Honda e:Ny1 electric SUV first drive

Honda e:Ny1 electric SUV

As the EV market expands, Honda has rolled out its challenger in the family SUV sector, the e:Ny1.

A couple of years ago, Honda briefly introduced its city car sized e model but that had severe limitations in terms of size, range and appeal so the much larger e:Ny1 will take the Japanese firm’s fight to the chargers.

It’s a wise move as SUV models account for more than half of UK registrations and that shows no sign of slowing, even if the BEVs within that are finding it hard going.

All manufacturers now have to sell 22% of their range with electric power or face enormous financial penalties so the rush is on to come up with affordable models which customers want to buy and this is fraught with difficulties.

With the higher prices it’s likely buyers will want to hang onto their BEVs for longer than before so, wisely, Honda has introduced their newcomer with a five-years warranty or 90,000 miles warranty.

Already called the Honda Anyone by cynics, the e:Ny1 is sold in Elegance or Advance trims from about £45,000 and £47,200 respectively, and for the higher specified model we tested it comes with glass sunroof, parking pilot,

powered tailgate, multi-view camera, upgraded audio and heating wheel. Our test car in the new topaz colour was an additional £650.

With the newcomer, customers get e:progress, an over-the-air charging management programme which works with existing home chargers to always use lower costs, clean and green-energy at off-peak times and there is a special deal for a customer fitting a home charger for the first time.

That’s important because home charging attracts just a 5% VAT rate compared to almost four times that percentage when boosted from a public charge point, which is also a reason that BEV take-up has been so slow.

Honda engineering is considered very good and they have been making hybrids for many years and used that experience in the powertrain of their latest model. It features a water-cooled battery for optimum consistent power delivery so its life should be extended.

We tested an early model before the winter and were impressed with its refinement and sophistication as well as its easy-going character. Honda claim the e:Ny1 has a 250 miles range but after a week with the model we found this to be wide of the mark and the real-world range is closer to 180 miles.

It was quick to recharge, taking 45mins to be boosted from 10-80% and select a full boost which took it to 200 miles, but still some way off the WLTP figure quoted.

Sitting on a new platform there is a lot of room for four/ five people with the battery pack safely stored under the floor and a compact motor under the bonnet and driving the front wheels.

There is a simple pull-push lever to select direction and you are silently away, at least until you run over some rougher surface and the road noise intrudes along with occasional suspension noises.

It steers and stops smoothly and roadholding is very good even over some bad bits of road. It also soaked up bumps without too much trouble.

You can select different power modes to economise or maximise depending on requirements and that’s simple too. Pickup was reasonable, particularly around town and it could be parked very easily into a compact space with good sensors and cameras as well as the parking assistance system.

There is a big 15.1-inch infotainment screen in the console centre and it does many things, some may say too many, which is potentially distracting, but all well displayed.

The regular driver focussed instruments were simple and very clear, with secondary controls close to hand.

Seats adjusted well infront and were extremely comfortable and supporting, while those behind had flatter surfaces but were still cossetting.

Access for users was through wide opening and large doors and the luggage space, although modest initially, could almost triple when the back seats were stowed.

Visibility was quite good with low waistline, big windows, excellent wipers/ wash but the headlights were not particularly far-sighted or wide-spread beams. You really need the sensors when reversing as well as the back is out of sight with a narrow rear window.

So, the new Honda e:Ny1 has some shortcomings, but so do rivals and as a newcomer for the brand and the market it really does provide a roomy, comfortable, sophisticated and well engineered choice.


Model: Honda e:Ny1 Advance

Price: £47,845

Mechanical: 204ps motor, 69.8kWh battery, front wheel drive

Max Speed: 100mph

0-62mph: 7.6 secs

Range: 180 miles

Insurance Group: 40

CO2 emissions: Zero

Bik rating: 2%, £ZEROFY, £ZEROSR

Warranty:  5yrs/ 90,000 miles

Size: L4.39m, W1.79m, H1.59m

Bootspace: 344 to 1136 litres

Kerbweight: 1752 kg

For: Refined performance, very comfortable, fairly roomy, well made and equipped

Against: Modest range, constant road and some suspension noises, weak lights. By Robin Roberts Miles Better News Agency

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