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Home / Features / I toured the Sony Honda AFEELA concept car, and it’s the least “car-y” vehicle I’ve seen

I toured the Sony Honda AFEELA concept car, and it’s the least “car-y” vehicle I’ve seen

In the AFEELA concept car, Sony and Honda have put entertainment first. Before the car features. And before safety. It's hardly even a car

Sony Honda Afeela Car

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll likely be familiar with the Sony Honda AFEELA concept car. It debuted at CES a few years ago, and it’s been back every year since. CES may have no bigger export than concept cars, with futuristic motors hitting the Vegas show floors like pennies in the slot machines. The vehicle is a join effort by Sony and Honda (hence the name), and is supposed to be a tech-focused electric car. I recently got a chance to tour the vehicle and check it out for myself.

Tour is the right word, since there was no driving involved. In fact, there was very little car involved, just the tech inside. That’s a common theme with the AFEELA, as you’ll soon see. It is, in fact, the least car-y vehicle I’ve ever seen – a sentence which I never thought I’d say. Here’s what it was like to tour the AFEELA.

AFFEL-it coming: what to expect from the car

The car actually features a digital display on the bumper (called the Media Bar) to provide information to pedestrians and other vehicles. Sony will even pack in a bunch of themes, so you can customise your AFEELA’s appearance. But let’s be honest – as long as the display can hurl expletives at bad drivers, we’ll be happy. Besides effing and jeffing, the tech could display passenger pick up information on taxis.

Sony plans to pack a full entertainment suite into the AFEElA, integrating Sony movies, music, games, and even PlayStation. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine will be baked in with a gaming-centric partnership. There’s plenty of content to pick from. And, so far, there are themes based on popular media titles such as Spider-Man and Crunchyroll. Plus, the whole car will be powered by Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon Digital Chassis. These days, it even uses Azure to power Microsoft’s Copilot AI for a conversational driver assistant while you’re in the cabin.

There are tablet-sized screens in the back, a yoke-style steering wheel, mood lighting, blasting speakers, doors that open when you approach, and a giant screen that stretches across the length of the dashboard. The speakers are impressive, that’s for sure. Oh, and the driver’s display is another screen. How about self-driving? The AFEELA packs an astounding 45 cameras and sensors, both inside and outside of the vehicle, to monitor 360 degrees. Sony Honda reckons it’ll achieve Level 3 autonomous driving, similar to Tesla’s Autopilot.

As for the more practical information, details are scarce. We do know the AWD spec offers two 180kW motors for 483 horsepower, a 91kWh lithium-ion battery, and supports 150kW fast charging. Sony reckons the price will compete with other premium EVs, but we reckon that might be an announcement we sit down for. During the demo, the brand didn’t want to compare the AFEELA to any other vehicles on the market, even when asked. That included any comparisons to Honda’s latest concepts, which are “completely separate from the Sony Honda joint brand”. Instead, Sony Honda want the vehicle to “speak for itself”.

Sony Honda still reckons it will begin taking pre-orders for the next-gen electric car in 2025. It reckons wheels will start rocking up on driveways in spring 2026 – in the US at least – according to the current timeline. If there’s one thing we know about new EVs, it’s that they’re subject to delays. Sony has stuck to this timeline so far, but there doesn’t seem to be much car involved. In fact, where even is the car?

But where’s the car part?

As I said in my opening, the AFEELA is the least car-y vehicle I’ve ever seen. Touring around the vehicle, Sony Honda only wanted to highlight the tech inside, not the actual car. Ever been on a test drive? I’m guessing the answer is probably yes. Driving the car is usually a pretty important part, not just playing on the screens inside.

There are very few specs known about the car, beyond the battery information above. While the Sony Honda rep doing the demo didn’t outright say it, it was heavily implied that it couldn’t actually drive. In fact, the weather on the system was still set to Las Vegas (rather than California where the car actually was), which the rep said was from the CES tech show. It seems like there’s only one of these prototypes kicking about. And I think that’s because they’ve not yet worked out the car bit yet.

Entertainment screen on the AFEELA

When asked about safety features, the rep was quick to explain that there would be some, so the driver doesn’t get distracted. If a passenger wanted to watch a film on the display while driving, there would be a feature that means the driver can’t see what’s going on. When asked how this feature works, the rep said, “we haven’t worked that out yet”. Key software features for safety haven’t been worked out yet, never mind getting this thing to move.

So long, farewell, AFEELA-sehen good night

The AFEELA is definitely an impressive bit of kit, but it’s missing the all important car bit. Sony Honda kept saying how they want drivers to feel at home in the car. It’s supposed to be somewhere you want to be.

But if they’ve not worked out how to make this thing drive, nobody’s ever going to sit in it. For the time being, the AFEELA is still very much a concept. That 2026 timeline? Very optimistic, at best. If Sony Honda manages to pull this off, I can’t see it being done for a while.

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Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home