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Click on image above to see a full gallery of the EcoDesafio Honda Insight in Barcelona

The first generation the Honda Insight wasn't offered for sale in most European markets, including Spain. The Honda Civic hybrid is available here, but hasn't seen too many sales, in part because diesel is usually cheaper than gasoline. Honda thought that it would be a good idea to promote its new Insight hybrid using a slightly more intensive marketing campaign. Named the "EcoDesafío Honda Insight" (Honda Insight EcoChallenge), a new event asks drivers from all around Spain to participate in a big challenge: how well can you hypermile the new Insight? The event is currently being held in different cities around the country and we hit up last weekend's event in Barcelona. What was this all about? Follow us after the jump.

Cars waiting for the Eco Desafio
  • Cars waiting for the Eco Desafio
  • At the Hotel Miramar in Barcelona, 10 Honda Insight were ready for the fuel efficiency test
  • EcoDesafio Honda Insight
  • The event was planned for potential customers to test their high mileage driving skills
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Cars at the hotel court waiting for contestants
  • EcoDesafio Honda Insight
  • A few more cars parked at the Hotel Miramar court in Barcelona
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Cars starting to leave with drivers testing their hypermiling skills
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Cars leaving the Hotel court to perform the urban circuit that tested their hypermiling skills
  • EcoDesafio Honda Insight
  • Cars leaving the hotel court to start their hypermiling test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Cars leaving the Hotel Miramar court to perform the hypermiling test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Superbike racer Dani Pedrosa is the celebrity that promotes the event
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • This is yours truly keeping the mileage as high as possible being as gentle as possible on the accelerator pedal
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • The circuit totalled 7.9 km (5 miles). Contestants had to drive downhill the Montjuïc hill in Barcelona, drive through a few traffic lights to the Ronda Litoral (the city's bypass road) to exit at Cementiri de Montjuïc and climb uphill back to the hotel passing by the Olympic stadium and Fundació Miró
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Driving photo. As you can see, the models were the top-equipped Honda Insight Executive Navi
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • Back to the hotel, where more people were taking the Insights for a ride
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test.
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test. Here's the car's respectable trunk
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test. The car's engine bay.
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the cars used for the test. They even showed the battery pack to us
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the car interior.
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the car interior.
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the car interior.
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the car interior.
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the car interior. Door trim
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A few pictures of the car interior. Window lining
  • Ecodesafio Honda Insight
  • A picture of the view from Hotel Miramar of Barcelona's Seaport


We were greeted at the Hotel Miramar Barcelona where the first Spanish TV studio was built 60 years ago and which overlooks the sea and the city from the Montjuïc hill. There, we were inundated with all the benefits of the Honda Insight compared to a standard gasoline vehicle. We were also instructed on how to get the maximum miles per gallon during the short drive circuit. Since the Insight is an automatic car, we were instructed on how to use it, since most Europeans drive manuals.

The circuit was very simple. We just went downhill the Montjuïc mountain, took the Ronda Litoral (the city's seaside highway) towards the Montjuïc Cemetery, then headed back to the hotel. On the return trip, we had to drive uphill along El Sot del Migdia, passing by the Olympic Stadium and the Fundació Miró. Total circuit length: 7.9 km, which we were supposed to drive in about 15 minutes.



Drivers were given points depending on our average speed, time and fuel consumption. The car's official consumption figure is 4.6 l/100 km (for the top Executive version, which we were driving). We were awarded 10 extra points over the standard 200 if we reduced our consumption by 0.1l/100 km over the standard (I managed 0.2 liters), we got the points subtracted for going over time (I did it in 18 minutes) and then our average speed was multiplied by 3 (I got 24 km/h). The winner of each city will participate in a same challenge performed on a circuit near Girona (NE Spain, near the French border) against moto GP champion Dani Pedrosa and the winner of that final event will be rewarded with a 12-month free lease the Insight Executive Navi. Second and third place winners will get tickets to go to the Moto GP race in Valencia.

After the challenge, we were asked our opinions about the car. I talked with the people who were in my test group and they said that: diesels still deliver the same mileage and feel stronger (i. e. have more torque); the interior quality was quite disappointing - we could see welding spots on the door frames - but the car's styling and overall drive feel were top notch. The Insight's price in Spain is quite good, less than €20,000, thanks to the car avoiding the registration tax. Thanks to Imma for helping me out!


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 1 Month Ago
      Barrels of crude oil needed to drive 15.000 miles | CO2 emitted | car type

      2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid.. 6.9 barrels | 3.7 tons of CO2 | HYBRID compact
      Toyota Prius Hybrid............7.4 barrels | 4.0 tons of CO2 | HYBRID compact
      Honda Civic Hybrid.............8.2 barrels | 4.4 tons of CO2 | HYBRID compact
      ===Honda Insight...............8.3 barrels | 4.5 tons of CO2 | HYBRID compact
      Ford Fusion Hybrid............ 8.8 barrels | 4.7 tons of CO2 | HYBRID midsize
      Toyota Camry Hybrid........ 10.1 barrels | 5.4 tons of CO2 | HYBRID midsize
      Nissan Altima Hybrid......... 10.1 barrels | 5.4 tons of CO2 | HYBRID midsize
      Ford Escape Hybrid...........10.7 barrels | 5.7 tons of CO2 | HYBRID small SUV
      Toyota Corolla...................11.4 barrels | 6.1 tons of CO2 | GASOLINE compact
      VW Jetta TDI Diesel...........11.6 barrels | 6.2 tons of CO2 | DIESEL compact
      Honda Civic:......................11.8 barrels | 6.3 tons of CO2 | GASOLINE compact
      Chevrolet Cobalt................11.8 barrels | 6.3 tons of CO2 | GASOLINE compact
      Lexus RX450H Hybrid....... 11.8 barrels | 6.3 tons of CO2 | HYBRID SUV

