Honda’s Urban EV Concept Borrows From The Past, Looks To The Future

The focus at the Frankfurt Motor Show may be more on European automakers, but Honda has attracted its fair share of attention as well with the handsome little Urban EV Concept you see here.

The electric hatchback adopts a decidedly retro design and proportions, but not without its modern flourishes – especially when it comes to the powertrain.

Despite its old-school appearance, the Urban EV Concept is a pure EV. No details were disclosed as to how much power it packs, but it does incorporate a new Power Manager Concept system designed to “store energy more efficiently, releasing electricity generated by renewable sources back into the home or selling it back to the grid.”

Into the form that’s four inches shorter from bow to stern than the Jazz/Fit, Honda has fit a four-seat cabin accessed by a pair of rear hinged “suicide” coach doors.

The interior is split between two bench seats upholstered in grey cloth and accented by wood trim, with a wrap-around panoramic infotainment screen. Occupants can even spell out messages to other drivers in a display in the vehicle’s snout, where you’d expect to find the grille on a fossil fuel-powered vehicle.

The most interesting part of the Urban EV Concept is that it’s set to reach production – albeit likely with some modifications – within the next couple of years. “This is not some vision of the distant future,” said Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo in presenting the concept; “a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.”

Photo Gallery

  • Marshall Boyce

    This car is amazing. Freaking WANT!

  • Really nice concept, Honda.

  • Leo76

    VW Golf Mark 1

  • Six_Tymes

    the past of what, GEN 1 Golf? aka Rabbit. I like it, but it looks more like a VW Gen 1 rabbit futurized, rather than a honda

  • StrangerGP

    lol at that melted steering wheel

  • Hockeyman

    Adorable! 😀

  • europeon

    Really cute. They should build it.

  • TheHake

    Yes please!!! Now yank out all that electric shit, put in a CBR1000RR engine and BOB’S YOUR UNCLE!

    • Tumbi Mtika

      Oh HELL YEAH!!!

  • Finkployd

    design language is easier on the eye than the current Fat or Jizz

  • salamOOn

    holly sh*t i want this car!

    i dont even mind those displays inside…..

  • Bash

    Thats a VW, not a honda!

  • jfalckt

    Honda, one little request: BUILD IT BUILD IT BUILD IT!
    This is exactly the electric car we need, and all cityscapes would look better with these buzzing about them.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      I wish they would too.
      Then VW and Pug and MINI would make their versions for sure.
      The MINI so far looks super stylish if this Honda is minimalist.

  • exeptor

    Keep the shape of the car, don’t touch the front and back lights, put smaller rims and clear the look from all the flashy/light elements. Put some small turbo engine and as less as possible useless tech inside. Set a good price tag. Sell millions.

  • ediotsavant

    I live the retro looking early 70s Civic design.

  • stelvio

    I want one!

  • GTR nismo

    I love Honda😂

  • Tinky-Winky

    So cool! And on its way to production as well!

  • Honda NSX-R

    That, is cool.

  • SgtBeavis

    What they hell just happened to Honda? All of a sudden they want to be cool again.

    That is a very sweet concept. I hope they bring it to market.

  • Subi-Rubicon1

    What a great looking concept. I hope Honda has learned from its past by giving it good power train options and sales it in the States. Looking forward to this cool little ride 😀

  • TheBelltower

    Okay. I’m in love with this car.

  • Marty

    Looks like a design school project for a revived 1970’s Fiat.

  • Kenneth

    This is the most attractive and sensible design I’ve seen from Honda in… a very long time.

  • Knotmyrealname

    It’s Golf Mk1 mixed with, OK, a 205, and I also see a bit of Datsun 1600,,…

    • Tumbi Mtika

      And Honda Civic.

  • fabri99

    How can Honda make things that look this cute and at the same time design something as tragic as…well, their lineup?

  • alberto

    Ah, Giugiaro design ? It looks like the first kind of VW GOLF many years ago.

    • jfalckt

      …and a Honda Civic

  • Tumbi Mtika

    New CRX potential?

  • supermanuel

    That is soooooo Japanese 🙂

  • Dennis Scipio

    Nice modern take on a old Honda.

  • Six Thousand Times


  • Enter Ranting

    More designs like this! I’m exhausted with all the “exciting” gratuitous scoops, strakes, swoops and fake grilles on virtually every new car.

  • roy

    This and yet you come up with hideous designs

  • Christian Wimmer

    Build it! It’s cute and reminds any car enthusiast of the first and second generation Civics!

  • Craig

    My very first car was a 1982 Honda Civic 1500GL. I loved that car! I’m having a tough time seeing any of it in this concept though. The slope of the hatchback and the angle of the windshield maybe. I would have pushed the retro-envelope much further if I was Honda. That said… I would buy a brand new version of my first car in a heart beat. And I don’t think I’m alone thinking that.

  • Cameron

    Why it look like a VW tho

  • IFDU

    Honda should go ahead and put this and the Gear concept (possible Fit coupe?) into production. These are a few of my favorite concepts from Honda by far.

  • Big Black Duck

    This is one super cool ride… want it


    This is the long-awaited Apple Car, isn’t it? Cuter than I expected and I like her a little sorrowful face a lot!

  • MarketAndChurch

    If they build it, it will single-handily force the return of retro design, which would be nice to balance out the obsession with geometrically-angular window-less monochromatic futuristic designs that frankly are not very beautiful.

  • Thierry

    Coolest car on the show! Build it, don’t change anything.

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    Also borrows from smart for the video bumpers…nice try Honda.

  • Rey Mosuela

    Looks great like a modern Honda N600.

  • Chad Gordon

    With him standing next to it that thing looks huge! It is City car sized is it not? Great looking design!

  • FoxJ30

    Sell an electric version where there’s the right infrastructure (Western Europe, North America, China and Japan)
    Sell a 3-4 cylinder 80-100hp version for the rest of the world
    Drop the turbo Civic engine in there for an Si model sold round the world.

    Make money.

  • SteersUright

    LOVE THIS. What a cool possible modern rendition of a CRX! Would love it if they produced this!!

  • krusshall

    Just don’t get the love for this design exercise. Consumers have shown over and over again that they are so fickle to retro. And this reminds me more of an AMC Gremlin, 80’s VW GTI, SEAT 133 than first gen Civic.

  • KidRed

    Honda borrows from the past….of VW’s mk1 Golf.

  • hAZE

    Looks like VW Golf I

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