E Prototype is 95% production-ready – and looks great

Only a few things are certain in life: death, taxes and production versions of cars being a quantum leap less interesting than the concept we got all excited about.

Honda, however, appears to have dodged this bullet with its long-awaited electric city car, the E.

Back in 2017, the Urban EV concept was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor show and stole our hearts with its retro-futuristic styling. Now, an (almost) production-ready version has broken cover and we’re pleased to report that butter still wouldn’t melt.

There have been one or two noticeable changes to the exterior. The overall package is definitely a little… blobbier in shape; the wheels have shrunk to a realistic size; and the large text screens that stretched across the front and back of the concept have also gone missing. That’s fair enough – they were kinda cool… but also kinda pointless… unless the temptation to project rude messages at the bus driver who cut you up had become overwhelming.

Overall, it’s a job very well done. On the outside, the E prototype has retained all the charm and quirkiness of the concept – they even promise the camera wing mirrors will make it to production – and there’s more good news when you look inside.

Open the no longer rear-hinged doors (shame…) and you’ll be greeted with an interior almost identical to that of the concept. Almost everything that wowed us is still there: the clean, minimalist design language, that sense of airy-ness in something so compact, the giant touchscreen spanning the width of the dash (not unlike the one on the significantly pricier Mercedes EQ). And, as promised, the interior is still made entirely out of renewable, ethical stuff. No wood or leather here, no yucky plastic either.

The only question that now remains: will it be as good to drive and live with as it is to look at? To date, Honda has only let the media drive the E in a carpark – but even there the signs were certainly promising. A quoted 150 horsepower and rear-wheel drive platform hint at its potential to be a bit of a driver’s car. And a ridiculously tight turning circle with a 125- mile range means it has good ‘city car’ credentials.

All will be revealed soon – for now let’s just take a moment to be grateful that one of the cutest designs in recent years has made it virtually unscathed from concept to production.