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Honda's second-generation hybrid is well priced but compromised

21 Jan 2011

AUSTRALIA’S cheapest hybrid is here, undercutting the Toyota Prius by almost 25 per cent while offering five seats, five-star ANCAP safety and serviceability at any old Honda dealer. The Insight II is the Japanese company’s attempt to make petrol-electric motoring mainstream, in a move that pitches it in the heart of up-spec Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf territory. Is this the dawn of a new era in the Australian small car segment, or is the Insight destined to languish as an offbeat curio – just like its previous namesake?
Model release date: 1 December 2010 to 1 February 2014

Previous model

Honda Insight

Released: March 2001
Ended: June 2004
Family Tree: Insight

HONDA’S original Insight was Australia’s first hybrid model, beating the first generation of Toyota’s now-iconic Prius here by more than six months., , , However, a starting price of $48,900 limited the appeal of the futuristic coupe – powered by a 56kW hybrid drive system comprising a 995cc triple-cylinder petrol engine – limited sales to a total of just 55 Down Under., , , While the first Prius (sedan) cost $39,990 and came with a 53kW 1.5-litre petrol-electric drivetrain when it arrived in October 2001, Honda’s first Insight was discontinued locally in June 2004, following the launch of the MkII Prius, and its frugal fuel consumption is yet to be matched by any vehicle., , , The MkI Insight has since become a collector’s item, with some examples having notched up more than 400,000km.

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