2019 Honda Insight Review
2019 Honda Insight Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Mark Takahashi has worked in the automotive industry since 2001. He has written thousands of car-related articles and tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Mark has also contributed to Motor Trend, Auto Aficionado, Chevy High Performance and several motorcycle magazines in various roles. Mark is also a juror on the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards and can be seen regularly on the Edmunds YouTube channel and sometimes representing the company in media interviews.
- High fuel-economy figures
- Quick acceleration for a hybrid
- Styled like a conventional sedan
- Refined and roomy interior
- Engine sounds coarse under hard acceleration
- All-new for 2019
- Unlike past hatchback-like models, this is a sedan
- First year of the third-generation Insight introduced for 2019
When you think of hybrids, more likely than not you're probably picturing a Toyota Prius. It's become the most popular in its class, but it wasn't the first. The original Honda Insight beat it to market by a few months, but it never managed to compete on an even playing field. The second-generation Insight was discontinued in 2014, leaving a distinct gap in Honda's lineup.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2019 Honda Insight LX 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$75/mo for Insight LX
Avg. Midsize Car
The 2019 Honda Insight fills that void, and it does so in an impressive manner. First off, it no longer looks like the last-generation Insight or Prius. It's now a sedan and can easily be mistaken for the new Accord. The new Insight also exorcises some of the odd hybrid driving quirks that irked us before. Now it drives much like a conventional car, with a lot more punch and responsiveness when accelerating from a stop.
This new Insight isn't quite as miserly with fuel as the Hyundai Ioniq, but it's close enough to keep it competitive, as is its long list of standard advanced safety features. Its numerous strengths — which include a spacious cabin, quick acceleration and excellent value for money — lead us to recommend it heartily against any other hybrid on the market.
Edmunds' Expert Rating8.1 / 10
The new 2019 Insight sets itself apart from other dedicated hybrids with its conventional style and driving characteristics. This approach — along with its excellent fuel economy, long list of safety features and reasonable pricing — makes the Insight worth your attention.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Honda Insight Touring (1.5L 4-cyl. hybrid).
|Overall||8.1 / 10|
The Insight drives more like a regular car than a hybrid, which is a compliment. It delivers average acceleration that is aided by a bump of electric assistance when taking off from a stop. It's also a better handler than other affordable hybrids.
The Insight accelerates responsively and smoothly in most situations. In our testing, it covered 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds, which is quick for a hybrid or fuel-efficient non-hybrid. The Insight only feels tepid when accelerating at highway speeds with a low battery charge.
Routine light braking around town is predictable and easy to modulate. But the brake pedal action does begin to feel "springy" during moderately hard braking events and surprise stops. Our test car stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet at our test track, a decent result for a car of this type.
The steering is pretty precise and responsive in routine driving. Though feel is lacking somewhat, the weighting is just about right. Sport mode doesn't unnecessarily add steering heft, which is a relief.
The Insight drives like a slightly less sporty Honda Civic. It goes around turns in a tidy and composed fashion. Tire grip is also satisfactory. Its character leans more toward sobriety than spirit, but the Insight is certainly more lively than a Prius.
The Insight accelerates smoothly. There isn't a transmission in the traditional sense, but the experience is a lot like driving a car with a continuously variable transmission. Our test car's adjustable regenerative braking system kept resetting itself to a lower setting when we didn't ask for it. That's not an issue in Sport mode, which gives the car quicker reflexes and retains your selected regen level indefinitely.
There's fundamental comfort among the seats and the ride quality, both of which exhibit a well-judged balance between support and compliance. Noise isn't fully banished, owing to the road noise and the constant hum of the engine when accelerating. Still, we wouldn't mind driving it long distances.
The seats are comfortable, with medium-firm foam and a nice texture. They are a bit less contoured than Civic Si seats, which suits the Insight's mission. The seats are shaped well but lack lumbar adjustment.
Overall, this is a pleasant-riding car of its type. Heaving motions are slightly exaggerated when driving over large bumps, but single wheel impacts and smaller road textures are snubbed deftly. The ride is a little on the busy side, but not offensively so.
Noise & vibration7.0
There can be significant engine vibration at idle when it needs to charge the battery. Once underway, the engine is smooth. Wind noise is quite well suppressed, and road and engine noise are average at cruising speeds. The engine doesn't drone annoyingly like you'd expect based on its powertrain, but the engine doesn't sound placid either.
There is appealing air flow from the vents and reasonably quiet operation, but the system does not appear to compensate for heat radiation from the sun as well as it should. The large temperature knobs and fan buttons are intuitively located.
Larger on the inside than the exterior suggests, the Insight's cabin typifies Honda's mastery of space utilization. It's smart and functionally well-designed, with obvious and well-labeled controls. Plus, it readily accommodates people of various sizes.
Ease of use9.0
The controls are well-labeled, chunky and accessible. There's no touch-sensitive anything aside from the touchscreen itself. The steering wheel controls are similarly large and well-laid-out. The drive selector is all buttons — common to modern Hondas — which requires more glancing than would a regular lever.
