It would be unfair to expect too much of the e:Ny1. Not only is it Honda’s first attempt to build a car like this, but the bar has been set pretty low by the market as a whole. A compact SUV EV is never going to be the most exciting car to drive, and this car follows that trend inexplicably. It’s fine, don’t get me wrong, the e:Ny1 is not a terrible car to drive. It’s just, fine.
In terms of performance, the e:Ny1 has everything you need. The electric motor delivers 204PS (150kW) and 310Nm (229 lb-ft) of torque. Acceleration has been limited, according to Honda, to make it feel more like a normal family car, rather than the rocket ships that are becoming a little bit too commonplace in a market that simply doesn’t require 0-62mph times under five seconds. A 7.7-second sprint here is hardly going to set the world alight, but it’s enough to stop the e:Ny1 from feeling boring or slow.
The driving experience is split into three drive modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Don’t be fooled by the latter, there’s nothing remotely sporty about the e:Ny1. It does feel composed. Cornering is surprisingly direct thanks to a slightly stiffer ride than you might expect in an SUV such as this, the steering is also surprisingly sharp. Sport mode feels a little unrefined in its power delivery, you get a huge spike of torque which seems almost guaranteed to lose traction as you pull away from a junction, to the extent that you'd rather switch to the Normal or Eco options whenever you approach a standstill.
I mentioned the ride, it speaks to all of the problems currently posed to engineers by these big, heavy electric crossovers. The feeling from the driver’s seat is relatively smooth, it’s certainly not uncomfortable, but there is a disconcerting disconnect between what you feel and what you hear. On rougher roads, it often sounds like you ought to be getting rattled out of your seat, and yet you don't feel it. With no engine noise to drown out the suspension, which itself is having to work under the strain of a far heavier vehicle, the cabin noise is far more obvious than we're used to in petrol or diesel cars.
In terms of range, 256 miles is quoted, and that just about adds up from the driving I did, which was a mix of relaxed dual-carriageway cruising and decidedly more upbeat country blasts.