2010 Honda Insight Review

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable price, excellent fuel economy, seamless hybrid powertrain, pleasant driving experience.
  • Tight backseat, invasive road noise.
List Price Range
$6,200 - $9,598

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2010 Honda Insight largely improves upon the tried-and-true formula of the rival Prius, and it costs thousands less.

Vehicle overview

For most of this decade, Toyota's 46-mpg Prius has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the extreme fuel-miser segment. Only Honda's 42-mpg Civic Hybrid comes close, and its sales have been hampered by lethargic acceleration and a not-hybrid-looking-enough sedan body design. Enter the four-door 2010 Honda Insight, which takes dead aim at Toyota's green machine by offering comparable fuel economy and a look-alike hatchback layout at a considerably lower price. Of course, those with a longer memory might recall the first-generation Honda Insight, too, but its futuristic look was too impractical for most people despite stellar fuel efficiency. Not so version 2.0.

Under the new Insight's hood is Honda's familiar Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. IMA starts with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 88 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque, and it adds an electric motor that generates another 13 hp and 58 lb-ft, enough to propel the Insight up to 30 mph without the gas engine's help. A nickel-metal hydride battery pack keeps the electric motor whirring, and the electric motor returns the favor via regenerative braking, becoming a battery-charging generator when the brakes are activated. Notably, the gas engine's crankshaft never stops spinning, even when the Insight is operating solely on electric power, so there's no unseemly coughing or rumbling as the gas engine comes online.

In addition to seamless and adequately perky performance, the payoff is an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city/43 highway and 41 combined, according to Honda. That's a bit off the Toyota's pace, but the deficit shouldn't be a significant factor for most buyers. Over the course of a 15,000-mile year of driving, the Insight will run you an extra 40 gallons of gas, which accounts for a tiny fraction of the money you'll save by choosing the Insight in the first place. With a starting price in the high teens, the Insight handily undercuts its crosstown rival's $22,000 base price, not to mention the Civic Hybrid's $23,550 cost of entry. In fact, the loaded Insight EX with the navigation system won't cost too much more than a bare-bones Prius.

The Insight has two significant warts: Its backseat is considerably tighter than the Toyota's family-sedan-grade rear quarters, and there's plenty of Honda's trademark road noise at higher speeds. On the flip side, though, it has sensible gauges and a superior driving position. Given its impressive talents and attractive price, it's hard to fault the 2010 Honda Insight. Until the next Prius arrives, at least, the Insight is the new ruler of the hybrid-hatchback roost.

2010 Honda Insight models

The 2010 Honda Insight is a four-door hatchback available in base LX and uplevel EX trims. The LX comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, automatic climate control, a tilt/telescoping steering column, a height-adjustable driver seat and a four-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack. The EX adds alloy wheels, side-mirror-mounted turn signal indicators, stability control, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port and a fully integrated iPod connection. The lone option is a navigation system (EX only) that includes voice-activated controls and Bluetooth connectivity.

2010 Highlights

The Honda Insight hybrid is back. This time, however, it's been reincarnated as a four-door sedan that serves as Honda's answer to the iconic Toyota Prius.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 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 hp and 88 lb-ft 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. At our test track, the Insight zipped 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 Civic Hybrid.

According to Honda, EPA fuel economy ratings are 40 mpg city/43 highway and 41 combined.

Safety

All Insights come standard with antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum), front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. However, the base Insight LX lacks stability control and traction control, which come standard on the EX.

Driving

The words "hybrid" and "sporty" remain mutually exclusive at this modest price point, but the 2010 Honda Insight is by far the most enjoyable hybrid hatchback to drive. The ride is firm, the steering is relatively responsive and the crankshaft's constant rotation makes for seamless transitions between electric-only and full hybrid power. Braking, too, feels refreshingly normal relative to the wonky regenerative systems found in some other hybrids. No one would call the Insight quick, but its acceleration should prove adequate for shoppers in this segment. On the downside, there's bothersome road noise at highway speeds, and the gas engine gets buzzy under heavy acceleration.

Read our Honda Insight Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Interior

Inside, the 2010 Honda Insight is a distinctive mix of familiar Honda design elements and edgy hybrid-themed flourishes. Taller drivers will appreciate the telescoping steering column, while shorter ones will enjoy the height-adjustable driver seat. Most major controls are intuitive in operation, including the standard automatic climate control system -- a nice perk at this price. Thankfully, the gauges are mounted directly forward of the steering wheel, as opposed to the Prius' wonky center-mounted readout.

