Honda Insight A Hybrid With Character
Honda Insight was first introduced in the UK in1999, most of us remember it by its quirky design and excellent economy. The new Insight is a four door hatchback as opposed to the original two door coupe. Though the new design is more spacious and practical but it’s not as economical as its predecessor and the carbon emissions are also higher. The fuel efficiency is less than the likes of Toyota Prius and even the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion.
The Honda Insight has a very similar outline of Toyota Prius but smaller in size. It comes with blue tinted headlights and smart grille at the front end. The rear is a bit oddly designed to get the most aerodynamics. The cabin gives a very modern feel. The speedometer glows in green colour when driven economically and in dark blue when not. Entry level version is equipped with 15 inch alloys, climate control, power windows and MP3 connectivity. The next level trim comes fitted with 16 inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, automatic wipers and lights and fog lights. The top of the range HX version has satellite navigation system with traffic updates and voice recognition system and Bluetooth compatibility.
All versions of Insight has a 87bhp1.3 litre engine with 121 Nm of torque and an electric motor. This motor recharges the battery when the brakes are applied or the car is slowing down. It does 0-62mph in 12.5secs and has a top speed of 113mph. The car has an Econ mode to achieve maximum economy by limiting the engine response. The suspension is very good. The automatic CVT gearbox comes as standard that gives a very good economy in the city but makes the engine loud when rapid acceleration is given on the motorways. Honda Insight has been awarded with a five star Euro NCAP rating. Many safety features including ABS, electric stability control and driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags. Honda cars have a very good reliability record, and Honda managed to score 6th position in the 2012 Driver Power reliability survey. The hybrid system is not new either, it has been already tested in the Civic.
Honda insight boasts a 408 litre boot space increasing to 1,017 litres on folding the back seats which is more than many rivals like Vauxhall Ampera and Volkswagen Golf, but little bit less than the Prius. Insight seats are accommodating and has plenty of legroom at front and rear. However the taller passengers at the back may not have enough head room due to coupe inspired roofline. The average fuel economy returned by the Insight 68.9mpg with 96g/km of carbon emissions therefore qualifies for the UK road tax exemption. Having said that, it is much less than its rivals, Toyota Prius at 74.2mpg and 86g/km of CO2 and even VW Golf BlueMotion returns 74.0mpg with 99g/km of CO2. Though everyone knows that the car industry is ruthless, still one feels a bit for Honda. It was pioneer in hybrid cars and even before in clean and efficient petrol engines but the rival Toyota has managed to steal the environmental limelight.