Theoretically, a hybrid vehicle should be a perfect urban cruise, ideal for drivers who are traveling from home to work and want to save some fuel while being stuck in traffic jams. Practically, the hybrid is indeed some sort of a solution, as it brings fuel consumption to an impressive low level.
Speaking of fuel consumption, Honda's official figures are pointing to an impressive 4.5 l/100km (52.2 mpg) rating when driven in urban conditions. Unfortunately, we're not living in a perfect world, so things tend to differ from reality. We couldn't get better than 5.9 l/100km (39.8 mpg) during rush hours, with Eco mode activated and the best possible economical way to drive the car.
The CVT is surely a plus, especially in urban conditions where slow-moving traffic drives us crazy. We'll talk about its performance a little bit later but the CVT also plays a key role in the final comfort level of the car.
Probably the most important function of the Insight is the start-stop system that automatically idles the engine when not in motion. In other words, every time you'll be stuck in traffic, or just wait at a traffic light, the engine is automatically turned off partially, while the electric motor takes charge of powering active systems, such as air conditioning. Once the driver gets his right foot off the brake pedal, the engine is automatically restarted, thus saving a significant amount of fuel.
Although on paper this sounds like a brilliant idea, and we must reckon that it is indeed a great feature, it might become a bit annoying especially in extreme traffic conditions where driving basically resumes to moving forward for around 5 meters and then wait for another 2 minutes until the green light turns on. In order for the start-stop function to be disabled, the ECON mode must be turned off entirely.
Handling on the other hand is impressive. Cornering and parking are no longer a problem and there's absolutely no reason to complain of these two. Parking however might raise some problems to inexperienced drivers, mostly because there are no assistance systems or sensors to guide the car through an empty spot.
Visibility is another controversial issue. From the driver's point of view, the Insight provides mediocre visibility, but it all depends on the part we're referring to. The windshield for example should not give you any headaches, but the rear window is a bit of a mess, sadly. Basically, rear visibility is compromised by the awkwardly-styled rear window split into two pieces by the lid spoiler. Honda tried to compensate with two large exterior mirrors and, although this manages to fix things up a little, rear visibility remains a major issue.
The hybrid's suspension setup seems to be biased towards comfort, so speed limiters and potholes should not shake passengers too hard. The car's ground clearance however, measuring only 144.7mm (5.7 inches) at the front, could be a problem when trying to get over bigger kerbs or larger limiters.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
Yeah, mkay... Trust me, the best way to tell you my personal opinion on this thing is to keep my mouth closed. You don't really want me to share my sincere view on the hybrid, probably the Internet police would come and arrest you if you'd publish my dirty words.
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