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back to article Honda shows off Insight hybrid

Honda has already made it clear that it doesn't hold with all this plug-in battery powered vehicle malarkey but sees the future belonging to good old petrol-hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell power. So while World+Dog – well, Ford and Toyota – were busy announcing plans for lithium-ion battery-pack plug-in hybrids at the Detroit …

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Jobs Halo

67MPG - big deal

My Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDI gets 65mpg on the open road and doesn't look as sad as a Prius or this thing!

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Pirate

It is not a full hybrid, it is an electrically assisted drivetrain

It is an electrically assisted drivetrain - same as the old Insight, the Civic hybrids. So there is:

1. Hope for manual - it is no longer based on a horrid CVT spec like the 2nd generation Civic hybrid and looks more like a hatch (selling a sedan in EU is like selling a Ford Model T). The original insight had a stick shift, so can this one.

2. It is bound to be much cheaper - it needs much smaller engine, less batteries, etc.

Frankly the original Prius with its full hybrid drive is a dead duck. The industry is rapidly going into two directions - plug-in with petrol assist (GM, Crysler, Citroen, etc) and electrically assisted drivetrain (Mercedes, Honda, etc). The Prius is sitting somewhere in between both of these and it will become more and more expensive than either one of the competing options (it already is). I would not expect to see it for much longer. In fact it will most likely "devolve" into plug-in EV and shed most of its oversize 1.5l engine very soon.

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All very well but...

...there are an increasing number of cars that can beat 67 mpg without all this Hybrid malarky (the Polo Bluemotion for one) and can it close on emissions whilst being cheaper.

Ye gods, even that leadfoot Clarkson can get 50mpg out of a Jaguar XJ - and that was with the older, less efficient engine.

Their time may come but at the moment, they are only good for people who want to show off their apparent green credentials

Worst offender is the Lexus Rx Hybrid - just buy something slightly smaller (and lighter) than a small country and you'll be set...

6/10 see me after class.

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Happy

An Electric Motorcycle?

NOOOOOO!!!!!

If "loud pipes save lives", then without the sound of the engine pedestrians will be mown down everywhere.

Hmmm, maybe not such a bad idea after all. Only problem is cleaning the blood from the from of the bike...

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67MPG

Pah, my little Punto 1.3 diesel does more than this on the "open road" and is supposed to emit less that 101g/km of CO2.

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Prius styling

Backend looks surprisingly Prius like... Maybe after the failure of their previous model to sell on its 'looks like every other Honda' has meant they have decided to copy the looks of the Prius? Might be considered a strange idea when the Prius styling is usually one of the main bad points according to its detractors.

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Worthy but dull

Also too complicated, especially when a cheap and conventional Citroen C2 can manage 68mpg...

http://cars.uk.msn.com/News/Top_ten_article.aspx?cp-documentid=475327

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Electric motorcycle

Sounds cool, but will it handle or be a dog? It will likely be a superscoot type thing, as weight is a big factor when bikers go upgrading.

Scooters don't count in this regard (or cruisers for that matter) but a sportsbike.... I just cannot see it. We sportsbike riders tend to do a lot of track days, and if its over 200kilo's then you can forget tracking it!

On the car side of things, those MPG figure don't sound too hot to me, my dad bought a KIA diesel "something or other" recently, and he gets those figures easily about town. Now we all hate his car but that's another matter.

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Nemesis

Considering the Prius is the nemesis of this new Insight, Honda seem to have gone to awfully great lengths to make it look the same as a Prius...

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Gold badge

Christ on a crutch!

If it wasn't for the Honda badges you'd think it *was* a bloody Prius. It's a good thing for Honda that they don't do "look 'n feel" lawsuits in the motor industry. It's also got to be a bit annoying for Toyota that Honda seem to have done a much better job of reworking the nose this year than they have.

Talk about if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

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Big f*cking wow

A decent 1.6 common rail diesel easily does 65mpg alone, without the expensive batteries and motor. Combine that with 110bhp and some decent torque and I know which I would choose.

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Stop

Eco?!

44mpg on the combined?! What is eco about that? More to the point where is the progress in the tech?

My C4 diesel does 55mpg between fills which is a combination of city, windy b roads, a roads and motorway...and that is with my heavy foot.

If I drive ECOish I can get 63-64mpg, i'm sure if I got instruction on how to drive even more eco that figure would rise.

