From Car and Driver

  • Honda has released the first photo of the Urban EV prototype‘s interior.
  • The new electric car will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next month and likely won’t come to the United States.
  • The interior sticks close to that of the 2017 concept car.

Honda has released another teaser of its new Urban EV prototype that will be debuting next month at the Geneva auto show, and the image gives us an extremely good look at the dashboard and center console of the car. It also reveals a side view of the car itself, our best glimpse yet of what it will actually look like (the previously released front-end teaser was just a design rendering). While Honda is calling the car a prototype at this stage, both the interior and exterior design look extremely close to what will actually hit production later this year.

In the photo, which we have enhanced and lightened up, we can see that the prototype’s interior sticks surprisingly close to the concept‘s interior (shown below). The dashboard is one massive panel of screens placed atop a long piece of flat wood trim, similar to what is found on new Mercedes models such as the S-class. There are two gigantic screens in the center and right-hand side of the panel and a slightly smaller display in place of a gauge cluster. We also can see two small screens on the far sides of the dash, which will be for the Urban EV’s mirror-replacing exterior cameras.

The two-spoke steering wheel is unique to the Urban EV, and it has a number of basic controls for the audio system and the cruise control. The overall look of the interior is reminiscent of retro-futurism: It’s filled with modern technology, but it’s as if a designer from the 1970s came up with the idea of what an electric Honda in 2019 would look like, using cars like the original Civic CVCC as inspiration. It’s wonderfully simple and a lot more fun than the interiors of pretty much every other EV currently on the market.

Refreshingly, we also can see a whole lot of buttons in addition to the five screens. On the flat horizontal wood trim at the base of the screens, there are buttons for basic functions such as the home menu and audio on/off, as well as our favorite physical control: a volume knob! Below the wood trim and under the air vents, there are two knobs for the HVAC system that are supplemented by a handful of buttons. Finally, we can see a row of three power outlets below the HVAC controls. What we can’t see is any sort of control for the infotainment system. The screens look fairly far away from a driver’s reach-especially the far-right one-so we assume there will be some sort of rotary controller ahead of the armrest on the center console, which is an area obscured by shadow in this teaser.

The infotainment system looks like an evolution of the tile-based system featured in current Honda models. Visible on the middle screen are app icons for things such as navigation, phone, and a “personal assistant.” In the photo, the middle screen is set on the EV menu, which shows options for a charging schedule and climate-control pre-conditioning. The right-hand screen has icons for different audio connection icons as well as a large rendering of the outside of the car and its current charge level.

That charging display also gives us a glimpse at the exterior of the car, which is revealed to be a four-door hatch, as we expected. There are no visible door handles-spy photos of the production car have shown hidden units-and the EV’s surfacing is simple, clean, and close in style to the original concept, despite the extra set of doors. The charging port is a prominent flap on the hood, meaning there probably won’t be any kind of frunk or frontal cargo area.

We can’t wait to see more of the Urban EV, which is shaping up to be one of the cutest and most interesting electric cars to be launched this year. Honda says it will go on sale in Europe later in 2019; a full production version of the car will likely make its debut a few months after the Geneva show in March. There are, sadly, no current plans to sell the Urban EV in the United States, but perhaps a strong reception from Americans to this prototype could change Honda’s mind.

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