Honda Insight Review – A fuel-efficient hybrid car on the road!


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Ermm.. not quite.. since Honda Malaysia won’t hand me the keys; and attempts at “carrying” the Insight off from the event proved futile! 🙁

A few blogposts back, I shouted out about my test drive session with the Honda Insight.
A few hundred kilometres later; I’m back, smarter and better informed on how a hybrid car works.
So here’s it is, my thoughts as a young (ahem), female, urbanite driver on the Honda Insight.

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“What is hybrid technology? What is the fuss about “green cars” ? Are they powered by solar?”

honda insight blogger drive

From the start of our day at Jaya One, the term “fuel efficiency” was on the fly.
After all, the MAIN reason to drive a hybrid (God, doesn’t it sound like like some Biochemistry term there? ) is You’ll boost your “coolness quotient.” Going Green & Saving Green aka $$”.

Below: Harv, our drive consultant briefed us through the myriad of buttons and what’s important for us to note of during our drive.

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Going green =

* Hybrids can run on alternative fuels (in this case motor), decreasing our dependency on fossil fuels
* Less guilt for polluting the environment:
–> Low emission – Emits Co2 at 109g/km instead of 180g */km that normal conventional car emits.
–> Fuel efficient – 29km/L** compare to a normal car 15km/L
* Drivers do not need to change their habits at all. You are not required to learn or do anything differently to drive a Hybrid though there are certain points you should consider (points under DRIVING TIPS below)

Saving green aka $$ =

* Fuel efficiency = less fuel burned per kilometre and more bang for your buck.
So from one year of driving a Hybrid, the difference of of total fuel consumption can fuel your first/next pair of sexy Jimmy Choos!OH YEAY! Motivated to drive a Hybrid yet?? :P
* Also, the Honda Insight which was launched in 2010 is the most affordable hybrid in Malaysia that cost less than RM100, 000.

So the first thing for anyone seeking to understand hybrid cars is to know how the car work.



Hybrid = engine and electric motor = fuel efficient vehicle

1. And NO, it’s not solar-powered. At least the current hybrids on Malaysian roads aren’t.

2. POWER comes from MOTOR (Electricity la) and petrol. YUP, we still need petrol.

Infographics 1A - Honda Hybrid - What & How

Different stages of driving : What the motor does, when it assisted the car and when fuel is used.

Infographics 1B - Honda Hybrid - What & How

Infographics 1C - Honda Hybrid - What & How

Interesting yea? So as you can see, the motor assist at times, and that’s when less fuel is burned. And thus you save fuel + money ($$)!
But all that in theory. How do you know it’s actually working while you’re driving?
There’s this screen on the dashboard for you to keep in- sight (pun intended) of what your Insight is up to.

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EXAMPLE: Stage 3. Acceleration – Engine operates with motor assist
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EXAMPLE: Stage 5. Braking/Slowing down – charges IMA battery
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EXAMPLE: Stage 4. High Speed Cruising – Engine operates alone

Note: Pics above taken while the Insight is on the move to illustrate the motor + engine mechanism.



Driving tips:

1. Step on the accelerator – NOT!!!!
The key to fuel efficiency is GOOD driving habits and steady acceleration/slowing down. Be light footed & steadily build up the momentum to get to the speed that you want.

2. Brake hard. That’s what the brakes are for right??
NOPE!! Release the accelerator, allowing the car to slow down as you approach your desired stopping point while pressing the brakes gently.

3. Fast and furious driving. Drift it!
DON’T drive like a mad man. This is NOT to say the Honda Insight can’t be fast, I have driven it at 151km/hr on the highway (see below) and it was smooth enough. However, the Insight is not made for racing. It’s optimised for CITY-DRIVING.

Below: Thanks to Nik for taking the pictures as I pushed the Insight for speed on the highway.

honda insight acceleration


Now, with some basic insight on the Honda Insight out of the way, are you ready to take a ride with me? :P


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A lot of us agreed that the blue colour Insight is such a doll…
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Sporty lights.
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I thought the front was spacious enough, though there were grumbles around from the fat.. ermm..I meant tall ones that their legs kept bumping into the dashboard.

