3.9 out of 5 3.9
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Cute electric city car is a convincing urban runaround

Honda e Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £29,660 - £32,160
Lease from new From £397 p/m View lease deals
Fuel Economy 3.6 miles/kWh
Insurance group 25 - 29 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Cute styling hides surprisingly practical interior
  • Really moves interior and tech on for Honda
  • Easy and relaxing to drive and be in

CONS

  • Some will be put off by higher price than Renault Zoe
  • Screen-heavy interior may appear daunting
  • Electric driving range more limited than others

Honda e Hatchback rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

We were first introduced to the Honda e in 2017, when the Japanese firm debuted the Urban EV concept car, wowing the crowds of various motor shows ever since, including when it finally morphed into the production version of the 'e' you see here at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show.

The concept car’s retro design has been carried over to the production version largely unchanged, with the addition of two extra doors being the biggest departure (fewer manufacturers are building three-door cars these days). Built on a dedicated platform, the Honda e also features a rear-wheel drive configuration, charging ports in the bonnet and an all-electric range of up to 136 miles depending on the model you choose.

Honda doesn't see this car as a natural rival to existing electric city cars such as the Volkswagen e-Up (and SEAT Mii Electric/Skoda Citigo-e iV) and Renault Zoe as there's far more tech packed inside. But if you're after a city car that runs on batteries, it's likely that they'll end up on your shopping list, along with the likes of the MINI Electric. It's good news then, that it matches up to the MINI in terms of pricing, starting at just over £26,000 (after the government Plug-in Car Grant) which is where the Renault Zoe tops out.

But is it all style over substance? Or has Honda managed to create a futuristic city car that’s about much more than its kerb appeal?

Lovable concept-car styling

Production cars rarely resemble the concept cars that preview them a few years prior, but Honda has managed to retain the basics of the EV Prototype’s looks, meaning the Honda e looks every inch the functioning concept car, finally bringing futuristic looks to the masses. But they’ve also managed to throw in some retro appeal too.

Honda’s been building cars long enough now to have curated a back catalogue of distinctive models, and it’s one of these – the Honda N – which has inspired the e’s looks. The key word here is ‘inspired’, because the Honda e is unashamedly modern, not a retro-pastiche in the manner of the Fiat 500.

Although the production version’s stance isn’t quite as dramatic – given that it’s a tad curvier, taller and with smaller wheels (16 and 17 inches available), it does have broadly the same silhouette that was so well received on the original concept.

Honda's only made two changes to the e from the e Prototype as well. They are the removal of the illuminated grille badge - sadly, such items are illegal in the UK - and the side skirts, which no longer bear the legend of 'Honda Design'. Not much then – it looks distinctive and like nothing else on the road, and it’s all the better for it.

Interior is tech-heavy, but user-friendly

The interior of the Honda e is unlike any other small car. Dominating the dashboard are a grand total of five screens. There’s a TFT display ahead of the driver, two 12.3-inch touchscreens in the middle, and two displays bookending these that are there in place of traditional door mirrors. Instead, these show the view rearwards from the door-mounted cameras.

Honda likes to think it’s like a lounge inside the e, with a clean and uncluttered design that’s relaxing and comfortable. The brief has been nailed – there’s wood (fake) that doesn’t look naff, and fabric seats with a sofa-like look and feel. Small touches like a leather strap to pull out a hidden cupholder and brown seatbelts just add small touches of interest.

This interior setup really moves the game on for Honda, with various functions never previously available, you can read more about that in the Interior section, while navigating to the next page will give you all you need to know about the e’s surprisingly roomy interior in terms of practicality.

137-mile range and quick charging

Honda e (2020) interior view, driving

The Honda e promises a WLTP range of up to 137 miles if you go for the standard model. The 35.5kWh Panasonic battery pack stowed under the floor can be topped up to 80% capacity in 30 minutes using a rapid charger, compared with more han 18 hours when connected via three-pin plug at home.

Placing the charging port in the bonnet (instead of on the side) also means that the e doesn’t have to be manufactured differently depending on left- and right-hand drive markets. It’s bang in the centre underneath a large flap that flips open at the press of a button on the key.

There’s a second version available, though. As well as the standard 136hp Honda e, there’s also a 154hp version reserved for the Honda e Advance. Not only is it nippier, but it also packs more equipment into its distinctive interior, but range suffers as a result, falling to just under 130 miles on a full charge. The entry-level car uses a 100kW electric motor, while the Advance model uses a 113kW for that nippier response. 

How much does the Honda e cost?

The Honda e starts at £26,160, while the Advance model is bumped up to £28,660 due to its higher-output motor and longer kit list, including a Centre Mirror System and Side Camera Mirror System, Honda parking pilot and a premium stereo upgrade. The list prices include the £3,500 plug-in car grant. 

The Honda e Advance was available to order as of September 2019, while the regular model was made available in early 2020. Deliveries are expected in summer 2020. 

More importantly, Honda is quoting £299 per month on a PCP finance contract for the entry Honda e when a 23% deposit is put down on the car (£5,887), with an 8,000-mile annual limit 37-month contract. The Advance is bumped up to £349 per month.

Honda e (2020) rear, driving

Read on for the full verdict on the Honda e, and if it’s worth a look over its electric city car rivals.

Honda e Hatchback rivals