Honda e review

The Honda e is one of the best small cars out there, electric or otherwise, even if its range is a bit on the short side

£26,660 - £29,160
Electric

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Packed with equipment
  • Striking looks inside and out

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Short range
  • Pricey insurance
Car type Electric range Wallbox charge time Fast charge time
Electric 127-136 miles 5hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW) 30mins (10-80%, 100kW)

The Honda e was a hotly anticipated car ever since its appearance in concept form set pulses racing. Its blend of retro styling and cutting-edge technology meant expectations were high when it finally arrived in 2020.

Aimed squarely at the MINI Electric and other city-faring electric runarounds, the Honda e is all about desirability. Its styling is reminiscent of models from Honda’s past, but with a pleasingly futuristic, rounded-off finish; inside, there’s a 1970s retro-futuristic appeal that’s hard not to fall in love with. 

Along with the MINI Electric, other rivals include the Renault ZOE – which has nearly double the driving range and a bit more interior space for a similar price – and the Skoda Citigoᵉ iV, which is much more basic but significantly cheaper.

Two versions of the Honda e are offered. The entry-level car gets 134bhp; prices start at just under £27,000 after the government grant, while the Honda e Advance gets its electric motor tweaked up to 152bhp and costs around £2,000 more. As of June 2020, customers can register to reserve their cars with a refundable £800 deposit; deliveries will start later in the year.

Sit inside the Honda e and it’s clear how the price might be justified. The interior is a spectacular, retro-themed affair that’s packed with technology – and a lot of screens.

Honda e

Plug the Honda e into a 50kW charger – common in UK motorway service areas – and you’ll get 100 miles of range in under 40 minutes, while a 100kW charger will do the same in about 30 minutes. A 7kW home wallbox will deliver a full top-up in five hours.

The Honda e is great to drive, too. Being short and wide, with stubby overhangs and rear-wheel drive (courtesy of the single rear-mounted motor), the e swings into corners with proper relish.

The Advance does 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, and while there’s no sharp surge of acceleration that alternatives like the BMW i3 deliver, the Honda still feels nippy and responsive. Hit the ‘single-pedal’ button and much stronger brake regeneration kicks in to deliver three levels of Nissan Leaf-style, one-pedal driving. It bleeds in smoothly even in the most aggressive mode, so you easily get a feel for the pedal response and how quickly the car will stop.

Practicality is perfectly good in the Honda e. In fact, for a car that’s shorter than a Ford Fiesta, it has impressive rear headroom and legroom, so you can easily sit an adult behind a long-legged driver. The boot’s rather pokey, but will likely be all that most urban dwellers need. All of which is great news for the admirably characterful Honda e. 

After all, it’s not just a great-looking and original car; it’s also very practical yet fun for city or suburban life. Practical yet also achingly cool – enough to justify the premium price for many buyers, we suspect.

For a more detailed look at the Honda e, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.