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The panel that tells you everything you need to know about your car.
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Way too many buttons for me. But useful, I’m eerr..sure.
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More buttons to make your life/driving easier.
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Control buttons on the steering wheel – audio, cruise control and Multi-Information Display
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Space for more junk! Let’s see..this will fit my lipgloss, pens, hairclips, vitamins…
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Compartments for F & B. Chocolates anyone? 🙂
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Oh, I love these infographics :P.
It’s so nice and colourful and concises the necessary information without too many words! Here’s one that illustrates the design:

Infographics 3C - Features and Benefits of Honda Insight

And we are off!! :P


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The pre-planned route took us on diverse terrains in order for us to get a feel of the car handling in different situations.

Winding roads. I happened to be the one behind the wheel for this stretch. The Insight needs very little steering and I felt at ease thoroughout the drive.

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Rural areas, where the motocyclist drives on the middle of lane and think they own the road.

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Patience Becky..patience… Grrrrrr……

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Through police road blocks… :P

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Heavy traffic at some stretch. I’m happy to report that there were no casualties. 🙂

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On the highway.

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Narrow lanes.

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Comfort factor during the drive:

I could work on the go (minus internet connectivity cos I forgot my YES dongle) on my trusty Acer Aspire S3! :P

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You can reach for your stuffs from the boot without stopping the car and opening the boot.

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The drive was long and we alternatively took the wheel as there are 3 bloggers per car. I took a nap at the back seat and snoozed peacefully til it was my turn again.
(Picture not posted for obvious reasons.. :P)


Safety first!

As with all their vehicles, Honda ensures that optimum safety features are in place.

Infographics 3E - Features and Benefits of Honda Insight

And the last COOL feature that I’m going to share with you isssssssssssssss…………………

The ECON Assist feature and Econ Mode button.

Now this is extremely cool.
Ok, I admit I’m darn “jakun” la. This is my first time driving a hybrid car. To top that off, the interactivity of the car to driver is amazing. The panels tells you so much about your car and its behaviour. I thought that makes it a very driver-friendly car, and perfect for normal driver on the road.

  1. Insight is the first hybrid model in Malaysia that has Eco Assist that helps driver to achieve fuel-efficient driving in three ways:


Infographics 3A - Features and Benefits of Honda Insight

Below: That little green button is the key.

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And this navigational buttons controls what you see on the panel in front of you.

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These are the screens that you’ll see as you navigate the buttons. There are all together 8 interfaces as below.

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Here I have for you the explanations of the interfaces.
See? There’s so much insights you’ll learn from your Honda Insight!  😀

Insight Quick Guide5

All of that information are available in the panel in front of you once you’re behind the wheel.

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Below: The panel shows your average speed.
Ok, I was just starting up the Insight ok. I don’t usually crawl at 7km/hr!

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Below: Average consumption of fuel of our Insight on the first leg of the drive was 17.5km/l of fuel.

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b) GUIDANCE FUNCTION:(Daily/Short term): Color on speedometer changes color according to driving style

i.            Blue – Uneconomical driving
ii.           BlueGreen – moderate fuel-efficient
iii.          Green – fuel-efficient

Below: I managed to shoot the speedometer in different colours at the same speed. This is to illustrate that it’s not all about speed (though speeding does affect fuel efficiency), but rather the style of driving. At the same speed, it can be uneconomical driving (you could be accelerating); and it can also be economical (you could be cruising steadily).


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c) SCORING FUNCTION:(Cumulatively/Long Term):

i. When ignition is ON à Grow ‘leaf’ while driving. The more fuel efficient driving style will encourage leaves to grow

ii. When ignition OFF à The grown leaves will accumulate and gradually form a trophy to indicate fuel-efficiency driving level: Beginner, Advanced, Congratulations, which is the final level.

Infographics 3B - Features and Benefits of Honda Insight

Below: See how my “leaf” grew??
Look mamma! I’ve got green fingers!  :P

eco guide

Last but not least, here’s a video – the whole trip summarised!!

Sing with me baby!
” Oooh oohhh.. I  have a feelinggggg an Insighttttttt….. oh yeaaaa
(Soundtrack: “I have a Feeling” by Flo Rida )

Honda Insight Bloggers Drive – Jan 2012 from RebeccaSaw on Vimeo.

The Honda Insight has won the 3rd most fuel efficiency car in its class at the Asian Auto Fuel Efficiency Awards 2011 dinner on 12th Jan 2012, which was just a day before the drive. And yes, that’s  Jordhatt.  :P

honda insight award night

Honda is certainly not a new player in the fuel efficiency compartment. The Honda Freed; launched a few years back, won 1st prize under the Compact MVP category. And yes, that’s Jordhatt again.