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Thumb Up

One already satisfied customer

As the proud (& therefore certainly biased) owner of a 2002 2-seater Insight this looks like great news. I can only vouch for my mpg figures - 60-70 mpg depending on terrain (at an average of 50-70mph), but that should indicate they are not too over the top with the figures for the new model. The good mpg is partly due to the curb weight, 835-850kg for mine, (due mostly to the general lack of metal wherever possible). I'd like to know what that is on the 2009 model - I'd also assume more passengers will certainly make a fair deal of difference on the figures.

At <100g/km CO2 I get free tax (& feel oh so smug), it's shame they couldn't have managed 1g less on the new model - still £35 to the DVLA for 12months travel isn't too bad! I'd guess they've had to increase the engine capacity from .995l to 1.3l accommodate the extra seats and the bhp of the batteries is about the same.

Dispight the "Buck Rogers" visual feel (which hasn't really improved much by the look of it), the functionality of the design is excellent and as for the drive, I'd say it compares to the sort of thing you'd expect from a normal small car (the balance of the battery versus the motor means you don't even really notice its there - which really is the best bit).

Hopefully someone really wanting a Tesla will buy one of these asap and be so disappointed with the performance I can buy it second hand in 2011 for a song!

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hardly impressive

I've got a 2 litre skoda estate that pushes 68mpg on an open road. Honda should get a refund on their magic beans.

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@ TeeCee

Agree fully - had to double take when I realised it wasn't a Toyota advert.

Bag of vomit, not as economical as other proper vehicles out there, less economical to produce than other more economical vehicles out there, and probably to be shipped from the far east, so again, less economical to ship than other more economical options out there. All in all more environmentally damaging...

So it's failed to tick a single box in my eyes, nice work Honda, power of dreams and all...

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Figures are just not good enough.

Like several other posters, I drive a TDi engined car, can achieve those sort of mileage figures, but have a lot more grunt to play with if I need it. There is, IMHO, no point to this vehicle, or the Pious, except to improve (very, very slightly) localised air emissions.

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Fail

101g/km. Puts it in the same tax band as my diesel Clio, which also does claims 65mpg to the new Honda's 67.

If they'd got it to 100 or below, it'd be road tax free.

As others have said, 67mpg isn't anything special anymore.

So the new Honda is marginally better, a lot more expensive, and mine I can fuel at any petrol station....where do I sign the HP agreement?

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Silver badge
Stop

I just don't get it....

Stick in a 2nd engine, all the crap that goes with it and get 67mpg.

Here's a novel idea.

Shed some weight!

Loose some of the pig iron and steel and suddenly your car will get 10mpg extra easily!

The technology has been around years, just look at a decent sports or kit car! Ever noticed how many go so much quicker, do decent mileage and handle like a dream. It's all about the weight. I'm not talking about sacrificing a windscreen, interior and roof, just simple measures like using aluminium & composites a bit more.

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Rubbish MPG

Are they actually happy with that MPG rating!?

New non-hybrid cars coming out now kick this ugly arsed thing in the teeth.

e.g. The new Mk6 VW Golf Bluemotion gets 74MPG

http://uk-mkivs.net/blogs/uk-mkivs_news/archive/2008/09/09/the-mk6-golf-bluemotion-concept.aspx

Also:

It's got a 77Kw (103BHP) engine (More Powerful than the Honda, and lighter)

It's emissions are below 100g/km meaning it will be road tax exempt in the UK!! http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/OwningAVehicle/HowToTaxYourVehicle/DG_10012524

Also without all those heavy batteries and that huge ugly chassis it will be a damn sight more fun to drive too.

I'm not saying the new golfs are pretty, but at least I wouldn't be embarrassed to drive one, and I KNOW they're fun to drive

Should be roughly the same price too.

I thought Honda were more forward thinking than this.

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Stop

Diesel?

So where's my diesel electric plugin? Is there some obvious flaw that means that couldn't possibly work?

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Aimed at N. America

Comparing this to European diesels and small French runabouts is beside the point. This car is clearly aimed at gasoline drivers in N. America, where those cars A) aren't available and B) diesel is still $1 more per gallon, C) if you can even find a station that has it. The MPG compares favorably with any other small sedan 'round these parts. If ToMoCo can sell 180k Priuseses to the granola and latte set, then Honda should expect to do well when they undercut the price by $3k.

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67mpg, pah!

67mpg on the open road? I can get 65mpg with a 2.0TDCi Ford Focus, what's so special about that (and my average mpg is nearer 54mpg instead of 44mpg).

Granted the CO2 emisions are lower, but until they come up with something that can do over 70 or 80 mpg these Hybrid cars aren't going to interest me (especially since you can pick up a decent 2nd hand Diesel car for much less than the price of a new Hybrid).

