The relatively slow steering and the particular suspension tuning that tends to be applied to compact, high-sided, rear-engined cars can sometimes make them seem curiously unwieldy at low speeds. Not so the E.
This is a car that, within a hundred yards, is beginning to tell you that it’s relatively softly sprung at the rear axle and that it also puts less rubber on the road at the front wheels than it does at the rear – both of which make it gently understeer at an adhesive limit that isn’t too hard to find on a brisk country-road drive.
But around town, where the car is primarily intended to be used, it steers in an agile and accurate fashion and keeps close control of body roll, although, as we’ll come to explain, it doesn’t punish you with a firm or bothersome low-speed ride. The E is a pleasure to thread around roundabouts and junctions, then, offering great visibility, being obligingly narrow and having every bit as much grip and dynamic composure as it needs to deploy all of the nippiness of that electric powertrain.
That pleasing urban-setting composure isn’t always replicated at B-road speeds. Here, the softness of the suspension makes the body a little prone to agitation on uneven surfaces. It fusses laterally with ‘head toss’ over near-the-verge bumps, and it pitches and heaves a little through bigger compressions, and although you might not notice all that happening if you were sitting closer to the car’s centre of gravity, you certainly do from the slightly elevated perch in which you sit in the car. In that respect, and albeit at a much smaller scale, the E’s driving position feels a little like driving a two-storey townhouse from the front bedroom.
As we’ve hinted, the car is stable enough at speed, although it has a slightly meek outright limit of grip, understeering gently but persistently once you reach it and being managed subtly but effectively by an electronic stability control system that can be dialled back but not fully switched off. It rolls quite smartly during quicker cornering – not to big angles, thankfully, but big enough to take the bite away from those front tyres in non-negotiable fashion.
Comfort and isolation
Honda claims the E was benchmarked against larger, D-segment cars for ride comfort and isolation, and it shows. It feels like a more softly sprung flavour of EV, one that offers handsome amounts of compliance through dips and compressions.