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Our experience wasn’t just all about the car and drive. We had our fun too!


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Scrumptious food!

avillion pd food

Our luxurious lodging at Philea Melaka. Needless to say, I slept like a pig. :P

Philea Resort & Spa, melaka

Thanks Honda Malaysia for the experience! 🙂

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My other Honda Drive experiences:

1. Sneak Preview: A day out in the Honda Freed

2. wackybecky in a Honda Freed

3. VIDEO – Honda Freed Day Out in summary!

All pictures taken with:

Samsung NX11

Related post: How can I improve My Car Sales Performance?

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Trish

    I’ve always wondered how a hybrid car works. Your explanation is very informative! 🙂 The car looks very attractive. When I have the money, maybe one day I’ll get it.

    1. rebeccasaw

      Err.. RM100K. You still studying.. work hard 😛

  2. Karen Dolphy

    Found your review very interesting, now I am determined to try test drive my ex’s.. hehe!

  3. Hong Wei

    Great post! =)
    Now i can understand more about hybrid care, and very tempted to get one. But its way too expensive to have one in Singapore.

    1. Rebecca

      Hey Hong Wei!
      Thanks for your comment. Whew! At least I know the effort of writing the blog post hasn’t gone to waste.
      Anyhow, it’s expensive to own any car in Sg, not to mention a hybrid.
      Malaysia here we get tax exemptions.. Sg dont’have?

    1. rebeccasaw

      Hhahah.. hang akan beli ke?? 😛
      Maybe Honda gives us media price!! hahaha

  4. Simon Har

    wow! very informative!!! and there’s prove of u speeding LOL

    1. Biopolymath

      North-South Expressway is my test bed for cars so why do I care?

    2. rebeccasaw

      Errmm all for the sake of test-driving the car! Its a requirement! 😀

    1. rebeccasaw

      Eh thanks 😛
      After writing the post, I think I can be Honda’s sales personnel already. LOL!

  5. floyd

    Hi Rebecca, very good insight (pun intended). I know more or less how hybrid cars work but your insight adds a lot to it. I like the pictorial story.
    RM100k is much more affordable than Toyota’s Prius. Very interesting choice for city driving.

    1. rebeccasaw

      Hey Floyd, thanks!!
      Good to knw the pictorials helps.
      Yeah, the drive was to explain to “layman” what’s a hybrid all about. I had to crack my head to re-tell what I learnt in the simplest form possible. Pics & simple English awls helps in this case 😀
      Yups, there’s a lot of people comparing this to Toyota Prius. I wonder too, the difference..hmmm..

  6. Sean

    maybe in 20 years’ time, we’ll all be driving hybrids (or something even cooler)! 😀

    1. rebeccasaw

      in 20 yrs time Sean, I rather not drive. WE FLY!! 😀

  7. Daniel

    151km/h…that’s too fast…slow down ya…

    1. rebeccasaw

      There were cars in front. Else I would have pushed it further 😛

  8. Kujie

    hahahaha… kak jie tak berani nak publish gambar over limit kat highway, takut jadi bahan bukti polis trafik…

  9. JAI @ JEJAI

    Wah penyokong arsenal pun ado..hehe..anyway great info

    1. rebeccasaw

      Hehhe! Thanks Jai!
      How have you been? Haven’t seen you since last year 😛

  10. June Tan

    A lot ppl commented this hybrid car will only last with 7 years. After 7 years u need to change the hybrid board which cost RM15k.. or more. How sure is this fact?

  11. KenJi

    Good Day,

    May i know the actual price of the battery replacement after 5 years? also may i know the weight of the battery?

    Thank You.

  12. KenJi

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for your reply.
    Awaiting fir ur good news. 🙂

  13. Isaac Tan

    I’m back. Haha really contemplating this car atm.

  14. Kelvin

    Hi Rebecca,
    Nice Insight review you have! The whole journey looks very fun too! Hope I get to join such event in future.

    By the way, I’ve a request. Can I get some Insight wallpaper from this post to for my website? Of course, in my post I will refer back to your site from the original source of your pictures. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. rebeccasaw

      Sure thing Kelvin, not a problem. I just browsed your site too. Great job. Drop me an email & I’ll see if I hv any further car events. I just attended te Audi A6 Hybrid & Citroen DS5 & DS6 launch last week.

  15. RJ

    Wallaaa….the instrument looks rather complicated…
    By the way what is the battery cost?

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