Honda Insight Rolls Into DealershipsPosted on March 26th, 2009
Pricing begins at $19,800
Honda’s affordably-priced Insight goes on sale this week: pricing starts at $19,800 for the LX. The upscale EX with navigation starts at $23,100.
Honda is targeting Gen Y and empty nesters with its new compact hybrid. Since most hybrid cars sell for $25,000 or more, Honda is hoping the Insight will hit a yet-untapped sweet spot in the market. The automaker projects sales of about 90,000 cars per year.
Styling from the A-pillar forward is similar to the FCX Clarity: Honda’s production fuel cell car. Unlike the original Insight that debuted ten years ago, the new car has a spacious interior with seating for up to five passengers.
Power comes from a 1.3-liter engine rated at 98 horsepower, and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. A continuously-variable transmission optimizes fuel economy and eliminates clunky downshifts. Average fuel economy is 41 miles-per-gallon. Driving range between fill-ups is over 400 miles.
Designers were able to maximize interior space by locating the Insight’s nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the floor. Improvements in battery technology allowed the engineers to use a 7-cell unit and achieve similar performance to the 11-cell unit in the Civic Hybrid.
The Insight’s hatchback design is ideal for active lifestyles: the second-row seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for larger items. There’s also room for small items under the cargo floor in an area that also holds the spare tire and jack.
All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power windows, and an AM/FM radio with CD player.
An available navigation system on the EX grade adds Bluetooth compatibility.
Eco guide helps drivers gain efficiency
An eco guide display in the instrument panel coaches drivers to perform more efficiently. Ambient colors behind the speedometer change from blue to green, with green indicating the most efficient driving habits. The car records each drive cycle and rates the driver’s performance using plant leaf graphics.
The more leaves the display shows, the more efficient the driver is being. The driver can ‘earn’ up to five leaves during each driving cycle.
Once the driver reaches a certain level the information display will direct him to the next level of performance. Once the driver has reached maximum efficiency, the display shows a trophy cup.
Econ mode uses software to boost gas mileage
At the same time, the driver can use the car’s economy mode to stretch gas mileage. Pressing the econ more button automatically smoothes out throttle inputs, increases idle stop and cruise control duration, and minimizes the time that the air conditioning compressor operates.
Readers who want to learn more about the Insight can visit Honda’s consumer web site.
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