What's the used Honda E hatchback like?
Once known as one of the world's best engine makers and one of the most innovative car manufacturers, Honda's mantle seems to have slipped a little since the turn of the millennium.
However, no one viewing this diminutive Honda E, the Japanese firm's first mass-produced battery-electric vehicle, could fail to be impressed by it. Its looks are close to adorable, for one, and this fiercely futuristic car comes with flush door handles, cameras instead of door mirrors and two enormous touchscreens on the inside.
But in the increasingly competitive world of small electric cars, you need more than just good looks to prosper. And that's where Honda has chosen to take a bit of a gamble. You see where many affordable mainstream EVs are now appearing with more than 200 miles of range, the dinky E arrived with a comparatively meagre 136 miles of range.
However, Honda is confident it has taken the right approach with this car, aiming it at a particular customer who won't be seeking the maximum range for price but will instead be looking for a stylish urban car for short hops only.
There are two trim levels, named simply Honda E and Honda E Advance. Both give you a decent amount of equipment, with Advance adding luxuries such as a heated steering wheel, a self-parking system and heated front seats, along with a more powerful electric motor.
It's certainly good to drive, feeling agile, nippy and fun. Go for the entry-level Honda E and you get 134bhp, whereas as mentioned the pricier Advance model packs 152bhp. Whichever version you choose, acceleration feels particularly urgent when you put your foot down at relatively low speeds, making the baby Honda ideally suited to the urban cut and thrust.
A push of a button enables one-pedal driving, whereby lifting off the accelerator pedal turns the car’s regenerative braking system up to its maximum level, slowing the car quickly without you needing to press the brake pedal at all, and helping to recharge the battery in the process.
Inside, an 8.8in screen serves as the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, displaying your speed and remaining range, and this is joined to two 12.3in infotainment touchscreens that stretch out across the width of the dashboard. This array is flanked on both sides by 6.0in screens that display a live feed from the futuristic camera door mirrors.
The driving position is great and the interior quality impressive. In fact, it feels really upmarket. Space is good up front, but in the back it's roughly on a par with the Renault Zoe, so there’s more leg and head room than in a Mini Electric or Seat Mii. There are only two seatbelts in the back, so carrying five people is out of the question. The boot, meanwhile, is absolutely tiny.
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