Honda e: Living with it
Did a short driving range and pretty hefty price tag taint our time living with the Honda e electric supermini?
The Honda e presents a dilemma common to many small electric cars: it's targeted at young people in urban areas, many of whom can neither afford nor easily charge a fully electric car. But, if you're one of the few in a city who can see an electric car fitting into your life, then the Honda may just be the one.
The first thing we need to talk about is the design, because... well, just look at it. It's going to be years before the Honda e nears the point of being called ‘normal’ – it's a concept-car brought to life.
Some might be turned off by its wackiness and won’t appreciate the looks, pointing and whiplash you may cause as people turn in awe of this unmissable yet pocket-sized runabout. And for those supermarket runs, navigating town traffic and squeezing through tight city streets, the tiny Honda e is a dream.
But all of that comes at a hefty price. The version we ran was the top-spec Advance, which now costs £30,160 after the Government cut back on the plug-in car grant (PiCG) in March 2021. If you’re thinking of leasing the little Honda, on a PCP deal, that works out to just under £300 per month – if you can fork over the nearly £7,000 deposit.
No matter which way you look at it, that’s a lot of money. But you do get a lot as standard on the Honda e. Advance cars come with a 35.5kWh battery that feeds a more powerful 152bhp rear-mounted electric motor for a claimed range of 137 miles.
Inside, you’ll find the full-width infotainment system accompanied by digital wing mirrors (below) and a digital rear-view mirror, heated seats and steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay, a sunroof, parking sensors and a rear camera. Although, some people may find having more screens than a department store in your car a bit disconcerting, you can’t deny the 'fish tank' function and pop-out doorhandles are still pretty cool.
There are very few options to choose from when speccing your Honda e. Surprisingly, our example's charge yellow is the only standard colour, with black, blue, white and grey all £550 options. So are leather seats, but the standard black fabric is very comfortable and looks great. The only others are a few different alloy choices and some exterior add-ons.
Charging is going to the biggest sticking point for a lot of people, but not because it’s particularly slow: from a 7kW home wallbox, the e takes about four hours to charge fully from around 10% capacity. The issue, rather, is the paltry 136 miles of range when fully charged – which we found was closer to 100 miles of real-world driving. Once again, that works for those living in cities like London where you can easily find a Source London point and top up for around £9. But for those who might not be able to charge the Honda daily, this is the car’s deal breaker.
Yet the Honda e, despite its flaws, is the most desirable small electric car we’ve come across. It gets looks in all the right ways, and if you feel you can live with short range and know where you can charge it, then may Honda has made the ideal choice for you.
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 almost all 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 & infotainmentThe 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 it - currently readingDid a short driving range and pretty hefty price tag taint our time living with the Honda e electric supermini?