It’s rare for a small five-door hatchback to generate massive buzz, but when photos of the Honda e were first released, there was a feverish demand for more.
Its cool retro styling turned heads and dropped jaws at motor shows, with onlookers admiring its rounded shape, circular headlights and glossy black exterior. In fact, the general perception was that Honda was inspired by the design of a bygone and much-missed era.
A tight, 4.3-meter turning radius helps the E maneuver in tight city streets.
But a closer look reveals a fiercely futuristic vehicle, with flush door handles, cameras in place of side mirrors and two huge touchscreens inside. But most importantly, it’s a fully EV – Honda’s first, no less. It offers a choice of two power ratings and, despite its small size, it seats four people.
The E comes in at roughly 153 inches in length, about a foot longer than a Fiat 500 and roughly the same size as a two-door Mini Hardtop.
An all-new custom rear-wheel drive electric system architecture is premiered. The lithium-ion batteries are mounted as low as possible in the floor and are rated at 35.5 kWh. They are paired with a single e-motor available in two power ratings: 134 or 152 hp (both with 232 lb-ft of torque). That’s enough thrust to guarantee 0-62 mph in nine seconds for the less powerful E, and 8.0 seconds for the more powerful Honda e Advance.
Both trims feature rear-wheel drive and a 50:50 weight distribution.
This is a real jewel, marking a significant step forward in terms of refinement and build quality for the brand. But first, you can’t miss the drastic design of the screen.
Honda designed the interior to promote a living room feel, and the full-width screen set and wood trim pairs nicely with the light gray cloth seats to create a special atmosphere inside. The seats are well padded, the brown seat belts are more interesting than the black ones, and details like a two-spoke steering wheel and a cup holder that opens with a leather strap make things nice.
The major event inside is the full-width display, sitting on the dash like a huge flat-screen TV, stretching from door to door. It’s extraordinary, a real event. It almost looks like the desktop of a laptop fresh out of the box, but it’s far less intimate than you might think.
In front of you, a small screen displays all the driving functions, just like in any other car with digital dials. It’s crisp and easy to read, but the top of the steering wheel can block it if you like to have it lower in front of you. The infotainment system includes two 12.3-inch LCD screens. It’s easy and simple to use, with clear tiles for different functions, and the option to switch between screens. So you can set the sat-nav on the screen closest to you, then move it to the screen farthest away while you fiddle with what you want to listen to via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The passenger can also change the settings, but not to the same extent.
The Honda e is one of the most attractive electric cars I’ve ever seen. Its tiny size, cute face and really cool interior are the biggest draws in its arsenal of charm, so much so that some might overlook the rather short range and higher price than other urban EVs.
It’s a joy to drive, and Honda e hit the nail on the head right from the start with its first all-electric production car: it handles, drives, steers, stops and starts very smoothly, and even the most novice gas enthusiasts will enjoy driving it. It has certainly opened our eyes to how electric cars should behave.
More infos : Honda.com