The Original Hybrid – The Honda Insight

Imagine: You’re driving along and you’re coming to an intersection. The light turns yellow and you slow down. You stop as the light turns red. Your car goes silent.

Nothing’s wrong. That’s just the sound of your Honda Insight saving energy.

The Honda Insight is a hybrid electric vehicle with a high-power electric motor that shuts off when the vehicle stops and restarts instantaneously when you hit the gas pedal.

Honda Insight

One of the sportier hybrids on the road, the Insight is in its second generation. The first generation (produced from model years 2000 – 2006) is a two-seater hatchback with a sleek, aerodynamic design that assists with the fuel efficiency of the car. At seventy miles per gallon highway and sixty-one miles per gallon city, it’s one of the most efficient cars on the road.

Since the 2001 model, Insights have been available quipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which allows the car to move through an infinite number of engine to wheel ratios making it more efficient; the CVT bumps the Insight into the class of a super low emissions vehicle.

In model year 2010, Honda presented the second generation Insight – a five-door hatchback that seats five. It’s less fuel-efficient then the first generation, but is still more efficient than many cars in its class at 43 miles per gallon highway and 40 miles per gallon in the city. The new Insight is designed as an affordable hybrid that to appeal to a wide range of buyers from singles to families of all ages.

“If you drive it carefully you can exceed the expected gas mileage – I do a good mix of city and highway driving and get about 45 mpg. I can go about 500 miles between fill-ups. I actually think I get better gas mileage than what the car tells me,” says Ryan Hutton, Program Manager of IBM’s Technology Adoption Program and Insight owner.

The second generation Insight is the definition of early twenty-first century high tech with its ECO ASSIST system that helps drivers learn how to drive with better fuel-efficiency. The speedometer glows green when your driving is efficient and blue when your driving could be better. As you drive, the car monitors a variety of systems that you can toggle through and when the ignition is switched off the digital display shows a score for how efficiently you drove.

The Insight was the first hybrid available in the United States (even before the Prius) and is now a great bargain of a used car both at time of purchase and on your infrequent trips to the gas station.