I had the chance to take one of the new Honda Insights for a brief test drive last week. I didn't take it out for a highway test, but a brief spurt around the neighborhood was satisfying.
It's a small car, two-seater/two-door hatchback, with much of the rear
cargo area sacrificed for the batteries. It looks like a lot of fun to
me, with reasonable performance and great fuel efficiency. Comparing
specifications with our mundane 1983 Nissan Sentra shows that they
probably could make a larger, more practical vehicle with the same power
|2000 Honda Insight||1983 Nissan Sentra|
|Curb weight||1878 lbs||1980 lbs|
|Engine||1.0l inline 3-cyl.||1.6l inline 4-cyl.|
|Power||73 hp @5700rpm
67 (gas motor only)
|67 hp @5200rpm|
|Torque||91 ft-lb @2000rpm
66 (gas motor only)
|85 ft-lb @3000rpm|
|(both with manual 5-speed transmission)|
|Fuel tank||10.6 US gal||13.25 US gal|
|Mileage||61/70 mpg||30-35 (actual)|
|Range||600+ miles!||c.400 mi.|
|Electric motor||10kW @3000rpm|
|Battery||6.5 Ahr, 120 cell (144V) NiMH|
One of the interesting things about driving it is that when you stop completely and shift into neutral, the motor shuts off. Shift back into gear, and it very gently bips back to life. I'm sorry I didn't pay more attention to the gages, as there are indicators for "charge/assist" and instantaneous and cumulative fuel efficiency that would have been fun to watch.
Honda's websight has more about the car's engineering if you're interested. You may get more information (with less bias) from this self-proclaimed independent site, Insight Central.
Disclaimer: I own a small amount of HMC stock. The last Honda I bought was a motorcycle, in 1972.
Jan. 29, 2000
Tom von Alten