Introduced in late 1999 as one of the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicles in the world, Honda's fuel-efficient Insight gasoline-electric hybrid car now is also available with an advanced continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) for 2002.
With EPA fuel economy ratings of 57 mpg in the city, 56 mpg highway and a driving range of more than 500 miles, the Insight CVT is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in America with an automatic transmission. It is also the second most fuel-efficient vehicle overall - behind only the Insight equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission with EPA ratings of 61 mpg city and 68 mpg highway.
The Insight CVT is completely automatic and provides virtually an infinite range of gear ratios for smooth and stepless shifting, combined with maximum efficiency and performance. These advantages make the CVT an ideal transmission for the high-mileage Insight hybrid. The Insight CVT also has a unique "idle stop" feature, allowing consumers to avoid wasting gas while waiting at red lights or idling in traffic. The engine automatically re-starts when the driver's foot is removed from the brake pedal.
The Insight is now equipped with Honda's exclusive Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system that merges the world's lightest 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline automobile engine with a thin and lightweight electric motor for improved efficiency and added power when needed. The electric motor also acts as a generator during braking or coasting downhill to recharge the IMA batteries. The Insight's battery pack never needs to be recharged by an external power source and, in fact, cannot be "plugged in."
The Insight was designed from the ground up to achieve world-class fuel economy and ultra low emissions. This was accomplished by using a combination of forward-thinking technologies, including the hybrid powertrain, sophisticated aerodynamic design and lightweight aluminum body. Under the hood, the gasoline engine is smaller and more fuel-efficient due to the electric motor providing low-end torque and power assist when necessary. Since the electric motor is not the only propulsion resource, the motor and battery pack can be smaller and lighter than in a pure electric vehicle. The motor acts as a generator during deceleration and braking to recharge the IMA batteries.
The Insight offers an extensive assortment of standard features, including anti-lock brakes, electric power steering, dual air bags, AM/FM stereo cassette, power windows and mirrors, power door locks with keyless entry, anti-theft Immobilizer system and available automatic air conditioning.
Since its launch, the Honda Insight has accumulated numerous accolades including:
- Automotive Market Environmental Sensitivity (AMES) -- "Preferred Subcompact"
- American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) -- "Greatest Vehicles for 2001"
- Popular Mechanics -- "Design & Engineering" Award
- Automobile Magazine -- "2000 Technology of the Year"
- Popular Science -- "Best of What's New" Award
- American Woman Motorscene -- "Most Likely to Change the World"
- Clean Car Coalition -- "Clean Car Salute"
- Edmunds.com -- "Most Significant New Vehicle"
- Sierra Club -- "Environmental Engineering"