Our cars: What Car? test fleet - Honda Insight

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Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE
List price: £15,990
Target price: £15,336
Run by: Leo Wilkinson
Tested for: Four months/5100 miles

I was never an achiever at school. I passed everything, but the end-of-term reports must have been depressingly familiar to my parents: shows potential, but must do better.
It's a similar story with the Insight. It was billed as an affordable hybrid that demanded no compromises. So far, that's not been the reality.

First, the good bits. The Insight is fine value: this entry-level SE model costs less than £16k and has all the kit you need. It's practical, too, with a roomy cabin and a good-sized (if shallow) boot.

However, the Insight's cabin isn't particularly appealing, and front seats that feel like they're short of padding are, quite literally, a pain.

The problem is made worse by the poor ride quality. Whatever the surface or speed, the Insight bobs up and down like the nodding dog from the TV insurance ads.

No matter how hard I try to drive efficiently – and, believe me, I have tried – the Insight's fuel economy has been disappointing, too. An average of 46.3mpg is decent, but it's 18% below the official 64.2mpg figure.

I'll gloss over the noisy engine, jerky start-stop system and vague steering for now. Maybe the Insight is a late developer and, like me, will come good in the end.
Leo.Wilkinson@whatcar.com

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