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Drive the eco-friendly way with Honda hybrids

Honda's hybrid cars are among the first in the world to utilise both petrol and electricity as power sources, but what does it mean to own a vehicle capable of producing far fewer emissions? Well, the main benefits are reductions in pollution and fuel wastage. So if you're thinking of purchasing a hybrid car than you will be buying one knowing that the vehicle offers better fuel efficiency than a traditional petrol-powered model.

Hybrid cars from Honda have a starting price from around 16,000 and if you're planning on long trips with the family, then look no further than the CR-Z Hybrid, Insight Hybrid and Honda Civic Hybrid, all of which are advantageous for a number of reasons.

They are great for both out-of-town driving and motorway journeys, while some 720 miles can be completed on a single tank of fuel. These vehicles are also ideal for getting around in an urban environment - not only do they offer excellent fuel economy, but they are exempt from the London Congestion Charge. If you're planning a trip to the capital at least you'll know that transport won’t be an issue! An Insight Hybrid, which is more of a family car, is ideal for this.

Looking for a sporty vehicle? If you want to cruise the roads with one of the latest car styles then the Honda CR-Z Hybrid, a sporty model fitted in with a large engine, may be the car for you thanks to its high performance. The CR-Z fits in perfectly with the new generation of cars out there as it is both lightweight and very reliable.

The CR-Z's impact on the environment is minimal, with vehicles such as this emitting far less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than conventional cars. While that's a benefit for all concerned, there is more to the car as it comes with a futuristic look. CR-Z, which stands for Compact Renaissance Zero, essentially means that it captures the idea of a 'fashionable' car that is designed in a compact style.

If you're a young driver looking for the latest style then what can you expect to find in a CR-Z? The LED headlights, supplemented by a luminous and sharp impression, provide high visibility and you can add to that with some jaunty fin-shaped sub-lights and large, 19-inch wheels. Hi-tech is certainly the way forward with a Honda CR-Z.

Considering all the options available, the CR-Z is definitely the type of car that is fun to drive. Along with all the model's features, there is much to admire about its bodywork. It is a simple framework construction and fits in nicely with its light and classy image. What's more, the driving experience in a CR-Z is likely to give you that adrenaline rush that so many motorists crave.

If you want practicality over sporty and have a few little ones to carry around, then you may be better suited to the Insight Hybrid. Its style is completely different to the CR-Z but it still has that look of the future about it. Kids pestering their mums and dads to opt for a trendy look and comfortable passenger experience would be wise to choose an Insight.

Another remarkably fuel-efficient car, the Honda Insight combines a small engine with an electric motor powered by a battery pack. It's useful for the family because of its four-door hatchback style, while mums need not worry about their entire luggage for a weekend break thanks to the decent amount of space at the back of the car, along with a usable rear seat.

The Honda Insight is available in either base LX or up-level EX trim models and these latest versions provide the necessities needed for family cars as they have good storage space and seating for five people.

The latest family-style Honda car comes with the now familiar Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) feature. IMA starts with a 1.3-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine that manages 88 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque, while it also benefits from an electric motor power source. The interior of the car has a conventional layout - the gauges are right behind the steering wheel and most controls are logically placed. For a family car it's ideal for long journeys because it rides very firmly and will give its passengers that peace of mind during those occasionally arduous trips to the beach.

Honda's commitment to the development of hybrid vehicles is evident with the Insight and CR-Z, both of which boast innovative new features, while the same can also be said of the Honda Civic Hybrid. A top of the range Civic comes in a 1.3-litre, hybrid petrol and electric motor format and seats five people. If it's safety you have in mind you can rest assured that there are six airbags along with a state-of-the-art ABS system.

The new Civic Hybrid isn't too different from previous Civics, although improvements have been made in terms quality and features. This is one of those cars that are just effortless to drive and has that smooth engine sound that just hums quietly to the extent that it's almost unnoticeable.

The Civic also features the IMA characteristic and the electric motor that is really making a name in the hybrid car industry. The Civic Hybrid model can run solely on electricity when travelling slowly and carrying light loads - it's yet another Honda car doing its best to limit its environmental impact.

Under the hood, the 1.3-litre engine is connected to the battery that's located between the rear seats and the boot divider. The different IMA panel meters in the car are useful because they tell the driver what the two different engines are doing, which is good for those who may not be blessed with a technical mind. It also informs the driver when the battery is being recharged or when the electric motor is used.

Honda's hybrid vehicles may differ in terms of what they can offer but the most important thing is that the essentials are there - they are comfortable and reliable. There may be a number of efficient diesel and petrol cars available but the Honda brand is doing its best to show the way forward with its innovative technology.

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