The 2011 Insight comes complete with suspension tweaks
It has a much more compliant ride and is more comfortable to drive
1.3-litre petrol engine plus electric motor
Its trump card – the low price – remains
Inside, perceived quality has been improved
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.
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.
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