In 2017, Honda caused a storm at the Frankfurt Motor Show by unveiling the Urban EV concept.
The ultra-cute electric city car garnered more attention than almost anything else at the show and drew clamors to stick license plates on it and immediately bring it into showrooms.
Of course, it’s not that simple, but four years later Honda had turned the concept into reality and despite gaining a few more doors and sitting a bit higher, it’s remarkable to see how well this original show car got on the road.
For starters, it’s still a small rear-wheel drive electric city car. And despite the tradeoffs in safety and practicality, it retained all of the concept’s cheeky charm with its rounded square styling, circular LED traffic light “eyes”, and door-mounted camera-like touches at the door. place the exterior mirrors.
The rear doors are cleverly designed, with hidden handles to make the car look as close to a three-door look as possible and it’s a clean, slick look that will likely appeal to buyers considering other EVs. retro-inspired like the Fiat 500 and the Mini Electric.
While the exterior is a “soundproof” design study, there is a lot – a lot – other stuff inside. Some are excellent, others less.
I’m all for the lounge vibe, with warm light wood trim, pale sofa-like upholstery, and a surprisingly airy feel thanks to a large sunroof. The adjustable center console puts large, simple drive selection buttons within easy reach and hides a cute sliding cup holder, while the fabric phone pocket under the dashboard is a smart space-saving solution.
Ergonomically and aesthetically, it is a huge success. However, this is mostly where the e’s biggest problem lies – a massive touchscreen that spans from one side of the dashboard to the other. There are five screens in all – two six inches for the wing cameras; an 8.8-inch instrument cluster and two 12.3-inch touch screens that house the multimedia, navigation and communication systems.
The mirror screens work well and the instrument cluster is clear and full of useful information, but the infotainment is a mess. Honda says the dual-screen setup is “very intuitive” and allows for endless customization to ensure driver and passenger have their favorite apps at their fingertips. You can run two apps side by side, swap apps between screens, set up shortcuts, and even turn it all into a digital aquarium when you’re parked. Everything is very smart. And very entertaining. Just because you can install a 24 inch touchscreen on your car doesn’t mean you should and using it on the go is an annoying nuisance.
This is a 3.9 meter long city car, don’t expect acres of real estate. There is a reasonable amount of space up front, aided by the completely flat floor and the open space in front of the center console. In the back, however, both seats are tight and – like the Fiat and the Mini – are really meant for kids and emergency use only. A small 171-liter trunk is in keeping with the tiny nature of the entire car.
Another relatively small feature of the e is the battery. Many manufacturers are looking for longer and longer ranges, but Honda has taken a rational approach to e. It’s a car designed to live in the city and drive around the city center, so a huge range is not necessary.
As a result, the e’s battery is relatively small. At 35.5 kWh, Honda says it’s good for 137 official miles. It’s more or less equal to the Mini Electric but overshadowed by the similarly priced Fiat 500 and Renault Zoe. A charging capacity of 100 kW at least means that the battery can be recharged in just 25 minutes, if you find yourself running out.
There are two versions of the Honda e, both using the same battery, but the Advance has a 152 hp engine mounted at the rear and powering the rear wheels compared to the 134 hp version of the standard car. Torque for both is the same – a healthy 232lb foot – and the most distinct difference is the Advance’s one-second advantage at 62 mph.
On the road, that torque means a truly immediate and responsive ride, starting easily from the line. It’s not as urgent a feel as the Mini but more than crisp enough for city driving. It is the same for the grip. Precise steering, a responsive chassis and a ridiculously narrow turning radius mean you instantly feel right at home in the city, skillfully weaving your way through traffic.
This agility, along with its city-friendly size, is absolutely at the heart of the Honda e’s appeal, along with its unique styling. However, you really have to have fallen in love with e for it to make financial sense.
At a shade of over £ 31,000, it’s significantly more expensive than a Mini Electric and only the top-end Fiat 500 La Prima comes close – and that comes with a free wallbox and 199 miles of range. . High-tech touches like adaptive cruise control, automatic low beams and that ridiculous dashboard are part of the reason for the high price tag, but given that a Kia Soul costs £ 1,700 more and offers l ‘space for five plus 250 miles of range, it feels like paying dearly for the e character.
The Honda boss is betting that, just like Apple enthusiasts, there is an audience ready to do just that, and if early answers are any guide, they just might be right.
Price: £ 30,715 after IGCP (£ 31,265 depending on the tests); Motor: Single 113 kW synchronous motor; Drums: 35.5 kWh; Power: 152 hp; Couple: 232 lb-ft; Transmission: Fixed gear ratio, rear wheel drive; Top speed: 100 mph; 0-62 mph: Eight seconds; WLTP range: 282 miles; Consumption: 3.4 miles / kWh; Charging: Up to 100 kW
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This notice was published: 2021-09-07 15:05:05