Our cars: Honda Insight

* Our new long-term test car * Going green just got easier * First 2175 miles reviewed...

Our cars: Honda Insight

Being an eco-friendly driver has just got cheaper, thanks to the new Honda Insight.

It seems that everyone wants to be seen to do their bit for the environment these days. No one's going to miss my efforts, because it turns out that the Cerulean Blue paint I chose for my new Honda Insight is brighter than I thought.

It's a car that's worth drawing attention to, however, because it's the most affordable hybrid yet. If everyone that could afford one bought one, CO2 emissions would be slashed overnight or so Honda's reasoning goes.

Getting the Insight
I picked up the Insight from Chiswick Honda (0845 337 3472), where sales advisor Nozomu Tokunaga showed me around the car. It uses the latest incarnation of Honda's 'Integrated Motor Assist' (IMA) technology. An 87bhp1.3-litre petrol engine does most of the work, but a 13bhp electric motor provides extra shove when you need it, and can power the car at low speed.

A stop-start system also saves fuel and cuts emissions, while the battery is charged using the energy created when braking. The Insight's low weight and slippery shape also help make it s efficient as possible.

No shortage of equipment
You don't get short-changed on kit in the entry-level SE model. All this comes as standard:
•Electric windows
•Auxiliary socket,
•Electric folding door mirrors
•Stability control
•Six airbags

The only option I went for was the paint job.

The extra kit on pricier versions includes larger wheels, but I actually prefer the design of the SE's 15-inch alloys. More importantly, they drop CO2 emissions from 105- to 101g/km, and fuel economy rises from 61.4mpg to 64.2mpg.

That makes the Insight one of the cleanest cars around but just how clean depends on how you drive it, of course. There are some features to nudge me in the right direction: at the flick of a switch, the Econ Mode alters how the engine management and air-con systems react to use as little fuel as possible, while an 'Eco Assist' display on the dash shows me how efficiently I'm driving.

I've managed to do a fair few miles in the Insight already, and all have been fuss-free. Now I'm keen to find out whether it's as green as Honda says, or whether it'll leave me as blue as its paint.

[Leo.Wilkinson](mailto:Leo.Wilkinson@whatcar.com?subject=Our cars)