Where the Honda E went straight for the heart with its combination of cute retro styling and avantgarde interior the e:NY1 is rather more conservative, typographically confusing badge aside. While it resembles the hybrid HR-V Honda insists this is a dedicated electric car, rather than a battery powered conversion of a regular one as, perhaps, a Vauxhall Mokka-e is to a regular Mokka. That benefits interior space and handling, and the tech inside is a generation on from the HR-V. But the e:NY1 looks pricey against a packed and competitive field of rivals, which could be a worry.
“With increasing energy costs and public charging getting ever more expensive you’ll need to do some maths to be sure the e:NY1 adds up”
Honda identifies the likes of the Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona Electric as key rivals, while others likely on your shopping list in the increasingly competitive compact electric crossover field may include the likes of the Vauxhall Mokka-e, Renault Megane E-Tech, MG4 or bigger alternatives like the VW ID.4 and Nissan Ariya. Against the former you may think the bottom-line price looks like a misprint, given how expensive it looks. That narrows against the bigger rivals but there’s no escaping the Honda appears pricey. That aside those with access to home charging, running as a company car or able to buy on an electric car salary sacrifice scheme may claw a good chunk of that back in running costs, tax or other incentives. But with increasing energy costs and public charging getting ever more expensive you’ll need to do some maths to be sure the e:NY1 adds up for you.
Expert rating: 4/5
Reliability of a Honda e:Ny1
“To further sweeten the deal Honda offers five years of cover in terms of a guarantee, complimentary servicing and roadside breakdown cover”
Honda always scores well with owners for reliability, and the relative mechanical simplicity of a pure electric car like the e:NY1 can only give you more confidence on that score. To further sweeten the deal Honda offers five years of cover in terms of a guarantee (three years manufacturer, two more as a care package), complimentary servicing and roadside breakdown cover in the UK and Europe. Given it’s a Honda we very much doubt you’ll be needing the latter.
Expert rating: 5/5
Safety for a Honda e:Ny1
“The ‘Sensing’ package of driver aids covers all eventualities in terms of lane keeping, blind spot warnings, automatic emergency braking and more besides”
EU legislation demanding all new cars must have some manner of alert if you exceed the posted speed limit is something we’ll all have to get used to, but the zero-tolerance bonging in the e:NY1 if you go even a fraction over the posted limit is enough to have you weeping in despair. It’s not Honda’s fault, and the intended outcome is to encourage you to drive under rather than at the limit. But out there in the real world… Other than that the news is better, the ‘Sensing’ package of driver aids covering all eventualities in terms of lane keeping, blind spot warnings, automatic emergency braking and more besides. Better still it’s all standard, so you don’t have to go up a trim or pay extra for a ‘safety pack’ to get it, which makes a bit more sense of that higher upfront cost.
Expert rating: 5/5
How comfortable is the Honda e:Ny1
“The high seating position and good visibility (we liked the thin windscreen pillars) are confidence inspiring for the driver”
It’s a standing joke that anyone reviewing a car on an international launch event has to caveat impressions of ride quality by saying we’ll have to see how it copes with bumpy British roads. But given we have so far only driven the e:NY1 on super smooth Norwegian ones that’s what we’ll have to do! Usual electric vehicle benefits apply, though, the fact the extra weight of the batteries is low in the car meaning it corners better than a conventionally powered crossover, Honda adopting a more driver-focused set-up for the e:NY1 than the HR-V with which it shares its suspension bits. With no engine noise you hear other things, tyre roar noticeable on faster roads along with the whine of the motor under acceleration. But it’s still a very relaxing and chilled out driving experience, Honda addressing the head-nodding motion sickness it says fast-accelerating electric cars can create by deliberately softening the throttle response in one example of its attention to detail. In terms of comfort the high seating position and good visibility (we liked the thin windscreen pillars) are confidence inspiring for the driver, while legroom in the back is very generous for what looks like quite a small car from the outside. The two-level boot is also a decent size, though the plastic linings either side are going to scratch up and look tatty very quickly if you carry pushchairs, bikes or a four-legged friend with scratchy claws.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Honda e:Ny1
“We did appreciate the crisp graphics and Honda’s separation of the screen into three ‘zones’ with navigation at the top for both built-in mapping or via your phone”
There are just two trim levels on the e:NY1, both very well equipped. While the general layout of the interior is similar to that of the HR-V there’s been a big step up in tech, most obviously with the gigantic 15.1-inch central screen through which you control pretty much everything. Cue a predictable moan about the lack of physical controls for basics like volume and heating, though we did appreciate the crisp graphics and Honda’s separation of the screen into three ‘zones’ with navigation at the top for both built-in mapping or via your phone, app-style controls for infotainment and settings in the middle and the ventilation controls below. Given the relatively modest premium Honda expects most buyers will go for the upper trim level, this adding a panoramic roof, automatic power tailgate, improved speaker system, automated parking and a heated steering wheel among the extra bits.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Honda e:Ny1
“On the road we noticed a big difference between the different driving modes”
Indulge us some numbers for a moment but with 204 horsepower and a 68.8kWh battery Honda is bang on the class averages in terms of its performance and range, the officially quoted 256 miles seemingly there or thereabouts achievable with the efficiency we scored on the test route. That was on a warm day, though, but you should be able to bank on 200 miles of usable range between charges. More technically-minded EV buyers may note the relatively conservative sounding charging rate when plugged into public fast chargers but Honda insists this has been chosen deliberately to help maintain long-term battery life, and over the course of a longer charge session it evens out against other EVs that suck in a big jolt of power in when you first plug in.
On the road we noticed a big difference between the different driving modes, Eco dulling the throttle for pootling around town while Normal and Sport have more of the instant response we associate with electric cars. Just make sure you’re not in Eco if you need to make a sudden lunge into fast traffic or overtake something. We’d also prefer the option to keep maximum regenerative braking on, and a proper ‘one pedal’ mode where you can bring the car to a halt by simply lifting off the accelerator as you can in many electric cars. This is a win-win in stop-start traffic, given it’s both relaxing and puts a bit of charge back into the battery when you slow down. You can increase the regenerative effect in the Honda via the left paddle on the steering wheel but, annoyingly, you still have to use the brakes to stop and it then resets when you get on the accelerator, which is a faff.