2010 Honda Insight Long Term Road Test

2010 Honda Insight EX: Noise, Hills and MPGs

November 17, 2009

insight loves pea soup

It just ain't a road trip on the 5 unless you stop at Anderson's Pea Soup.

Here's the rest of the story of my 800-mile trek with our 2,700-pound hybrid.

Road Noise
I'm sure it's no surprise to hear that there was a good deal of road noise in the Insight, given Honda's reputation for road noise. And it's not just the noise. I think it's the frequency of the sound that makes it really noticeable. At highway speeds for long stretches, that kind of noise can be quite fatiguing. And it was annoying having to turn the volume up on the audio system in order to combat the road noise. Audiobooks were particularly difficult to hear. I'd say the road noise was my biggest complaint on the trip.

Fuel Economy
For the first tank (L.A. to Morro Bay to Berkeley on the 101 freeway with moderate-heavy traffic in the big city areas) we got 41.52 mpg. For this leg, we didn't drive any differently than we normally would have, except that we kept our speed under 75 miles per hour because, to us, the Insight just started feeling jittery above that. We also had ECON mode engaged.

The second tank was from Berkeley to L.A. on the 5 freeway with lots of traffic leaving Berkeley. We used cruise control (usually set between 72 and 76 mph) a lot more on this leg than on the south to north leg and had ECON mode turned off. We averaged 41.13 mpg on that leg.

Because the two legs of the trip were completely different route-wise, I can't really make any judgments on ECON mode, but it is interesting that both legs were over 41 mpg (which is the EPA's combined estimate for the Insight's fuel economy).

Average fuel economy for the whole trip was 41.35 mpg.

Seat Comfort
Both my husband and I found the front seats to be quite comfortable for the long legs of the trip. My husband wished for a little more adjustability, particularly so he could dial in a little less lumbar support, but we both felt well supported overall. No dead butt like last year.

Elevation Gains
Contrary to everyone's anticipation, the Insight's performance on inclines wasn't horrible. We didn't push it hard, just kind of let it do its thing and crossed our fingers. And not once did we accumulate a long line of angry travelers behind us. I'm not saying it tore up the hills, but it wasn't a nailbiter either.

Overall, I think a lot has to do with your expectations. If you drive a strong highway cruiser/climber already, you're not going to be happy with the Insight on a road trip. But my husband's daily driver is a 2003 Honda Civic GX (with the CVT), and while he wasn't thrilled by the Insight, he wasn't thoroughly disappointed with its performance either. We weren't wishing the Insight was anything other than what it is: a fuel economy-focused, four-door hatchback with a nav system from Honda.

I wouldn't volunteer for another road trip in the Insight right away, but if it were my daily driver and I wanted to take the family on a little jaunt up the coast, I'd be fine with it.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com

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