The Insight is Japanese Honda
's entry into the hybrid
with electric generator motor
arena, following the Toyota Prius
The styling is distinctive and futuristic, as you would expect of this "new wave" vehicle. It looks sort of like a malformed Honda Civic. The car is aerodynamically sound, producing a mere 0.29 Cd (drag coefficient). Since the purpose of a hybrid car is mileage, mileage, mileage, it does not offer too much in the way of engine power -- a 1.0-liter, SOHC inline three-cylinder Honda engine with computer-assisted VTEC-E techology helps put out a good 67 hp @ 5700 rpm. The Insight is also available with a Continously Variable Transmission (CVT, or a "gearless" automatic transmission), which robs the car of two hp.
However, the CVT model meets California's extremely harsh Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standards, and gets an amazing 57 miles per gallon in city (stop-and-go) conditions, with 56 highway (the manual transmission Insight meets Ultra Low ULEV, and gets 61 mpg city, 68 mpg highway).