Honda e:Ny1 — The Green Lane

By Jeremy Taylor

5 months ago

Discussing Honda's second EV over dinner


The oddly-named Honda e:Ny1 is the marque’s second all-electric model. Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor and sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders discuss at their favourite Japanese restaurant in London.

The C&TH Cars Hub

Honda e:Ny1

The rear of the Honda e:Ny1 in a charging bay

JT – Konnichiwa!

JS – You couldn’t resist that, could you? Watashi mo nihongo masu.

OK, you win! What does that mean?

I can speak Japanese, too. Although that’s about the extent of my vocab. I assume we are dining at Koyn because of the Honda parked outside?

Well, any excuse to eat here. Koyn is a pretty cool and chic spot, with a modern twist. The restaurant occupies part of the old US Embassy on Grosvenor Street in Mayfair. It’s recently installed an izakaya-style bar, apparently inspired by the terraces of Mount Fuji.

You can’t miss the old red-brick Victorian building because there a crazy Mini parked outside, with a roof-rack of Japanese artefacts. Bit quirky, but at least it’s easy to find the entrance. I love the velvet seats in the bar, high oak ceilings and marble sushi counter.

The exterior of Koyn with a little red mini outside

It’s moodier in the downstairs eatery, while the cocktails are epic. If you’re going a la carte, try the warming rock shrimp tempura, or the king crab. And leave space for the warm chocolate fondant.

And our on-theme Honda – perhaps the first car in history to have a colon in the name?

I’m struggling to think of another! Honda’s first EV in 2020 was the teeny tiny e – only good for urban journeys because the electric range barely manages 100 miles in real-world driving conditions. The e:Ny1 – how annoying is that name to write? – is much better with a 68.8kWh battery offering around 200 miles.

Surely it should be? Our top spec Elegance model cost £45,000 which, for a compact SUV, puts it up against some very good larger rivals, like the Kia EV6 and popular Tesla Model Y. It’s not as premium as some others, either. Leather trim is plush, but there’s still too much hard plastic.

The colon car is comfortable enough and very user-friendly, but the problem with our Honda is that it’s not particularly exciting – and competition is fierce in the small family SUV sector. Ride is on the firm side and, unless you keep it in Economy driving mode, the battery takes a battering. In Sport, the front wheels are very prone to embarrassing wheelspin.

Not a good look in the supermarket car park! But The Honda does have an air of sophistication about it. I love the standard, multi-spoke alloy wheels, and there’s a stylish light bar across the rear bodywork. The rear door handles are hidden in the pillars.

Is there a ‘but’ coming?

The interior of the Honda e:Ny1 with the infotainment system and steering wheel

Only that the e:Ny1 doesn’t have any stand-out features. There’s plenty of digital tech in the cabin, although the door bins are tiny and boot space only average. The tailgate isn’t automatic, surprising in a car at this price.

I had several moments where Honda’s suite of safety technologies got me ranting. Much of it can be switched off, but that means diving into the infotainment system before you start every journey. Do I really need to be warned that my hand is off the steering wheel for a brief moment?

So, likeable, easy to drive, but could do with a smarter cabin for the money and a bit more general pizzazz?

Yes, and I wish it had the fun factor, too. There are too many cars that do it better for the same money.

DISCOVER

Discover more about the Honda e:Ny1 at honda.co.uk

Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.