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All-New Insight Makes World Debut at Detroit Auto Show
January 11, 2009 - Honda unveiled the 2010 Insight to the media on January 11 at the Detroit Auto Show. In a move to promote its new vehicle as a green car leader, Honda scheduled its U.S. debut for April 22, 2009, which happens to be Earth Day. As expected, the 2010 Insight's fuel-economy figures are slightly lower than the Prius', with EPA ratings of 40 and 43 mpg (city and highway, respectively). However, the Insight encourages a whole new level of efficient driving, in the form of a brand new Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist). The Eco Assist is made-up of three principal components:
- an ECON mode that optimizes the CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission), engine and powertrain components to maximize fuel efficiency;
- a dashboard that changes background colors to provide real-time guidance to the driver on achieving the best fuel efficiency;
- and, the cutesiest feature of all, a green leaf graphic that scores driving efficiency for the current trip and lifetime of the vehicle.
While the last two items may seem gimmicky, they will almost certainly encourage new owners to adapt their driving styles to achieve greater fuel-efficiency, especially during the first few months of ownership.
The 2010 Insight is powered by an advanced 1.3-liter SOHC aluminum-alloy i-VTEC engine and CVT, along with a new generation of Honda's IMA hybrid system for exceptional fuel economy and fun-to-drive performance. The latest IMA system has come a long way since the introduction of the classic Insight 9 years ago. It incorporates a 10-kilowatt (13 hp) electric motor and a compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU), which recaptures and stores kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration, while supplying additional power for acceleration when needed, and features an ultra-compact IMA battery and IPU, both of which are located in the vehicle's rear floor. This allowed engineers to include a 60/40 split and fold-down rear seat back.
Perhaps most important, the Insight's IMA system has the capability to operate exclusively on electric power in certain low- to mid-speed driving conditions (much like Toyota's hybrid system). It also provides for cylinder deactivation within the gasoline engine during deceleration and for engine shutoff when the vehicle is stopped. With a 10.6-gallon fuel tank, the Insight delivers an estimated maximum driving range in excess of 400 miles.
In a show of unbridled optimism, American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel contended the new Insight would introduce "Honda's fun-to-drive, versatile and fuel-efficient hybrid technology to an entirely new group of buyers that previously may not have considered a hybrid because of either image or cost." We can only hope this projection becomes a reality. Discuss.
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2010 Insight MPG and Emissions Stats Leaked
January 8, 2009 - A week before the official Detroit Auto Show announcement, an Internet site has posted leaked pictures of an official 2010 Insight brochure. The catch? The printed materials are from Belgium, so U.S. specs may differ slightly from those of the European market. Revealed in the documents are a fuel efficiency figure of 4.6 l/100 km (or 51 mpg) and emissions information. The mpg calculation is for overall combined use (slightly below the current Prius' figure) and the EPA estimate will likely fall in the 42-47 mpg range. Head over to the CarScoop blog to view the leaked brochure. Discuss.
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2010 Prius to Get More Horsepower
January 8, 2009 - In addition to greater fuel efficiency, Toyota is expected to announce next week the 2010 Prius will include a more powerful engine. The move appears to be a response to the competition Toyota expects to receive from Honda's new Insight. Whether this will be a global upgrade or an option is unclear as of yet but speculation on Prius Chat favors the second scenario. What anyone who has been following the new Prius does know for sure is that the "all-new" car will look much like its predecessor, with only minor styling changes here and there.
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More Hybrid Web Resources from Honda
January 3, 2009 - This is decidedly the day of Honda web discoveries. (Actually, we've been meaning to post about these for a while and are finally getting around to it. Apologies for the delay.) Honda launched a couple of new interactive web sites last year on its hybrid efforts, both of which are worth a look. First, a Hybrid Overview mini-site (entitled "Words of Hybrid," a title that had us slightly puzzled at first) details the various components of Honda's hybrid technologies. One portion of the site is devoted to the various hybrid cars leading up to the 2009 Insight (yes, this includes the classic Insight and the not-quite-as-impressive Accord Hybrid). Second, a special "Technology Picture Book" site provides a general overview of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system (IMA), though advanced readers will find more in-depth information right here and in the Community. This is clearly all part of Honda's push to be seen as a green leader, something its biggest rival has been doing more aggressively (and successfully) for some time. (In case you missed our update to an earlier entry, full details on the new Insight are available at Honda also has a mini-site devoted to the classic Insight, currently available here. Be sure to stop by the Community to share your thoughts!)
