2021 Honda e Review

5/5

Overview

The Honda ‘e’ is arguably the most eye-catching Japanese small car since the Suzuki Jimny. It is Honda’s first foray into the world of the mass-market, pure electric vehicle and arrives amid a plethora of new diminutive and more affordable EVs that finally give consumers an alternative to the pricey Teslas of this world. Competition includes the Mini Electric, Renault Zoe and the new Peugeot e-208. It is streets ahead of its rivals in terms of design and technology but exactly how successful it will be will depend a lot on its price which Honda have yet to unveil. 

Pros
  • Extensive list of standard equipment
  • Interior design is both functional and fun
  • Typical Honda reliability and reputation
  • Good boot space with the rear seats down
  • State of the art infotainment system
Cons
  • Styling may be divisive to some

Exterior

Honda have aimed the ‘e’ firmly in the direction of the usual Fiat 500 clientele. It is just a bit wider than a Honda Jazz and comes dressed in such subtle colours as white, black, grey, blue and yellow. Honda deserve credit for not deviating too much from the original design brief that was so eye-catching on the first concept shown in 2017. While somewhat minimalistic (no door mirrors), the creaseless panels and round LED headlights give the car a thoroughly modern feel with a friendly face. The sleek retro lines, round headlamps and black grille are impossible to ignore. 

Interior

Honda calls the ‘e’ interior ‘lounge-style’ but it is futuristic and avails of state of the art technology. The dash layout in particular is impressive with drivers greeted by two 12.3-inch infotainment screens for driver and passenger, an 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster and screens that show what is behind you replacing traditional wing mirrors. A wooden trim piece that runs the full width of the cabin brings an air of sophistication to the cabin while pointing to the e’s concept-car roots. The two-spoke multi-function steering wheel has a similar effect and will be shared with the new Honda Jazz. There is plenty of space for driver and passengers alike in both the front and the rear. Although the boot is small with just 171 litres of space with the rear seats up (roughly the same as a Fiat 500) if you fold them down you get 861 litres, which is not bad at all if you can live with using it as a two-seater every so often. There are plenty of USB ports at hand along with a 230V AC power outlet and an HDMI input. It is a retro-infused interior that just feels different to anything else on the market. 

Performance

You have a choice of either 134bhp or 152bhp, although both have the same 137-mile range and come with the same amount of torque. 0-100 kilometres per hour will take 9 seconds in the 134bhp version of 8.3 in the 152bhp. Thanks to some clever throttle tuning, it has smooth acceleration and the fact that it is rear-wheel-drive will appeal to the purists as will its 50:50 weight distribution and great driving dynamics. 

Reliability

Honda offer a comprehensive three-year/90,000 mile warranty for all models and are likely to offer a separate warranty for the battery which is likely to be longer and will give a warranty of a certain level of battery capacity. 

Running Costs

If you plug the ‘e’ into a standard Irish-spec three-pin domestic socket it will take approximately nineteen hours to charge but if you get a 7.4 kW charging box installed at your residence a full charge can be completed in around four hours. However, if you are lucky enough to locate a 50kW or 100kW DC public rapid charger it can charge up to 80 percent in just half an hour. With fewer moving parts than petrol or diesel engines, servicing should be cheaper too. 

Handling

The purists among you will be pleased by the fact that it is rear wheel drive, an aspect which is vital to its 50:50 weight distribution and dynamic driving experience. With a weight of over 1500kg it is quite a heavy car although most drivers will never notice thanks to the low centre of gravity. It stays quite steady in corners and remains agile while retaining the refinement and mature driving experience that we have come to expect from Honda. The fully-independent suspension acts as a comfort blanket on uneven Irish road surfaces and there is remarkably little road noise. 

Safety

This Honda ‘e’ has yet to be awarded an NCAP safety rating but it should score highly with an extensive list of all the latest safety equipment and features as standard that includes many crash avoidance systems, auto braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, auto high-beam headlights, pedestrian and cyclist detection and traffic sign recognition.

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The Honda ‘e’ is arguably the most eye-catching Japanese small car since the Suzuki Jimny. It is Honda’s first foray into the world of the mass-market, pure electric vehicle and arrives amid a plethora of new diminutive and more affordable EVs that finally give consumers an alternative to the pricey Teslas of this world. Competition includes the Mini Electric, Renault Zoe and the new Peugeot e-208. It is streets ahead of its rivals in terms of design and technology but exactly how successful it will be will depend a lot on its price which Honda have yet to unveil.