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Paris Hilton

MPG figures....... American or British?

It does seem that they are different.... though not specified which in the article. The mile is 5280 feet on both sides of the pond.... but gallon isn't the same.......(probably has to do with the fact that American's are lighweight drinkers and can't handle a proper pint.... or that Brits are drunkards.... depending on who you are)

I would think that an article on mpg (which looks quoted from an American source, given the currency focus) would be talking about US mpg and thus 67 may look a little better when compared correctly.

I'm too lazy to do the math and figure out if it's multiply by 1.2 or 1.25 ... and I'd probably get flamed both ways..... awww who cares.......

Dang thinking is hard stuff.....

--stooopid 'merikan working on the continent driving a european car he wishes he could take back to the US when the gig is up.....

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Stop

67mpg on the open road and 44mpg combined!

44MPG on the 'combined' cycle?! Sorry Honda, that's crap. I drive a biggish estate car and even that does better than 44MPG, admittedly the quoted CO2 is higher, but then I've got over 50% more power too.

Come to think of it the Honda Accord with a diesel engine manages a better combined figure (49.7MPG) and given the size and performance of the car still has a pretty respectable open road figure of 58.9MPG

To be honest this is not what you would call progress.

Stop........ Well with a combined figure of 44MPG you're not going to get _that_ far without stopping for more fuel

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Prius MK II?

Damn that looks just like a Prius - Fugly.

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Paris Hilton

That Prius look

They are all the same. The 2nd gen Prius mostly copied the rear clip from the earlier Insight and now Honda has done their best to match the Prius nose. In the long run, anyone trying to squeeze so much from the aerodynamics of a car is going to wind up in pretty much the same place. Saying they look like each other is a bit like saying an A330 and a 767 look like each other.

Let me handle the response for you, "How can you say that? Just look at the winglet! They're as different as night and day."

Paris because she wouldn't be caught doing "IT" in either back seat.

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neviromentaly friendly?

67mpg, bet it doesnt even get near that in the real worrld.

And what is enviromently friendly about producing the batteries?

Dig up the ore, not enviromentaly frienldy in itself, ship it half way rround the world to make the batteries, ship those to the factory then ship the finished cars all over the world, big carrbon footprint there! Then you have to dispose of the batteries and those nasty chemicals.

Enviromentaly friendly? I dont think so!

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Bronze badge

@A.N Other

May I remind you that pedestrians pretty much always have right of way over motorcycles, whether electric or not?

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Tom

Why?

As several people have already pointed out you can get diesels that get very close to, or even exceed, this consumption. My BMW 123d Coupe will do over 60mpg urban, but outputs 200bhp instead of 80-something! Plus it looks a lot nicer.

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Silver badge
Flame

Diesels are nice but...

Will the Brits in the audience please notice that this was unveiled in _Detroit_, you know US of A where gasoline, petrol I suppose you might call it, is king and several of the nanny states (CA, NY, MA and the me too twins VT & ME) had previously _banned_ the sale of new diesel automobiles, you can still buy all the old crappy ones you want. That said, there isn't an automaker around the globe that is going to produce a car for the green & crunchy set that they can't sell where all the green & crunchies live. That means yes, we have NO DIESELS today.

I'd love to be able to run out and buy a nice new high performing diesel, unfortunately, there are too many "save the air" types who think "tramp steamer with billows of black sooty diesel smoke wafting from the stack" or "soot covered, bolt breaking, smoke churning, '79 Oldsmobile" when they hear the word diesel. The worst part is these same hypocrites here in the Northeast never think that it is basically a slightly cleaner version of the fuel that most of them use to heat their vacation homes "out in the country."

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Anonymous Coward

Petrol MPG vs Diesel MPG

Why are so many of you comparing diesel mpg to petrol mpg? - everyone knows that particulate belching, smelly, noisy, diesel engines give better mpg than petrol engines - however diesels are not all that clean.

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we just gotta get California to pull it's head out

since CA makes it a real PITA to import diesels. Couldn't get the Jetta TDI locally for the longest time, and CA's stupid regs helped justify the death of the Jeep diesel. Remember that VW Toureg that won the DARPA Challenge? It was a prototype and not legal for sale in CA because of CA's enviromoron anti diesel regs.

Once that gets fixed we'll be able to see small domestic turbodiesels again.

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Bronze badge

re:MPG figures....... American or British?

