31 October 2010

Honda's Insight Hybrid


Honda has introduced a Prius competitor in the Insight. It looks like a Prius but does not have the same sophistication in hybrid technology. The advantage to that is that the Honda product is much more affordable. In NZ, the Prius is a third more expensive.

So is it worth buying a hybrid car such as the Honda Insight? For me, the jury is still out on that. It certainly is a way forward but in the case of the Insight, the electric motor only assists the petrol one rather than driving it exclusively. Therefore, it is called a mild hybrid. In other words, the move away from petroleum fueled cars is a slow one. In New Zealand where the car has just arrived, the Insight is well priced, not something you could say about any other Honda products in this country. I took it for a test drive and it is a good quality, well executed vehicle. I found that the headrests were set too far forward and were a nuisance. The boot is large but shallow to accommodate batteries underneath. It's not that exciting to drive, so I see it appealing to older people.

The Honda Insight has merit, but is more novelty than substance. It's fuel consumption is comparable to the latest petroleum eco models and therefore this type of car is not the eco warrior it is portrayed by some. Hybrid cars today are seen as at the cutting edge of the eco market, whereas I wonder why they are not already obsolete. Superior technologies should have moved the game on, but are nowhere to be seen.

What it means to me: It's a good effort Honda, but it emphasises how far behind car makers are on the alternative fuel front.

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