We are captivated by everything about the Honda E, from its "friendly and sympathetic" exterior lines to its living room interior to its turning radius of just over 14 feet. The dashboard topped with pillar-to-pillar screens is another attention-getter. Honda released a video showing how a driver can interact with this wall of video, which is composed of five high-definition color displays. The two six-inch screens on the edges show feeds from the exterior camera mirrors. The 8.8-inch TFT screen in front of the driver shows the digital instrument cluster. The two 12.3-inch LCD screens in the middle are where infotainment happens, and it looks like anyone who can work a smartphone can work the functions in a Honda E.
Customizing the screens is as easy as swiping tiles to the left from an option menu, onto a column of favorites. A button above the favorites menu cascades the open tiles so a passenger can quickly get back to a previous screen. For information-dense menu options, the input portion appears on the left screen, the display portion on the right screen; for instance, when programming a charge time, the clock to set the time shows up on the left, the schedule calendar shows up on the right. A driver and passenger can also use each display separately, the driver working navigation on one side while the passenger plays DJ on the other side. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will mirror on the devices when a phone is plugged in, and when the Honda E stops, the dash screens can be used to play video streamed via phone over the E's wi-fi hotspot.
The included Honda Personal Assistant joins the growing mob of AI-powered butlers. Saying "OK Honda" calls the assistant to attention, and it understands natural speech when requesting changes in the cabin or online services. When away from the hatchback, a smartphone app enables using a phone as a digital key, setting safety alerts and geofencing, and preconditioning.
Not every function is left to digital devices — the instrument panel presents a row of buttons and a knob on the horizontal surface just in front of the displays, a row of climate control buttons graces the center console, and there are more hard inputs on the steering wheel and the center tunnel.
Honda says it's had more than 36,000 expressions of interest for the E so far, and the carmaker's taking reservations for priority ordering in the UK, Germany, France, and Norway. We'll go on record again saying we want the Honda E here, too.