We lowered the all-new Insight’s center of gravity to make the hybrid even more fun to drive. Combined with the low vehicle height, this low center of gravity gives the Insight a sporty feel totally different from that of a sedan. In fact, in terms of driving, we were aiming much more for a four-door sports coupe than a family car.
There’s no reason why an environmentally responsible car can’t also be fun to drive, so we put the instrument panel and the steering wheel at about the same angle to provide superior meter visibility and give the driver a low, comfortable seating position. In short, we created a space that instantly makes the driver feel like driving.
We considered using smaller-diameter, low-rolling resistance tires, which contribute to fuel economy, but wondered whether they were truly appropriate for a Honda automobile. We like creating cars that are so fun to drive that people look forward to driving, and our intention with the Insight was no different. We decided not to use the aerodynamic dish wheels and went instead with a sportier, spoked design.
We aimed to give the Insight athletic and solid exterior styling that belies its size, and the form we chose was challenging to realize in such a compact car.
Making the upper body—or cabin—as sleek and aerodynamic as possible, we tapered the Insight transversely from the center pillar to the tail. The Insight strikes just the right balance between sportiness and practicality. At the same time, we gave the lower body—or rear fenders—a powerful, muscular look that makes you feel its sporty character even before you get behind the wheel.
Combining outstanding everyday utility with low vehicle height and superior aerodynamics, it’s a body whose style communicates fun driving and sports car excitement.
Suggesting swift forward motion, the sculpted body ends in a tapered rear that further enhances aerodynamic performance. The shoulder line running from the front of the Insight to the rear is similarly bold while giving the illusion of a slightly lower vehicle height. The molded side panels, which lend depth and character to the exterior styling, were very challenging to design and manufacture, but the teams in both areas came together to produce a design which we can confidently present.
Based on our design concept of emotional hybrid interior, we worked to create a space that felt advanced and futuristic while making driving fun.
With its compact, triangular center and intuitive controls, the steering wheel feels central to the action. Honda’s advanced Multi-Information Display, borrowed from the current Civic, provides the driver prioritized information for quick, simple access to needed data.
An exciting and advanced feature, the ambient meter (speedometer background) takes a high and central position making it easy to see. Its color changes, a key function of the Ecological Drive Assist System that assesses driving practices in real time, helping the driver to build environmentally responsible habits over the long term.
At first we considered making an Integrated Motor Assist-related display the main element of the central instrument panel. Instead of displaying the motor assist and battery charge status here, however, we decided to place a tachometer to reflect the fact that, in the IMA hybrid system, the gasoline engine serves as the main power source. Moreover, we wanted to encourage the driver to use this powerplant with a feeling of precise control and enjoy Honda-style fun driving.
The convex instrument panel provides a sense of depth and the meter cluster forms a futuristic triangular motif providing a dynamic feel that further contributes to fun driving.