The new Honda e is the electric vehicle equivalent of the original Mini. This distinctive city car blends retro style with state-of-the-art technology and a clever interior design, maximising space and storage. But what is the new Honda e like to drive? And what are the pros? Discover more about the new Honda e 2020 in our review:
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New Honda e pros
The Honda e's interior is minimalist and refreshing - light years ahead of anything else in its price range when it comes to technology. Instead of a centre console, three large infotainment touchscreens are stretched across the dashboard, joined at either end by two smaller 6-inch-screen which display a live feed from the "door mirror" cameras (the wing mirrors on the car have been replaced by two aerodynamically houses small cameras). The touchscreens are configurable and can be swapped with one another, giving you access to everything from sat-nav to entertainment and basic driving info to a virtual aquarium!
You can even speak to your car, via the built-in AI Honda Personal Assistant. Simply say ‘OK Honda’, and your car is at your command. apparently, it will even find a restaurant for dinner. Inside, the Honda e is a combination of clear surfaces, wood trim and furniture-influenced fabrics.
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Driving the Honda e is as simple as engaging D for Drive and pressing the accelerator. You don't need to change gear and you barely need to even brake because if you choose the correct setting it will have a braking effect on the engine as soon as you lift off the gas (regenerative braking) which in turn charges up the battery.
The ride is comfortable and it's not far off a go-kart driving experience because grip is excellent, body roll is minimal and it's deceptively fast. There are two versions of the rear-wheel drive Honda e available - the 'e' and 'e advanced' (the latter has a slightly bigger battery) - and the official 0-62mph time is nine seconds for the entry-level car, and eight for the 'advanced'. However, as well as being whisper-quiet, it feels much faster. And as with all EVs, there's instant oomph. The higher spec 'advanced' version also gets a few extra goodies including Parking Pilot. Simply press a button on the dashboard and the car will find an empty spot and reverse into it, while you watch it all happening on screen.
New Honda e cons
With a range of 125 miles it's probably not the car for you if you regularly travel long journeys for business, or you need a load-lugger with stacks of space for passengers. Despite the fact that it can be 80% charged in as little as 30 minutes, its natural habitat is more likely to be the city where its compact design and manoeuvrability (its amazing 4.3-metre turning circle is a party trick) come into their own. That said, in a country where the average commute is believed to be around 23 miles, there's no reason why it can't work as a zero emissions mobility solution for millions of people who just need a car for the school run, getting to work, shopping or visiting friends and family within an hour of home.
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It's fair to say that it's cosy in the back. I'm a tad under 6ft and I could sit behind a me, but it was tight, while the boot space is just 171 litres because the electric motor is housed underneath. But let's be honest, they are minor quibbles when you look at the game-changing package.
The all-new Honda e is a revelation. Make no mistake, this cute and clever car will become the blueprint for small EVs. If you're looking for an affordable, eco- friendly urban runabout, the Honda e should top of your shortlist. A small car with a big personality, the adorable Honda e is like nothing else on the road.
Price: from £26,660 (including the £3,000 government Plug-In Car Grant)