It finally arrived.
The new Honda Insight made its Japanese sales debut last week.
Honda’s hugely anticipated Eco warrior is now available to sit in, stroke, tyre kick, suspension push or even buy at showrooms across the country.
The little hybrid was widely reported on for months so we all know that it features a 1.3 litre Vtec engine matched to a nickel metal hybride battery in similar style a current Prius.
This results in a very impressive 30km/l which will certainly be less than the upcoming Prius 2 but then that car will be considerably more expensive than the lead in 1,890,000 JPY for the Insight.
A way that Honda has been able to keep the cost of the car down is by utilising basic parts from other existing models.
The insight receives an unremarkable CVT automatic transmission already employed on other lines
Except an exceptionally aerodynamic body and some paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel for when you’re feeling a bit frisky, the Insight doesn’t seem to differ tremendously from Honda’s previous hybrid Civic sedan which already featured their IMA battery.
What does warrant mention though are some of the useful and sometimes hilarious eco assist technologies that come as standard.
With the touch of a button you are able to engage ECON mode that rather cleverly adjusts engine output, extends the duration of idle stop, increases regenerative charging during deceleration and achieves energy saving control of the air conditioning.
The guidance function assesses driving style for fuel efficiency and changes the colour of the speedometer display accordingly. Presumably green when you’re driving like Jesus would and red for when you drive like a dickhead. Worst of all is that all your passengers including the dreaded pots and pans will be able to comment on your hybridness.
The best bit is the scoring function.
An information display shows a score in which the number of leaves displayed indicates the level of your cumulative fuel efficiency.
Apparently if you’re a complete twat you can access your personal score on the Internet to compare against other insighters.
it’s easy to imagine the scene.
After feeling pretty smug about the small forest that you’ve been nurturing on your instrument panel, you’ll be seeing red and preparing hate mail when you discover that you’ve been knocked down the order by user 941 from Kawasaki City whose got a fucking herd of deer running through his as well as some previously extinct flora and fauna making a comeback.
I thought that i might have bought one of these cars.
It’s cheap motoring and i really do care about the environment, honestly!!!!!
The concept looked stunning and i thought that it was something that it isn’t, a genuinely stylish alternative to a Prius.
I thought it was bigger.
I wanted to buy one to antagonise the weird hybrid despising militants in my home country. Plans were already afoot to post pictures of me licking my Insight exhaust with my family around me clapping with huge smiles on our faces to various anti hybrid motoring forums.
I had visions of meeting up with other insighters drinking cabbage juice and telling tall tales of driving from Tokyo to Osaka for the same price as a box of surgical masks.
However Honda won’t be receiving my custom yet, largley because i haven’t got any money to give them but also because i found myself disappointed at the car.
With all of Honda’s public scrimping they seem to have come out with a car that is no more upmarket than a current Fit model.
It seems that the increased price is to cover the hybrid tech only.
The design is neither particularly attractive or indeed ugly like most people.
No doubt though that it will sell well. It is a very sensible buy and is perfect representation of Honda’s current mindset which is to produce cars that are cheap, fuel efficient, unpolarising and will turn a profit.
Good luck Honda. You won’t need it.