Amazing fuel economy, astounding technology, lots of standard equipment.
Batteries drain fast under continual electric motor assist, highly susceptible to crosswinds, not much point-and-shoot power on tap.
Some cars make you feel like a champion. This one makes you feel like a hero.
With its ultra-low-drag styling, aluminum body structure and innovative Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain, the two-passenger Insight can travel as far as 68 miles on a gallon of gas. Taking into account the car's 10.6-gallon fuel tank, one could theoretically drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City and still have a bit of gas in reserve.
The heart of the system is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor that assists the gasoline engine under acceleration. The package features an idle-stop feature, which shuts off the engine when the driver places the shift lever in neutral and releases the clutch pedal.
Unlike GM's all-electric EV1, the Insight requires no external power supply to recharge the 144-volt nickel metal hydride batteries. Regenerative braking via the ABS-assisted disc/drum brakes provides juice to the system. With a full charge and the electric motor providing full assist, the Insight accelerates swiftly, but passing power is lacking.
The five-speed manual transmission has relatively short first, second and third gears for good city driving performance, with tall overdrive gearing in fourth and fifth to maximize fuel economy. New this year is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that requires no gear swapping.
Like the Acura NSX's, the Insight's unitized body is made of aluminum (except for the front fenders, which are made from plastic) and boasts a drag coefficient of only 0.25. Thanks to its aerodynamic bodywork, flat underbody, low rolling-resistance tires and extensive use of lightweight materials, the Insight requires 30 percent less power to operate at highway speeds than the previous-generation Honda Civic.
But the effort to save weight pays a price in the handling department. The Insight is highly susceptible to crosswinds, and the narrow tires easily track any groove in the pavement, causing the driver to adjust the steering continually to compensate.
The Insight's interior is just as futuristic as the exterior, with a sweeping dash and a high-tech LCD analog/digital instrument display. Divided into three sections, the cluster displays engine rpm, coolant temperature and the engine's idiot lights on the left bank; a large digital speedometer, odometer, lifetime fuel economy bar graph and instant fuel economy in the middle; and fuel level, battery level indicator and the electric motor charge and assist indicator on the right bank.
Dual high-back bucket seats feature good lateral and lumbar support. Controls for power windows, mirrors, AM/FM cassette stereo, ventilation and available climate controls are all within easy reach, but two large adults might find themselves knocking elbows in the tight cockpit. Built fully equipped (the only option is an automatic air conditioning system) with power windows, door locks, exterior mirrors, an AM/FM cassette stereo, dual airbags, rear window defroster and a whole lot more, the Insight is an incredible value -- for a hybrid vehicle.
There are currently just two hybrids for sale: the Insight and the Toyota Prius. The Prius is the more versatile of the two thanks to its backseat. If you're interested in purchasing a hybrid, you might want to wait until early 2002 for what could be the best one yet: the hybrid-powered Civic.
No changes are in store for Honda's clever gas-electric hybrid vehicle.
MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995 destination charge and accessories. Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include $395 charge for select premium colors. $395 charge applies to 2021 and newer models.
Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Honda Insight.
I purchased the CVT and have not regretted the purchase at all. I get an average of 52 mpg in LA with stop/go/AC. The car had 80,000 existing miles but Honda's extended warranty (150K) for the battery as well as the Honda Care extended warranty (7yr/100K) has taken care of any concerns. I enjoy the car so much that I will be selling my other car because I no longer drive it. Looking forward to the release of the 2009 Insight.
4.88 out of 5 stars
My Insight Driving Expirence
2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl gas/electric hybrid 5M)
I drive mainly on interstate highway. My commute to work is about 96 miles round trip, all but 10miles are super highway. The vehicle has nearly 115,000 miles with an overall average mpg of 64.3. I haven't had any problems with the car and have replaced 4 tires once, and the front brakes just once. Because of the conditions of our Mass highways, I have had to replace the windshield twice and will need to replace it a third time before the next inspection. My Insight is a 5 speed manual with air conditioning.
4.63 out of 5 stars
2002 Honda Insight review
2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl gas/electric hybrid 5M)
From Mile zero to 42345 the average mpg is 62.2 overall. Highest was a trip of 320 miles and averaged 89.2 mpg. Yes, I had a tailwind - ;-)
I owned one for 5 years, servicing every 3 months.
In that time:
1. Need to replace cat converter ($1,200).
2. Need to replace IMA ($2,700).
3. Need to replace transmission ($2,200).
4. Need to replace flywheel.
5. Wheels randomly seize up almost causing an accident.
Dealer doesn't know why ($100 diagnostic).
6. Need to replace engine ($3,800).
7. Need to replace transmission ($2,200).
8. Need to replace IMA again ($2,800).
9. Need to replace wiring ($550).
Used/aftermarket parts are hard or impossible to find.
2 of 3 dealers had extremely poor workmanship (I was a mechanic).
Car never lasted more than 3 months w/o something breaking, and every part on it is EXPENSIVE.
The Used 2002 Honda Insight is offered in the following submodels: Insight Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback w/Air Conditioning (1.0L 3cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), 2dr Hatchback w/Air Conditioning (1.0L 3cyl gas/electric hybrid 5M), and 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl gas/electric hybrid 5M).
Pre-owned Honda Insight models are available with a 1.0 L-liter hybrid engine, with output up to 73 hp, depending on engine type.
The Used 2002 Honda Insight comes with front wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic, 5-speed manual.
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Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you
that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make
higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand,
can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a
new car every three years or so.