2012 Honda Insight Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Honda Insight Hatchback

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Honda Insight Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 98 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 41/44 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Honda Insight

  • While fuel-efficient and reliable, the 2012 Honda Insight doesn't measure up to its archrival, the Toyota Prius.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Thrifty fuel economy; low price for a hybrid.

  • Cons

    Unsophisticated ride; cramped backseat; air-conditioning shuts off with auto-off engine at traffic lights.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Honda Insight receives a mild refresh. Exterior changes include a new grille design, restyled front and rear bumpers, redesigned headlights and brake lights and slightly wider tires for more confident handling. Inside there is a reconfigured rear seat area (with 0.5-inch more headroom and better visibility), a redesigned gauge cluster, and reshaped cupholders that hold larger drinks. The EX and LX models also get upgraded upholstery and a more supportive front armrest.

    All Insights get added noise insulation and a newly upgraded optional navigation system. A rearview camera is now available (packaged with the navigation system), and engine and transmission tweaks provide a fuel economy gain of 1 mpg in both city and highway driving.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (18 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Basic down to earth hybrid

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Insight

We have owned our 2010 insight for three years and have 37,000 miles on it. The professional reviews are right in that it is a lot like the early Japanese cars that were on the market in the 70's which were very reliable but very basic in design. If you want a reliable small cars for commuting back and forth, it is a great purchase. We use it to go back and forth to town and it gets us about 50 mpg as it seems to love going about 50 mph. Yes it rides a little hard and is short on sound insulation but for what we use it for, it's ideal. I wouldn't use it for a long drive though. We'll be passing it on to the children and probably getting another the last year of production.



1 of 2 people found this review helpful

50k miles later

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Insight

I have owned my Insight since March 2011 and have driven 50,000 miles. I have averaged 41.3 MPG for the entire life of the car so far, which is what I expected and am very pleased. I have had to do nothing but 5 oil changes, air filter, cabin filter and one CVT trans fluid change as recommended. There have been no other issues with the vehicle. Tires are finally bald and will be replaced at 50K miles as well. Number don't lie though, I did the calculations and with the lower price and good fuel economy you would have to own the Prius for 7-8 years before it would start saving you money over the Insight.



2 of 4 people found this review helpful

One month review

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Insight

First off, many hybrid owners get a bad (yet well deserved) rap of being," holier than thou" when it comes to the environmental impact of their cars. Let's dismiss some myths. Hybrids Do NOT save the world or the environment (one look at mining practices for the metals to make up the various batteries will easily disprove that) . Sorry to dash the hopes of the misinformed. Hybrids DO help in saving significant amounts in your fuel expenditures. More importantly, hybrids do allow the user to save fuel while still being able to use the existing infrastructure. (rant off) I bought my base 2011 Insight to replace a very nice 2009 Rav4. It has in over 1000 miles already saved fuel costs by 1/2.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

A fun hybrid? go figure

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Insight

I am thrilled with this car! I bought it for a year-long 220-mile round-trip commute that would have been miserable and expensive in most other cars but was actually pleasant in this one thanks to the comfort, handling, and iPod connection. The front-wheel drive also got me home safely during an epic blizzard last winter. After 32,000 miles in 18 months, and now commuting 60 miles round-trip on a winding rural road, I can still say I love this car, as do my growing kids and two big dogs. I'm averaging 45 mpg across all conditions and terrains, and the 12,000-mile oil changes are nice, too. One change I did make for my rural area was wider tires, which are more durable and widely available.



1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Disappointed

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Insight

I've owned this car for four months and I'm trading it in next week. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is annoying -- when you step on the gas, there's a delayed reaction. It revs noisily during entire acceleration arc. Very gutless. Most of my driving is city and MPG averages about 39. Above 65 miles per hour, MPG drops to low 30s. In Econ mode, AC stops with engine at stoplights. Rear seatbelts get pinned behind seats after folding them up. Cramped back seat leads to dirty upholstery when kids with dirty feet climb in. Paint job is SOFT and easily scratched. Body style is typical hybrid ugly, grille is inexplicably gray... would look much better matching the body.



3 of 14 people found this review helpful

My worst purchase ever

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Insight

I loved the test drive. I should have spent more time doing it. I would have found out what was wrong. I realized it was a mistake to buy the car as soon as I got on the highway after leaving the dealership. I noticed several bad things immediately - road noise, very bumpy ride and no passing power. After driving it for a few days commuting back and forth to work, I began having horrible headaches. This was the thing that really made me sell the car. My guess is that it had something to do electromagnetic radiation from the hybrid motor and wires that go through the cabin. Never buying a hybrid again until they do studies on this. Lost $7k selling it back in 2 months.



