The 2012 Honda Insight is the first redesign of the model since its original launch in 2009, and Honda seems to be aiming for a more ‘everyman’ car, with a price tag to match. With prices starting at just under £19,000, this is certainly one of the most affordable hybrid engine vehicles of its size currently on the market, but questions remain over whether it still has enough selling points for it to entice the growing green market. Fitting in perfectly with electric car insurance from The Green Insurance Company, does the new Insight still have enough going for it in this modern age?
The original Insight was famous for its almost futuristic and aerodynamic body, however, Honda seems to have taken a backward step in this regard, having actually managed to produce a less aesthetically pleasing redesign. The new model actually looks a little more like a Honda Civic from the front, while at the back they have done away with the part covered rear wheels. The vehicle is still aerodynamic, with streamlined headlights, a sloped front windscreen and curved bumper. It’s still a decent looking car, but it’s a shame Honda have not produced something more exciting.
Internally, the 2012 Honda Insight is again all rather reminiscent of the Civic. The front seats are quite low and far back in the cabin, although this does produce a comfortable ride. The steering wheel is quite small and the automatic style gear selector is close to hand. There is no central pillar for the audio controls etc; all of the controls have been somewhat crammed into the dashboard itself, and actually reach over onto the passenger side of the vehicle. In the back, the Insight can fit three adults, although headroom is at a premium given that the roof slopes down towards the rear of the vehicle. Overall, the interior is acceptable, but not particularly interesting.
Performance and MPG
Considering this is a petrol/electric hybrid, the miles per gallon you can expect to receive are not particularly impressive. Producing only around 43mpg on the motorway, this pales into insignificance compared to the Toyota Prius for example, which produces 56mpg. On the plus side, the vehicle’s CO2 rating has dipped below 100g/km which is better than the previous model, and this improvement means that it is now exempt from road tax. The Insight combines a 1.3 litre petrol engine with a 14bhp electric motor in a setup known as Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). On the road, the vehicle seems a little too loud and revvy for comfort.
What Honda has essentially achieved with the new model Insight is to bring hybrid electric vehicles into the price range of most people looking to buy a car of this size. The redesign from the original model is not ground breaking or particularly forward thinking, however the 2012 model still has enough of its predecessor’s best features at its disposal. Good ergonomics and a comfortable drive are the strong points of this vehicle, although the engine and gearbox do seem to need some refinement.