Power at the Pump
The benefits of the refined gasoline-electric powertrain on the Civic Hybrid are never more evident than when you watch those little numbers adding up at the pump. And with an EPA-estimated city/highway rating of 40 city/45 hwy mpg , you'll spend a lot less time at the gas station.
Help Clear the Air
The air also benefits with the Advanced Technology Partial-Zero-Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV) rating, which is the most stringent emission standard achieved by a gasoline-powered vehicle in the U.S.
The goal of the 2010 Honda Insight is to make the best use of the most cost-effective hybrid technology. For the new Insight’s design, Honda uses a shape that’s coming to define hybrid and electric vehicles: a five-door hatchback with a smooth front and a high, abrupt tail.
The differences between the 2010 Honda Insight and the 2010 Toyota Prius, can be easily summarized: The Insight is thousands of dollars cheaper, gets comparable fuel economy, has a crisper look and provides a more agile and enjoyable ride. But the Insight is noticeably smaller, especially for passengers in the backseat. The Insight is smaller than the Prius by 2.5 inches in both length and height, and also has a 6-inch shorter wheelbase. While the Prius is classed as a mid-sized car based on its interior volume, the Insight is a compact. The dashboard of the Insight looks like a blending of the Honda Civic and Honda Fit.
Insight EX models add alloy wheels, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system with USB audio interface, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, Honda Vehicle Stability Assist and an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition.
Driver Controls and Feedback, For Max MPG
The dashboard EcoGuide accumulates data on driving patterns, so hypermiling drivers can analyze their history to improve driving strategies. Overall, Honda claims the Insight’s IMA system is 19 percent smaller and 28 percent lighter than the previous generation used in the current Honda Civic Hybrid.
The Honda Insight is rated at 40 miles per gallon on the city cycle, and 43 mpg on the highway, for a combined mileage of 41 miles per gallon.
2010 Honda Insight - Key Features
- The 60/40 split rear fold-down seat back lets you create the right balance of people and cargo.
- In addition to displaying exterior temperature, average fuel consumption, and current MPG, the Multi-Information Display also provides feedback on your braking and acceleration to help you drive more efficiently.
- With eight gigabytes of memory and voice recognition, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition provides directions using a series of 24 global positioning satellites. Bluetooth-enabled cell phones can do hands-free dialing with up to 50 contacts per phone stored within the system.
- The EX model’s USB Audio Interface can read flash drives loaded with MP3 or WMA files. You can also plug in your compatible iPod to this port, which not only charges the device but also allows it to be controlled using the interface dial on the head unit or steering wheel.
- Standard safety features on all Insights include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side curtain airbag system; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD); driver- and front-passenger active head restraints and a front body designed to mitigate pedestrian injuries.
- Accessories for the 2010 Insight include: Fog Lights; Body Side Molding; Door Visors; Splash Guards; Front and Rear Underbody Spoiler; Wheel Locks; Auto Day/Night Mirror; Cargo Cover; Cargo Tray; Floor Mats; Leather Steering-Wheel Cover.
Under the Insight’s hood is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 98 horsepower and 123 lb-ft of torque—obviously tiny for what Honda claims is a five-passenger subcompact. It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides infinite ratios to keep the engine operating within its most efficient range. On the upscale EX model, Honda offers paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel that give the driver the experience of a seven-speed gearbox. A CVT doesn’t actually have gears, so the system uses electronics to direct the transmission to up- or downshift in specific ways when a driver hits the paddle.
The hybrid heart of the system is the fifth generation of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system. The lightweight, ultra-thin electric motor between the engine and transmission puts out 10 kilowatts (13 horsepower). It is powered by a flat nickel metal hydride battery pack that sits under the rear deck, just behind the gas tank under the rear seat. The battery holds 0.58 kilowatt hours of energy—just slightly less than half the 1.3 kilowatt-hours of the current Toyota Prius pack. The Insight battery is recharged with both spare engine power and regenerative braking, and its accelerator connects to an electronic sensor rather than a cable, also known as “drive-by-wire."
Energy for the motor is stored in the usual nickel metal hydride battery pack. Just as Ford has done with the new Fusion hybrid, Honda has updated the Insight's battery, making it smaller and lighter. It contains 7 modules with a dozen D-size cells each. The power output of the modules is 30 percent greater than the Civic and the pack has a total capacity of 580 Wh. That's somewhat less than the 869 Wh of the Civic but it's in keeping with the cost-reduced nature of the Insight. The power electronics, motor ECU and an air cooling system are all integrated with the battery pack. The entire assembly sits below the cargo floor between the rear wheels.
Building On the Insight Tradition
The 2010 Honda Insight is a major improvement from the legacy model. In Sept. 2006, Honda stopped making the old Honda Insight, a teardrop-shaped two-seater that was loved by many happy owners, but also perceived as impractical by mainstream consumers. Despite the old model’s real-world fuel economy of nearly 70 miles per gallon, the company sold fewer than 2,000 Insights in 2005, and fewer than 1,000 units through Sept. 2006 before the company pulled the plug.
The five-door 2010 Insight breathes new life into Honda’s hybrid efforts. It’s the first of several vehicles that Honda will build on a dedicated hybrid platform—the next will be the sporty two-seater CR-Z. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.