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Honda’s electric hatch will have a classier interior than most houses

By Tony O’Kane, 14 Feb 2019 Car News

Honda’s electric hatch will have a classier interior than most houses

Wood panelling, flush-mounted screens, Japanese design… Honda’s first production electric car is an interior design masterclass

Set to roll out under the lights at the Geneva Palexpo on March 5, Honda’s production version of its show-stopping Urban EV Concept already boasts a hefty dose of retro-cool styling on the outside, and a sneak-peek of its dashboard shows it’s got plenty of visual wow factor in the inside too.

Continuing the retro themes set by the exterior designers, Honda’s first full-production EV also pays a faithful homage to the first-generation Honda Civic through its clean and minimalist dashboard. Like that pivotal Civic, the electric Honda flaunts a cabin-spanning ‘shelf’ that’s interrupted only by the steering column.

The new design harks back to the 1970s Honda Civic's timber dash veneer.

That shelf is also trimmed in a tasteful wood finish (though we’re not sure if it’s real or faux), another throwback to the 1970s Civic’s timber dash veneer that brought some warmth to its otherwise no-nonsense Japanese furnishings.  It achieves the same effect here, balancing the oh-so-Japanese minimalism of the dashboard’s form with a natural finish.

However, the triple-screen array that forms the wall of that shelf is anything but retro. The instrument panel is a single electronic display ahead of the driver, while two panoramic screens are butted together to form an ultra-wide infotainment interface that, in this sole teaser image, shows a range of information and options related to its electric powertrain.

There are other clues about the car too. For one, the charging status screen shows the vehicle’s silhouette quite clearly, displaying cutlines that confirm a five-door bodystyle and rear door dimensions that indicate the back seats aren’t really intended for regular usage. At least not by adults. Also, did you wonder what that black lump on the bonnet seen in the last teaser image (above) was for? Turns out it’s a lid for the car’s charging port.

Another thing: this won’t be some bare-bones city hatch either. Buttons found throughout this image confirm that Honda’s EV will be available with radar cruise control, a heated steering wheel, climate control, heated front seats, a personal assistant feature in its infotainment, a top-down camera view function and voice-operated commands.

What we can't quite see is how Honda will display the video feed from the car's side-view cameras. The concept featured a pair of door-mounted screens, however our zoom-and-enhanced section of the teaser (above) suggest those monitors have migrated onto the dashboard, beneath the A-pillars.

It's a bit of concept car cool-factor for the electric Honda, but it's surprisingly not a ground-breaking one: the new Lexus ES has already beaten it to market with its own set of door-mirror-replacing side cameras.

The Honda EV will receive its full reveal at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5, where we will likely learn crucial details about its range, charging time and, most importantly, how much it will sell for in Europe. It’s also set to go on sale in Japan later this year, however whether it ever reaches Australia remains to be seen.