It's multiply by 1.2 so 67mpg(US) becomes 80mpg(UK). Having recently seen an ad in the US for the new Ford F-150 and its amazing 21mpg(US)/25mpg(UK) I think I see how this might be a big deal that side of the Atlantic.

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Flame

@MPG figures....... American or British?

It would seem that most are comparing apples to oranges here....

Yeah the gas/electric Hybrids are pretty pointless if you want to go through the bother of figuring all the 'carbon' emmissions just to get one on the road, but they do start that path to get away from oil*. Ugly or not... D@mn I wish I could get one of those european diesels.

So as far as the UK MPG v. US MPG

10 US gallons = 8.33333 UK gallons ( UK gallon = 120% US gallons)

soooo...

67 MPG US = 80.4 MPG UK

44 MPG US = 52.8 MPG UK

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

*and this coming from a Road Racer.

Flames... well isn't that what internal combustion is all about?

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Black Helicopters

Honda Civic 1.8 140BHP and 44 Mpg Combined IRL (Imperial)

Nuff Said.

If you truly care about economy go for a diesel. Sadly in North America, diesel pumps are on the outside of service stations (out of the canopy) so that trucks can fuel up. Diesel cars are therefore stigmatised.

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Coat

The Prius called...

it wants its ugly-a** hump back.

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I'm in USA and drive a diesel

2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty Powerstroke, and a 2007 Prius.

Diesel is not hard to get, its often (but not always) on the same aisle as the gasoline pumps. It is outrageous that the best price I can find is $2.189 (70 miles from home) while gasoline is $1.659 most everywhere near.

Others pointed out that some states outlawed the sale of new diesel cars, that is not true. What those states said was all new cars had to meet the same emission standards. Diesel offerings didn't pass. Then Mercedes came along with Bluetech and broke the stalemate. California didn't change their standards, Mercedes made a diesel that met California's specifications.

My Powerstroke is of the new generation with very aggressive and active engine controls, along with a particulate filter. The exhaust smells like a propane heater, not like a traditional diesel.

My Prius gets an honest 52 MPG in daily driving but "only" 47 MPG with cruise control set at 72 MPH. The F-250 gets 8 to 18 MPG, depending on what its hauling and how fast. I calculate fuel cost for the F-250 is about 5 times per mile what I pay for the Prius, unless I am hauling a 6,000 pound camper ("caravan" to you Europeans) 70+ MPH when its 10 times the Prius.

As others have pointed out the tin cans you call cars in Europe are not available in the USA because they don't meet the crash test requirements and they don't meet the emission requirements. The new Honda meets both and should only be compared to others meeting the same specifications.

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Black Helicopters

@David Kelly

""As others have pointed out the tin cans you call cars in Europe are not available in the USA because they don't meet the crash test requirements......""

What's this BS? My 44 MPG 1.8 Civic is up here in Canada, driven alongside F250s that are mostly wearing snowploughs as moustaches at the moment. Its slightly smaller than the Accord I owned in the UK 6 months ago but much larger than the Toyota Yaris that's sold both here and in the UK, oh and in the US.

If those private jet-flying doofus's in Detroit don't make them, don't try to pretend it's because the powers that be forbid them. $2.189 per 3.8L is £1.48, that would get you 1.5L in the UK at $1.46 L, or $5.62 per US Gallon. That - and the fact your rig would never make it through a roundabout on 4/6 wheels - is the reason that no-one drives HEMI Grand Cherokees or Triton F-Series in Europe.

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Emo

RE: I'm in USA and drive a diesel

Anybody else snigger @ Powerstoke? Hehe

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Emo
Paris Hilton

MPG Figures

The article quotes figures from a Belgian brochure. Last time I checked Belgium was in the EU, so the MPG figures won't be based on US gallons.

Paris coz I wonder if she is cutting down her oil usage..

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@Stu Reeves

Almost a good idea, but for one rather important point. The pig iron bit of a current model is around 20% lighter than an equivalent model from the seventies, both in the body shell and the engine (all alloy now being the rule rather than the exception in the latter).

The reason that the all up weight of the car remains the same is the 'elf 'n safety / econazi addons (airbags, door beams, seatbelt pre-tensioners, all that spurious cack fitted to the engine to reduce emissions, catalytic converters, all the wiring to run the extra crap, etc ad infinitum).

Oh and who ever predicted that the Prius would drop an engine size and go plug in? I suppose that the well-known fact that the new, faclifted model has got an engine hike from 1.5 to 1.8 litres passed you by then? Oh and before dissing the Toyota approach, try driving the Civic hybrid and the Prius. One of these is a clunky, underpowered POS prone to choppy shifting and odd power delivery and the other's a Toyota.

