Insight-usa.jpg” width=”175″ height=”104″ align=”right” vspace=”5″ hspace=”5″>One
big reason many Americans would or could not consider a Honda Insight has just
been eliminated.

Until now the little two-seat coupe with the amazing fuel economy came only
with manual (‘standard’ or ‘stickshift’) transmission.

Now, as petrol prices soar, a new version has gone on sale with a continuously
variable automatic gearbox (CVT).

The Insight has EPA fuel economy ratings of 57mpg in the city and 56mpg highway
and can go more than 500 miles on a tankful of petrol.



Honda America claims that it’s the most fuel-efficient automatic vehicle available
in America and the second most fuel-efficient vehicle overall — behind only
the five-speed manual Insight which gets 61mpg city and 68mpg highway.

The Insight CVT retails for $21,180 but you can’t help wondering –
if fuel prices hit the $US3 a gallon mark, will Honda dealers be able to sell
these cars at a premium, as Chrysler dealers did when PT Cruiser demand far
exceeded supply?

The Insight CVT also meets California’s Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV)
standard, the most stringent in the world.

The CVT transmission is fully automatic and provides virtually an infinite
range of gear ratios with step-less shifting.

The Insight CVT also has an ‘idle stop’ feature, to avoid wasting
fuel when stopped in traffic. The engine automatically re-starts when the driver’s
foot is removed from the brake pedal. (However, on the manual version, anyway,
this feature is over-ridden if the air conditioning is on.)

Standard equipment on the Insight CVT includes anti-lock brakes, automatic
air conditioning, electric power steering, dual air bags, AM/FM stereo cassette,
power windows and mirrors, keyless entry power door locks and an anti-theft

Honda also plans to add a Civic using the Insight’s hybrid drivetrain
to its line-up in Spring 2002.

To view related research reports, please follow the links

Car and Light Truck Outlook – Segment analysis and forecasts to 2003

b2b – Strategic threats and opportunities in the automotive supply chain