Jury still out on the 2010 Honda Insight

Honda’s 2010 lineup promises to offer car buyers more choices of fuel cell and electric automobiles that build on their highly successful hybrid technology.

These vehicles will deliver significantly better fuel efficiency ratings combined with a wide array of performance enhancement, and the automaker is reportedly making a number of vehicles, originally slated for release in 2011, available in the coming model year.

In response to the growing popularity of hybrids, Honda is said to be planning to make some of its conventional, gas powered vehicles available as hybrid options.

The Honda Insight, which began appearing in U.S. dealer’s showrooms this past April, has generated a lot of buzz, and the 2010 model is expected to gain a large fan base when it is released this coming year. With a base sticker price of just $19,800, the 2009 Insight is currently the least expensive hybrid in America.

Consumer Reports recently issued a less-than-favorable review of the Insight. Although the consumer reviews magazine commended the Insight for its 38 mpg overall fuel economy, it was highly critical of its ride quality, interior noise, poor ride quality and acceleration. Other shortcomings, according to the review, were the poor visibility and rear-seat configuration.

Other reviews have been far more positive, including those featured in Car and Driver, which praised the Insight for mild interior sound levels, “especially at freeway speeds,” and Motor Trend, which concluded that, "Honda worked hard to make the Insight the driver’s choice.”

One of the Insight’s most popular features is the Eco Assist™ technology which includes a Multi-Information Display (MID) screen that facilitates interaction between the driver and the vehicle. The MID dashboard provides constant feedback on driving habits and an overall assessment of each drive when the ignition is turned off. By evaluating the driver’s braking and accelerating habits and monitoring fuel consumption, the MID helps drivers modify their behind-the-wheel behavior to achieve maximum fuel efficiency.

Honda recently announced plans to incorporate some of the Insight’s highly popular, interactive dashboard features in the Honda Fit and in upcoming Civic models Honda has not indicated whether the feature will be available in its new FCX Clarity model.

The FXC Clarity, which runs on electricity and hydrogen fuel cells, recently received the World Green Car award and is now available in limited release primarily on the West Coast.

Posted in In the News

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