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@David Kelly

"the tin cans you call cars in Europe are not available in the USA because they don't meet the crash test requirements and they don't meet the emission requirements"

Obviously you've not heard of EuroNCAP, nor have you heard of the death-trap known as the Chrysler Voyager. I believe that was made in the USA!

The reason that mainstream European cars have never been successful in the USA is quite simply because 1) fuel economy has never really been an issue in the US until recently and 2) you're used to driving cheap and huge (but shoddily-built) SUVs, pick-up trucks, large sedans and musclecars. Thus a Renault Clio or Vauxhall Corsa is never really going to generate much interest, especially when it costs the same as a US-built full-size sedan.

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Stop

@David Kelly

"I'm in USA and drive a diesel " - that'd be a pickup truck then !

I worked/lived in Dallas - no one I knew had a diesel car - they assumed they were very slow, noisy and smelly and also diesel is much harder to find.

"the tin cans you call cars in Europe are not available in the USA because they don't meet the crash test requirements and they don't meet the emission requirements"

Tin Cans indeed - this is the pot calling the kettle black - unless US made cars have radically improved in the last 2 years! A BMW 320d or 530d will meet the crash test requirements. As for the emission requirements, it depends on what state you are in - Europeans mistakenly treat the entire US as one country when it's just a collection of states with significant independence (e.g. death penalty/sex laws). Some of the cars I've seen in Texas emit far more than my BMW 320d - including particulates.

The best thing that happened was for oil to go to over $100 a barrel, it meant US drivers started noticing the cost of fuel and how much their cars were consuming - and the fact that US car makers were not focussed on economy meant they suffered more than most. Alas, petrol has fallen to low levels again.

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Linux

MPG

My Honda SR V easily returns 45mpg on the open road traveling at the legal speed limit (hey ! this is in print !) and without any particular attempt to get more out of it. Around the city where I live (UK) it consistently gives 34 or 35mpg, but I admit to being light-footed in urban driving. I don't see the point of racing some guy to the next red light ! This is my second SR V and it drives like a dream. If I have one complaint, it is that their satnav system is the worst I have ever used. Hard to program with a silly paddle thing and it doesn't take full post codes. Everything else about the car works perfectly and I have to say that I have never come across anything better. We can argue about the shape, the colour, the leather on the seats, but take it from a previous Lotus driver, this is a well built car which drives smoothly and is very responsive. Oh yes ! .. AND ... it is wholly built in the UK ! :)

As for their new offering, well, I will look forward to a test drive when they invite me -- then I'll pass comment.

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Flame

@David Kelly

'Tin Cans'?

Typical blinkered Yankie BS (Apologies to the few sensible, informed Americans on here). Your Country is 100% controlled by the oil companies and the media (which is owned by the oil companies - and the Bush Family) So you've not got a clue about the rest of the world. "America Rules", "Everything American is great", "Diesels are Dirty", "all evil people speak with forced posh English accents" (Thanks Hollywood - Wankers)

I've been to the US on a couple of occasions, hired a number of vehicles, and hated every one of them. On a business trip to Florida I hired a "Compact" (hah!) Crysler. (Can't remember the model, but it was a 2 door, with a 2.6L petrol/gas engine).

Outside the thing was bigger than a 5 door Focus(Considered a Family-sized car outside of North America), but inside was TINY. There was no leg room (I'm 6'), and the back seat might as well not have been there.

Performance was complete sh1te too. Any Euro / Jap 2.6L Petrol would get 0-60 in < 10Secs and would be able to hit 130MPH easy. This thing was like driving a tractor. The auto box just revved the crap out of the engine all the time and never applied any power.

Similar experience driving a 2.4L Focus while in Canada (US Model obviously) - The Focus' we get in Europe have different engines and gearboxes - thank F***

My old 1.2L Renault Clio would have out accelerated them both.

It's no wonder Americans are all driving around in 8L penis extensions - they think the only way to get any power is with more engine displacement.

To summarise - I'd rather be driving around in my 1.9Turbo Diesel PD Golf "Tin Can", producing <130g/km, 55MPG (45MPG US) than the effing tanks you drive over there.

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Only 67mpg ?

I used to have a 2000 Vauxhall Astra 1.7 TDi ECO4 special edition.

On a long run to scotland once i got an acurate calculated 71mpg.

Some indepentant tests on this car managed to get over 100mpg.

Not bad for a 90bhp Deisel !.

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