Will we find hidden depths to a crossover that didn’t make much of a first impression?

Why we’re running it: To find out if the brand’s first electric SUV can impress in a crowded class

Month 1 - Specs

Life with a Honda e:Ny1: Month 1

Welcoming the Honda to the fleet - 6 March 2023

The big issue, then: have we decided how to say 'Honda e:Ny1' yet? I mean, it's not a name that trips off the tongue.

Are we supposed to just spell out each letter, making it E-N-Y-1? That's a bit of a mouthful. Is it 'En-Y-1'?

Or perhaps Enny-one? Anyone? Okay, I'm overthinking this, but I've had cause to: the Honda SUV-shaped space outside my house after waving goodbye to a ZR-V has been filled by an e:Ny1, and I've been struggling to explain what it is to people.

The e:Ny1 isn't a common sight in the UK, so I've had a few people ask me what 1t 1s - and the model name offers precious few clues, usually prompting a shrug of vague incomprehension in response.

So what is the eNyl? Well, at its simplest, it's an electric equivalent of the HR-V hybrid crossover, except that Honda's marketing people don't want to call it an HR-V EV, because they want to market their electric cars as separate offerings that are part of a distinct e-branded line-up.

Then again, Honda clearly is marketing them as siblings: it has made much of offering the two on finance deals with matching monthly payments, so all you need to do is pick whether a hybrid or an electric powertrain suits you best. Maybe I'm not the only one overthinking this...

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Several design details separate the HR-V and e:Ny1, most notably the removal of the front grille. Instead, the eNyl has a blocky front panel with a fold-up flap to house the charging port. It looks a bit ungainly to me, but not offensively so.

More subtle is the switch to a white H badge on the nose and the switch to lowercase lettering on the bootlid, both of which are design features that Honda is reserving for EVs.

Anyway, let's move past the name and deal with the car in front of me. The eNyl is offered in two trim levels: Elegance, which costs £44,995, and Advance, which is £47,195. For reference, if you're buying outright, the HR-V starts at £30,695.

Still, all versions of the eNyl are well equipped, with entry-level models featuring a 15in touchscreen infotainment system, heated seats and a wireless charger. My car is an Advance, meaning it also has a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and a powered tailgate.

The only option we have plumped for is the Platinum White Pearl paint. Yes, that's right: white paint is an optional extra. The e:Ny1 comes in six colours, but it will cost you £650 if you want it in any colour that's not black.

You can spend extra elsewhere, but only on colour and trim options, such as various alloy wheel designs and paint options (for £890, you can have the car's front panel in black). This means one thing you won't find on the options list is a heat pump. Hmm.

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The e:Ny1 offers just one powertrain, with a single electric motor that sends 201bhp to the front wheels and a 68.8kWh battery that gives a maximum WLTP range of 256 miles.

Of course, official ranges aren't calculated in the sort of real-world driving that you will do down the motorway on a freezing-cold winter morning which could well make the lack of standard or even optional heat pump feel like a truly glaring error. But that's for the future when I've got some more miles in. 

For now, I'm still settling into the e:Ny1 - and the cabin seems like a nice place to spend time. You won't fail to spot the big difference from the HR-V when you sit inside: it's that massive 15in screen slapped in Tesla-aping portrait style onto the dashboard.

Compared with the demure screen of my ZR-V (and indeed the smaller HR-V), it's a dramatic change. The contrast is interesting, and it feels a conscious effort to make the EV feel more appealing and relevant to those pesky youngsters who are always glued to their smartphones.

But it also feels odd for Honda to have gone quite so bold, given how modest the exterior design changes are. Still, my early impression is that the touchscreen works surprisingly well. It's cleverly divided into three sections, so the top covers the satnav or Apple CarPlay, the middle seras and drivin optines, aid

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the bottom is permanently locked to the heating and ventilation controls. I will see how pleasing it proves over extended use.

It might have some work to do because, in terms of its power and range, the e:Ny1 on paper is somewhat disappointing when compared with many of its rivals, and the other crucial specifications (a 0-62mph time of 7.7sec and a maximum fast-charging rate of 78kW) also look a bit behind the times.

Our road testers weren't convinced by the eNyl when they assessed it last year, so much focus of this long-term test will be on what hidden depths and charm I might discover.

The ZR-V I ran before exceeded my expectations in terms of how pleasingly easy it was to live with. The hope is that the same will turn out to be true with the e:Ny1 - even if I do never quite work out what to call it.

Second Opinion

Honda knows how to build a charming car. Just look at the E, which melts hearts everywhere it goes. When we road-tested the e:Ny1, the tech spec didn’t fill me with hope, but these days a bit of honest charm goes a long way. Alas, despite having rather an appealing, pebblelike body, it has so far been found wanting in this respect. Will that change with time?

Richard Lane

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Honda e:NY1 specification

Specs: Price New £47,195 Price as tested £47,895 Options Platinum White Pearl paint £650

Test Data: Engine Single front-mounted electric motor Battery size 61.9/68.8kWh (usable/total) Power 201bhp Torque 229lb ft Kerb weight 1730kg Top speed 99mph 0-62mph 7.6sec Claimed range 256 miles Claimed economy 3.4mpkWh CO2 0g/km Faults None Expenses None

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport, autosport.com, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Add a comment…
LP in Brighton 6 April 2024

Oh dear. First a stupid name followed by a stupid price, lukewarm press reviews and now, surprise a £5k price realignment. Where Honda once was at the forefront of innovation and quality, it now seems commited to me-too EVs without any design direction and a hit and miss approach to its products. And I am an enthusiast of the brand, or at least used to be! 

Does the company not have a Product Planning department?    

MassDamper 27 March 2024

"Just look at the E, which melts hearts everywhere it goes."

And just take a look at the Honda E owners forums - it apparently kills its 12V battery and fancy door handles too. And required an update to stop itself getting fried by some Tesla superchargers. Let's hope the e:Ny1 has undergone some better real-world testing.

xxxx 27 March 2024

You just cannot take a car seriously when it has such a stupid name, to think some sort of group took weeks and got paid thousands to come up with E:NY1