Honda Insight 1.3 ES-T Hybrid - Navigation

By Jeremy Laird


Review Price free/subscription

Probably the strongest part of the Insight's infotainment proposition is the satellite navigation system. Granted, it can't compete with the best aftermarket systems for features and connectivity. Traffic data is limited to the relatively rudimentary RDS-TMC system and there's no Internet access at all. Consequently, the static Points of Interest database is of only moderate utility. But overall, the nav system remains one of the better factory-fitted solutions currently available.

For starters, it supports full seven-digit postcode input, an inexplicably rare but nevertheless extremely welcome feature among factory-fitted systems. It really does take a lot of the pain and phaff out of inputting addresses.

Another strong point is the mapping and guidance itself. As well as benefiting from well paced guidance instructions, Honda has done a really solid job on the graphics. The maps are clear, crisp and easy to read. The best bit is the secondary map that zooms in as you near a junction, roundabout or other potentially confusing road layout. It does a great job of making it very clear both where you are on the road and where you need to go to keep to the desired route. Combined with the clear voice guidance, this is one system that virtually never leaves you in doubt regarding the next turn or the correct exit to take.

Except, that is, when you happen to be cranking out some tunes. While the system does automatically reduce the volume of the entertainment music when delivering audible guidance notes, it doesn't lower it enough for comfort and clarity. A minor glitch, perhaps, but a real nuisance in practice.

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Tim Sutton

September 10, 2009, 5:32 am

Style and hype over substance, desired by people who think owning one shows them to be cool and modern.

Hybrid technology = Apple.


September 10, 2009, 10:30 am

The first car manufacturer to make a decent looking hybrid at a sensible price will clean up. This thing looks like an accident between an MPV and Halfords shop window. Same goes for the Prius, and as for the latest Lexus RX450h... pass me a bucket!

Hamish Campbell

September 10, 2009, 12:38 pm

I wish Hybrid tech does = apple.

Apple turned the mp3 market and then the smartphone market on its head and they are now probably the most talked about and exciting areas of consumer tech. If hybrid goes the same way and the consumer experience hits those levels of enjoyment then maybe we'll get some traction in moving away from fossil fuels.


September 10, 2009, 2:48 pm

I'm with needlegun on this one, why do they insist on making them ugly as possible. why not jam in all the kit into a regular civic and im sure it would sell alot more.


September 10, 2009, 3:42 pm

Yes, I think he means Hybrid technology = Apple MacBook Air... :)

J 2

September 10, 2009, 3:59 pm

Well, the reason for the awkward profile is aerodynamic efficiency. Whether the same level of aero slipperiness can be achieved with a more conventional profile, I don't know. But there is a good reason for the way the Insight looks. As it goes, I reckon Toyota has done a decent job making the new Prius look a lot more athletic and dynamic while retaining the slopping roofline.


September 10, 2009, 5:03 pm

@phat-ant: They do. It's possible to buy a Civic hybrid from your friendly Honda dealer, albeit one based on the US and Japanese market Civic saloon. The drivetrain is also a bit simplistic compared with the system employed by Toyota.


September 11, 2009, 10:55 am

This is not good enough!

Comparing it with other cars the Insight is still worse from an emissions point of view than some other non-hybrids (101g/km if I have the correct figures). Basically, it uses the wrong type of engine. The way to build a proper hybrid is to make an electric vehicle and supplement the battery with a small diesel-generator tuned to give max efficiency while charging.

PS: I've built pure electric EVs and got the equivalent of 40g/km when charged from mains electricity (using DEFRA CO2 electricity figures).


January 28, 2010, 6:51 pm

I don't understand why automakers insist in sky-pricing indispensable extras such as bluetooth and in-car navigation. They could attract a larger customer base by offering a well equipped car that responds to *today's* user's needs. When I find out that you have to pay 2,000 GBP (or 2,500 EUR) for essentials I just look elsewhere!

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