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Honda Insight released (copyright image)

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25th November, 2010

The exterior of the second-generation Honda Insight blends design elements from the original Insight’s aerodynamic profile, with the front design similar to the hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity.

The new Insight offers a versatile interior; an adaptable cargo area and 60/40 split fold-down seats, providing extended utility.

A 1.3-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol-electric engine, producing 72 kilowatts, forms the foundation of the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. The electric motor, positioned between the engine and the continuously variable transmission, adds power during acceleration and in certain cruising situations as well as re-capturing energy from the vehicle’s forward momentum during braking.

The Insight introduces an all-new Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist) to help drivers achieve excellent fuel economy. Eco Assist is a driver-selected fuel efficiency feature. Pressing the ECON button enhances the Insight’s efficiency, altering throttle control, CVT operation, idle stop duration, air-conditioning and cruise control. Eco Assist also provides driving style coaching via a 3D background within the speedometer that changes colour to reflect how efficiently the driver is accelerating and braking. Results are continuously tracked as fuel economy ratings and are shown per drive on a lifetime basis in the form of trees and leaves that appear in the Multi-Information Display. Up to five leaves can be ‘earned’ when the driver achieves a fuel-efficient driving style.

The Insight features a sleek look and flat under-body with strakes in front of the tyres to help the Insight slip through the air with minimal drag.

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Two variants are available – the VTi and VTi-L. Both have the following standard features: electric power steering, six airbags, active front head restraints, Vehicle Stability Assit (VSA), ABS brakes with EBD and Brake Assist, cruise control, keyless entry, security alarm, climate control air-conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering, body coloured door handles, front variable and intermittent wipers, auto up/down driver window, multi information display, seatbelt reminder, halogen headlights, six speaker audio system with CD player and USB connectivity, cloth trim, passenger seat back pocket, 60/40 split seats, five three-point seatbelts, paddle shifts and luggage cover.

The VTi-L receives front rain sensing wipers, side indicators on door mirrors, front passenger auto up/down window, driver and front passenger seat pockets, leather steering wheel, 16 inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and satellite navigation with integrated Bluetooth and DVD player.

In 2001, Honda introduced the original Insight, the first petrol/electric hybrid automobile sold in Australia, which achieved 2.8 litres/100 km on the highway cycle, making it Australia’s most fuel efficient car.

Honda’s original Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain combined a lightweight and efficient petrol engine with an ultra-thin electric motor that supplied low-end torque and power assistance as needed. The Insight also featured a special aluminium body that weighed 40 per cent less than a comparable steel body.

Having proved the effectiveness of IMA technology, Honda launched the Civic Hybrid in Japan in 2001, then in the U.S. and in Australia in 2004. Along with the fuel efficiency offered by IMA, the Civic Hybrid featured the style and amenities of a sedan. Since then, Honda’s hybrid technology has continued to evolve, with the Civic receiving increasingly advanced IMA technology and improved hybrid performance.

Honda Australia’s research has shown that today’s customers are not necessarily interested in buying a hybrid vehicle simply because it’s a hybrid. They want to play their part in reducing their impact on the environment, provided it doesn’t come at a high premium. They seek a car that delivers on size, style, practicality, versatility and most importantly, the fuel economy that a hybrid can deliver.

In the future, we may drive fuel cell vehicles, but with slowly growing concerns over resource conservation and environmental protection, small numbers of customers are looking for efficient, environmentally responsible transportation today.

The Insight is the first in a series of new hybrid vehicles from Honda that will offer exceptional fuel efficiency, fun and practicality, in a package at an affordable price.

Three advances are the key to the Insight’s attractive combination of features and affordable purchase price.

Firstly, the new Insight is a global car, sharing platform and parts with only minor, regional variations. Honda has designed the Insight to comply with worldwide standards—with collision safety tests and emissions standards a high priority. The Insight achieves standards of quality and safety that make it world-ready and is designed for efficient high-volume manufacturing.

Secondly, the second-generation Insight’s IMA powertrain is more advanced and compact than ever. As compared to the IMA technology deployed in the 2006 Civic Hybrid, the Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) is 19 per cent more compact and 28 per cent lighter. The IPU controls the power of the IMA system. The IPU contains the energy storage module (battery), Power Control Unit (PCU), motor Electric Control Unit (ECU) and a compact cooling system. The IPU is located beneath the rear cargo area for minimal impact on interior space.

Thirdly, to produce the Insight, Honda has made assembly lines at its Suzuka Factory in Japan for the manufacture of IMA components that feature the company’s most advanced equipment and manufacturing technology, providing for both the highest quality and reduced cost to maximise value.

The result is a vehicle that builds upon the Honda tradition of innovation to offer not only low emissions and high fuel economy, but also exceptional performance, style and utility, all at the most affordable price.

The Insight chassis is entirely new, but in the quest to produce an affordable car with compact dimensions, it is based on the platform used for the latest Jazz and City and as such, it shares many of its components and characteristics. From the starting point of Jazz, engineers devised a package that accommodates the hybrid system, provides space for adults to sit in comfort and allows room for the load space.

The structure of the engine compartment and front section of the car is almost identical to Jazz, with some minor alterations, but behind the front bulkhead the platform is unique to the Insight. The wheelbase is 2,550 mm (50 mm longer than that of the Jazz).

Upon this platform, front and rear suspension from the Jazz are used, which means MacPherson struts at the front and an H-shaped torsion beam at the rear to keep the load floor low, increasing luggage capacity inside. Dynamically, the goal was to achieve an enjoyable driving experience and stable handling in a range of conditions and on a mixture of road surfaces.

Manufacturer's List Price*

  • Honda Insight VTi $29,990*
  • Honda Insight VTi-L $33,490*

NOTE: * The manufacturer's list price excludes the traditional "on-road" costs, such as dealer delivery fees and the various statutory charges. Additionally, prices, fees and charges are always subject to change without notice.


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