Honda Insight: Color-coded speedometer and video games

2010HondaInsight270Do you like playing video games? How about a variety of colors to keep you entertained during your drive?

And let’s not forget good gas mileage. How does 40-plus mpg work for you?

If all of the above appeal to you (or just the mpg part), then the new, 2009 Honda Insight is the perfect car for you.

I’ve been driving one for nearly a week now and I continue to be educated and entertained by the host of amazing amenities the little car has to offer. Since it’s a hybrid, most of the gadgets are related to helping you — the lead-footed driver — get the best gas mileage that you’ve probably ever experienced (unless you already own a hybrid, that is).

2010HondaInsightDash150The first thing you notice is that the digital speedometer, which is placed high above the rest of the dash in a holographic type of screen, has a background that turns from green to light blue to dark blue as you accelerate. It’s easy to deduce that green is for good economic driving and blue is for bad. They could have used red, I suppose, but the sight of a bright red glow across your dashboard could very well scare some folks out of their seatbelts.

Anyway, by laying off the gas pedal and nursing it on the hills, you’ll find that it’s not too difficult to stay in the green much of the time. There’s also an indicator along the left side of the dash that tells you the same thing.

Then there’s the ECON button. If  43 mpg isn’t enough for you, just push that green ECON button and the engine will work for you to get the best gas mileage you can possibly get. And here’s the cool part, as you are driving in ECON mode, an indicator on the dash shows a bar that tells you the proper range you should be in while accelerating or braking. Stay within that range long enough and you’ll earn a leaf on a tree (or perhaps it’s a flower). You try to get as many leafs as you can so that when you finally turn the car off, the Insight’s computer will give you a score.  It keeps track of how you perform and if you do well enough saving gas, you will move up to another level in the game.

Great gas mileage and a reward to boot — what’s not to like about that!

The Insight is a joy to drive as well and there doesn’t seem to be any sacrifice in power just because it’s a hybrid.

But who cares about power anyway when you can earn a few leaves for green driving?

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