Honda understands that hybrids are only a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of zero-emissions vehicles.

Therefore it has chosen to go the less complex route in terms of its hybrid concept and, as a result, the company is able to offer the cheapest hybrid available today – the Insight. The problem is that there are conventional rivals that are frugal too...

The Insight is a mid-size hatch that makes use of a conventional 1,4-litre petrol engine. Attached to this is Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) electric motor for total outputs of 73 kW and 167 N.m of torque. Honda claims you’ll use just 4,6 l/100 km on average with a tax-dodging 108 g/km emissions rating.

The Insight is certainly not without merit and is an interesting offering in the local market. It offers a large cabin and acceptable performance coupled with frugal fuel consumption, but will this be enough to win over buyers?

For the full road test be sure to grab the February 2011 issue of CAR magazine, on sale January 24.