      Source: EPA manufacture-independent fuel economy/energy efficiency certification test, fueleconomy.gov


      5-year TOTAL costs of ownership:

      2004 Honda Civic Hybrid:......... $28,371
      2004 VW Jetta 2.0 gasoline:..... $30,201
      2004 VW Jetta 1.9 TDI diesel:.. $33,483


      Source:
      Civic Hybrid: http://www.edmunds.com/used/2004/honda/civic/100344092/cto.html?setzip=10009&vdp=off
      Jetta 1.9 TDI diesel: http://www.edmunds.com/used/2004/volkswagen/jetta/100352548/cto.html?setzip=10009&vdp=off
      Jetta 2.0 gasoline: http://www.edmunds.com/used/2004/volkswagen/jetta/100352546/cto.html?setzip=10009&vdp=off
        • 1 Month Ago
        As this article was written in Europe, they have quite a number of vehicle choices that would be in the Insight's size class (B-segment) AND have diesel engines - notably, for but one example, VW Polo TDI Bluemotion. These would have quite a bit lower consumption figures than the North American spec Jetta TDI. It's little wonder that european drivers haven't embraced these cars, and I still think they won't.

        Regardless of source, the "barrels of crude oil" figures are out to lunch in the real world. Prius, Civic hybrid, Jetta TDI have real world with real drivers consumption within 10% of each other. I realize that diesel has approx 10% more carbon per unit volume, but still, that puts the CO2 emissions within 20%, not the better part of double.

        And none of this changes my opinion that the Jetta is enjoyable to drive, and the Prius has despicable steering and suspension and I refuse to buy a Toyota (any of them) until Toyota deals with this - not entirely the fault of the hybrid system, but very much the fault of its manufacturer.

        I wanted to like the Insight before it was introduced, but I don't care for the cheap-and-gaudy interior.
        • 1 Month Ago
        The Prius has 94 cubic feet of passenger space, moving it into the mid-size class, so it's not a compact. Nice info, however.
        • 1 Month Ago
        Thanks for the interesting breakdown. My wife and I are in the market for a car or CUV come this August. This helps put things in perspective from both a green view and overall cost viewpoint. Trying to be 'green' can be both rewarding to the environment and your pocket..........
      • 1 Month Ago
      Im goint this sunday to A Coruña, the next place of this event....the reasong for the low sales could be the high price, 19,800 euros the basic and 22,000 the next step, with cruise control and some more things...this is 27,500 dolars to 30,600...mad
      • 1 Month Ago
      Nice wheels... much better than what it gets here. And, yes, styling does help to sell cars, even ECO-friendly ones.
      • 1 Month Ago
      The car looks to be like it would get the attention of less classy people based on it's bubble-like features. You could almost compare it to the American model Ford Focus.
      • 1 Month Ago
      I participated in this challenge in Bilbao (Spain). Same lenght but almost plain sunday morning city trip. I averaged (doing extreme hypermilling) 5l/100km with the Honda while I averaged 5,5L/100km repeating the trip in my 6 year old (120.000km driven) Seat Ibiza TDI with 130HP under my right feet (when I need them)

      50HP more, 4000€ less (suposing I buy my car today) and only 0,5L/100km more with my TDI. This is why hybrids sell so bad in Europe.
        • 1 Month Ago
        1. Your Seat Ibiza TDI is one or one and a half class SMALLER car than the Honda Insight. That's why it is cheaper.

        2. You do not have 50HP more. Insight has a 100HP gasoline engine and a 13HP electric motor. I don't know how these numbers add up but the difference will be more like 15HP in advantage of your car, not 50HP.

        3. Your 5 l/100km doing hypermiling in an Insight makes you a very crappy driver. Insight owners are getting 5,24 l/100km (45 mpg U.S.) combined mixed mode driving [1]. Hypermiling over a long distance will return around 4l/100km (58 mpg U.S)

        4. Every diesel mileage needs to be multiplied by 1.15x (when in l/100km) or divided by it when in mpg due to different energy densities to be comparable with gasoline mileage.


        [1] http://www.spritmonitor.de/de/uebersicht/18-Honda/1111-Insight.html?constyear_s=2007
      • 1 Month Ago
      The Civic Hybrid sells rather well in at least parts of Europe.
      With car sales slumping 25% over the last year in the Netherlands, the Civic has risen from almost no sales in 2007 (just a few hundred units) to being the 3rd best selling car in the country by mid 2009.
      There's still a roughly 5 month wait to get one, the factory just can't deliver them quickly enough.

      Introduction of the Insight should alleviate the pressure a bit, unless of course the Insight will be built on the same production line, reducing production numbers of the Civic.

      A main reason for the popularity of the Civic is that it's about 20% cheaper to buy than is an equivalently equipped Prius, and looks a lot better too.
      And it's costing Toyota. Company I work for has a fleet of some 800 vehicles, drivers can choose what they want from pretty much everything on the market within a price bracket containing both.
      We're taking delivery of 1, sometimes 2, new Civics a week, compared to maybe 1 Prius a month. That's more than any other model car (with 800 cars in service and a 4 year lease on each, we replace roughly 4 cars a week on average).

      In Spain (where this article was probably written) the situation is different as the prices of fuel are far lower there (a few weeks ago the difference was about 25 cents per liter, or roughly 20%) and there may not be the tax incentives on hybrids that we have in the Netherlands that make them economical to buy (without that incentive they would be out of the price bracket where most new cars are sold and therefore never sell nearly the number that are sold now).