Honda’s made a brilliantly retro electric car

By topgear ,

Honda Urban EV Concept 1

Isn’t it the cutest? It’s Honda’s electric car concept, and a production version will be with us in 2019. While other carmakers go for a cloyingly futuristic look for their EVs, Honda has gone unexpectedly retro. With great effect, to our eyes.

Called the Urban EV Concept, it’s shorter than a Honda Jazz and has an infinitely better stance. It’s a refreshingly simple design, with tiny overhangs and lots of glass, harking back to the good old days when cars had actual visibility, and no need for a thousand parking cameras. Though this will probably have those, too.

Honda Urban EV Concept 2

The doors are rear-hinged, like a Rolls-Royce, though we’d chalk that up on the (hopefully short) list of things the production car won’t have. What it will have is the Honda badge backlit in blue – the spotter’s first sign of a Honda EV from now on – and perhaps some of the status updates you can post in the area that would normally be a grille.

Details of the electric powertrain beneath are conspicuous by their absence. Our hunch is that it’ll be a fairly simple front-wheel drive setup with around 100bhp. You wouldn’t need much more in a car this size, and you’d imagine Honda wants to eke out as much range as possible now that the Nissan Leaf claims over 322 kilometres.

Honda Urban EV Concept 3

There are four seats and Honda claims a ‘lounge feeling’ inside. We think that means an airy space and nice materials, not tea-stained mugs lying about the place begging to be washed up. Screens aplenty, too, with a ginormous one stretching right across the dashboard and one on each door, with cameras in lieu of wing mirrors. Well, it is a concept car.

The Urban EV is based on an all-new platform that should underpin other electric Hondas. The company known for its screaming VTEC engines appears to be fully embracing the plug-in car. But if they all look like this, that’s no bad thing, surely?