Thanks to Honda hosting media in Valencia, Spain, for first drives of the Honda E, we have more details on the city car we're condemned to lust after from afar. The power and range specs we already knew — either 134 horsepower from the base model, or 152 hp in the upper Advance trim, and 232 pound-feet of torque from both, deliver a 137-mile range from the 35.5-kWh battery pack. The distance figure is measured on the more accurate WLTP cycle, not the old NEDC; however, it requires the standard 16-inch alloys to achieve. Opting for the 17-inch wheels cuts range to 130 miles.
The E hits the scales with 3,338 pounds, balanced 50:50 over the wheels. The weight makes the two-door about 350 pounds heavier than the old Fiat 500e, which was 11 inches shorter, and the E is exactly 200 pounds lighter than a Nissan Leaf, which is 23 inches longer.
- 2020 Honda e launch
The base model accelerates to 62 miles per hour in nine seconds, the Advance trim shrinks that to 8.3 seconds, an electronic limiter caps top speed at 90 miles per hour for both versions. When the tarmac gets twisty, four-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts returns peppy handling, based on the first reviews. The menu of standard and optional driving assistance tech includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, a lead-car departure notification system, and Honda Parking Pilot.
The battery pack is compatible with 100-kW fast-charging, which restores 80 percent of charge in 30 minutes. Using a 4-kW Type 2 charger refills the battery in 4.1 hours, a 2.3-kW Type 2 home charger needs 18.8 hours for the task.
The wall of screens across the instrument panel looks as intuitive to use in real life as it did in Honda's demonstration. We were surprised, though, to see the character that accompanies the Honda Personal Assistant — an animated circle that squishes and bounces and throws off excited lines attempting to express personality. Dare we say, the circle struck us as the reincarnation of Microsoft's Clippy, but perhaps it makes a better case in person. When asked to carry more than people, the E's cargo bay swallows six cubic feet of luggage. Put the rear seats down to expand load capacity to 34 cubic feet when loaded to the roof.