Even in an industry as ruthless as the car-making, it’s hard not to feel a bit for Honda. Despite developing the first production hybrid car with the truly innovative first-generation Insight in the late 1990s, and before that pioneering clean and efficient petrol engines, the environmental limelight has been well and truly hogged by arch rival Toyota.

When the Insight was launched in 2009, sales of the Prius had sailed past the one million mark, whereas sales of Honda hybrids of any description languished well behind at just 275,000 units.

Although arguably the first-generation Insight’s hybrid powertrain and unique styling made it ahead of its time, the rebirth of the Insight with this second-generation model is designed for much greater global appeal. Not least because the latest Insight is the first stand-alone hybrid in Honda’s range since the original, with its other previous hybrids having been hidden in the Civic range.

Although not as ground-breaking as either the original Insight or the second generation Prius, the Insight boasts a simpler approach to hybrid technology in a familiar five-door bodystyle and a much lower price.

The Insight is offered with just the one powertrain option – a 1.3-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor and battery pack – although buyers can choose from five different trim options, spanning roughly £4500 in price

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Honda range

Driven this week

  • Maserati Levante S GranLusso 2019 road test review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    Car review
    Is this Ferrari-engined Levante the performance SUV it always should have...
  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...

When launched, the Insight was the cheapest hybrid on the market. And although smaller hybrids, including Honda’s own Jazz Hybrid and Toyota's Auris hybrid, have arrived, the Insight is still the cheapest hybrid next to its similarly sized rivals.

Honda’s thinking is that by eroding the premium, more buyers will migrate from conventional family cars. Will they? Only if the Insight’s talents extend further than this value proposition.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Honda range

Driven this week

  • Maserati Levante S GranLusso 2019 road test review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    Car review
    Is this Ferrari-engined Levante the performance SUV it always should have...
  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...