New Honda e:Ny1 2023 review
The oddly named Honda e:Ny1 SUV doubles the Japanese brand’s all-electric range in Britain
Its maker says this is the “ideal car” for first-time EV drivers, and we can see why plenty of existing Honda customers may be intrigued by the e:Ny1’s familiar styling, strong efficiency and tech-filled interior. However, in an incredibly competitive part of the market, this car falls short; an unpolished driving experience, middling practicality and a high price mean that rivals like the Tesla Model Y and Skoda Enyaq have the edge.
We’re still some way off price parity when it comes to electric cars – zero-emission models, on the whole, cost significantly more to buy than their petrol equivalents. Yet if you can charge at home on an off-peak energy tariff, the running costs savings can be substantial.
So, putting price to one side for a moment, let us look at the new Honda e:Ny1 alongside its EV rivals. At 4,387mm-long, it straddles the B and C-SUV segments – longer than a Peugeot e-2008, but shorter than a Volkswagen ID.4. At around 1,750kg, the Honda is about average for weight, too.
The e:Ny1’s got a relatively big battery (62kWh usable) but its advertised range is no better than par for the course. Nor is its 78kW peak charging speed – a 10-80 per cent DC charge will take 45 minutes, according to Honda. You can see charge status at a glance, however – either by looking at the app, or via the clever pulsing lights above the car’s charge port.
It’s loaded with equipment, too. Base Elegance cars (from £44,995) have a huge 15.1-inch portrait screen, 18-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather seats, dual-zone climate control and a rear-view camera. Advance models, like one we’re driving here, bring a panoramic roof, an uprated stereo, heated steering wheel and extra safety kit.
Indeed, sitting up front in either car, things feel premium in most places; you’ll find some scratchier plastics on the very top of the dash and lower down on the doors, but everything you touch on a regular basis is covered in soft materials. The screen is responsive and looks fantastic, though the widgets are static; split into three sections, the navigation module is rooted to the top of the frame, and the climate controls are always visible along the bottom.
Yet this is largely where the positives end. Immediately after moving away, you notice the intrusive whine from the electric motor – manoeuvring at low speeds in an EV should be a peaceful affair, but the e:Ny1’s setup somehow manages to drown out the pedestrian warning sound, which itself is hardly subtle.
Then you pick up on the jittery low-speed ride. It improves as your speed builds, but on particularly broken urban surfaces, the Honda struggles to settle – this was only emphasised by our photographer’s camera kit rattling about in the boot. That’s a shame, because we found the car to be admirably efficient; the trip computer was showing 4.1 miles per kWh during our drive, which puts the car within two miles of its official 256-mile range – even over a varied test route.
This might have something to do with the fact we spent most of our time in Eco mode. We found it difficult to rein-in the power of the single 201bhp front-mounted motor in Normal or Sport, with hard acceleration away from junctions showing a surprising degree of torque steer. Rear-driven rivals seem more adept at transferring drive to the road – indeed, you’ll not suffer the same sort of wheel spin in the (much more affordable) MG4. Once you’re up and running though, body control is well contained and the e:Ny1 handles rather neatly.
We’d like a little more force from the regenerative braking system, however – especially as it’s so intuitively controlled via the paddles behind the steering wheel. There’s barely any tangible difference in the various levels; those who prefer the one-pedal style of driving will need to look elsewhere.
Practicality is a bit of a mixed bag, too. The boot measures just 344 litres, which is not only down on larger rivals like the aforementioned ID.4, it’s smaller than the load space you’ll find in a Jeep Avenger, which overall measures less than 4.1m nose-to-tail. Space in the back of the Honda is sufficient for adults, though we’re less than convinced by the flagship Advance car’s pop out sunshades for the glass roof.
Inevitably, we must come back to the financials. While you can make allowances for a mediocre driving experience, average electric range and so-so practicality if the price is right, when you’re paying close to £50,000, these compromises are tougher to take – even if the tech offering is strong, and the cabin feels well built.
Honda says it’ll do you a three-year PCP for just under £500 per month (£5,000 deposit, 10k miles per year), which is competitive against a like-for-like Model Y – but that’s a bigger, more family-friendly car. At the time of writing, Skoda is offering zero per cent deals on the Enyaq, too – significantly undercutting the e:Ny1 even if you opt for the bigger of the two batteries.
|Honda e:Ny1 Advance
|62kWh battery, 1x e-motor
|Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
|78kW, 10-80% in 45 mins