This First-Gen Honda Insight Does 71.4 MPG

Honda is about to kill off the Insight and the CR-Z, both hybrid models selling poorly in the face of ever mode competitive conventionally powered cars. We were actually happy to see them go until we realized what was being lost.
Mk1 Honda Insight 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
The Insight, especially, is filled with history. One of the most original cars ever to be made in Japan has it roots firmly planted in the month of December, 1999. That's when the first generation Insight was launched, powered by a 1-liter inline-3 engine, a 10 kW electric motor and a choice between 5-speed manual or CVT.

You might think that brand new hybrids are much better than the older models, but the first-gen Insight will prove you wrong. Built on a solid concept using lightweight materials, it weighed only 838 kilograms. We struggle to think of any car on sale today that matches those numbers.

What's more, the first-gen Insight was slippery as a fish. Just like the brand new Volkswagen XL1, currently the most fuel efficient production car in the world, the rear wheels are set closer together than the front ones and are covered in fairings for low drag.

The next video shows a hypermiliong experiment where one slightly customized first-generation Insight manages an amazing 71.4 mpg (3.3 l/100km) on Interstate 285 near Atlanta, much better than a modern hybrid. It's not easy to pull off these kinds of numbers, but hypermiling can be… fun, even for a petrolhead.

As of 2014, this cool-looking Honda from yesteryear still ranks as the most fuel-efficient car running on gasoline (non-PHEV), according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Official numbers suggest it will do 61 mpg per US gallon (3.9 l/100km).

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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