MOTORING NEWS - Honda has released an updated and improved version of its Insight hybrid family car. The revised 2012 model year Honda Insight is the cleanest and most frugal to date. Revisions to the Insight's 1 339cc engine have achieved further reductions in both fuel consumption and carbon exhaust emissions.
The combined cycle fuel consumption of the latest Insight now claims a fuel consumption of 4.3l/100 km, while carbon exhaust emissions are said to have been reduced to 103g/km. The exterior also benefits from subtle changes, many of which have been inspired by further efforts to improve the aerodynamic efficiency.
The front grille design has been revised, while the rear gets a slimmer, more aerodynamic spoiler and reworked tailgate garnish. Inside, there has been a greater focus on the use of quality materials and finishes. Suspension settings have been tweaked in the interests of improved ride comfort, stability and refinement.
The 2012 model's fresher front-end treatment combines a typical Honda "face" with a narrower grille and slimmer headlights. The smoother front bumper is closely integrated with the new grille and headlights, affording significant gains in aerodynamic efficiency. The new, slimmer roof spoiler has not only been designed to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics, but has the added benefit of improving rear visibility through the wider glass area.
A smarter licence plate garnish has been included in the 2012 package, while the indicator surrounds are now keyed in blue to highlight the Insight's hybrid identity. Improved rear packaging has resulted in a 10mm increase in rear headroom. This has been achieved by adjusting the angle of the rear seat and reprofiling the headlining, which now features curved edges.
Not all the improvements to the cabin are visible, though. Engine and road noise has been further reduced by paying particular attention to the intrusion of noise from the suspension and tyres. The steel front lower suspension arms have been replaced by lighter, stiffer aluminium versions, while a new tyre specification has also benefited noise abatement.
The comprehensive standard specification includes electric windows, remote central loc-king, a six-speaker sound system with MP3/WMA playback capability and an iPod/USB port, climate control, cruise control and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors. Leather seats and seat heaters, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windscreen wi-
pers and auto headlights are also standard.
Safety is comprehensively addressed via front, side and curtain airbags, together with ISOFIX child seat mountings, active head restraints and inertia reel seatbelts. The 2012 Insight comes with auto doorlock and selective unlock. Combined, the petrol engine and electric motor deliver 73kW and 167Nm.
The Honda Insight retails for R272 500 and is covered by a three year or 100 000km warranty and a five year or 90 000km service plan. Service intervals are every 15 000km.