With the Australian public becoming more and more concerned with the environment and their duty to protect it, we have seen the rise of the eco-friendly hybrid car. Honda has answered this market demand with their Insight – powered by a 1.3L i-VTEC automatic petrol engine. The VTi-L is the top of the range Honda Insight and boasts a reversing camera, leather throughout and automatic headlights.
Many people steer clear of Hybrid’s because they feel they are less responsive and less powerful. The Honda Insight is a rather zippy little car, even when in the ECON mode. When you switch that button off (and remember you’re still in a Hybrid car), there is a noticeable difference in power yet again and a sportier feel. The Insight produces 72kW @ 5800 rpm of power and 167Nm @ 1000-1700 rpm of torque. It consumes a combined 4.3L/100km and emits a measly 103g/km of carbon.
On first impressions, the Honda Insight appears somewhat futuristic and the saying “Business in the front, party in the back” comes to mind. With a rather conservative, streamlined bonnet, the Insight is very attractive from the front. It’s when you venture around to the back that you’re confronted with an angular, aggressive look. I’m still undecided as to whether I like it or not. One aspect of the exterior design that became apparent once inside was the thick brake light running across the back window. The intention was to create a split rear window however in reality; it simply distorts and obstructs the driver’s vision in the rear view mirror.
The Insight ticks all the boxes of fog lights, alloy wheels, keyless entry, automatic headlights and automatic rain sensing wipers. While Honda has limited the Insight to 5 different colours (2 of which are a shade of red), the Insight manages to adopt different personas depending on the colour – something that must be attributed to the overall design. When in white, it looks clean cut and futuristic, when in black, it looks sophisticated and when wearing the bright ‘Milano Red’ the Insight adopts a sporty appearance.
Once inside, it’s all very standard and boasts everything you would expect in a car of this spec. Where in Insight is different is in its abundance of technology. While the Insight is already a hybrid, there is a little button inside that once activated, brings the Insight into Super ECON mode. Let’s start with the drivers information screen. On the left hand side is a dial that shows you when driving in economy mode and you’re charging the battery and when you are being assisted. The driver can also recall the past 3 driving histories to view their fuel economy! The multi-function display also houses instant and average fuel economy and distance to empty as well as all the usual suspects.
The digital speed display also plays a role in the economic driving. When the car is being driven economically, it will be illuminated green, however when the led foot comes out, it will be illuminated blue. In order to help you develop more fuel efficient driving techniques you can also earn “green leaves” as displayed on the information display in the centre of the tachometer. Auto Stop also allows fuel to be saved when the car would ordinarily be idle.
The multimedia system also has the added benefits of Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, satellite navigation with SUNA traffic system and a DVD player, steering wheel mounted audio controls, USB connectivity and Speed-sensitive Volume Compensation.
With a 5 star ANCAP rating, safety is at a premium. Featuring a reverse camera, EBD, ABS, TCS and VSA along with progressive crumple zones and Honda’s G-Con technology. A large boot capacity of 408L allows all your bits and pieces to be brought with you on a weekend away and is thanks to the elongated rear design. When it comes to warranty, the Honda Insight is covered under a 3 year/100,000km warranty and the IMA battery is covered under a 8 year/unlimited km warranty.
The Honda Insight VTi-L comes in at $36,649 (drive away, postcode 2000) the Honda is certainly one to look at if you’re in the market for a hybrid. With all the extra eco-friendly features, standard luxury and peace of mind with safety, the Honda Insight is a real winner.