The Honda e Prototype is the Adorable Rear-Drive Small Hatch We Want (But Can’t Have)

Automotive News 137 February 28, 2019 by

Honda’s joined the ranks of automakers showing off their Geneva wares before, well, Geneva. But instead of high-downforce supercars or hybrid sports sedans, it’s entered into the cute little hatch race. And with this, the Honda e Prototype, we’re tempted to call it the winner right here.

If it looks familiar, that’s intentional. Back in 2017, Honda promised its funky Urban EV concept wasn’t just a pie-in-the-sky press magnet, but a bonafide look at a future production car. The e Prototype is an evolution of that, and it certainly appears more production-ready, with a new, five-door shell and a more traditional interior. Honda says it previews the car Europeans will be able to buy before the end of the year. That’s right: it’s not coming across the Atlantic.

The two-tone body maintains the clean lines of the 2017 concept. The character line running from the hood’s shutline back and around the rear door may draw original Civic comparisons, but the design feels thoroughly modern instead of a retro retread.

Oh, and did we mention the power goes to the rear wheels? That’s certainly not part of the Civic playbook. It’s quite a surprise for the company’s first dedicated compact EV platform.

The gloss black hood bulge is actually the centrally-mounted charging point, keeping things simple. Honda isn’t revealing the details of the electric drivetrain quite yet, only saying that range will be around 124 miles, and an 80% charge will be possible in only 30 minutes.

The e Prototype hasn’t ditched the camera/screen combo for old-school side mirrors. The screens make up a full-width digital display that dominates the interior. A completely flat floor, two-spoke wheel, and those sofa-material seats give it an airy vibe. The wheels-at-all-four-corners stance doesn’t hurt either, making the most of the e’s 12.8-foot length.

Honda will show off the e Prototype at the Geneva Motor Show beginning March 5. We’ll be looking for the appropriate petition starting now, though…

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