A history of the Honda Insight
Want to know more about the Honda Insight hatchback? Find out with our guide to this popular model.
The Honda Insight hatchback is a relatively new hybrid electric vehicle that has been in production since 1999. First assembled in Mie in the city of Suzuka, the Honda Insight is a ground-breaking vehicle and the first of its kind to feature an Integrated Motor Assist system. The initial generation of production lasted from 1999 to 2006 and this model was a three-door hatchback.
In terms of eco-friendly credentials, Honda went all out to provide the motoring world with a vehicle that not only performed but reached the top of its category. Their Insight model manufactured in 2000 was given the highest ranking as the best certified gasoline-fuelled automobile by the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This was on account of its 61 miles to the US gallon fuel efficiency when on the highways and 53 miles per US gallon on city and highway roads combined.
The first generation model was based on the Honda J-VX concept vehicle that was showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997. After its launch in Japan in November 1999, the Honda Insight became North America’s first hybrid vehicle release the following month. Its body featured lightweight aluminium as part of a 3-door subcompact hatchback. In order to boost its eco-friendly credentials, the Honda Insight featured no air conditioning and single trim manual transmission. It was not until later models that two further trims came onto the market featuring continuously variable transmission (CVT) and manual transmission with automatic climate control.
Honda introduced the second generation 5-door Insight which is currently in production in 2009. The aim for this model was to make the Insight more affordable and to showcase the fifth generation of their Integrated Motor Assist hybrid powertrain feature.
Even the engine of the Honda Insight is lightweight, having been manufactured from aluminium, plastic and magnesium materials to keep weight to a minimum and maximise fuel efficiency. Behind the seats of the Honda Insight are the “D” sized NiMH batteries which drive the car’s electric motor and offer power during deceleration. There is also an Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) underneath the cargo floor of the automobile.
Due to its energy efficiency, Honda Insight models are exempt from the London Congestion Charge as they are hybrid vehicles.