Used 2012 Honda Insight Hatchback

2012 Honda Insight
List price range
2012 Honda Insight


  • Thrifty fuel economy
  • low price for a hybrid.


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

Used 2012 Honda Insight Hatchback for Sale

Honda Insight 2012
136,757 miles
Used 2012
Honda Insight
Trust Auto
34.7 mi away
Est.Loan: $112/mo
View Details

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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

vehicle overview

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.

Trim levels & features

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.

2012 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.


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.


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.


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Honda Insight.

Overall Consumer Rating
3.26 reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

2012 Insight EX with Navi
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).
Excellent Value and Fun 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.
Check the oil
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.
2012 Honda Insight with Engine Repair
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.
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Features & Specs

41 city / 44 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
98 hp @ 5800 rpm
41 city / 44 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
98 hp @ 5800 rpm
41 city / 44 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
98 hp @ 5800 rpm
41 city / 44 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
98 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 2012 Honda Insight Hatchback features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.3%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 Honda Insight
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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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