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Honda Launches Insight Blog
January 3, 2009 - Well, as of October 2008, it seems Honda has fully moved into the digital era. A certain other Japanese auto manufacturer has had a blog for quite some time... Since our last 2009 Insight update, Honda launched an Insight/alternative fuel blog featuring late-breaking news and a selection of informative videos. The company even took this whole Interweb thing one step further, going as far as setting up a facebook page for the Insight! Just what we always wanted. Now we can all be "friends" with the 2009 Insight. Seriously, though, do visit the "Latest Insight" blog, where you'll find some good articles and can sign-up to receive Insight-related news by email.
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INTERVIEW: Insight Owner Logs 350,000 Miles, Wouldn't Trade Car for Another
December 23, 2008 - Community member Larry Jensen has joined the highmiler (and hypermiler) club. As of February, he had logged more than 355,000 miles on his Insight, enjoying upwards of 90 mpg. He admits to complaining when he "only" obtains 40 mpg in the winter months. As a result, his friends find him bizarre. Learn more about Larry and peruse his tips to keep your Insight running smoothly: read the full interview.
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2009 Honda Insight to Compete with 2nd-Gen Prius
May 13, 2008 - We have been remiss in updating our news page lately but our regular Community participants have been aware of this news for some time. The next Insight is -- big surprise! -- a direct Prius competitor. Clearly, Honda has realized Toyota's success with the first- and second-generation Prius was achieved in great part thanks to its mainstream, utilitarian appeal (in addition to great technology, of course). We here at are first-gen Insight adorers but we always knew the original (or "classic") Insight, in all its sporty, fuel-efficient and beautifully-engineered glory, was intended for a very small slice of the automotive sales pie. This move from Honda will surely help its hybrid sales to become viable again. December 2008 Update: Full details on the new Insight are available at Honda also has a mini-site devoted to the classic Insight, currently available here. Be sure to stop by the Community to share your thoughts!
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Civic GX Natural Gas Car Named Top Green Car in 2008; FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Arriving this Summer
February 22, 2008 - The Civic GX natural gas car took the title of the greenest vehicle for the fifth consecutive year in the ACEEE's "Greenest Cars" ranking, American Honda Motor Co. announced on Tuesday. In the 11th annual ACEEE's "Green Book Online" ranking of environmentally responsible vehicles, the natural gas-powered Civic GX ranked first with the gasoline Civic, Fit and Civic Hybrid joining the list of the 12 most environmentally-conscious vehicles available to the public. This marks the eighth consecutive year that a Honda vehicle received the number one ranking (with the Insight dominating the pack, until it ceased production) and the seventh consecutive year that Honda vehicles held at least four positions in the top 12, an impressive one-third of all vehicles on the list. "The ACEEE awards speak to the commitment Honda has made to lead the industry in lowering emissions, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing dependence on oil," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "Honda continues to set the standard for socially and environmentally-responsible automotive products and our commitment to alternative fuels will further expand with the zero emissions FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle coming to market this summer."
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Still no Fresh News on the Insight's Replacement...
February 22, 2008 - As our regular readers and Community members know, Honda has been tight-lipped about the Insight's successor. We figured it was time for an update, even if it was to say we have received no new information. American Honda representatives continue to say that the company is working on smaller hybrid cars because hybrid technology best suits that format but don't have anything to add. The "Honda Small Hybrid Sports" is still a concept vehicle but we hope Honda will continue its efforts in the sub-compact area and hopefully catch-up with rival Toyota, whose different approach to hybrid technology has proven very successful over the past couple of years.
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Insight Granted HOV Privileges in Arizona
February 10, 2007 - The Arizona Governor's office annouced a federally authorized pilot project last Friday that allows the Honda Insight and two other hybrid vehicles (the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius) to use the state's 73 miles of HOV lanes. Owners will need new plates and special permits. In an interesting twist, the state law granting privileges of "bi-fuel" vehicle owners, who have been allowed to ride in HOV lanes, has been changed. The Arizona Department of Transportation said the federal government had been threatening to impose sanctions against the state because its authorization for bi-fuel vehicles does not conform with federal restrictions. Critics of the state law also claim that many of these vehicles - and, in particular large SUVs and pickup trucks - were converted to bi-fuel vehicles purely so the owners could get tax breaks. (For further details, see this article - thank you to Ken Linger for the link.)
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