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 41
  • cty
/
  • 44
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Honda Insight Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Honda Insight receives a mild refresh. Exterior changes include a new grille design, restyled front and rear bumpers, redesigned headlights and brake lights and slightly wider tires for more confident handling. Inside there is a reconfigured rear seat area (with 0.5-inch more headroom and better visibility), a redesigned gauge cluster, and reshaped cupholders that hold larger drinks. The EX and LX models also get upgraded upholstery and a more supportive front armrest.

All Insights get added noise insulation and a newly upgraded optional navigation system. A rearview camera is now available (packaged with the navigation system), and engine and transmission tweaks provide a fuel economy gain of 1 mpg in both city and highway driving.

Introduction

Relaunched a few years ago, the Honda Insight is one of the granddaddies of the hybrid segment. The fact that its sales over the years have paled relative to those of the segment's other founding father, the Toyota Prius, says a lot about what most Americans want from their hybrids.

The 2012 Honda Insight has some things in its favor. One is its low price tag; with a starting price of less than $20 grand, it's the most inexpensive hybrid on the market, though not by much now that the new Prius C is around. Another is its performance at the gas pump. Though its mileage doesn't top that of the supremely frugal Prius (standard version or the C), the Insight bears the distinction of being one of the most fuel-efficient models in a segment known for fuel efficiency.

This Honda's primary weakness concerns ride comfort. While it offers a less isolated and more engaging driving experience than the Toyotas, the Insight doesn't feel nearly as refined on the road, thanks largely to a suspension that's less forgiving over broken pavement. It also comes up short in utility. It trails both Prius models in cargo capacity, and although 2012 upgrades leave it with an ever so slightly roomier backseat, its second row remains less spacious than theirs.

If you're one of the many hybrid owners who take special pleasure in cruising along solely on electric power, you should know that's impossible in the Insight, since its "mild hybrid" setup doesn't allow the car to travel on electricity alone. And this setup comes with another drawback: air-conditioner shut-off when the car stops, which can lead to sticky times in hot weather.

Overall, the 2012 Honda Insight isn't a bad pick for affordable transportation. Still, most buyers will be better served by either the comparably priced Toyota Prius C or roomier but more expensive standard Prius, given their superior versatility and refinement. You might also want to consider Honda's own Civic Hybrid, which is a nicer car to drive and actually returns slightly better fuel economy.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Honda Insight is available in three trim levels: base, LX and EX.

Standard equipment on the base trim includes 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver-seat height adjustment, a trip computer and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The LX adds cruise control, a front center armrest and storage bin, floor mats, steering wheel audio controls, four speakers for the sound system and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The EX adds 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel shift paddles, Bluetooth, vanity mirrors and a six-speaker sound system. The EX can also be equipped with a navigation system, which includes a touchscreen interface, voice controls, a digital audio card reader and a rearview camera.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Honda Insight's hybrid system consists of a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor paired with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The gas engine is good for 88 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor chips in 13 hp and 58 lb-ft. Due to varying power peaks, the maximum combined output is 98 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. Power flows to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

At our test track, the Insight accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 10.9 seconds -- a few tenths slower than the Prius, but a substantial 2.6 seconds quicker than the glacial Civic Hybrid. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 41 mpg city/44 mpg highway and 42 mpg combined.

Safety

Every 2012 Honda Insight comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), brake assist, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Insight received the best possible rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Insight's cabin has a spare feel, and doesn't aspire to transcend the car's low price tag. This is particularly noticeable in the base model, which lacks a front armrest and has just two speakers for the stereo. Though rear headroom sees a slight improvement for 2012, the Insight still trails the Prius when it comes to headroom and legroom in the second row.

On the positive side, the Insight's controls are quite simple to use and the standard automatic climate control is appreciated. Also, the visual aids offered by the Insight to help encourage fuel-efficient driving are a nice touch. As your long-term fuel economy improves or declines, the background color of the speedometer changes, and the trip computer rewards or chastises you with images of growing or wilting trees.

Driving Impressions

Because of its "mild hybrid" setup, the 2012 Honda Insight feels more like a traditional gas-only car than the Prius; there's no transition between electric and gasoline modes since the Insight's engine is assisted by its electric motor rather than working in tandem with it. For some drivers, this may be an advantage.

Its responsive steering and relatively sporty suspension tuning make the Insight more fun to drive than the Prius. However, it is noticeably less engaging than non-hybrid yet still fuel-efficient models like the Ford Fiesta and Mini Cooper. Ride quality suffers over rough surfaces, and even the smallest pavement imperfections are transmitted to the cabin. Excessive road noise has long been an issue with the Insight but the situation sees some improvement for 2012, thanks to improved noise insulation.

Talk About The 2012 Insight