This is the highly anticipated Honda e - an all-electric city car that looks more like a concept than something you'd normally see on the roads. That's because it sort of is - Honda built a concept car in 2017 called the Urban EV, with cutesy, retro-futuristic styling that hinted at what the firm's all-electric future technology could look like. People loved it so much, they decided to build it as a halo model for its electrified future.
It's one of those cars you really want to love, because it looks great and is genuinely interesting in an industry of rampant parts sharing. However, the fact that it has a range of just 220km could make it a tough sell. So, does it have enough substance to compete on more than just style?
Pretty much everything is new, built from the ground up to be an electric vehicle, rather than converting an existing model for EV life. Being the firm's first full EV, all of the important internals such as the motor and battery are new, as are all of the body panels. It also gets cameras in place of wing mirrors as standard.
Most of the more interesting newness is in the cabin, though. There's the dashboard-wide screens, the all-new user interface, an artificial intelligence system, and an ambience that feels more like a Scandinavian lounge than a Japanese city car.
Power comes from a single electric motor that feeds only the rear wheels, fed by a 35.5kWh battery. Power figures are measured at 152bhp and 315Nm of torque for the motor, resulting in an entirely respectable 0-100kph time of just over 8.0 seconds. The battery range is up to 220km, with recharging to 80 per cent from zero taking 30 minutes at a fast charger.
While performance is punchy and the motor is serenely smooth when you need it to be, that range figure will be a sticking point for many. While Honda argues that most people just don't drive enough to need more and will charge at home most nights anyway, there's no hiding from the fact rivals offer considerably more.
As with most electric cars, the Honda e feels supremely responsive to inputs, scooting briskly off the line and darting between traffic with a nimble enthusiasm you just can't find in a combustion-engined car. Its performance can overwhelm the rear wheels, too, so if you stamp on the accelerator in the wet you're often greeted by spinning tyres.
It does the cool, calm and collected thing too, though. Electric cars are ultra-relaxing to drive, making the Honda e the perfect antidote to a stressful inner-city commute, amplified by the minimalist interior.
Perhaps what impressed most though was how the car performed in the awful weather conditions on our route. Most city cars would have struggled here, but the Honda e carved a path unflustered, even maintaining composure on the motorway in high winds - its abilities here further highlighting its frustrating lack of range.
Anyone who saw the Urban EV concept and fell in love will be delighted to see that it has made it to production with fewer changes than most probably expected. Its diminutive proportions work fantastically with the genuinely unique styling, looking hilarious mingling with more mundane machinery in traffic.
For some, the fact it stands out so much might be a turn off, but there's no denying it turns heads, with locals stopping to get a closer look at every opportunity.
If the exterior turns heads the interior really is a show-stopper. The most prominent feature is the wrap-around screens that dominate the dashboard. There's an 8.8-inch screen ahead of the driver, with two 12.3-inch touchscreens in the centre and ahead of the passenger.
The user interface is excellent, which is all the more impressive given Honda's existing infotainment systems are generally poor. It's quick to respond to inputs and is easily configurable, with plenty of useful functions and an excellent sat nav. It even has HDMI inputs, so you can watch high quality video through it.
The material qualities are largely brilliant. The wood dashboard is a premium touch, and the steering wheel and few buttons present inside feel solidly put together, while the general ambience is that of a high-end Ikea lounge.
Another win is cabin space. The Honda e is light and airy, even for taller drivers - though you'll be constantly knocking the heated seats on with your knee.
All models get the wood trim, sweeping screens and cameras for wing mirrors as standard. The base model also gets 16-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, a panoramic glass roof and adaptive cruise control. It's also a little less powerful.
The Honda e is an utterly fantastic car. It looks brilliant, has a light and airy cabin with fantastic technology, and it's great to drive. Buyers who love the way it looks will no doubt also be delighted with how it drives. However, the range is a sticking point. If you fit the bill of one of Honda's ideal users, with a short commute and access to charging you'll be fine, but it's the 'what if' scenarios that often play on EV buyers' minds. Buying one could therefore be something of a leap of faith, but those that take it - and fit the use case - will not be disappointed.