Compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,600 – $17,700*


2010 Honda Insight front


2010 Honda Insight rear


2010 Honda Insight interior


2010 Honda Insight


2010 Honda Insight


2010 Honda Insight

Pros:
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy
  • Front-seat space
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (low-speed)
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Ride comfort
  • Road/wind noise

While its silhouette too closely mimics Toyota’s Prius, Insight is notable for its lack of hybrid fussiness. The instrument panel is fairly conventional, and unlike the Prius, so is the shifter. New-car prices have been commendably low–especially with the addition of a new Base trim for 2011. If you’re looking for serious fuel economy with set-and-forget simplicity, Insight could be the car for you.

Overview

Honda revived the Insight model name for 2010, but on a new, dedicated hybrid model, one completely different from the two-passenger Insight hybrid marketed in 2000-06. This gas/electric hybrid compact car from the Japanese-brand automaker was a five-passenger, four-door hatchback that mates a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with a battery-powered electric motor for a total of 98 horsepower. Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system allowed an Insight to run on one or both of its power sources, depending on conditions. Most of the time, however, the gas engine would shut off at a stop and then restart again when the driver released his or her foot from the brake pedal. No plug-in charging was ever required. Like Honda’s Civic Hybrid sedan, Insight had a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic. LX and EX trim levels were offered. Standard safety features included antilock braking, curtain-side airbags, and front-side airbags. Moving up to an EX added traction control and an antiskid system. The EX model also came with cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, and an upgraded audio system. A navigation system was available, and Insights so equipped were priced as separate models. They also included a wireless cell-phone link. The most logical Insight competitor was the Toyota Prius hybrid, as redesigned for 2010. Volkswagen’s diesel-powered Jetta TDI also vied against Insight and other hybrids in the fuel-economy race.

Yearly Updates

2011 Insight
The original LX and EX trim levels were joined for 2011 by a Base model, which slotted below the LX. Two new fuel-efficient competitors arrived in 2011: the Chevrolet Volt, which had a gas engine to keep its battery charged, and the pure-electric Nissan Leaf.
2012 Insight
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Honda Insight.
2013 Insight
Insight was unchanged for 2013.
2014 Insight
There were no significant changes to the Insight for 2014.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Each Insight has the same powertrain: a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, coupled with an electric motor, with a 98-horsepower rating. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is used.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.3/79
Engine HP 98
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 123
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic

40/43

46.4

Road Test

Insight is unimpressive by the stopwatch and slow away from a stop. Performance is much improved in around-town driving as well as in passing and merging maneuvers on the highway. The transmission’s Sport position seems to improve acceleration marginally, whereas disabling the Econ mode (via a dashboard button) seems to improve throttle response, if not actual acceleration. The engine stop-and-start function is less than seamless, inducing notable shudder.

Fuel economy is a major selling point, as expected. In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged a thrifty 45.1-47.7 mpg. Insight uses regular-grade gas.

Ride quality is less appealing. Insight is best described as “busy” on anything but the smoothest roads. The ride is generally free of harshness, but firm low-rolling-resistance tires and a short wheelbase contribute to considerable up-and-down motion and general choppiness.

Insight may not be exactly sporty, but a lack of body lean in corners and good steering feel contribute to a generally rewarding drive. Some testers complained of spongy brake feel in one test model.

Tires biased toward fuel economy and sparse use of weighty sound-deadening material mean that road noise is more pronounced in Insight than in many other cars of this size. Likewise, there’s more wind noise than would be typical. Powertrain racket is excessive under acceleration but generally muted otherwise.

Most gauges are large and easy to read. Most test drivers appreciated the hybrid-info outputs, especially the speedometer backlight that changes color in conjunction with driving-style efficiency. Taller drivers may find that the top of the steering wheel blocks elements of the instrument panel. Too many controls on the console look alike, though they tend to be logically placed. Good assembly quality partially offsets the impact of a cabin lined with cut-rate plastics and unpadded surfaces. Overall, Insight doesn’t look cheap, but most other cars in this class are made of nicer stuff.

Front occupants enjoy impressive headroom and legroom for a car this size, though taller drivers may complain of too-short seat bottoms. Rear visibility is compromised by the split rear window, and the view to the rear corners is obscured somewhat by the car’s rakish roof line.

Rear-seat headroom goes wanting for taller drivers. Otherwise, most adults will be fine for shorter trips. Narrow door openings complicate entry and exit.

Insight’s classic hatchback design allows for generous cargo room with the rear seats folded flat, though a roughly 3-inch liftover complicates sliding larger items out of the car. Handy under-floor cubbies are a useful touch.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2011 Honda Insight LX

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 10
100%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 58

Specifications

4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
100.4 172.3 66.7 56.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
31.5 10.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 35.9 42.3 33.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2010 Insight 4-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 4
80%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Water leak
Description: Water collects in the tail lights due to a leak at the LED grommet, the fresh air vents or both requiring sealing the grommet and installing redesigned vents. (2010)
Fuel door
Description: The fuel filler door may not open when pushed because the rubber “lifter” goes bad and must be replaced. (2010)
Navigation system
Description: The navigation system may quit working because the DVD has been scratched by the disc reader which must be replaced. (2010)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.