The all-new Honda Insight Hybrid. For the first time ever, the Toyota Prius is going to have some serious competition to deal with…!
Honda has released more details on the Insight Hybrid, a five-door family hatchback that looks all set to take on the Toyota Prius on its own turf. Fitted with Honda’s petrol-electric Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system, the Insight is supposed to be one of the most affordable hybrids on the market, with low emissions and great fuel economy in real world driving conditions.
The Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE also proves that hybrids don’t have to be dull. With 87bhp from its 1.3-litre petrol engine and 14bhp from its electric motor, and 121Nm of torque from the engine and 79Nm of torque from the electric motor, the Insight is certainly not short on motive power. Fitted with a very efficient CVT transmission, the car will accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 12.5 seconds and has a top speed of 180km/h.
Honda has not released pricing details for the new Insight, but the car is expected to be at least 20% cheaper than the Prius, prices for which start at the equivalent of about Rs 14.5 lakh in Europe. Official prices will be announced in April this year, when the car goes on sale.
Honda aims to sell around 200,000 units of the Insight globally, per year. Along with the new Jazz Hybrid, Civic Hybrid and a sporty new hybrid based on the CR-Z, Honda is targeting sales of up to 500,000 hybrids globally, per year.
To begin with, the Insight will be produced at Honda’s factory in Suzuka, in Japan. Technologically, it will be significantly more advanced than, say, the Honda Civic Hybrid, which was also sold in India last year. The Insight will have cutting edge technologies like Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which will automatically sense the amount of power/torque needed in any given driving situation, and will switch off the petrol engine when it’s not needed, running the car on electric power alone.
The Insight’s electric motor will be powered by a new-generation nickel-metal hydride battery, which has been optimised for power delivery and reduced charging time. The car also comes with Eco Assist and has a super economy driving mode, both of which help a driver get the best fuel efficiency from the car.
There’s an almost endless list of safety features which Honda has fitted to the Insight, but we won’t get into that. You know most of those anyway – anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, fancy seatbelts and a dozen airbags. No, what this car is all about is being on the cutting edge of affordable green technology, and that’s where the Insight Hybrid will excel.
We expect Honda to offer a limited number of Insight Hybrids in the Indian market, perhaps priced at around Rs 18-20 lakh. If it is indeed launched here, the Insight should be a very big hit for Honda. Stay tuned for news on this one!