Charmingly or annoyingly, depending on your disposition, the background color of the Civic-style digital speedometer switches from blue to green when you're being judicious with your right foot. An "ECON" button to the left of the steering wheel makes the powertrain even more efficient, albeit at a tangible cost in straight-line performance. Unfortunately, the rear quarters are uncomfortably tight for adults. Toyota's roomy hybrid still trumps the Insight in this regard. The convenient hatchback lifts up to reveal 15.4 cubic feet of luggage space -- 31.5 cubes with the 60/40-split rear seats folded down.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2010 Honda Insight.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great little car, not up to brutal winters
Johannes Smith,01/17/2016
EX 4dr Hatchback (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Year 2 update - still solid, no major mechanical issues after 3 years, up to about 90k miles. Winter performance is still only OK for both drive quality and fuel economy, but overall performance is a solid 4/5 stars. No major mechnical issues make this a ludicrously cheap car to drive. Year 1 Update - still a solid little car. I need to preface everything I say next with this, the Insight is the cheapest hybrid out there. If you're going for MPGs and utility at bottom dollar, and don't mind a few quirks, it's an awesome car. Driving quality is... weird. Car rolls backwards on hills very readily. Hybrid drive is the slightest bit balky when it triggers. Pedals feel loose and floaty, in a minor way. I call this car "The Gadget" because a few elements of the drive train feel like they're still just prototypes. The flip side is, strangely, car has plenty of pickup. Gets on the highway very comfortably, can accelerate into small gaps in traffic no problem. All that combines with an average of about 40-41MPGs in good weather, 30-31MPGs in very cold weather. No major mechanicals after one year. I hear Honda's are famously reliable, and I believe it. I replaced the tires, the OEM tires were shot after 75K miles. Replacement tires have some issues, not sure if that is the wheels or the tires. My fault if it's the tires, Honda's if it's the wheels. --- So, I should start with the positive - bought a 2010 Insight EX in 2015. On the used market, they're going for sub 10K, and that means that entry level combustion engine cars are the same price as entry level hybrids. I had to give the hybrid a shot! In all the classic measurements of a car, the Insight excels. Acceleration is solid, it gets on the highway comfortably and can speed up to avoid hazards. Food for thought here, this car does 0-60 in 11.9 seconds. That compares to the gasoline Lancer of the same year at 11.4 seconds. The difference in fuel economy is a staggering 26MPG vs 43MPG. I'll leave you to do the cost/benefit analysis there. The interior is very comfortable, I love the seats. Safety features are cool (I'm upgrading from a cromagnon car with 1 airbag, so I'm excited to see 5 obvious airbags). The headlights on the EX are dazzlingly bright. For issues, there are 2 minor design flaws. Cabin view is not great - rearward visibility could be better with better pylon placement. The hatchback could also be roomier, it gets pretty tight back there. These are minor flaws - the view is most of the way there, and the hatchback is a great feature decently executed. The most perplexing issue with this overall great car is the winter performance. I am a Chicagoan. Sometimes, Chicago winter is colder than the dark side of the moon (and that is factual truth, google it). This winter has been average. The Insight's electric engine does not engage below a given temperature, usually below 20-30. The gasoline engine provides decent to good driving performance, but a much lower fuel efficiency. I'm averaging 31MPG in January. Also, the A/C unit is relatively weak, so it takes a significant amount of time to get the car hot. Maybe it's attempting to route heat to the hybrid drive's battery, I'm not sure - in either case, winter performance is out of line with general performance.
133,081 miles, $3,000 warranty refunded, no probs
Doc,10/20/2015
EX 4dr Hatchback (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
This was the most undervalued vehicle from 2010. Bought new. Get 41mpg still with Eco on. Driven all over US. Highway excellent. Safe. Still have original rotors. No problems except when 1st bought recall on a rubber trim. Just bought a Pioneer radio with Carplay. Amazing vehicle. I expect will see 200,000 miles plus. Got $3,000 back from extended warrantee because I never used it. Mine made in Japan before tsunami. Best investment. Replaced a crappy BMW convertible that nickled and dimed me. UPDATE 2017: 170,000 miles and counting. Repaired tire pressure sensor and brake lights. 1st major repairs. $500.
I love my 2010 Honda Insight
msajm41,05/17/2014
I had my 2010 Honda Insight for 5 years. The gas mileage was around 40 mpg, and about 45 mpg on long trips. I used synthetic oil in it since I bought it. I never had any major repairs on it. It was a great car. It wasn't the most comfortable on long trips. I never sat in the back seat so I'm not sure if they were comfortable. My older friends had trouble getting in and out of the back seat. But it was a nice car for the price, reliable, nice looking, and had great gas mileage.
after 25k miles: the facts plus a few comments
rickinseagrove,01/12/2011
The car is very econmical to operate and gets way better mileage than EPA estimate. Lifetime average fuel economy to date is 51 MPG (measured). Best tank average to date is 60 MPG (measured). The car computer over estimates mileage by 2 or 3 MPG. It gets significantly better mileage in the summer than in the winter. The 60 MPG tank average was during Aug. in Florida with slightly overinflated (40 PSI) tires on my daily 25 mile commute. I've change the oil 3 times in 25k miles. No other maintenance cost or issues to date. Honda replaced the IMA battery for free after a warning light came on when it was 2 months old. Really like the styling but they should use better interior materials. iLuvIt

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Honda Insight

Used 2010 Honda Insight Overview

The Used 2010 Honda Insight is offered in the following submodels: Insight Hatchback. Available styles include EX 4dr Hatchback (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), EX 4dr Hatchback w/Navigation (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), and LX 4dr Hatchback (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Honda Insight?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Honda Insight trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Honda Insight EX is priced between $6,200 and$9,598 with odometer readings between 80556 and100009 miles.
  • The Used 2010 Honda Insight LX is priced between $6,494 and$7,995 with odometer readings between 56157 and96373 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2010 Honda Insights are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2010 Honda Insight for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2010 Insights listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,200 and mileage as low as 56157 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Honda Insight.

Can't find a used 2010 Honda Insights you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Honda Insight for sale - 2 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $8,912.

Find a used Honda for sale - 8 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $12,357.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda Insight for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $8,450.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,330.

Should I lease or buy a 2010 Honda Insight?

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.

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