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Long-term review

Honda e Advance - long-term review

£28,660 / £28,660 as tested / £299pcm
Published: 03 Dec 2020

The BIG Honda e question: will it drift?

We all got very excited, well I did anyway, back in 2014 when Renault introduced the radical new rear-engined, rear-wheel drive Twingo.

“It’ll drive like a 911 that’s been on a hot wash,” I thought. “It’ll be a Fisher Price skid machine,” I remember telling someone before I drove it. Then I did, and sadly (and entirely appropriately) it wasn’t. The skinny latte three-cylinder engines, the most powerful of which produced 89bhp weren’t bad, just not enough to get this tiny French city car even remotely out of shape. Even on low-friction surfaces, like a moist supermarket car park, the traction control would cut in before you got to deploy any of its generous steering lock. Don’t ask me how I know this.

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And so, drawing from the well of experience, I tempered my excitement on first learning the new Honda e would be rear-wheel drive. Even if the ‘Advance’ model does have 152bhp and 232lb ft of torque available instantly (exactly 2.32 times more than the torquiest Twingo) it wouldn’t toast its little rear tyres, would it?

Well, it turns out if you switch the ESC off from within the ‘safety config’ menu, it actually means off. If you then hand the Honda to The Stig in a large aircraft hanger with a highly polished and very squealy floor and stand well back, then the Honda e can, in fact, do sideways with aplomb.

No rear diff of course, so it’s the inside rear that starts to smoke first, but with so much steering angle, keeping it in a wide arcing drift with lots of opposite lock is entirely possible. You can see Stig having a ‘play’ in our Awards 2020 video on YouTube, now.

So, what have we learned from this? Other than if you squint The Stig and the Honda are indecipherable, and that if you spend half an hour sliding an electric supermini around a hanger it will throw up every error code and warning light at you, simultaneously, in protest (and then miraculously fix itself the moment you drive at more than 30mph in a straight line)?

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Well, that the Honda e is a car that continues to surprise me. It’s not perfect, but it keeps throwing up more and more reasons to love it nonetheless.

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