Honda debuts 2012 Insight hybrid

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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When Honda introduced its second-generation Insight hybrid in 2009 as a 2010 model, it was touted as being a less costly alternative to the well-known Toyota Prius. In truth, many drivers commended the Insight for its driving dynamics and fuel economy. Yet, there were others that criticized the car's build quality and the fact that it wasn't as powerful or fuel-efficient as more expensive hybrids. For the 2012 model year, Honda has made a series of revisions to the Insight, which should improve its market appeal among a host of even more competitive hybrids.

New 2012 Insights benefit from an improvement in fuel economy due to slippery aerodynamics and powertrain revisions. Though the exact fuel economy rating has yet to be divulged, expect the 2012 Insight to consume approximately 4.5 to 5 L/100 km depending on the vehicle specification. Additionally, Honda says the Insight emits a relatively low 96 grams of CO2 per kilometre when equipped with 15-inch wheels. That figure climbs to 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre when the car is optioned with 16-inch wheels.

Exterior revisions include a new front grille and bumper design as well as revised headlights. Around the back, the Insight features a slim tail spoiler, which allows for a wider glass area and therefore better rear visibility. Interior upgrades include new seat fabric and black wood panels. There's also a slight increase in headroom of 10-mm for rear-seat passengers.

In an effort to reduce noise and vibration the 2012 Honda Insight uses newly developed tires, while the front lower suspension arms are made of aluminum instead of steel. The switch from steel to aluminum reduces overall vibration and therefore implies a more comfortable driving experience.

When the second-generation Insight debuted (the first was a two-seat "sports" model that ushered in the hybrid segment along with Toyota's Prius), it was outfitted with a 1.3-litre engine and a DC brushless electric motor. The hybrid powertrain developed 98 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. Since no power figures for the 2012 Insight have been announced, it's expected that the updated version will generate similar if not the same output as last year's model.

All of its little revisions may help the 2012 Insight to win over some of its past critics while reaffirming its value among Honda's hybrid faithful.

The 2012 Insight is expected to arrive in Canada later this year.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Hybrid, HEV, Honda, 2012, Insight, $20,000 - $29,999,

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