Self testThe new electric Honda e:Ny1 is simply a positive driving SUV, which combines a lot of interior space with pleasant driving characteristics and an exceptionally ordinary appearance.
Honda has always done it a little bit differently than other brands. In the 1980s and 1990s, this brought the Japanese brand great success in Europe by selling smooth-looking models with very positive quality and pleasant driving characteristics at competitive prices. After that they continued to do so, but at too high prices, so that the brand slowly priced itself out of the market in Europe.
Honda is only ahead of Alpine and Jaguar
They tried to turn the tide by making their cars more and more extreme with lots of sharp corners and crazy colors, but that also only partially worked. Over the past ten years, Honda has never sold more than 2000 cars per year in the Netherlands and this year the counter has so far stood at a meager 350 units. These numbers contrast sharply with about 15 years ago, when about ten thousand cars were sold per year. In European terms, Honda only leaves Alpine and Jaguar behind in terms of sales. Even a brand like Lexus managed to sell two times more cars than Honda.
Tsunami of Chinese brands
Strikingly, Honda opts for a very modest design, just as a complete tsunami of new Chinese brands is flooding the European market. The very positive driving new Civic is an example of this and the new e:Ny1 also looks very average. It might seem nice to see a Honda that doesn’t look like a Picasso on wheels, but this might be the other extreme. Because there is really nothing remarkable about it to discover. This is how a child would draw an SUV.
The funny thing is that Honda starts the press conference by saying that the 4.38 meter long e:Ny1 is not an electrified HR-V, but that seems to be a case of ‘offense is the best defense’. Because apart from very large visual similarities, the protruding battery box under the car suggests that we are indeed dealing with a converted HR-V here.
positive driving characteristics
That in itself is not poor at all. In fact, the extremely low-hanging battery pack ensures a low center of gravity and therefore positive driving characteristics. A disadvantage is that this is at the expense of the ground clearance of this SUV, but who goes off-road with an electric Honda SUV these days? This is primarily a car for the urban jungle, which with its low consumption, positive head and legroom in the back and high seating position is especially suitable as a family car.
The driving characteristics are excellent and form a positive mix between comfortable and sporty. The best part is that you never have the feeling that you are on the road with a heavy car. Because the Honda is heavy with its weight of 1730 kilos. The top speed is sufficient at 160 km/h and the nice linear acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 7.6 seconds is impressive. The same applies to the brakes and steering, which can be dosed well and feel pleasant. Most compliments, nonetheless, get the rectangular central display, which shows the most important controls and can be operated very intuitively.
The only criticism concerns the materials used. In particular, the top of the dashboard is made of a single hard plastic cover plate. The edge at the front of our test car was already provided with some scratches, a sign that it is not top material. Furthermore, the interior makes a solid, modern and business-chic impression. The luggage space does not have a capacity of 361/1176 liters, but you are fine on the back seat. That is also allowed, because the competition is growing rapidly in this segment.
No subsidy for the Honda e:NY1
Not only the Chinese are eager, a car like the new Hyundai Kona also rivals this Honda. Not only with its 80 kilometer longer range, but also with its charging speed. This is a maximum of 11 kW via AC and up to 78 kW with a fast charger. The Kona – which is expected to cost about 45 grand – does that a lot faster with 100 kW. The relatively affordable MG4 Electric (from 31,000 euros) is even far above that in practice.
Unfortunately for Honda, the competition is fierce, especially because the Europeans are also able to deliver positive and well-driving cars for less money. Consider, for example, the Peugeot e-2008, the Opel Mokka-e and the Jeep Avenger, all of which cost around 40,000 euros. Although they have a smaller engine and battery, because they remain within the subsidy limit of 45,000 euros, the net price difference with the Honda increases to 10,000 euros.
From € 48,750 euros
The Honda e:NY1 is for sale from € 48,750 euros and that is quite ambitious, despite its rich standard equipment that includes things like dual zone air conditioning, wireless charging for your phone, keyless entry and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. Nevertheless, with this relatively high price, Honda again ends up in dangerous waters. Not only because Chinese sharks are circling around the car, but mainly because Honda is once again threatening to maneuver itself between two stools.
It is to be hoped that the e:NY1 does not meet the same fate as the electric Honda-e. Only 167 copies of this cute car with its retro design were sold in the Netherlands. The model flopped in Europe mainly due to its too high price and too small range, so there will be no successor. According to Honda, only electric cars are now being built in Europe that meet market demand. Let’s just hope they listened well enough.
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