An electric city car to avoid?

Euro NCAP awards only 4 stars for safety to Honda’s first production electric car. Without being truly catastrophic, the scores received are not brilliant.

Adult protection

Regarding the protection of adults, the Honda e won only 76%. Only 2 other electric or hybrid cars tested by the European body since 2017 do worse: the new Chinese SUV Aiways U5 (73%) and the Citroën e-Mehari (74%) which is no longer sold.

The electric city car is criticized here for potentially injurious structures, in the event of a collision, at the level of the dashboard, for the femurs and knees of the 2 front passengers. In addition, in some cases the protection of the driver’s chest and right leg has been found to be marginal or poor. In the event of a side impact, the projection of the occupants’ bodies can also pose a problem.

Child protection

With 82% awarded for child protection, the Honda still does better than the Toyota Yaris, the Tesla Model X and the Jaguar I-Pace which all received an 81% rating. Overall, Euro NCAP has noticed good behavior at this level for the Japanese electric city car. It was during the side barrier test that protections were identified as insufficient for the chest and head.

Vulnerable road users

On the other hand, the score of 62% attributed to the protection of vulnerable road users is particularly low. Below, among the electrified models, since 2017 we only find the Aiways U5 (45%), the Citroën e-Mehari (48%) and the Volkswagen e-up! and its Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo versions (46%). Note that the latter is no longer in the catalog of its manufacturer.

Overall the Honda did well in this category. But its rating was seriously degraded for one main reason: poor protection of the pelvis of pedestrians affected by the front edge of the hood.

Safety assistance

The 65% for safety aids is also very low compared to the results obtained by other electric or hybrid cars tested by Euro NCAP. Its emergency braking, speed limit detection and lane keeping systems performed well most of the time. However, the Honda did not react when asked to turn when its path would intersect that of an oncoming vehicle.

Author’s opinion

It is always very difficult to talk about a vehicle that achieves average marks in safety tests. On the one hand, minimizing poor performance can place some liability on serious injury or death resulting from an accident. On the other hand, the risk is to rate too negatively a vehicle that is ultimately not so bad.

The tests got tougher a few months ago. Two or three years ago, the Honda e would probably have obtained its 5 stars. Overall, it’s not a dangerous car. But it is true that only the Aiways U5 as well as the Volkswagen e-up! and its versions Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo do less well than it having been subjected in 2019 to tests of the same levels of difficulty.

It is curious to note that the electric city car is the car which will have received at Honda the lowest marks attributed by Euro NCAP since 2009! Has the security component been botched in favor of technological innovations? Did the manufacturer want to stay as close as possible to the basic concept whose lines had been almost unanimously praised? At least let’s hope that from the start it wasn’t a matter of internally torpedoing this charming electric city car.

Either way, if you are really interested in this car, it may not be too quickly to put it aside following the review released by Euro NCAP. At least take the time to watch the video of the crash tests and find out what the organization has to say about it.


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