Honda Insight hybrid revealed in DetroitThe new Insight will take on the Toyota Prius

16 January 2009

Honda has announced the production version of its new Insight hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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Honda's new Insight hybrid

Honda's new Insight hybrid

The Insight is Honda’s riposte to , and comes with the claim that it will make five-door, five-seat hybrid motoring more affordable. Until UK pricing is announced, we’ll just have to take Honda's word on that.

What we can tell you is that the Honda Insight officially returns 64.2mpg combined. That’s not quite a match for the 65.7mpg of the current, second-generation Prius – let alone the all-new third-generation model also announced at the Detroit show. In fact, BMW’s new and non-hybrid 116d returns the same figure, albeit using diesel fuel instead of petrol.

Eco Assist

However, the Insight beats both of these challengers when it comes to CO2. SE specification Insights emit a truly impressive 101g/km CO2, and the Insight is also said to have 'very low emissions of other greenhouse gases like N2O.'

The Honda Insight features Eco Assist

The Honda Insight features Eco Assist

Another trick Honda might have in its favour is the 'Ecological Drive Assist System' (Eco Assist). Eco Assist uses visual cues that provide instant feedback to the driver on the ecological (or not) nature of their driving. It includes a speedometer with a colour changing background and a fuel consumption scoring system.

There is also 'a driver activated Econ mode that optimises control of the continuously variable transmission, engine and related powertrain components to conserve fuel'.

Insight engine

Powering the Insight is a 1.3-litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor, using Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic, and the Insight can run on electric-only power when conditions allow. The compact battery and control systems are under the rear floor, meaning the rear seats are still able to fold and split.

Honda claims aerodynamics and its own FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car influenced the Insight’s visual appearance. But there’s no mistaking its similarity to the .

More details, including pricing and the UK on-sale date, will follow soon.


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