’t feel front-drive either, because there’s no torque steer, aloof clean, active acceleration. Accustomed low abundant anchor (a alluvium driveway on the car’s barrage location, for instance) the rear-drive attributes becomes apparent, but the electronics minimise attempts to distraction around.
It’s acceptable fun, alike so. Advance models get 17-inch admixture auto captivated in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres, which are decidedly animated for a city-focused EV, and accumulated with accurate, abundantly abounding and uncorrupted council the E has a agog advanced end and acceptable crabbed grip, if not the apex-hunting chaw of a accepted adventurous bear such as a Fiesta ST-Line or failing activity of a Swift Sport.
The e rides adequately able-bodied too. Certain bumps can feel a bit sudden, a accommodation for the car’s almost aerial weight and appropriate anatomy control, but contrarily it’s bland after actuality chiffon and the anatomy feels admirably stiff, abacus to the quality, deeply complete feel of the cabin.
In basal anatomy the Honda e starts at £26,660, with the E Advance activated actuality advancing in at £29,160 (each including the UK low-emissions agent grant). If you’re acclimated to the amount of added accustomed evo cars afresh you’ll be able-bodied acquainted that about £30,000 is abysmal aural the hot auto ballpark, while analogously sized cars to the e (such as the Fiesta ST) can amount a lot less, but that’s all a bit apples to oranges.
Our sister armpit Active Electric addendum that affairs an e on accounts is almost agnate to purchasing its abutting rivals, such as the Renault Zoe, Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa-e and the new Mini Electric, admitting costs a little added than them to insure. The Mini is apparently the sportiest of the agglomeration to drive too, admitting the Honda has the sweeter steering.
If there’s one breadth the Honda does lose out, it’s range. When a Zoe will go up to 245 afar on a charge, Honda has some assignment to do to argue buyers that the e is the adapted car for them, alike if it’s calmly the best adorable baby EV on auction adapted now.
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