BusinessCar Office Blog: 26 January 2009 - More Insight needed
26 January 2009
I'm astounded that Honda didn't manage to get its new Insight below 100g/km. The entry-level trim gets agonisingly close at 101, rather than the upper specifications with larger wheels that come in at 105g/km.
At last week's launch event, the company seemed surprised to be asked why the car didn't get down to double figures, especially with rumours abound that the admittedly more expensive new Toyota Prius coming this summer will offer a new record low for a car with more than two seats. The two-seat Smart Fortwo diesel offers 88g/km, but at the moment you then rise to 98g/km for the Seat Ibiza Ecomotive and Ford Fiesta Econetic.
Given the Japanese reputation for innovation and invention, it's amazing that they didn't see 100g/km as a significant goal. Yes, it's currently only £15 a year difference in road tax, but I think sub-100 will quickly become a mental boundary for low-emission vehicles, and CO2-based taxation is only going to head in one direction, especially with reports that Richmond council in London is planning CO2-based street parking charging to accompany the residents' parking permits it's already working on.
Even if it took a bit of jiggery-pokery, there must have been a way to eke out just a couple of grammes per kilometre. Something as simple as fitting aerodynamic disc wheel trims would have made a difference. Yes, Honda points to the Civic having been fitted with them and almost all customers hating them and rapidly changing them, but be sneaky - offer a nice set of alloys as a no-cost option and everyone's happy.
It was just surprising that Honda didn't feel like it's missed a trick. 100g/km could soon become the new 120g/km for taxation purposes, and it's going to be a while before the company gets another chance to make a first impression.