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2011 Honda Insight: Are Changes Coming?


There is still no word on when the 2011 Honda Insight will be released. The Honda Insight was re-introduced to the U.S. market with the 2010 model on March 24, 2009. That same Insight model is still around almost 18 months later. I just called a few friends who work for Honda dealerships, and no one knows when the current model will be replaced with the 2011 model.

A
Look Back

The Honda Insight initially began as a three-door hatchback model when it was introduced into the U.S market in 1999. Seating was limited to just two people, but what a fuel saver: this first generation Insight was rated at 61 mpg/city and 70 mpg/hwy. It was the first Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) vehicle produced by Honda and had just three cylinders in a 1.0-liter engine.

The initial introduction of the Insight was a ground breaking event for hybrid vehicles. It was the first mass produced hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. Toyota's new hybrid vehicle, the Prius, only arrived seven months later.

2010 Honda Insight

Last year, the next generation Insight emerged as a 5-passenger, 5-door, hatchback vehicle. The four-cylinder, 1.3-liter engine with Integrated Motor Assist was rated at 40 mpg/city and 43 mpg/hwy. Honda’s concept of this new Insight was that of an affordable, stylish hybrid car. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)--before the destination charge--is just below $20,000. Although the Insight has received many positive reviews, it took a hit when reviewed by the well-respected Consumer Reports organization. Consumerreports.org failed to recommend the Insight and rated it 21 out of 22 hatchbacks and wagons. The Insight came in just ahead of the Dodge Caliber. Consumer Reports complained of the Insight’s handling and road noise. It said the Insight had a “…stiff ride and clumsy handling…” along with a number of other issues.

A Look Ahead

What can we expect when the 2011 Honda Insight is released? Honda tends to only make minor changes in models until a major redesign is performed about every five years. A major redesign should be years away for the Insight.

However,
Honda appears to be listening to the complaints of consumers about the ride and comfort levels of the second generation Insight. Changes have been made to the 2011 Insight just released in Europe. It received changes to its suspension to improve ride, handling, and stability. There are also two new colors available for the Insight in the 2011 European model.

There is no word yet on if the changes made to the European Insight will make it over to this side of the Atlantic.
 
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