2010 Honda Insight
2010 Honda Insight. Click image to enlarge

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Article and photos by Paul Williams

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2010 Honda Insight

A popular way to introduce a new vehicle to the Canadian market is to drive one from coast-to-coast, stopping at interesting locations en route. Several manufacturers have incorporated this drive as a component of their vehicle introduction strategy recently, including Honda Canada, which arranged for 24 journalists to pilot the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid sedan from Vancouver, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

On its 7,400 kilometre cross-country journey held in the spring of 2009, the “Insight into Canada” car stopped at locations featuring an environmental theme, where drivers were able to show and discuss the car with interested Canadians. Observations on the drive and points of interest were blogged on the event website (insightintocanada.ca).

Given Autos’s involvement over the years in many events that promote fuel efficient driving (50-litre Challenge; Fuel Efficiency Challenge), my task was to drive the Insight as fuel efficiently as possible from downtown Ottawa to the Biosphere Museum (formerly the Expo ’67 American Pavilion) in Montreal, a distance of about 200 kilometres.

2010 Honda Insight
2010 Honda Insight. Click image to enlarge

However, I was told that a couple of drivers had already driven the “Insight into Canada” vehicle at 4.1 litres/100 km. You don’t get much better than that from a production car, so my work was cut out for me.

As it turned out, I drove the Insight 220 km, and it returned 3.8L/100 km, which, I later learned, is something of a record. Many people asked how I did that, especially given that the car’s “official” fuel consumption on the highway is rated at 4.5 L/100km, and usually the official numbers are hard to achieve in everyday driving.

Well, first of all, this wasn’t everyday driving, as I was working hard at minimizing fuel consumption. But on the other hand, it was a genuine drive starting in downtown Ottawa, continuing along the city’s Airport Parkway and through suburban Orleans, along Highway 17 with stops at Alfred and Hawkesbury (for lunch), then onto the multilane highways into Montreal (and its notoriously dense traffic).

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