Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Update 1: spending six months with a Honda e

Honda E: Parkers' long-term test starts here

Want proof that electric cars are becoming more interesting, smaller and cheaper by the month? Look no further than the latest Honda e – the Japanese brand’s first production electric vehicle (EV) in Europe. It’s one of the most head-turning cars to launch in 2020, and Parkers is living with one for half a year to find out what it’s really like.

Buyers have a terrifically simple choice when eyeing up a Honda e in the showroom. There are just two models available: the entry-level car (RRP £26,660) and this range-topping Advance model (£29,160). Those prices quoted are after the Government’s handy £3,000 Plug-in Car Grant, designed to incentivise people to consider pure EVs.

Electric cars: everything you need to know

Of course, most buyers finance their cars and don’t pay outright, and if you’re thinking that paying the thick end of 30 grand for a small city car is a lot of money, the monthly PCP price at a main dealer starts at a more reasonable £249 at the time of writing. 

Our Honda e Advance comes in a most eye-grabbing Charge Yellow paint job that pings and zings and grabs eyeballs left, right and centre; this is one of the most unusual car designs for many a year and the cartoonish style looks like it could have leapt from the pages of a Japanese manga comic – or even (whisper it) from the Apple design studios of Cupertino. It’s that cool.

It’s a small car, stretching to just 3.9m long and it looks diminutive in the metal. Yet because it’s fully electric with a totally flat floorpan, there’s sufficient space inside for four adults and we’ll be testing the comfort and practicality in the months ahead. But even the first time you slide behind the wheel, it’s apparent the Honda e does things differently: the interior is wilfully unlike any other small car you’ll ever have experienced before.

Honda E interior

Gone are traditional dials and instruments, replaced by a full-width giant digital screen. Even the door mirrors are replaced by cameras, whose displays bookend the ultra-widescreen monitor in front of you. If you hate apps and digital ecosystems, you may want to walk away now. But so far, everything works just fine, the cameras are easy to adapt to and we love the purity of the Honda’s cabin.

All of these gizmos are standard. The Advance’s £2,500 premium over the entry-level model buys a clever switchable analogue/digital rear-view mirror (you can flip it between a normal mirror, or a digi screen which cleverly/disconcertingly ‘sees through’ rear-seat passengers’ heads), a heated steering wheel, three-point plug for charging small devices and a self-parking function that’ll spot spaces as you drive along and shuffle the wheel for you when manoeuvring. 

We’ll be putting all that tech to the test in the coming weeks. Moreover, we’re about to find out if the Honda e has the electric creds to match its electrifying looks.

The quoted battery capacity is a compact 35kWh, meaning that Honda claims a tiny range of only 125 miles when fully charged. Its range is significantly shorter than that of its closest rivals, such as the Peugeot e-208 electric car (above).

Is it enough for daily duties? Will the Honda e be consigned to life as a city car, limited in appeal to those living in London or Liverpool? Or can it cope with the more mixed town-and-country driving that we’ll be subjecting it to this winter? 

Stay tuned to our regular reports while we plug in to find out...