Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Two motor options in the Honda e
  • Two different power outputs
  • Zippy and refined in town, mature out of it

The engine – or rather, motor – in the Honda e is available in a choice of two power outputs. The entry-level has 136hp while the second option has 154hp – both ample outputs for such a small car. With identical torque figures of 315Nm, the nippiness around town will be difficult to tell between the two.

Our main impression is that the e is definitely built for city living. The 136-mile range isn’t that large, considering a car like the Renault Zoe is capable of almost double that. It’s on a par with the MINI Electric, but that’s more of a burn on MINI than a win for Honda… neither is very impressive.

There’s an instant surge of acceleration when you put your foot down which is great for nipping around town, and there’s a Sport mode to further add to the excitement, but like other electric cars the e begins to run out of puff at high speeds. That said, it really doesn’t struggle to get up to motorway speeds like some city cars can, and once you’re there it doesn’t feel like it’s out of its depth.

2020 Honda e cornering

That instantly available torque will make you the winner of many traffic light drag races, but it’s designed for urban driving, and feels its best when left in its normal driving mode. Still, it feels faster than a Renault Zoe and about as quick as a Nissan Leaf. For the 136hp motor, the 0-62mph is over with in 9.0 seconds, while the more powerful one takes 8.3 seconds.

There’s also a ‘Single Pedal Control’ function much like that of the Nissan Leaf’s e-Pedal, which allows for far stronger brake regeneration when lifting off the throttle – perfect for low-speed driving. It’s so strong you can effectively drive around town and not need to touch the brake pedal. It also stops itself creeping forwards in this mode.

The braking is strong enough to activate the brake lights. When it’s not switched on, you can adjust how strong the regenerative braking is via paddles on the steering wheel, like you can in many other battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

How does it handle?

  • Steering is very light
  • Visibility is excellent
  • It’s a car for urban environments

As for handling, the e lacks any considerable body roll and impresses with its balanced pedal and steering weights – something many electric cars struggle with by being too light and uncommunicative to drive. They can sometimes feel like you’re driving around in appliance.

Honda claims its sophisticated suspension configuration was designed to be more refined than that of a Leaf or a BMW i3, and in our drives in the car, we can confirm it’s surprisingly composed regarding the way it handles lumps and bumps in the road.

Some surfaces can make it feel a little fidgety, something that afflicts many short cars with large-ish wheels, but the e manages to deal with bumps very well. The sound and vibrations don’t come crashing through the cabin, and it doesn’t become unsettled and wayward. It feels very grown up indeed.

The e also has an impressively tight turning circle thanks to its rear-wheel drive layout, meaning the front wheels have more room to turn – great for parking and sharp U-turns in town.