NEW FOR 2012:

– New front and rear styling and upgraded interior
– New wheel designs
– Improved fuel economy

The Honda Insight hybrid was temporarily suspended for 2011 due to production issues caused by the Japanese earthquake. It returns for 2012 with new front and rear styling, and with upgraded materials in its interior. Fuel economy improves due to enhanced aerodynamics, reduced engine friction and energy-efficient tires.

The Insight uses a 1.3-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC gasoline engine, including Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) which virtually eliminates the pumping action of the cylinders during deceleration, allowing the motor/generator to more efficiently generate electricity to charge the battery. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) includes wheel-mounted paddle shifters for seven pre-set “gears” on the EX trim line. Its Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system uses a 10-kilowatt electric motor, along with a continuously variable transmission. The Insight can’t take off from a standing start on electric power alone, but it can run solely on its battery during steady cruising at around mid-40 km/h. It also shuts off at idle, and is started again by the electric motor, instead of a conventional starter. The nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery is stored under the floor, allowing for the rear seats to be folded flat.

A four-door hatchback model is the sole configuration, available in two trim lines.

Features on the LX include 15-inch steel wheels, automatic climate control, active front head restraints, heated power mirrors, LED taillamps, Eco Assist, exterior temperature display, power windows with driver’s auto up/down, power locks with keyless entry, cruise control, tilt and telescopic wheel, cargo under-floor storage, driver’s vanity mirror, CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers and auxiliary input, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, driver’s manual height adjustment, and floor mats.

The EX adds 15-inch alloy wheels, vehicle stability assist, traction control, wheel-mounted shifter paddles, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, cargo cover, centre armrest with concealed storage, rear seatback pockets, passenger vanity mirror, glove compartment light, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite-linked navigation system, map lights, six speakers, wheel-mounted audio controls, and USB device connector.

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