Honda E long-term test

There's a lot to like about the Honda E, but can you live with the short range in the real world? We're running one to find out...

2020 Honda e long term montage

The car Honda E Advance Run by Mark Tisshaw, special contributor

Why it’s here To see if you really need the extra range offered by rivals day to day, and to see how the E manages on longer journeys when charging stops are required.

Needs to Be quick to charge so disruption is minimised on longer journeys, and offer something a little special to justify its high price.

Mileage 2655 List price £32,660 (before £3000 gov't grant) Target Price £32,660 Price as tested £32,710 Test range 110 miles (summer), 68 miles (winter) Official range 125 miles Dealer price now £28,807 Private price now £25,606 Trade-in price now £24,998 Running costs (excluding depreciation) electricity £108

11 January 2021 – The E leaves us feeling warm in the cold

Just as things were getting really interesting, my time was the Honda E was up, and for my near complete acceptance and defence for the E’s limited range (treat it as a second car, and you’ll be fine) I realise now that I had not factored in one thing: cold weather.

And not the colder weather I’ve mentioned before of high single figure temperatures that I’d shrugged off, but rather the bitingly cold sub-zero ones with freezing fog. The kind that requires the heater to be on full blast for extended periods; for the heated steering wheel and seats to be on for a bit of extra cosiness, and the type that demands lights and wipers are on at all times. The kind, in short, that cuts the E’s range down to only about 65 miles in real-world use.

So, returning to adress the ‘why it’s here’ statement at the very top of this story: this has been the biggest test to really see if you need that extra range. Whether you think a range of 70 miles (let’s be generous) is enough for you is a personal decision. if you make a 50-mile daily round-trip commute and have the facility to charge at either end, it’s great – providing you don’t need to use it in an emergency in the meantime. If you need an extra 10 miles of range, the E is not for you. You'll certainly access to another car if you venture more than 100 miles in a day (with one of those good old fashioned internal combustion engines, perhaps, if you don’t fancy relying on the still flaky public changing infrastructure). 

Honda E goodbye

A few days alone in winter is enough to remind you that driving an electric car is a more seasonal activity than it is with any other fuel type. Batteries simply don’t perform as well in colder weather and don’t get anywhere near their official range figures (125 miles, in the E’s instance), just as they can go up to and even surpass that figure at warmer times of the year if you’re really frugal. That is true of any electric car, yet when the range is limited as it is in the E, you really do notice it.

I was determined though, to not let my time with the E be dominated by discussion of range, and contrary to the words above, so it has proved. Even if the cold weather has curtailed that range, it’s endurance is still very much in the window of the majority of the daily trips I make, and I have access to the family Ford Fiesta for the trips further afield. Plus, I can charge the E at home, too, so there’s been no stresses or worries about where my next electron is coming from. 

Range aside, then, what else was there to get to know? Plenty. I loved the interior. The combination of grey fabric and faux wood trim gave it a real ‘modern premium’ feel, way cooler than leather could. The infotainment system proved to be easy enough to get along with, too, with the graphics clear, and the ability to flip screens between the driver and passenger sides proving very helpful when it came to the passenger inputting navigation destinations.

Honda E with wind turbine

The E  was also a pleasure to drive. It’s about as ideal a town car as you can get, with an excellent turning circle, a lofty driving position, a comfortable enough ride, and a nippiness off the line that you get with all electric cars.

So much of the early hype around the E was around those looks; its impact was similar to that first made by the reincarnations of the Mini hatchback and Fiat 500. Months later, the E’s looks were still drawing admiring glances and I’ve never had so many people approach me for a chat about the car in the supermarket car park than the E. People love it, and want to know more about it.

And this is really the whole crux of the E: it is a car you buy with your heart rather than your head. You’ll know the range is limited compared with similarly-priced rivals, you’ll know that you’ll need access to a longer-range model for those journeys that take you farther afield, and you know that you'll need a driveway and home charger to be able to charge. You’ll know all that, and buy it anyway because you’ll have been taken in by its considerable charms. I know I’ll miss it from my driveway.

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