Honda Insight Review

2012 Honda Insight Hybrid

The last time Honda used the Insight name, it belonged to a unique two-seater hybrid that, while very much fuel efficient, proved to be a bit less practical by nature. The sleek four-door hatchback body takes care of that issue while maintaining much of that vaunted fuel efficiency. Although it isn’t as fuel efficient as the Toyota Prius, it is less expensive than its main competitor and many other hybrid vehicles, for that matter.

Honda Insight Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency is the name of the game for any hybrid and the Insight is no different. Under the hood lies Honda’s latest Integrated Motor Assist system, a 98-horsepower 1.3-liter SOHC four-cylinder engine combined with a 13-horsepower electric motor, a 100.8-volt nickel metal hydride battery pack and continuously variable transmission.

The ECO ASSIST system helps keep lead-footed drivers at bay with constant updates on driving habits, IMA operation and overall fuel economy. The digital speedometer features a novel background that glows green under efficient driving and blue when the driver puts the pedal to the metal. The reward is impressive fuel economy, at 41 mpg city and 44 mpg highway.

In a trend towards improving fuel efficiency, the Insight offers an electrically-assisted rack and pinion steering system that offers relatively responsive performance. The ride is smooth and comfortable for a small car, but does leave much to be desired in certain instances. For starters, the Insight’s suspension feels harsh and unrefined over broken pavement. The front MacPherson struts and rear torsion bar design comes courtesy of the Honda Fit, with wider tires offered for improved handling.

Inside, the Insight isn’t as luxurious as other cars of its type. In fact, the base model offers only two stereo speakers and the conspicuous absence of the front armrest. Buyers get a lot more as the move up to the mid-level LX and top-tier EX. On the outside, the Insight benefits from a mild refresh, courtesy of a new grille, redesigned headlamps, brake lights and restyled bumpers.

Unlike other hybrids, the Insight lacks the ability to cruise along solely on battery power alone. The air conditioning system still relies on the engine for its operation, so when the Idle Stop mode is engaged, the compressor shuts off, leaving drivers a bit toastier in hot weather. For a base MSRP of just $18,500, customers will get plenty of hybrid for their money.

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  • MPG: 44
  • Body Type: Hatchback
  • Model Year: 2012
  • Engine Size: 1.0L
  • Trans: Automatic
  • Fuel Type: Gas