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Honda Insight Hybrid car review – eco-warrior’s swansong

Still a very competent option, especially if your driving patterns suits a hybrid.
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31 March 2014

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is struggling to keep up with Honda’s excellent new 1.6 diesel as the green choice for company car drivers and will be withdrawn at the end of this year…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

 

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…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.
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    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.

 

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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.

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Matt Morton

Matt Morton

Matt Morton is an automotive content writer for Business Car Manager

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