When we reviewed the 2010 Honda Insight last year, we came away far less impressed than we did after our first drive a few months earlier. After living with the new hybrid for a week in Michigan we found its ride quality to be extremely disappointing. The tuning of the springs and dampers left it bouncing around on sharp road inputs and transmitting a lot of road noise into the cabin.
A year on, it looks like Honda has heard the complaints and, at least in Europe, the Insight is getting updates to address them. In an effort to improve both the ride and handling characteristics of the Insight, spring rates, mounting points and the rear twist beam axle have all been modified. We noted when we drove the CR-Z recently that its ride quality was vastly improved over the Insight, with which it shares its platform. American Honda Motor Co. hasn't announced any changes for the North American-spec car, but we suspect we'll be getting the same updates here soon.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 19 Jul 2010
Honda has improved the specification and settings of its Insight hybrid in response to early customer feedback. The suspension of the low-emission, 5-door hatch has been adjusted to improve ride comfort and NVH levels, while interior trim levels have been enhanced.
* Suspension changes to improve ride and comfort
* Higher-spec interior
* New EX model with leather and Sat Nav
A new, top-of-the-range, EX model, featuring black leather upholstery and DVD Sat Nav and hands-free telephone equipment, has also been introduced to the Insight line-up.
The changes made to the Insight across the range are in direct response to the comments received from early customers and the media. The initial focus was on suspension, to which improvements have been made to address negative feedback on ride and comfort levels.
A number of chassis changes have been implemented, including: adjusting the recoil rate of the springs, changing the rear camber angles, altering the V-shape rear suspension brace and adjusting mounts. The amendments promise to deliver improved ride, handling and stability.
As well as these upgrades to suspension, Honda has added rear parking sensors to ES-model Insights and above, and has changed some trim to smarten the interior. Dashboard and seat colours have been changed to give a more uniform finish, and some plastics have been improved. Chrome rings now surround air vents, and the doors have been given a silver garnish feature.
There are also two new paint options for Insight customers, with the introduction of Dynamic Blue Pearl and Carnelian Red Pearl.
Pricing for the Insight starts at £16,325 for the SE model, but with Honda's current Affordable Driving consumer offer, the hybrid is available at £14,995 OTR until the end of September, making it even more attainable – and the least expensive hybrid on the market by a mile. The highly-spec'd EX model with leather upholstery starts at £20,215 OTR.