I’m a horrible eco-driver.

At least that’s the impression I got while driving the Honda Insight.

Equipped with what Honda calls Eco Assist – a system that minimizes the compact hybrid’s energy use to save on fuel – the car rewards the driver with “leaves” based on efficiency and changes the background colour of the speedometer from blue to green to indicate economical driving.

Well, I put considerable effort to maximize the “leaf count” after each journey and to keep the dashboard brighter than the best golf greens.

This experiment didn’t last long.
After continually failing to gain more leaves – with slow accelerating, gentle breaking and basically driving like a newbie scared of riding the curb – I quickly abandoned my desire for foliage and started driving the Insight as vigorously as any other test model. The results were amicable.

Of course, this being a hybrid, the matter of first (and perhaps only?) importance is fuel efficiency. My weeklong test with the EX model (it starts at $27,500; LX trim begins at $23,900) yielded a rating of 4.9 L/100km.

Honda reports it achieves a combined highway/city economy of 4.8 L/100km. Compare this to Honda’s non-hybrid fuel sipper, the Fit, which gets 6.3 L/100km combined. I was impressed, to say the least.

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