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Honda to begin sales of refreshed Insight hybrid and new Freed hybrids in Japan; new Insight Exclusive with 1.5-liter engine joins lineup

The Insight Exclusive. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. introduced the newly refreshed Insight hybrid model, accompanied by the new Insight Exclusive model featuring a 1.5-liter engine. Honda will begin sales of both hybrid models at dealerships across Japan on 11 November. Honda also will begin sales of the all-new Freed Hybrid minivan and Freed Spike Hybrid tall wagon at dealerships across Japan on 28 October. The Freed Hybrid and Freed Spike Hybrid will be Japan’s first 5-number class (i.e., compact size) minivan and tall wagon hybrid vehicles.

The monthly combined sales target for the Insight and Insight Exclusive is 1,500 units, with prices (before consumption tax) starting at ¥1,838,096 (US$24,221) for the Insight and ¥1,980,953 (US$26,103) for the Insight Exclusive. The monthly sales target for the Freed series in Japan is 10,000 units, with prices starting at ¥2,046,667 (US$26,969). Honda said that in Japan, more than one-third of registered Honda automobiles are hybrids.

Refreshed Insight. The refreshed Insight offers new exterior styling elements and refined interior. With an upgraded 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine plus IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system, the Insight offers fuel economy of 27.2 km/L (64 mpg US, 3.7 L/100km) as measured in JC08 mode and 31.0 km/L (73 mpg US, 3.2 L/100km) as measured in 10·15 mode, while maintaining driving performance.

Sound insulation and absorption materials have been added to increase interior quietness. To maximize handling stability and ride comfort, suspension settings have been updated, and application of VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) is now standard.

Insight Exclusive. The new Insight Exclusive model shares the 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine with the CR-Z sport hybrid model, but specially tuned for the new Insight Exclusive model. The Insight Exclusive offers fuel economy of 23.2 km/L (54.6 mpg US, 4.3 L/100km) as measured in JC08 mode and 26.5 km/L (62.3 mpg US, 3.8 L/100km) as measured in 10·15 mode.

Exclusive exterior design elements include a premium front grille with integrated LED accessory lights, front bumper, side sill garnishes, a rear bumper diffuser, and a shark fin antenna.

On the Insight Exclusive XL InterNavi Select Type, Honda’s InterNavi + Linkup Free service is standard with a full-segment (12seg/1seg) high-definition terrestrial digital monitor, allowing users to enjoy a wide variety of functions, including HD TV broadcasts.

The Freed Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Freed hybrids. With a combination of advanced packaging technology and Honda’s lightweight, compact IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system, the new models feature one of the best fuel economy ratings among compact minivans and tall wagons, according to Honda: 21.6 km/L (50.8 mpg US, 4.6 L/100km) as measured in JC08 mode and 24.0 km/L (56.5 mpg US, 4.2 L/100km) as measured in 10·15 mode. In addition, all hybrid models and front-wheel-drive gasoline engine models of the refreshed lineup qualify for Japan’s eco-car tax incentives.

The Freed hybrids offer as standard both ECON mode and the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist)o help the driver develop and maintain a fuel-efficient driving style.

The front windshield with sound-insulating glass and added sound insulation and absorption materials in the body contribute to interior quietness. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), which contributes to stable driving and reduced driver’s burden, and Hill Start Assist are both standard.

In the Freed Hybrid, the seat legs have been specially designed to accommodate the extra floor height required for the IMA battery, resulting in cabin space equal to that of the gasoline-engine Freed. In the Freed Spike Hybrid, the reversible cargo floor panels have been specially designed to accommodate the extra floor height required for the IMA battery, resulting in cargo area space in full flat mode equal to that of the gasoline-engine Freed Spike.

Freed and Freed Spike gasoline-engine models will also become available on October 28. Furthermore, Honda will launch a new range of Freed special-needs vehicles on 25 November, including a wheelchair-accessible model with a newly developed electric winch, a side lift-up seat model, and a passenger lift-up seat model.



Very cool. Perhaps some real competition for the Prius line up.


Excellent mileage. And the stat on 1/3 of Hondas in Japan are hybrids - demonstrates the success of the hybrid design. Next step is to the full EV w/o ICE.


I never liked the Honda way of downsizing in the previous Insight, i.e. using a high-revving small engine, so I hope this one feels better. At high rpm, the noise was quite annoying. I would prefer a turbocharged smaller engine running at low rpm but this probably does not even exist in Honda’s vocabulary.

Anyway, Honda has shown that a parallel hybrid system can provide good fuel economy.


Turbos need mid to high crankshaft rpm to provide enough exhaust energy to prevent significant turbo lag. Decent pack capacity I find to be a great way to get good low-rpm power, certainly no smoothness problems there (I drive a 2000 Insight 5-speed, 65 mpg with grid charging of its 1kWh pack).

I'd love to see what the EPA would rate those cars at for mpg. Those are fantastic numbers for such relatively heavy cars (vs. my 1890 lbs. Insight).

Those who get the most from high mpg drive on highways the most, where the Prius' battery-only capability at extra mechanical complexity gives minimal gain. One coworker of mine gets 48 mpg from his MkI Civic hybrid CVT, another 48 mpg from his MkIIa Insight, the same mpg as a Prius.

Instead of happily zinging to 8,000 rpm as I often did with an old DOHC Civic Si, I almost never see past 3,000 rpm, and there's really no need for a smoothening 4th cylinder despite a mid-commute 450 ft. rise. Those with mountains and/or heavy loading to contend with would need rpm though... I personally enjoy the sound of Honda mills at high rpm (but even with the e-balancing, a 4th cylinder would help).

I'm really curious what the pack capacities and cell type are; still 660Wh D-cell NiMH? I find NiMH to have significant self-discharge issues in hot weather, and the higher internal resistance vs. Li-based cells helps lead to significant pack cooling needs.

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