By Mike Goetz
The iconic Honda Insight makes a return, but this time with a new mission. The original Insight was all about pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency. The 2010 Insight, however, is about affordability and getting more people into dedicated hybrids.
When it goes on sale in April, it will be priced below the gasoline-powered Civic. The automaker wants to sell 200,000 units a year, with 90,000 allocated to the U.S. and 10,000 to Canada.
The five-passenger Insight is not much smaller than a Civic, but is narrower. Styling echoes the Clarity, Honda’s fuel-cell vehicle that is already undergoing limited testing in the U.S.
The battery pack and controller are compact and have been set low in the body behind the rear seats, to facilitate sporty handling, and to allow 60/40 split and fold-down rear seating, like a normal five-door hatch.
All Insights get a 1.3-litre SOHC aluminum-alloy i-VTEC engine and CVT, along with a new-gen version of Honda’s IMA hybrid system. The gas engine also features cylinder de-activation. The new driver interface is designed to coach drivers to get the most efficiency from their Insights.
A driver activated ECON mode sets the table for optimized efficiency, while several driver feedback functions tell you how you’re doing as you drive, during your trip and over the lifetime of the vehicle.