We got to check out Sony and Honda’s prototype car, the AFEELA. Turns out, it’s REAL and coming in 2026!

When I took the appointment to check out the AFEELA, I had no idea what to expect. I’m an electric vehicle devotee – I own a Tesla Model 3, am actively researching products like the Rivian, and even own some now-worthless stock in Fisker. I knew that Sony had been working with Honda on a car for some time now, but could this thing be closer than we thought? Well, I got a walkaround of the prototype, and yes – not only is it real, it’s very cool, and it’ll be here before you know it. Let’s get a closer look at the AFEELA.

First things first – what’s an AFEELA? AFEELA is a joint-venture between Honda and Sony, and has been in some level of production since somewhere around 2017, being fully revealed at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. This four door sedan, at that time, was called the Sony Vision S, but has now been re-revealed as the AFEELA. AFEELA, I’m told, mean to communicate that “FEEL” is at the heart of their autonomous car, as well as Autonomy, Augmentation, and Affinity. They want you to understand that it’s a blend of technology, but also the latest and best technology available on the market. From what I saw, they might be right.

The prototype is obviously subject to change, but as it stands, this thing is filled to bursting with tech. The first one you’ll notice is the panoramic screen that stretches from door to door, covering every square inch. Directly in front of the driver is the panel that is almost as wide as the steering yoke itself (yes, a yoke – it’s not a wheel, but the more futuristic version that would be as comfortable on a plane as it is here). On that screen you’ll see the car, your speed, whether the doors or windows are open, charge, range, and so much more.

I’d normally say “next to” but that’s not quite accurate, so let’s just say adjacent. The adjacent screen to the right spans from the center of the console all the way to the right edge of the car. Yes – the ENTIRE width. On it you’ll find…well, everything. You can watch the latest trailers from YouTube, you can check out a movie, your music is controlled here, the incredible map is here (back to that in a moment), your PlayStation 5 can be enjoyed on this screen, and so much more. Frankly, this is the definition of flexibility as the screens really don’t have a limit to what they can do. When your driver is set to drive, the passenger can slide the entertainment panel over to their side, sliding the map over towards the driver for them to control. No matter what sort of media you’d want to consume, you’ll do it here.

Sony owns a massive catalog of movies, films, and shows, so naturally all of this is available to the AFEELA. We watched a snippet of the excellent Gran Turismo movie trailer, fired up the soundtrack via the music player, and then grabbed a controller to use Remote Play to fire up Gran Turismo 7 to play the game with a PlayStation 5 DualSense. Sure, you can use the touchscreen to play the game, but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

While playing media isn’t a new feature, appearing in minivans for decades, Sony kicked it up a notch here. The screens and the car itself can be set to a theme. This changes screen backgrounds, but also turns on interior accent lights. We saw this in action as the Spider-Man lighting bathed the interior a light red to set the scene.

The map in the AFEELA is a map for getting from here to there, but our brief demo had a quick difference that you’d miss if you weren’t paying attention. With a button press, you can change to a tilt-shift style 3D version of the navigation. Why would you want that? Well, if you’ve ever navigated downtown in a major city like Los Angeles or New York, having a visual representation of the massive buildings around you can be incredibly helpful for finding your way in the confusing corridors.

AFEELA | Concept Movie 2024

I did say that the panoramic screen stretches from edge to edge, and that extends to two small screens on each side. When you are trying to change lanes you’ll get a visual indication of whether or not it’s clear, but you’ll also get a full side pillar camera view of your blind spot. This is crucial for spotting motorcycles or smaller profile vehicles that might be tucked in that dangerous blind spot. What makes this different? These cameras completely replace your wing mirrors, making the AFEELA’s side profile entirely smooth. Our host advised that these are still working their way through the safety approval process, but they anticipate that’ll happen shortly.

If there’s one shortcoming on my Tesla Model 3, it’s a lack of physical controls over the most common things like my thermals, vents, and wipers. Well, Sony and Honda paid attention, and there’s a small panel directly underneath the central panel with all of these commonly used buttons, including buttons to heat the seats, turn on your hazards, and climate controls for both sides, ensuring they are always available, regardless of what media you are consuming, or when you are driving.

Jumping back to the driving yoke, we found a few other details. On the left column stalk lies the wipers and lights, and on the right stalk is the shifter. The buttons on the left side control your audio controls, as well as a push-to-talk button. This button engages Sony’s integration of Azure OpenAI service, though we didn’t get much detail on what would be available with this integration.

The last goodie for controlling the car’s massive ecosystem lies in the center console – a large control dial. This jog wheel adjusts a great deal of the media systems, as well as handling sound and other items, allowing the driver full control of the car without needing to touch the touchscreen.

Speaking of volume, this car has plenty of it courtesy of the fully integrated Sony 360 Reality Audio system. The concept car’s amount of speakers is still a question mark, but everywhere you look lies yet another speaker, and the audio absolutely enveloped everyone in the car, so undoubtedly the media experience is going to sound phenomenal. No surprise from a company that has built their empire on audio.

I was so eager to talk about the interior that I forgot to mention how we got in the car. The AFEELA is blanketed in cameras, and utilizing the pillar camera (or a phone app as a backup) will recognize your face, automatically opening the door for you. While this wasn’t working at the time of the demo, we did see that there simply are no visible buttons on the car – they’re tucked into the pillars, making for a completely smooth profile.

Popping into the back of the car, we see two additional screens for your passengers. These screens will allow your kids or friends to enjoy their own media as they see fit, though no word on how audio will work, or if they can bring their own.

There is one final screen that I’m certain will see a lot of “interesting” use – the media bar in the front grill. You can display the aforementioned themes like Spider-Man, or you can put you own messages on it, such as Happy Birthday…or other messages. I’ll let your imagination run wild on how you might make use of a small screen in front of the car.

For all this audio and media to work, you need the last goodie the AFEELA  has to offer – silence. Closing the door sealed us in, eliminating all outside sound. To ensure you can still safely hear things that are important, some sensors translate the outside world into the inside to ensure you’ve got awareness when you need it, and silence when you don’t.

The last A in AFEELA is about automation – specifically Level 3 automation. That is to say, full self driving to ensure you can safely allow the AFEELA to take you to where you are headed with minimal input from you. This level of automation is something that many manufacturers are working on, with some folks coming very close already. Sony is insistent they’ll hit that lofty goal, though they were also eager to add that there are several tech-focused shows and more than a few auto shows between now and when the car would be fully revealed at some point in 2025. At that point we’ll find out about range, battery life, the Trunk / Frunk, and ultimately the price, but for now we came away impressed with all the tech that is baked into the AFEELA’s DNA. More than a car that can play PS5 games, this car seems to be aiming to take the concept of eclectic vehicles to the next level. I for one can’t wait to see what they have in store for us when they fully reveal the car in 2025, for a 2026 release date.

Stay tuned right here for more information on the AFEELA, and all of your gaming needs right here at Big thanks to Sony for showcasing their amazing prototype!

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief | [email protected]

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.

Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.

Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 28 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes), and an Axolotl named Dagon!

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