Honda Insight Inside, the Honda Insight is spacious with a mix of light greys and dark blue on the fascia and soft, cloth upholstery adding to the quality feel.
Inside, the Honda Insight is spacious with a mix of light greys and dark blue on the fascia and soft, cloth upholstery adding to the quality feel. The rear occupants have plenty of legroom and well cushioned seats, while those in the front have more sporty seats with side bolsters.
The fascia in the Honda Insight test car was really quite busy what with the large piano-black surround to the satellite navigation screen, which is also used for the audio system. Alongside are the climate controls with a chrome-effect trimmed dial echoing the shape of one of the air vents above. This is in its own narrow, diagonal panel and in between is a small display and fan-setting buttons.
The shallow instrument binnacle is similar to that in the Honda Civic, with a digital speedometer set into the dashboard above the nacelle. This is one of the areas where Honda has made going green fun, with various different displays and clever, but subtle use of colour. Looking at the information sheet that comes with the car, it all seems a little daunting but it only takes a short while to make a game of it.
The digital speedo is in fact an ambient meter, which has nothing to do temperature and everything to do with careful driving. Behind the digits in the display, the background changes colour depending on how well the driver is doing; heavy-footed driving results in a deep blue backlight and as the driver gets smoother it changes to turquoise and then green. That doesn't mean that you have to be slow, just smooth and thoughtful and it is easy to be in the green even at motorway speeds.
In the centre of the Hond Insight's tachometer is a square panel that is the Eco guide. This is a multi-information display (MID) with different pages. One of which is the Eco guide bar that grows a row of flowers - the better the fuel consumption, the more leaves grow and at the end of the journey the system gives the driver an Eco score in the same manner.
If there has been an improvement since the last trip, the driver is rewarded with a picture of a trophy and a wreath, but if it was worse than before, a withering flower is displayed. There are some who might think that it is a distraction but it doesn't detract from the job in hand - driving - and is simply a fun way of making drivers think about their driving habits.
There are various forms of combustion engine/electric motor hybrid. The three main ones are a Series, where a combustion engine is used to generate electricity to power the motor that drives the wheels. A Parallel Hybrid uses a petrol engine to power the car but backs it up with an electric motor, which adds boost and, under certain circumstances, is the only source of drive. The third variation is a Series Parallel or Combined hybrid with two electric motors and an engine which can work in tandem or independently of each other.
This latter is used in the Toyota Prius while Honda has opted for the lighter Parallel hybrid and called it IMA. Integrated Motor Assist is simply an electric motor mounted next to the petrol engine and gives it a boost every now and again.
Honda Insight Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Honda Insight IMA ES-T|
|Colour||Alabaster Silver Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||12.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||113 mph|
|Transmission||CVT Automatic Gearbox|
|Fuel Type||Hybrid ( Unleaded Petrol / Electric)|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||62.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 90000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 05/08/09)||£18,390|