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Our Fleet Test Drive: Honda Insight - 1st Report

Date: 05 April 2010   |   Author: Tony Rock

[3] A 'plant' shows up on the dash to indicate 'econ' is on
Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £19,233
Key rival: Toyota Prius

When Honda first announced at the back end of 2008 it was ready to launch the second-generation hybrid Insight, it boldly proclaimed the car would be the "most significant for the corporate market in the past 10 years".

That kind of billing simply cannot be ignored, so having already conducted two short-term test drives of the new Insight, BusinessCar thought it time to see what the car was like to live with for an extended period.

The Japanese brand's confidence no doubt stems partly from the fact that the five-door hybrid would be competitively priced and a genuine green alternative in the big-selling lower medium sector that features the likes of the Ford Focus and VW Golf.

It's also well-specified. We've taken delivery of the ES-T spec version, the top rung of three trim levels (the others being the entry-level SE and mid-range ES), and its decent spread of standard kit includes 16-inch alloys, voice-recognition satnav, heated front seats and cruise control. The only option that's been added is the £400 cerulean blue metallic paint.

The main talking point, however, is the eye-catching eco displays on the dash, part of Honda's Eco Assist System, that are intended to encourage fleet drivers to improve their economy. They include what the company calls a 'guidance function', which is the digital speedometer [1] providing a real-time response to aggressive braking or accelerating by changing colour from green to blue, and a 'scoring function', a set of plants that shed or grow leaves, and reflect, at the end of each journey how fuel-efficient your driving has been. There's also an 'econ' button [2] , which limits power and adjusts the throttle auto gearbox, cruise and aircon (a 'plant' shows up on the dash to indicate it's on [3]).

Throw in a petrol-electric 102hp hybrid engine featuring stop-start and emissions of 105g/km, continuously variable transmission (CVT) that, says Honda, helps improve mpg and CO2 over a standard automatic system, and the company reckons real-world consumption will be nearer the laboratory figures (61.4mpg in this case) than any other car.

We're in possession of the Insight's keys for six months, which should be plenty of time to assess if it can live up to Honda's expectations.

Honda Insight 1.3 IMA ES-T Hybrid CVT
Mileage3003
Claimed combined
consumption
61.4mpg
Our average consumption42.4mpg
P11D price£19,233
Model price range£16,225-£19,290
CO2 (tax) 105g/km (10%)
BIK 20/40% per month£32/£64
Service interval1yr/12,500mls
Insurancegroup 6e
Warranty3yrs/90,000mls
Boot space (min/max)408/584 litres
Engine size/power1339cc/102hp
Top speed/0-62mph113mph/12.5secs
Why we’re running itCan Insight can match
Honda’s high
expectations?
PositiveCongestion charge
exemption
NegativeView through rear
windscreen



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