2010 Honda Insight; photo courtesy Honda. Click image to enlarge
By Jim Kerr
2010 Honda Insight
It’s not often that an automobile dash display makes such an impression that I would deem it worthy of a complete article, but Honda’s new hybrid, the 2010 Insight, has a display that is an exception. This innovative display not only gives you the basic information in a clear manner, it provides additional information to help you drive better. The major impact of the Insight dash display is that it will change many of our driving habits to a more economical style – something worth writing about.
Starting with the basics, the Insight uses a two-tier display similar to the current Civic models. The speedometer is located in its own display near the top of the dash so the driver doesn’t have to take his/her eyes off the road. Other gauges and the information centre (Honda calls it a MID – Multi Information Display) are located in a lower display below the speedometer.
While all the information is useful and some is even interesting, the part that changes your driving habits is colourful. The speedometer uses an Ambient Meter background that continuously varies from a medium blue to a green colour as you drive to indicate how efficiently you are driving the vehicle.
Fuel economy feedback devices are not new. A simple vacuum gauge can be used to indicate more efficient acceleration. Keep the vacuum needle as high as possible for the best fuel economy. Some companies even sold “fuel economy” gauges that had red, yellow and green areas. Green of course gave the best fuel economy. This fuel economy display was nothing more than a vacuum gauge with a colour display instead of numbers.
Electronics have enabled driver information displays that show instantaneous fuel economy and average fuel economy readouts, but like all previous displays, these are soon forgotten as you drive along. Typically the driver only pays attention to these displays when they want to check fuel mileage.