Honda Insight 2011: Tree-hugging with style

Published on February 25th, 2011

We had the opportunity to experience the all-new Insight Hybrid recently, complete with semi-jungle getaway and a very knocked-out media friend. This is not another article about burning petrol and scrapping tarmac, and many of you would be interested in what the new Insight has to offer.

The all-new Honda Insight is utilizing the latest hybrid technology from Honda, complete with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system and the newly upgraded Intelligent Power Unit (IPU). Honda focused on reducing weight, size, as well as cost for newer productions, while still maintaining Honda’s Fun to Drive concept.

The Insight, on first impression at KLIMS2010, looked familiar, as I’m sure many would already noticed. The technicalities behind the aerodynamic are that the car has a coefficient of drag at just 0.28. To explain, a vehicle will use at much a portion of the engine’s power (a huge portion, actually) to overcome resistance from going at high speed (it’s the wind, you see). A low amount of drag (which means a low resistance to the wind) will ultimately give better fuel efficiency as the wind can flow smoothly without any interference.

With 0.28 reading, the Insight is the world’s leader in terms of coefficient of drag. We tried the Insight for fuel efficiency the other day, and you know how far we managed to get per liter? One of the media team (each team consisted of 3 people, not necessarily over-sized) actually managed to get 25.8km/liter. Let me translate that with a RM30.00 using Ron95.

With RM30 of Ron95, you’ll get 15.789 liter. With 25.8km per liter, you’ll be able to travel around 407km (roughly estimated)! On normal days, my Satria can only give me at most 200km for RM30.00!

It is important to note that the media team that accomplished this did not drive like a half blind great-grandfather with no spectacles, and they were the first to arrive in Melaka.

Performance wise, well, as the talk goes about fuel efficiency, performance can sometimes be thrown out the window. The new Insight, however, is utilizing the latest 2 Stage i-VTEC technology, which means the car is not really a slowpoke. We managed to get 185km/h on the electronic speedometer while another media team managed to get 195km/h. Getting up there can be a little slow, which is on par with the 1.3 IMA engine, but the car is not designed for a drag race. The most optimum speed to cruise, we were told, is around 110km/h to 130km/h, which is around the legal speed limit here in Malaysia.

Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) tranny is used to achieve the best possible balance between fuel efficiency and performance.

The Insight’s interior is something else to be excited about. The cockpit doesn’t feel so complicated to understand, although a quick run-through the official Insight booklet did help to understand the Hybrid interface. Audio system, air conditioning controls, and pretty much everything is in direct syncing to Honda’s latest interior works; simple and working. Nothing too jazzy, except for the cool looking small round and green ‘ECON’ button on the right side of the steering wheel. Besides switching the ‘ECON’ mode on and off, it’s the only button in the interior that’s actually in colour and it’s green!

On the left side of the speedometer, a new Asst/Chrg hybrid interface will inform you whether the IMA is assisting the engine or the battery is being charged (by braking). Right in the middle of the speedometer, at the multi-info display, you can switch to the ‘Eco Guide’ mode, where the interface will tell you whether you’re driving economically or burning unnecessary fuel.

If the computer thinks you’re driving sensibly, you’ll get ‘leaves’ that are displayed as your ‘eco score’. Also, if you’re driving economically, the colour of the digital speedometer will change from blue (petrol-freak) to blue-green (not so petrol-freak) to full green (total tree-hugging mode). To get these leaves and cool modes, you need to press the cool looking green ‘ECON’ button first and switch it on. Once engaged, the system will limit the engine’s RPM through the CVT tranny and help reduce unnecessary fuel burning.

Other features include multi-function steering with audio/cruise buttons, really spacious trunk space with foldable rear seats (thanks to the smaller IPU), ISO fix for child safety bucket seats, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, and Creep Aid system. No, the Creep Aid system will not help you to get rid of creeps, but will prevent your car from sliding down when transitioning between the brake and throttle pedal. Vehicle Stability Assist is also available to assist in tight situations.

Honda Genuine Accessories are available for the car which include front under spoiler, rear under spoiler, side skirting, door visor and 16” alloys. The accessories can be bought under Package Alpha (aerodynamic kit) or Package Beta (side step garnishes, trunk tray, foot light and sport pedals).

The Honda Insight Hybrid can be bought at RM98,000.00 (on the road with insurance). Head on over to Honda Malaysia’s website for more info or call them at 1-800-88-2020 between 9am to 5pm weekdays. Look out for our full review soon.

Honda Insight Hybrid specification

Engine: 1.3liter Inline-4 Cylinder SOHC 2-stage i-VTEC + IMA
Power: 87hp (engine) + 13hp (IMA)
Torque: 121Nm (engine) + 78 (IMA)
Wheels: 16” alloy wheels 185/55R16
Dual SRS airbags
Creep Aid System
Advanced Compatibility Engineering Body
Reverse Sensor

words & pix: Syawal Ahmad


  1. Posted by lee on May 25th, 2011, 13:55

    my insight can only give me average of 450km per tank … roughly about 14-15km per litre … but definitely not 25km per litre even in high way the most can get 20km per litre only.

    wonder any wrong with my insight

  2. Posted by Traffic Mag on May 26th, 2011, 13:53

    it might be the way you drive it… keep it green and you’ll be running on battery instead of fuel. if the problem still continues, you should go to the nearest honda dealer and get it sorted out.

  3. Posted by lalla on November 20th, 2011, 14:19

    the best about this car is, it keeps the owner away from driving fun, instead, the owner keeps on counting mileage and the leaves.

    well, might as well buy a 50k car ,and keep the rest of the money in the bank, and counting the interest you earn from that.


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