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The petrol/hybrid Insight is struggling to keep up with Honda’s excellent new 1.6 diesel as the green choice for company car drivers and will be withdrawn at the end of this year…

Honda Insight 1.3 i-VTEC IMA Hybrid CVT HS

What is it?

 Once in the vanguard of Honda’s low CO2 emission hybrid assault on the SME small fleet market, the five-door Insight hatchback, with its petrol/elctric drivetrain, is coming to the end of its shelf life as Honda concentrates its fire-power on diesel engines.

 

Honda_Insight_hybrid_review
…but it still only attracts a company car tax bill of £43 a month

What’s hot?

  • Newer cars may have overtaken the Honda Insight in the low CO2 stakes, but the car still delivers on 99g/km CO2 and economy of 68.9mpg…
  • …which for company car users paying tax at 20% means a miserly £43 monthly company car tax bill for 2014/15.
  • Our review car averaged over 50mpg on a combination of short urban runs and motorway work.
    Honda_Insight_hybrid_review
    Decent spec though some of the plastics are rather hard
  • Eco mode button helps you boost economy.
  • If you’re used to diesel rumble, the Insight is pleasantly quiet (although occasional road surfaces do catch the tyres out with roar).
  • If you’re gentle on the throttle the CVT transmission is seemlessly smooth (as it should be) with auto stop also unobtrusive.
  • Decent spec includes four electric windows, front fogs, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and 16 inch alloys.
  • Usefully deep underfloor compartment in the boot.
  • In-built Honda reliability a major plus point for small businesses wanting cast-iron reliability.

 

Honda_Insight_hybrid_review
Press on, and it gets rather noisy. It’s a car for relaxed motorway cruises, not speedy cross-country hacks

What’s not?

  • Accelerate hard and the engine sounds pained; use the Sport mode on the auto transmission and things get worse with the high pitched whine of the CVT joining in the commotion…
  • …best not to, and drive more gently, more relaxed.
  • There’s no sat nav or Bluetooth on this spec – business users would be better off paying the additional £1k for the HS-T spec model.
  • Interior plastics are hard and scratchy.
  • Flat boot floor is useful but battery means boot is shallow.
  • Steering is light around town, but needs more feel on the motorway to prevent lane wander.
  • The Insight has been overtaken for CO2 emissions and fuel economy by the brilliant 1.6 diesel engine in its sister Civic hatchback.

page 2>>

 

 

Honda_Insight_hybrid_review
It’s still a sound company car, and if the hybrid model suits your motoring, you should take a look while the Insight is still around

Business Car Manager Verdict

The Honda Insight with its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid transmission was once a hi-tech CO2 leader and wallet stretching mile pounder with its excellent fuel economy – especially when Honda sorted the original suspension and specifications to suit business drivers (see Honda adds business appeal with new EX Insight hybrid).

But what was once a company car tax leader has been overtaken by the superior diesel technology found in cars like the latest Honda Civic 1.6 diesel.

And Honda knows this is where its small fleet future lies with small businesses and SMEs. So the Insight is being wound down and will exit showrooms by the end of 2014.

But while the Honda Insight has its flaws – and there are numerous you could point to – the car has a real charm in the way it goes about its business.

Relaxed, company car tax efficient, and economical, the Insight can reel off the motorway miles without the background rumble of a diesel that is quite refreshing. The Insight might be close to pensioner status, but it’s an ageing eco-warrior having its last hurrah.

Click here for Ralph’s blog about the Honda Insight.

 

The Low Down…

Doors and body style 5-door hatchback
Engine/gearbox 1.3 litre 4-cyl petrol/CVT auto
CO2 Emissions 99g/km
Economy 65.7mpg
Power/torque 98PS/121Nm
0-62mph/top speed 12.5secs/113mph
Insurance group 15

…and what it costs

P11D Value £21,295
Monthly business rental (ex VAT) From £300 (3+35 months/30,000 miles)
Road tax (VED) Band A
Company Car Tax Bands 2014/15 to 2016/17 12%, 14%, 16%
Benefit in kind (BIK) 2014/15 to 2016/17 £2549, £2974, £3398
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%) £521/£43
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%) £1042/£87
Annual/monthly company car tax (20%) £510/£43
Annual/monthly company car tax (40%) £1020/£85
Figures correct at time of posting 
For latest figuresUse our company car tax calculator


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