2010 Insight In Canada
After a 4-year hiatus, Honda has revived the famous Insight hybrid, the first hybrid ever available in North America. Although the car "officially" goes on sale April 22, Earth Day, our local dealership already has two, and Americans are already avoiding gas stations in theirs.
When in production, the 1st generation Insight was the most fuel-efficient, least polluting, and most radical car available. Rated at 86 mpg highway, it utterly destroyed Toyota's Prius in terms of mileage.
However, just like the resurrected pets in Stephen King's Pet Semetery, the reincarnated Insight is not the same; Yes, it's a little more evil.
The newly revived Zombie Insight is no longer a sporty 2-seater with limited luggage space. It no longer gets 86 miles per gallon, and it no longer employs a thrifty 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder engine.
The 2nd generation Insight, or I2, is now a 5 door hatch configuration, with a 4-cylinder engine. It will comfortably seat four. Or five if some of the back-seat zombies remove their rotting limbs.
Instead of the sweet combination of aluminum, plastic and ultra-light magnesium of our 2006 Insight, the 2nd generation Insight is constructed of good old fashioned zombie-proof steel, and plastic, which adds up to 2723 lbs, a hefty 900 lbs. over the 1st gen's anorexic 1850 lbs.
What everyone is looking forward to is the 2nd gen Insight's mileage. The 123 hp 4 cyl. achieves 61 mpg highway. A far cry from the 1st gen Insight's 86 mpg, but one must consider all the extra room available for groceries, luggage, and decomposing bodies.
Inside, the uphostery is quite nice. Nothing too flashy or impressive, but nice none-the-less. To save money, and make the 2010 Insight absolutely the least expensive hybrid on the market, the engineers walked over to the Civic assembly line and swiped piles of their steering wheels. In fact it was virtually identical to the wheel in the CSX we "tested" in Ottawa.
The gauges were quite handsome, and placed directly in front of the driver, as opposed to the goofy centre-setup in the Prius. But, along the same lines as the Prius, Honda has created a spiffy graphic display featuring leaves sprouting out of a plant, along with an ECON button. The more miserly you drive, the more leaves you get. Neat-o!
I got a bit of sneak-peek at the Insight, as my sis works at the Honda dealership. Unfortunately, no matter how hard she begged, the only response to our inquiries about test drives was, "we'd be breaking the law." I suspect that it's because the 2010 Insight isn't scheduled to go on sale for another 6 days.
However, it was still exciting to watch the hair impaired employees prepare these 2nd gen Insights for the official unveiling. Shipping stickers and a protective polymer painted onto the hood & roof were being removed in the service bay while I had free reign of the interior.
In order to keep costs low Honda used a smaller electric motor and smaller battery pack. The resulting mileage suffers compared to Toyota's Prius. However, with an estimated price of $23,000 for the base model, you'll be saving $5,000 over a Prius And many people will find that a big bonus.
This CVT Insight was rated at 5.0L per 100km city and 4.6L per 100km highway. The numbers may not be up to snuff for 1st gen Insight owners (3.3L Hwy & 3.9L city), but the payoff is the practical back seat and extra space the 2nd gen Insight offers. With these attributes, Honda is hoping to sell a little more than the 344 1st generation Insights Canadians bought the first time around. That's right. 344 total in Canada, over 6 years of production.