Fleet News

Honda Insight

Honda

Review

HONDA is renowned for its pioneering technology and its latest model pushes back the boundaries of automotive development even further. The Insight is a showcase of the company's future developments - using hybrid technology to make cars cleaner and more fuel-efficient.

The 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine uses the company's VTEC valve system and lean burn technology allied to a patented electric motor - Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). Extensive use of aluminium to keep weight down combines with these features to make the Insight 65% more fuel-efficient than a conventional 1.5-litre Civic.

Unlike its only rival, Toyota's Prius, the Insight's engine runs all the time. It uses the IMA system to boost power -meaning it has performance comparable with a larger-engined car while emitting considerably less carbon dioxide and using much less fuel.

The Prius can switch from petrol to electric power to minimise emissions, such as in stop-start town traffic. The Insight does much the same by stopping the engine automatically when the vehicle is stationary.

While the Prius is a conventional four-door saloon, the Insight has distinctive looks to match the ground-breaking technology under the aluminium skin. Similar in size to the company's old CRX coupe, the Insight is a low-slung two-seater with a large glass hatchback and rear wheels shrouded by body panels to help increase aerodynamic efficiency - thus cutting fuel use.

The Insight has just gone on sale to become the UK's first hybrid vehicle - beating arch rival Toyota, whose Prius is scheduled for an autumn launch.

Insight costs about ú17,000 on-the-road - a price reflecting the development costs of the model. The Prius costs even more - about ú19,000 on-the-road. However, the Government is to introduce subsidies within the next two months which could cut up to ú2,000 off the cost of the Insight and Prius.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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