I recently purchased a Black Insight EX with Navi after careful comparison with the Prius. I concluded that the Insight is a much better value, ($10,000 less than top of the line Prius, although it doesn't offer quite as many options) and is much more enjoyable to drive. I purchased this as a commuter car (60 mile round trip to work) and for running errands. I consistently avg 45mpg (calculated by fuel up to miles driven). Overall I am very pleased with this vehicle and believe it would have see better sales if it was marketed better. Also, contrary to Edmunds review this car is capable of electric only operation although in very limited circumstances (flat level ground under 25 mph).
The Insight is a essentially a super efficient fwd conventional automobile. The hybrid system is a small DC motor/generator is wound around the output shaft of the engine and provides power for acceleration and recharges the battery when coasting. Streamlined and somewhat narrow, big and unusually tall folks will not be comfortable. Soccer moms will find the hatchback storage too small. The interior is crisp and functional but upscale buyers will likely opt for something more sophisticated. The Insight is capable of 50+mpg but hyper milers will want more. For me, it is a brilliantly simple design that is affordable, economical, beautiful and a pleasure to drive.
This is my second review after one year. I'm averaging 48-49 mpg but routinely get 60+ during ideal conditions. To get the most out of the Insight you need to drive it correctly otherwise you will be disappointed. The Insight is a very efficient conventional automobile with hybrid assist. It is very affordable being less complicated than the Prius. As an engineer I find the Insight brillaintly simple while the Prius is more a technological feat. Note that if climate control is in auto the engine will start as necessary at stoplights to maintain the desired temperature. This has been incorrectly reported in a number of reviews. No problems and I would buy again without reservation.
EX 4dr Hatchback (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Yes, my Honda Insight had the notorious engine problem with high oil consumption. I bought a 2-year warranty and Honda also extended the engine warranty. When I started having problems, I took my car back to the dealership where I bought the car and spoke with the service manager. He was very prompt and helpful - they rebuilt my engine and even arranged a loaner car for me to use. The warranty coverage that I have did pay the entire cost of repair, labor and the loaner. I had about $6,000 worth of services, but didn't have to pay a cent. I was basically given a new engine at no charge. I definitely recommend knowing your warranty and speaking with a Honda dealer if you suspect that your Insight may be part of the group that has oil consumption problems. /// Regarding how the car rides, I will say that it is a lower end Honda and drives as such. The acceleration isn't very powerful so don't expect a quick getaway if you need to quickly pass another vehicle on a hill. It does drive smoothly at interstate speeds and has minimal engine noise. The interior is comfortable and has enough leg room for those of us with longer legs. The AC isn't as powerful as I would like. Overall, I do like my car. It works well for my day trips and my everyday driving. I don't think it would be powerful enough to really do a lot of mountainous driving. I live in a very hilly region and it does okay, but for the more rigorous driving areas, I would opt for a different car that offers more power.
Be careful buying this car. I bought a 2012 Insight LX brand new. It was always maintained at a dealership and all scheduled maintenance was performed. My oil got low between oil changes and it was suggested that an oil consumption test be performed at the next oil change. This was done and the test came out fine. About six weeks later I went on an 800 mile road trip and the engine light came on and I knew what the problem was. The oil didn't even show on the dipstick. Had to add two quarts and the thing only holds 3.4 quarts. If you buy one of these used make sure you get it cheap and keep the oil checked because the light doesn't come on until it is desperately low. Once the hybrid battery starts to decline you will lose a lot of mpg's too. Honda doesn't replace the battery unless it drops below 45%. Mine was at 75% and I had lost 10 mpg.