Insight Tops 120 mpg in Fuel Economy Competition

12/27/1999 6:22:00 AM

Car and Driver topped three other publications on achieving the best fuel economy of 121.7 miles per gallon with Honda's new gasoline-electric hybrid Insight. Using "special tactics" the team from Car and Driver beat Popular Mechanics, Road & Track and Ward's Auto World in the quest for the best fuel economy driving from Columbus, Ohio to Detroit.

The Car and Driver team outfitted a large sport-utility vehicle to act as a windbreak, driving ahead of the Insight. The other teams drove without assistance, still achieving remarkable real-world fuel economy numbers. Popular Mechanics, in second place, recorded 83.4 miles per gallon at an average speed of 59 miles per hour. Road & Track achieved 76.6 mpg and Ward's 73.0 mpg -- putting all four teams over the EPA highway fuel economy estimate of 70 miles per gallon.

Prior to the Columbus-Detroit drive, three of the four teams tested the Insight on the 7.5-mile oval at the Transportation Research Center near Columbus. In the pouring rain, all three teams exceeded 100 miles per gallon driving at a steady state speed. The top figure of 105.9 mpg was recorded by Ward's, with Popular Mechanics in at 102.2 and Car and Driver in at 101.9.

The winner of the competition, Car and Driver, averaged the combined highest speed and best fuel economy and received a check of $5,000 from Honda to give to the charity of their choice -- Arbor Hospice, an Ann Arbor, Mich. based organization that gives aid and comfort to people with terminal illnesses and their families. Honda also awarded Popular Mechanics with a $5,000 check to present to a charity of their choice for being "first in class."

Honda's Midwest public relations manager, Andy Boyd, presents a check to Csaba Csere, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver magazine who will donate the money to the Arbor Hospice; volunteer Deanna Dorner is there to accept the contribution.