Honda e review: Small Japanese with a lot of potential, can it convince?
The Honda and is the first and currently only electric car from the Japanese car manufacturer Honda. Can it convince in everyday life despite a few wasted opportunities? We found out for you in this test!
With the Honda e, Honda is launching a former study on the German market in 2020. Previously known as the Honda Urban EV Concept, the name has changed quite simply. But unfortunately there are already two major points of criticism, which we will talk about later. The small Honda e is powered by a rear-wheel drive with 113 kW, in old currency 154 hp. The battery has 35,5 kWh, but interestingly only 28,5 kWh is actually available for driving.
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In our eyes, the Honda e offers what everyone in the city needs. Not a big car, but a small one with a large interior. In most cases, the Honda e should be sufficient for city trips or rural commuting to work. Were it not for one or the other point of criticism, such as the price. With a starting price of around 43.000 euros (incl. 19 Procent VAT) for the Advanced Edition (which we also tested) it is definitely not a cheap city car. Should therefore be too expensive for most as a second car or city vehicle. But still, the Honda e offers a wonderful driving experience with an extremely small turning circle. Its digital exterior and interior mirrors are also unique.
Design: round eyes and cute face
This is roughly how you could describe the front of the Honda e. The special feature here, it looks almost exactly the same from the front as from the back. The round full LED headlights are located at the front on a black high-gloss optics part. This has the sensors for the "Honda Sensing" assistance systems directly in the middle. The LED headlights are very bright at night and can shine very far even without high beam. This is extremely well done for a small car. The high beam is switched on automatically. Oh, and let's not ignore the dimensions. The small Honda is 3,9 meters long x 1,8 meters wide and 1,5 meters high. By the way, the width specification is the same as without a mirror, since it doesn't have one.
The charging connection is located directly on the "bonnet", easily accessible from the center. Whether it's winter too Prowe could not test it. But water should be the least here Probe trouble The charging door has drainage channels around the charging plug. The rear of the Honda e looks largely identical to the front of the small city runabout. The daytime running lights offer a nice animation when you approach the vehicle. Incidentally, it also unlocks itself if desired when approaching. There is also a Coming & Leaving Home function, so that you always have a good view in a dark driveway, for example.
Interior: living room feeling with lots of space
What doesn't really sound credible from the outside, Honda manages very well with the interior of the Honda e, despite the external dimensions. A living room feeling thanks to the pure electric platform. Definitely more space than in MiniCooper SE, which we also recently tested.
Distributed over the entire interior you can see a consistent "wood look" and yes, this is not real wood. Still, it doesn't feel "cheap". All "four" doors are covered with fabric and hardly reveal any plastic. The center console includes a couple of storage compartments and even a retractable cup holder. The steering wheel is very large for such a small car. But as mentioned before, the level of comfort in the Honda e is really very good. The seats are comfortable and good for everyday use.
The five displays in number could initially mean a bit of overload for one or the other. But you get used to it relatively quickly. The outer displays are the "outer mirrors" that always show the live image without delay via cameras attached to the outer chassis. Possibly the best implementation of digital exterior mirrors so far. The exterior mirrors can also be moved in the classic way (of course only digitally). We really liked the typical Japanese interior here. There is enough legroom and in the rear there is also “some” space for smaller people.
Incidentally, the gear selector buttons are placed directly on the center console and can be reached and operated very easily.
Infotainment: Honda can really score here
An Android system is used on the two main displays in the Honda e. They use an older, open source Android version here, but at least it runs relatively smoothly without any noticeable delays.
The app launchers are located on the right and left side of the screen. There you can select different apps and open them on one of the two screens. The content of a screen can be shifted by pressing a button in the top left or top right. A possible scenario could be that the passenger wants to enter a destination in the navigation system or look for something on the map. This allows the driver to "push" the navigation system over to him without the passenger having to look at the left screen. Very intelligently solved by Honda at this point.
You can also call up the current consumption with a nice animation. A Garmin system is used as a navigation system in the Honda e. This can also search for charging stations and you can see the status and the charging speed on it. Honda offers a smart language assistant by subscription. We were not able to test this because our press vehicle had not activated this subscription. Various BEV-specific functions can also be selected via the EV menu. However, we did not find a loading limit.
Incidentally, the energy flow also shows the range when the air conditioning is deactivated, a nice feature that will also be necessary with the urban range of the Honda e. In short, we can label the Honda e infotainment as very tidy and responsive, with a few gimmicks. You can even display a virtual aquarium, but only in park mode. You can even feed the fish. Nice gadget. However, we find the infotainment design to be relatively old-fashioned. Unfortunately, there is no loading route planning.
Driving characteristics: Super manoeuvrable, but small range
The Honda e is really a lot of fun to drive. It is super manoeuvrable, and of course this also applies to the turning circle. This is 9,2 meters. Another plus: you can find a parking space almost everywhere. Thanks to the rear-wheel drive in the Honda e, it is much sportier on the road than, for example, the Mini Cooper SE or the fiat 500e.
Let's get to the negative or the range. This has probably only been scaled to a pure city environment. In summer temperatures you can realistically cover about 190 kilometers. This is only in inner-city traffic. Therefore, the small Honda e is probably only suitable for commuters who have to commute 50 to 100 kilometers to work and can then recharge there. Despite the short range, the Honda e offers driving characteristics that are truly unique in its field. You should definitely not ignore that.
In the test cycle, we came up with a realistic consumption value of 20 - 23 kWh/100 kilometers. This is definitely too much for such a small car. Unfortunately, it is not efficient. The Honda e offers a one-pedal mode for this, which unfortunately has to be activated manually every time the cruise control is activated. This can be annoying over time. Easier recuperation can be set using two paddles behind the steering wheel. But it doesn't stay active all the time either.
Digital mirrors: Work very well!
At first we were a bit skeptical about the topic. How is this supposed to work? But Honda has now proven that digital mirrors work almost perfectly in everyday life. On both outer sides of the interior there are two displays with the live camera view of the respective cameras on the outside of the vehicle. These are uninterrupted and above all have a very low latency. Even in heavy rain, they are usually clean because the lenses have been specially designed to be water-repellent. However, this cannot be said of the camera for the interior mirror. It has (apparently) a worse resolution than the exterior mirrors and often smears when the weather is bad, although you should actually be able to clear it with the rear window wiper.
The exterior mirrors also do a good job at night. Well, it would be even better if they could do night vision. But that would probably be a bit much for this class of vehicle. Well, a good idea nonetheless.
Charging behavior & battery size: Unfortunately not sufficient.
A 35,5 kWh battery is installed in the Honda e. However, "only" 28,5 kWh of this can be used for driving. This is nothing unusual so far. In general, almost all electric cars always have a buffer in the battery. But the buffer in the Honda e is definitely a bit too large. Honda argues this decision with battery degradation. Of course, this decreases over the many years of a car's life. So that the range always remains the same, Honda has opted for this larger buffer.
Recharging is possible with Type 2 single-phase with 7,3 kW. Thanks to the unbalanced load law, however, in Germany only with 3,2 kW. Fast charging via CCS is relatively fast compared to 50 kW, since the battery is not that big. Still takes too long though. Here we see wasted opportunities that Honda could have taken advantage of. Maybe at some point we will see another facelift with 11 kW type 2 charging capability and more than 50 kW fast charging.