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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
1:00 AM 14th October 2023
cars

Honda’s First Electric SUV On Sale – My Launch Review

 
Up until now, Honda has only had one fully electric car on sale in the UK. The Honda e has been available for a few years, but its diminutive dimensions and modest range has ensured most buyers are city based. As a cool urban runabout, it does the job admirably, though premium pricing has ensured modest sales.

All that has now changed with the launch of the e:Ny1, a family-sized fully electric SUV. I learnt much about the car at the UK Media Launch, but the reasoning behind the rather odd name was never explained.

Those familiar with current Honda range will notice the styling apes the HR-V and newly introduced ZR-V and that in my opinion is no bad thing. At around 4,400mm long, the e:Ny1 sits in between the B and C-segment SUV class and offers space for the growing family, though the 360-litre boot is rather modest.

Pricing is bullish to say the least with the Elegance model costing £44,995, with a £2,200 step-up to the Advance version. Equipment levels are high which may go some way to explain this, but this is now a crowded sector with established rivals from Kia, Volkswagen Group, Stellantis and of course Tesla.

Expect to find a large 15.1-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control, synthetic leather seats, and smart alloy wheels as standard, with the Advance adding an uprated sound system, a panoramic glass sunroof and more safety kit. I would suggest it is worth the extra modest outlay.

Before I progress further, let’s deal with the question I am most asked about any EV. What’s the range? Honda’s official figure is 256 miles and from my time behind the wheel, a careful driver who avoids ‘Sport’ mode may well get close.

The 68.8kWh battery is quite generous in size, but it is not the quickest to charge. A 10 to 80% DC charge will take around 45 minutes (100kW charger), but most buyers will doubtless want to top up at home. The My Honda App should ensure this is simplicity itself, and charging can be set to take advantage of any cheap overnight tariffs your energy provider offers. Honda has teamed up with British Gas, who will fit a home charger for £959.

The charging port is conveniently located on the front of the car and when the car is charging, you can check the status by monitoring the pulsing lights, or via the App. In everyday driving, electric cars have an adjustable regenerative braking system to put a little more life back into the battery. The Honda system is a little weak, which also removes the ability for some one-pedal driving.

The rest of the driving experience is somewhat mixed too. At low speeds, there is a noticeable whine from the electric motor and the ride is distinctly jittery. Escape the confines of the city and up the speed and it does improve.

On greasy roads, I found the front wheels scrabbled for grip when emerging from junctions, something that might be improved perhaps with all-season tyres, more suited to the UK’s variable weather conditions. There’s some torque steer too. On some of the twistier sections of the test route, there was the chance to test out the e:Ny1’s handling capabilities. Safe and secure perhaps sums it up, but nothing to excite the enthusiast driver.

The heated driver’s seat offers a good view out, though I would have preferred to be able to set the seat a little lower. The leather steering wheel is nice to hold and the controls are simple to operate. The touchscreen is split into three sections, with the climate controls always on display at the very bottom. It’s seemed easy enough to navigate and is marked improvement on Honda’s previous offerings.

Soft materials abound and as is the Honda way, doors shut with a reassuring thunk. This is a well-made car and should be more than up to withstanding the rigours of everyday family life. With that in mind, Honda includes not only a five-year warranty but will also take care of the servicing requirement for that period too, all for free.

Should you be tempted to sign on the dotted line, an e:Ny1 can be on your driveway for less than £500 per month on a PCP deal and we were told Honda were aiming the car more at the private than fleet sector.

Time will tell if buyers will warm to the e:Ny1. I can see existing Honda owners graduating to one when the time comes to change, but whether it’s good enough to trounce the aforementioned rivals I am not so sure. Bullish pricing and a somewhat lacklustre driving experience may be hard to overcome.

Fast Facts

• Honda e:Ny1
• Price from £44,195
• Elegance or Advance trim
• 68.8kWh battery
• Charges 10-80% in 45 minutes
• Range 256 miles
• 204PS & 310Nm torque
• 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds
• Top speed 99mph
• Order books open now
• Deliveries from January 2024