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Honda Insight VTi-L 2012 Review

The Honda Insight VTi-L is a very affordable alternative to a traditional hatch or even fuel efficient diesel.

I read recently where someone had completed a loop of Tasmania driving one of these cars. They managed it on a single tank, travelling 821km and using an average of 4.82 litres/100km. 

To put this in perspective the Insight is officially rated at 4.6 litres/100km. We haven't been getting anything like this sort of economy, but at the same time the little Honda hybrid doesn't use much fuel. 

According to the trip computer, which provides an extensive range of information - we've been getting 5.7 litres/100km but that's in ordinary day to day driving. 


Looking for all the world like a smaller version of Toyota's Prius, the Honda Insight is a remarkably likeable car. Although the design is completely new, it does in fact sit on the same platform as the Jazz and its sedan counterpart the City. 

In fact, from the front, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the City. The five-door liftback offers seating for five people, with a large glass topped liftback that covers a reasonably sized luggage area and space saver spare.

It seats four in comfort but is a little squeezy with five and rear headroom could be an issue for taller people.


The good news is that this hybrid is not going to cost you an arm and a leg. At a starting price of $29,990, or $33,490 for the upmarket better equipped VTi-L, it's a very affordable alternative to a traditional hatch or even fuel efficient diesel.


Insight is powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine together with an electric motor that provides assistance during acceleration. The combined output of the 65kW petrol engine and 10kW electric motor is 72kW. The electric motor contributes up to 10kW at 1500 revs and 78Nm of torque at 1000 revs, assisting in acceleration and cruising at low-to-mid vehicle speeds. 

Maximum torque of 167Nm is delivered at a very low 1000 revs thanks to the instant-on power delivery of the electric motor, giving the car good off the mark acceleration.


With a 40-litre tank, all important fuel consumption is rated at just 4.6 litres/100km, giving the car a theoretical range of about 870km. The hybrid powertrain is teamed with a CVT style, continuously variable automatic transmission, designed to optimise power and economy. 

With no discernible gear changes it has a zoom like quality, but there's a sport setting for better performance and greater engine braking on downhill runs. The VTi-L model comes with a fully featured satnav/entertainment system with full iPod integration.

You can trawl by title, album or artist and it also recognises playlists. Insight comes comes with a five-star safety rating and full complement of safety equipment including six airbags. Standard equipment in the VTi-L includes satellite navigation and a reversing camera as well as Bluetooth for mobile phones.

Honda Insight VTi-L

Price: from $33,490
Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
Resale: N/A
Service Interval: 10,000km/6 months
Safety: Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS, EBD, 6 Airbags, Active Head Rests.
Engine: Inline 4 Cylinder SOHC i-VTEC and integrated Motor Assist.
Body: 5-door Hatchback
Weight: 1215kg
Transmission: Automatic, CVi with Grade Logic Control.
Thirst: 4.6L/100km, 91 RON, CO2 109g/km

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

VTi Hybrid 1.3L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $6,600 – 9,240 2012 Honda Insight 2012 VTi Hybrid Pricing and Specs
VTi-L Hybrid 1.3L, Hyb/ULP, CVT AUTO $9,020 – 12,760 2012 Honda Insight 2012 VTi-L Hybrid Pricing and Specs