Honda Introduces the "INSIGHT", a Hybrid Car that Offers the World's Lowest Fuel Consumption for a Mass-Produced Gasoline-Powered Vehicle

September 6, 1999, Japan


Tokyo, September 6, 1999 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today introduced the INSIGHT personal hybrid car. Combining superior driving pleasure with world-leading environment-friendliness, this new model offers the world's lowest fuel consumption for a gasoline-powered vehicle attaining gas mileage of 35 km/liter*1. The Insight will be made available nationwide through Honda's three dealer networks starting November 1, 1999.





Taking the form of an ultra-modern, stylish 2-seater that stresses personal-utility space, the Insight was developed around three major themes: an "ultra-efficient power unit", "super-aerodynamics", and an "ultra-light body". In addition to world-leading fuel efficiency, clean emissions, and outstanding recyclability, the adoption of Honda's own G-force control technology provides the Insight with world-leading passenger protection. This environment-friendly hybrid car features many advanced safety technologies, ease of utility and nimble driving performance. Production is to take place at the Takanezawa plant, Tochigi Factory. Launches in the United States, Europe and Asia are scheduled from the end of this year.

In the European market, the Insight achieves the extremely low fuel consumption rating of 3.4liter/100km*2 and CO2 exhaust gas emissions of only 80g for a 1km distance, which are the lowest level emissions in the world for any mass production engine including diesel engines.

  • *1At 10.15 mode for 5MT
  • *2In-house test data.

Distinctive features:

Honda IMA system

  • The Honda IMA system relies mainly on engine power, calling upon electric motor power assistance when required to provide powerful acceleration and low fuel consumption. This new approach allows for a significant reduction in complexity and weight, providing for both high power output and low fuel consumption in a wide range of situations from city to highway driving
  • The objectives for this world's-lightest 1.0-liter lean-burn VTEC engine were a highly efficient combustion process, compact packaging and friction reduction.
  • The motor assist mechanism is composed of an ultra-thin DC brushless motor, a nickel metal-hydride battery and a PCU (Power Control Unit). When extra power is required, such as during acceleration, a powerful yet lightweight electric motor comes to the engine's assistance. While decelerating, the motor is used as a generator to efficiently recover energy.
  • An "automatic idle stop" system stops the engine automatically when the vehicle comes to a stop to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
  • Models equipped with the Honda Multi-Matic transmission feature an "anti-rollback brake assist" system designed to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards when starting from a standstill on a slope.
  • The adoption of a lean-burn-compatible adsorption-type NOx catalytic converter helpes achieve a dramatic reduction in harmful exhaust emissions: Insight emissions are some 50% cleaner than required by the new emissions standards slated for introduction in Japan in October, 2000.


  • The improved hydraulic pressure control system of the continuously variable Honda Multi-Matic "S" transmission helps achieve a fuel consumption of 32 km/liter (10.15-mode testing).
  • Smooth, lightweight 5-speed manual transmission.


  • Taking advantage of the lightness and high recyclability of aluminum has enabled the realization of a minicar-like overall weight of 820kg(5MT model).
  • This new lightweight aluminum body structure efficiently combines extruded and die-cast materials for high rigidity and passenger protection-despite a weight reduction of some 40% that contributes to the car's ultra-low fuel consumption.
  • Contributing to both aerodynamics and reduced weight, the Insight adopts pressed aluminum and plastic body panels, depending on the location.

Exterior/Interior Design

  • An advanced sporty styling born of the wind tunnel. Painstaking attention to aerodynamics has resulted in a world-leading drag coefficient of Cd= 0.25 (in-house test data) for a mass-produced vehicle.
  • Multi-function digital multi-meter with easy-to-read display providing IMA system operation status as well as instant fuel consumption data.
  • Instrument panel designed around the driver that concentrates the controls around the meter cluster.
  • Ergonomically designed seats with body-color-matching two-tone coloring provide exceptional holding ability to prevent fatigue even on long drives.


  • The front suspension features a high-mount steering box for a compact engine room design, while adopting aluminum arms for extreme lightness.
  • The rear suspension adopts an H-shaped torsion beam layout to provide superior driving stability as well as a low floor design.
  • Special tires were developed to achieve nearly a 40% reduction in rolling resistance compared to other same size tires, while maintaining high standards in terms of braking performance, driving stability and ride comfort.


  • World-leading passenger protection with the adoption of Honda's own G-Force control that requires the passing of 55 km/h full flat frontal, and 64 km/h offset frontal crash tests.
  • Adoption of impact absorbing collapsible bonnet hinges and wiper pivots designed to reduce pedestrian head injuries in the event of an accident.
  • Standard dual SRS airbag system.
  • Standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with brake-assist system.

Other environment friendly technologies

  • Aluminum die-cast materials such as used engine blocks can now be recycled into extruded materials. This is the first time in the world this technology has been developed. The aluminum, thus recycled, is used to form the hanger beam of the steering column.
  • Environment-friendly car accessories with the seat covers, body covers and luggage bags being the first in the world to earn the "Eco" mark.

Regarding tax breaks

  • As a hybrid vehicle, the Insight benefits from a 2.2% purchase tax reduction. In the case of the 5-speed MT model, this translates into a decrease in the purchase tax from 94,500 yen to 52,900 yen.
  • As a "green energy" vehicle, depending on the meeting of certain conditions, Insight purchasers may qualify to apply for subsidies of up to 240,000 Yen.

Domestic monthly sales

target: 300 units