1 Dec 2010
The Insight was the first hybrid vehicle to become Japan’s top-selling model bar none within two months of its domestic market release in February 2009, and when launched in Australia in late 2010 it was the countries cheapest hybrid.
While the Insight undercut Toyots’s Prius on price, it didn’t match its efficiency, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 4.5L/100km (compared with 3.9L/100km for Prius) and CO2 emissions of 109g/km (versus 89g/km for Prius).
But the MkII Insight was not just pitched as a direct rival for the Prius, but also volume-selling non-hybrid small cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Subaru Impreza.
It employed a smaller, lighter and more powerful version of the Civic Hybrid’s electric motor-assisted SOHC i-VTEC 1.3-litre four-cylinder powertrain and the battery pack – nickel-metal hydride, like Prius – was 31 per cent smaller and 35 per cent lighter than the Civic Hybrid’s.
Matched with a continuously variable (automatic) transmission as standard, Insight delivered 65kW of power at 5800rpm and 121Nm of torque at 4500rpm, while the electric motor output was 10kW at 1500rpm and 78Nm at 1000rpm.
Standard equipment across the range included six airbags (twin front, front-side and side curtain), stability/traction control, ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, five three-point seatbelts and head restraints, active front head restraints, paddle shifters, climate-control, remote central locking, cruise control, steering wheel reach and rake adjustment, halogen headlights, LED brake tail-lights, manual driver’s seat adjustment, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with USB/AUX input and steering wheel controls, cloth seats, power windows, luggage cover and rear parking sensors.
The flagship VTi-L also gained voice-activated touch-screen DVD-based satellite-navigation with the SUNA traffic management system and a reversing camera, a multi-function trip computer, leather-clad steering wheel, driver’s seatback pocket, an auto up/down front passenger window, automatic wipers, four bottle holders, fog-lights, automatic headlights and indicators in both door mirrors.
When it was new