Close
Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Honda e:Ny1 Review

The Honda e:Ny1 is the brand’s all-electric follow-up to the Honda e – so does the SUV build on the best bits of the city car?

  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
  • Honda e:Ny1
Green Car Guide Rating: 6/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   Honda e: Ny1 Advance
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 256 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:   78 kW

Summary

  • Practical size
  • Comfortable
  • Very little grip from the front tyres
  • Over-intrusive driver assistance systems

Background

The Honda e city car was launched in the UK in 2020. It’s small and rear-wheel drive, which means it’s lot of fun. It also has a screen stretching all the way across the dashboard, displaying lots of different controls, so minimising the need to go searching for things in menus and sub-menus, which is actually user-friendly. Only now has Honda followed up with its next all-electric model – the e:Ny1. As soon as we saw the name, which isn’t particularly memorable, and which throws up lots of challenges when trying to use it online as image file names etc, we had concerns. So does the Honda e:Ny1 build on the genius of the Honda e city car, or does it reflect the worries thrown up by its unusual name?

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1

Design & Engineering

The Honda e:Ny1 is a B-segment SUV. This means that it’s a reasonably compact size on the outside, but it should offer a relatively spacious interior. However, although there’s decent rear legroom, the boot isn’t particularly large, at 344 litres (or 1,136 litres with the rear seats down). The ‘fastback’ rear window doesn’t help with maximising the luggage space, but there is space under the boot floor for two charging cables. There’s a flimsy parcel shelf, and a strange mechanism for removing the screen under the sunroof.

The e:Ny1 has a 68.8 kWh battery and a 204 PS electric motor, and it’s front-wheel drive.

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1 Driving Experience

The Honda e:Ny1 exhibits the normal EV driving characteristics of immediate torque, a quiet driving experience, and good levels of refinement. Ride quality on smooth roads is comfortable (but not so good on poor quality road surfaces) and you can adjust the level of the e:Ny1’s regenerative braking using steering wheel-mounted paddles. There are also three drive modes, Eco, Normal and Sport, which can be selected using a physical drive mode switch button.

The rest of the story isn’t quite as good. Firstly, there’s the driving position. There’s hardly any reach adjustment on the steering wheel, meaning that it doesn’t come out far enough, which can result in an uncomfortable driving position for many people. You’re also likely to have the trim on the centre console dig into your left leg.

Then there’s the grip from the front tyres – or more accurately, the lack of grip. Because EVs have instantly-available torque, increasing numbers of manufacturers have been switching from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive to avoid unwanted consequences such as lots of wheelspin. Even the Honda e city car was rear-wheel drive. However Honda has opted for a front-wheel drive platform for the e:Ny1, and the result when accelerating is an immediate split-second delay in response, followed by virtually no grip from the front tyres and lots of wheelspin – even up to relatively high speeds, especially on wet roads. Combined with the soft, bouncy suspension and the high-riding body, this doesn’t inspire any confidence in tackling roads with corners at anything more than very low speeds. The e:Ny1 is the opposite to a sharp-handling sporty SUV.

During our week with the e:Ny1 we had to drive a considerable distance on a loose gravel path up a mountain, an experience which suggested that a). the traction control system is just not properly sorted, and b). this car shouldn’t really be classified as an ‘SUV’. There’s actually a button to switch off the traction control, even though it doesn’t seem to be working in the first place.

And then there’s the driver assistance systems. Long motorway drives will involve almost constant wrestling with the steering wheel which the car tries to wrench out of your hands if you drive anywhere near a white line. As if this isn’t enough, the physical intervention is not only accompanied by audible beeping but also a flashing light on the instrument display. It’s not possible to change any driver assistance settings while driving. Apart from killing any possible enjoyment of driving the car on the motorway, these distractions are more likely to make you crash the car. It’s interesting that despite all these supposed safety systems, the e:Ny1 has an insurance group of 43 E, which seems very high to us.

Other issues? The handbrake goes on automatically, seemingly randomly, and you have to release it manually. And the gear selector is a strange arrangement, essentially of buttons, which you press for Drive, Park and Neutral, but you need to pull the button back towards you for Reverse, which isn’t intuitive.

There’s a large/tall 15.1-inch central touchscreen, with the top half featuring satnav/Apple CarPlay, with climate controls at the bottom, and other information in the middle. The Honda e city car has a screen all the way across the dashboard, with big clear graphics for different controls, and it works really well. The issue with the arrangement in the e:Ny1 is that there are lots of buttons that are a similar size; instead the buttons would be better with some sort of hierarchy, ideally prioritising key shortcut buttons. Even the process of trying to find and change radio stations quickly is unnecessarily difficult. The only way to find BBC stations appears to be to go ‘ensemble list’, then ‘BBC National DAB’, then choose the station that you want.

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1 Electric Range and Charging

The Honda e:Ny1 has an official combined WLTP electric driving range of 256 miles. This is average for this class of car, but unfortunately after a week of mixed driving the real-world range average was 150 miles, which, even taking into account that the car was on test in the cold month of February, is well down on the official figure. This is probably due to the fact that the e:Ny1 doesn’t have a heat pump, so cabin heating kills the driving range.

Another issue with the e:Ny1 is that its maximum rapid charging rate is just 78 kW – you would expect a minimum of 100 kW for this category of car at this price point. And this means that a 10% to 80% DC charge takes around 45 minutes rather than the more standard 30 minutes for many rivals. The e:Ny1 has an 11kW AC on-board charger.

The charging port is located behind a very wide panel in the front grille, and it’s actually quite tricky to get a grip of this panel to push it up and back, especially in the wet. There’s a light in this compartment when you start charging, but there seems to be no light at the end of charging, which means that in the dark it’s hard to see the secret black button which releases the charging cable.

How to charge an electric car

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1

Price And Model Range

Honda e:Ny1 Elegance prices are from £44,995, and e:Ny1 Advance prices are from £47,195. Colours such as the Aqua Topaz Metallic of our test car cost an extra £650, taking the total price of our e:Ny1 Advance test car to £47,845.

Honda e:Ny1

Honda e:Ny1

Conclusion

Green Car Guide exists to promote cars that have the least environmental impact and are good to drive, and that means that the vast majority of electric cars enjoy positive reviews. So it’s very unusual for us to have to spend most of a review highlighting issues with an EV – as we’ve had to do with the Honda e:Ny1, but as we’re committed to producing independent reviews, we have to be honest about our opinions. And it’s all the more surprising because the Honda e is a great car, so Honda has effectively gone backwards with the e:Ny1.

Our list of things that we’d like to see improved include more grip from the front tyres, less intrusive (/annoying) ‘safety’ systems, a better driving position, improved usability for some car controls, and the fitment of a heat pump to deliver better real-world range in winter. Compared to other manufacturers, Honda has often appeared to be inconsistent with its products, from both a design and engineering point of view; there are flashes of genius with the cars such as the NSX and the Honda e, then there are also cars that seem to be very different from such vehicles – the e:Ny1 falls into this latter category. Honda seems to have done many things its own way, and unfortunately this approach hasn’t been as effective as doing things more conventionally. The Honda e:Ny1 is best suited to pottering around locally, but from between £45,000 to £48,000, this is a lot of money for such a car. The e:Ny1 is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 6 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Honda e:Ny1 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 150 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 18.2 kWh/100Km
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2024/25): 2%
  • Price:   From £44,995
  • Insurance group:   43 E
  • Power:   204 PS
  • Torque:   310 Nm
  • Max speed:   99 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   7.7 seconds
  • Weight:   1,752 kg
  • Towing capacity: N/A
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor