Retro chic: Quite possibly the coolest hatchback in town. Picture: SUPPLIED
Retro chic: Quite possibly the coolest hatchback in town. Picture: SUPPLIED

Honda has unveiled the production version of the all-electric Honda E compact city car, and it’s just as cute as the Urban EV concept car that launched multitudes of smiley faces on social media when it broke cover at the 2017 Frankfurt show.

THE PRODUCTION DERIVATIVE REPLACES SIDE MIRRORS WITH A CAMERA SYSTEM THAT PROVIDES LIVE IMAGES

That’s refreshing in an industry where cool concept cars often get toned down in production trim with more generic styling.

Compared to the three-door concept hatchback, the car has grown an extra pair of doors for more practicality, but the retro-cool styling remains, recalling iconic hatches from the 1980s like the original Civic and VW Golf.

Honda also revealed the technical details of the compact city car, announcing that the electric motor is available in two power outputs: 100kW and of 113kW, both with an impressive torque figure of 315Nm. The more powerful version is capable of a 0-100km/h sprint in about eight seconds.

The battery delivers a range of up to 220km from a single charge, and fast-charging capability allows a recharge to 80% capacity in just half an hour.

A high-tech digital display in an old-school wooden setting. Picture: SUPPLIED
A high-tech digital display in an old-school wooden setting. Picture: SUPPLIED

The pint-sized Honda is brimming with digital technology, including two 31cm touchscreens on the dashboard. There’s also a personal voice assistant that’s capable of natural conversation and learns to understand a person’s voice better over time. A digital key allows the car to be locked and unlocked using a smartphone.

Like the concept car, the production derivative replaces side mirrors with a camera system that provides live images to two screens inside the vehicle. The camera technology is a first in the compact segment and not only makes for cleaner styling but also reduces wind noise.

Handles that fit flush with the body but pop out when needed further add to the exterior’s seamless look.

Honda says the car will meet the needs of modern urban lifestyles through seamlessly integrated connected technologies and exceptional driving dynamics. The Honda E is part of the Japanese carmaker’s plan to make 100% of its European automobile sales electrified by 2025.

Honda plans to sell the car in European markets, though it’s too soon to tell whether it will come to SA.