Honda e review: interior, dashboard & infotainment
The Honda e's screens seem a bit much at first, but you can use them as much or as little as you wish and just enjoy the brilliant retro-modern interior
The Honda e is designed around the array of screens inside as much as its electric powertrain, but the interior is a real success thanks to a lovely array of tactile materials, a standard sunroof letting in plenty of light and clever retro-modern design characterising the whole affair. It's easy to use those screens and the driving position is comfortable, even if we’d like the steering wheel to drop a little lower. We also struggled to get used to the camera mirrors, but we must admit that the clarity they give in low light and poor conditions is far superior to that of a normal side mirror.
Honda e dashboard
The Honda e has a straightforward set of air-conditioning controls on the lower section of its dashboard, with USB and HDMI ports tucked below at the bottom. That the centre console stops short of the dashboard, leaving a clear space all the way across the interior in the front of the car, is also a neat touch that gives a sense of space.
Otherwise, the slim-rimmed, two-spoke steering wheel looks great and feels lovely to use, and between the dense-feeling upholstery and soft-touch, wood-effect trim, the Honda’s dashboard is a great piece of design.
Equipment, options & accessories
For a time, buyers had a choice of trim levels for the Honda e. The base model got a 134bhp electric motor, heated seats, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, automatic wipers, LED headlights and 16-inch alloys.
Step up to the Advance model and you got a more powerful 152bhp electric motor, an upgraded sound system, a heated steering wheel and windscreen, blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera built into the rear-view mirror and automatic parking. The Honda e Limited Edition got the same kit as the Advance spec, but received a select number of styling tweaks including black badges all round, Premium Crystal Red paint and an exclusive set of 17-inch black alloys.
However, the Honda e Advance is currently the only version available to order. You can still add what Honda calls the 'Style Pack' and 'U.R.B.A.N Pack' that tweak the car's looks slightly, and you get five paint colours to choose from: Crystal Black Pearl, Platinum White Pearl, Crystal Blue Metallic and Meteoroid Grey Metallic and Premium Crystal Red Metallic. You can also upgrade to Midnight Black or Dark Brown leather upholstery, both of which cost around £1,400.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Just like its exterior styling, the Honda’s screens certainly set it apart from the competition. The driver’s digital readout is kept fairly clear, with a simple speed readout and nav arrows if you want them, while the main event is the two 12.3-inch touchscreens in the middle.
You can carry out any function in the Honda’s system on either screen, and you can switch them around to show information on whatever screen you want. Having the navigation map on the screen closest to the driver, and efficiency or other media info on the other screen, seems a logical layout to us. It’s a shame that the navigation graphics look rather dated compared to those in rivals from BMW and MINI, but you can always use your phone navigation instead with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Thanks to the standard HDMI input, you can connect games consoles and the like, or cast TV and movies directly from your phone using Chromecast. You can even turn the screens into a digital aquarium if you wish. All of this is designed to make a potential wait at a charging point more enjoyable, and can’t be used while the car is moving. You can also dim or turn off the screens if you wish, to reduce the chance of distraction on the road.
It doesn’t take long to get used to the screens, and the menus are logical and well labelled. Ultimately, while the Honda’s screens are a little overwhelming at first, we didn’t find them distracting and they’re more than customisable enough to work well for the tech-savvy or the tech-phobic alike. Honda has launched an app with the e, which means your phone can serve as the key, as well as remotely operate charging, pre-set the climate control and send sat-nav routes to the on-board system.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Honda e features cool retro design and futuristic technology, but less stylish rivals beat it in the less glamorous but more useful areas of range and practicality
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Honda e has a long enough range for a huge swathe of motorists' daily requirements, but some rivals can go much further
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Honda e is as cheap to run as ever, but it’s now more expensive than electric family cars with more than twice the range
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Honda e is great fun to drive, yet also comfortable and brilliantly designed for town motoring
- 5Interior, dashboard & infotainment - currently readingThe Honda e's screens seem a bit much at first, but you can use them as much or as little as you wish and just enjoy the brilliant retro-modern interior
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityBoot space in the Honda e isn't great, but otherwise practicality is good by small-car standards
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Honda e is packed with driver aids, although the absence of some of the latest systems as standard meant it only scored four out of five in Euro NCAP crash testing
- 8Living with itDid a short driving range and pretty hefty price tag taint our time living with the Honda e electric supermini?