From £19,765
Upgrades make the Insight easier to recommend than before; good value, too

Our Verdict

Honda Insight
Honda’s history in environmental cars dates back to 1972 and the Civic CVCC, a petrol car designed to meet US clean air regs

The Honda Insight is more affordable, but no better than other hybrids such as the Toyota Prius

  • First Drive

    Honda Insight 1.3 IMA HS

    Reduction in CO2 gives the tax-saving status Honda’s Insight always should have had, but the competition has moved on and the price has crept up.
  • First Drive

    Honda Insight 1.3

    Upgrades make the Insight easier to recommend than before; good value, too
10 November 2010

What is it?

The Honda Insight promised a lot and almost delivered when it first arrived in the UK 18 months ago. Its cheaper, less sophisticated parallel hybrid system (its electric motor assists the petrol engine rather than acting independently and being able to power the car outright) allowed it to be priced much lower than the best-selling Toyota Prius series hybrid.

However, its (nicely designed) interior was poorly finished and the car fidgeted and crashed over UK road surfaces that weren’t marble smooth – so most of them, then.

So what we have here is the 2011 Insight, complete with suspension tweaks, including adjustments to the recoil rate of the springs and a revised rear suspension brace.

See pics of the Honda Insight in action

What's it like?

The result is a car that has a much more compliant ride, is more comfortable to drive at all speeds and doesn’t feel quite so frail and brittle. Okay, the ride is still not perfect.

There is still a tendency for the Insight to send a jolt through the cabin over particularly abrasive surfaces. But for the most part it fidgets less and controls body movements without discomforting occupants in the process. The handling, never one of the Insight’s flaws, is also improved. It turns in keenly and feels agile, traits shared with the Insight-based CR-Z.

Inside, perceived quality has been improved, thanks to some revised trim and materials, although the uncomfortable seats remain.

Should I buy one?

These small upgrades do enough to earn the Insight an extra half a star over its original three-star road test. And crucially for those who would have been put off by the Insight’s mixed reviews before, its trump card – the low price – remains.

Honda Insight

Price: £16,325; Top speed: 113mph; 0-62mph: 12.5sec; Economy: 61.4mpg (combined); CO2: 105g/km; Kerb weight: 1240kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1339cc, petrol, plus electric motor; Power: 101bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 147lb ft at 4500rpm; Gearbox: CVT

Join the debate

Comments
3

19 November 2010

Well at least Honda clearly listened to bad press or complaints so well done.

19 November 2010

Have they still not improved the emissions? You're quoting 105 g/km of CO2 in the article which not only trails the Toyota Prius and Toyota Auris hybrids but also diesel rivals from Audi, Ford, SEAT, Volkswagen and Volvo.

19 November 2010

So when are they going to fix the ugly styling, the anemic powerplant, and the poor fuel economy (compared to Prius)?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales