Comparative test: hybrid cars – when small plants bloom on board

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Hybrid cars – when small plants bloom on board

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-hybrid

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The aerodynamically cut Honda Insight II is strongly reminiscent of the Toyota Prius with its wedge shape.

Source: Honda

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-hybrid

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The hatchback model is supposed to offer space for five people, but only four passengers can sit comfortably in it.

Source: Honda

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-cars

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The interior of the Insight is neatly processed, but the hard plastic doesn’t exactly create a friendly atmosphere.

Source: Honda

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-test

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Honda wants to help its drivers save fuel with a virtual fuel-saving assistant.

Source: Honda

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-small

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The seats in the Honda Insight are comfortable, but the extreme hatchback takes up space in the rear. In addition, the driver can see very poorly to the rear.

Source: Honda

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-hybrid

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The batteries are housed in the Insight in the vehicle floor. The 408 liter trunk is not restricted by this.

Source: Honda

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By folding down the rear seat, the trunk volume of the Insight increases to 1017 liters.

Source: Honda

Comparative test: hybrid cars - when small plants bloom on board-cars

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The first generation of the Honda Insight came on the market as early as 1996. The car with the look that took getting used to was hardly to be seen on German roads.

Source: gms

The hybrid car Honda Insight rewards economical driving with virtual blooms. Nevertheless, it is not a serious opponent of the market leader Toyota Prius, because the Toyota is more comfortable and more economical. And yet the Insight has a decisive advantage over the most famous hybrid car in the world.

D.he background of the digital speedometer changes from green to turquoise, and when you accelerate strongly, it turns into a protesting dark blue. At the same time, stylized plants sprout in the tachometer display – the more economically the driver uses the gas, the greater his floriculture will be in the end.

There are enough didactically nicely packaged appeals for thrift in the new Insight, which Honda has recently been offering at prices starting at 19,550 euros. When "Hybrid for the masses “it should not only be an alternative to compact diesels, but also to the more expensive hybrid competitor Toyota Prius.

The insight (English: Insight) that an electric motor to support a gasoline engine could improve the ecological balance came to Honda in 1999. But the first Insight, a two-seater coupe with a futuristic body, is considered to be the world’s first three-liter car but a flop with 18,000 sales in seven years.

While Toyota has sold 1.7 million copies of the first two Prius generations to date, Honda has only sold 370,000 copies to date with the hybrids based on the Insight based on the Civic and Accord.

Toyota cleverly took on the hybrid theme thanks to massive advertising and support from screen celebrities from George Clooney to Heike Makatsch. The third generation of the Prius is a synonym for this drive. Honda, the smaller company dominated by engineers, only plays a subordinate role.

Because Honda, as the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, had other construction sites and did not have the financial strength to force hybrid technology like Toyota into the market with large but calculated losses. But also because the look and technology of the Honda hybrids were not well received by European customers.

That should change with the second insight. The hatchback body, sanded in the wind tunnel, with a rear end a la Audi A2 and Prius looks better than the good notchback predecessor, but has two disadvantages: little headroom on the back seat and a poor overview. There is more room for four than five adults inside.

In contrast to Toyota, where a power-split system allows the combustion engine and electric motor to operate independently, Honda relied on the alternative solution from the start. Disadvantage: Electric starting and long periods of silent driving are not possible in Insight.

Only when gliding at less than 50 km / h does the 14 hp electric motor take over the sole propulsion on a straight stretch for a maximum of two kilometers. It is primarily there to support the 88 hp 1.3 liter four-cylinder engine when accelerating. When braking, the electric motor becomes a generator and helps to charge the high-voltage battery with a capacity of just 0.6 kilowatt hours. An automatic start-stop system switches off the engine at the red traffic light.

The factory consumption of 4.4 liters can only be achieved in the Insight with extreme crawl speed. In the test, consumption between 5.0 and 6.0 liters was possible. Not bad values ​​for a family car that weighs 1.3 tons and can go up to 180 km / h, but the new Prius (standard consumption 3.9 liters, system output 136 hp) is easier to drive with a four or five in front of the decimal point than the too strong of Honda Insight depending on the individual driving style. Not to mention a BlueMotion Polo from VW.

Unusual for the otherwise emphatically dynamic brand Honda is the unsporting handling of the Insight: In curves it looks sedate, the steering is numb, the suspension stucky. The worst malus is the infinitely variable automatic, reminiscent of unfortunate DAF times: Its extreme rubber band effect is just as annoying as the howling engine noises when accelerating strongly. Only gentle acceleration and an angelic patience help. The only real fun in Insight is saving fuel.

Honda still believes in this affordable type of hybrid drive. And soon pushes two more cars with the power of two hearts: the sports coupe CRZ (2010) and 2012 the Jazz. But only if a Honda drives purely electrically for a longer period of time, the gap to Toyota could shrink. And make the driver feel good about seeing the virtual plants grow.

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