I compared several vehicles that met my requirements in a new vehicle and the Insight showed up. I had never heard of one before. Perhaps it is so unknown because Honda does not promote it. Few people are familiar with it but it meets my needs perfectly. I do not think most of the criticisms of it are fair. It is not noisy. It is comfortable. It runs smoothly and the gas mileage is terrific. The AC does turn off when the engine stops at lights, etc. but that is overcome by moving the car into Park which I do in our recent 100 degree weather. It is fun to drive. I am not a car nut. I expect my vehicles to get me where I am going as cheaply as possible. The Honda Insight LX does that.
I am always surprised to see so few (I should say rarely) Insights on the road. Toyota Prius seem to be the only hybrid people think of. Not only the Prius is expensive, I am not so sure it's a better car: Insight dashboard is better and the possibility of disabling the automatic traction(not available in the Prius) in case of getting stuck in the snow is a plus in the Northeast.
I almost didn't buy it based on some of the professional reviews I read, but I decided to go by those written by real consumers, and I am glad I did. The car is flawless, fun to drive, and very will built. I has enough power to get up on the freeway and keeps up with traffic while getting over 45 mpg, and I drive it very hard. I have found the ride to be good, not harsh, and is similar to other small cars of similar weight. I am 6'3" and have plenty of room and comfort. It is not a Prius, and does not try to be. It is the original hybrid, predating the Prius. The unit is one of the few fully built in Japan, and the quality demonstrates that very well.
I bought my wife a 2011 Honda Insight. As of now she has 23746 miles and has purchased 533.715 gallons of gas(yes, we record Odom-trip-# of gal-price per gal and date). Currently getting 44.49 mpg and that is actual all driving mpg! I was so impressed I traded in my Chevy HHR for my own 2012 Insight. As of now my Insight has 13818 miles on 305.667 gallons for 45.20 actual MPG and that is city and highway combined! Yes the AC turns off when I sit at a red light. I drive from the NJ suburbs to block b4 the Holland Tunnel, so my ride isn't smooth sailings! The ride in my Insight makes this commute bearable.
I bought a Prius 4 yrs ago and I like the car. With the fact that Honda is discontinuing the car, and I didn't want Toyota to earn all my money so I decided to buy a new Insight. Surprisingly my decision is well made. Like I said Prius is a good car, I can get 60 MPG if I drive it really carefully (by pissing off many other drivers). But Insight makes you forget that you are driving a hybrid and still get you pretty decent mileage. Honda is definitely more fun to drive compared to Toyota; the handling is much better. Although its not as spacious as to Prius, its not bad at all. Bottom line, both cars are good, but Insight is a car with more fun.