Inside Honda’s heritage car retains the vivid lime green (an even more striking shade than the outside) and grey seats, but opts for a more sedate cabin elsewhere. There are flashes of silver on the dash, and the lack of rear seats is noticeable, but other than that it’s the instrument binnacle that holds all the interest. In here you’ll find instruments out of something at least five years younger than the Insight. We’re talking digital speedo, power use and regeneration readouts and range calculations. You can see why someone driving the Insight in 1999 (or even 2001 when this car was built) would have felt like they were in the future.
Behind the wheel the seats are firm, but not uncomfortable, matching the ride, which is designed for efficiency – i.e. firm – and suffers out of town and off the motorway on the rutted rural Spanish roads. But in town, and on those famously smooth Iberian motorways, the Insight feels at home, albeit lacking a little in power. That rough 90 horsepower might feel like more than it actually is, but that still isn’t saying much. The steering is electrically powered, again for efficiency, but this being 1999 that leaves is lighter than light.
But there’s a charm about this car, it would be magnificently easy to live with, as long as you never wanted to transport more than one other person, and it’ll turn heads wherever you go, while returning a genuine 69mpg. The tech feels exciting even now, 20 years later, and the package is one that elicits a lot of love.