Getting in/getting out8.0
The doors open quite wide and the front door aperture is generous, thanks to doors that are longer than expected for a compact four-door car. The low door sills and a slim dashboard aid entry. Entry into the back is similarly easy; a bit of ducking is all that's required.
You get plenty of front fore/aft seat range in the Insight. Height adjustment will suit drivers of shorter stature more than tall drivers. Steering wheel reach is a hair below average, but it has adequate up-down rake range. Overall, the Insight accommodates a range of body proportions.
The Insight is a surprisingly large car inside, offering plenty of headroom for taller adults. The front door panels are scalloped generously for more elbow room. Rear headroom is more snug, but there's good toe room even when the front seats are at their lowest.
It's pretty easy to see out the front thanks to reasonably slim windshield pillars. The side mirrors connect to the base of the pillars, which hampers your side view somewhat. Rear visibility is compromised by the wide rear pillars and the tall deck. Unfortunately, that's typical of sedans these days.
The cabin construction is typical Honda. The Touring has a smattering of high-end materials, but all Insights have fundamentally solid-appearing surfaces with low gloss. Touch points are soft and gaps are consistent, and no squeaks or rattles were observed.
The Insight is a surprisingly useful sedan from a utility standpoint. Its well-thought-out center console is the centerpiece of the in-cabin storage, and the trunk has solid swallowing capacity and a wide opening. The hybrid batteries are situated under the back seat and do not impede on cargo volume.
The deep center console is outstanding, with a removable, sliding insert and divider that creates three tiers. A handy rubberized pad on the console is ideal for a phone. The front door pockets are a good size, and the glove box is average capacity. Rear storage is limited to cupholders in a flip-down console and door pockets
The wide trunk opening reveals a reasonably deep cargo hold, though the gooseneck hinges need clearance when closing. There's more storage under the trunk floor. To folder the 60/40-split rear seats, pull an easily accessible lever in the trunk and then go to the rear door to fold the seat.
Child safety seat accommodation8.0
The lower LATCH anchors are very easy to access. Three upper tether anchors are in obvious locations at either outboard seat location. Though it's a small car, the Insight has ample space. It can handle car seats as well as any other car in its class.
Honda's new infotainment screen is quick, sharp and easy to use. It represents a big jump forward from the previous-generation system present in some Honda vehicles. It makes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (standard on EX trim and up) less of a priority. Comprehensive device integration choices are offered, too. However, the driver aids, which are rather conservative, continue to lag behind the competition.
Audio & navigation8.0
This car has Honda's new touchscreen interface, and it's a huge improvement. Beyond now having a volume knob, the screen has fast reactions and a sharp display that supports pinches and swipes. The hard keys on the screen's left side are a nice addition because they require less "glance time."
Bluetooth pairing is straightforward and rapid. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work well, and there are two 2.5-amp USB ports and a 12-volt power outlet up front.
Honda Sensing is standard, but the brake alert comes up too readily in routine city driving. Still, this car returns fewer false positives than other recent Hondas. The adaptive cruise is average. Hard buttons for the various systems allow you to toggle them quickly and easily.
The voice controls are reasonably responsive and accurate, albeit within the constructs of its menu-driven on-screen prompts. USB-based music and navigation commands are available via voice, but it cannot control Bluetooth audio.
Which Insight does Edmunds recommend?
We recommend the EX trim Insight primarily for its inclusion of folding rear seats that give it greater cargo flexibility. It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which are strong substitutes for the Touring trim's built-in navigation system.
2019 Honda Insight models
The 2019 Honda Insight is a five-passenger midsize sedan that is available in three trim levels: LX, EX and Touring. All are powered by a hybrid powertrain composed of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that primarily acts as a generator to supply power to an electric motor that drives the front wheels. Combined system output is 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque, and a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery is located under the rear seats.
The base LX Insight comes standard with automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition, automatic climate control, active noise cancellation, Bluetooth, a multi-angle rearview camera, a 5-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker audio system with a USB port and Pandora internet streaming radio.
Standard advanced safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, a traffic sign reader, and a driver attention monitor.
The EX trim adds keyless entry, a rear-seat center armrest, 60/40-split folding rear seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, HondaLink smartphone integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, an additional USB port, and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio. The Honda LaneWatch blind-spot camera system is also included.
The top Touring trim rounds out the features list with LED foglights, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, a navigation system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 10-speaker premium audio system.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Michael A., 08/30/2018
2019 Honda Insight EX 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Purchased a 2019 Insight EX in July 2018 and have generally had a really productive, worthwhile time with it. Currently - September 2019 - I am doing fairly well in the mpg game compared with other Insight owners on fuelly.com. Am averaging around 55 mpg since July 2018 and that consists mostly of conservative driving with an approximate driving ratio of 70% highway, 30% city. … Average highway speed anywhere between 55-65 mph. I would highly, highly recommend that all Insight test-drivers conduct his/ her test drive using a particular method. As you may have seen in reviews over the past year, one of the biggest negatives of this car is the noise it makes under high acceleration and/or steep hills - especially in SPORT mode. Make an effort to conduct your test drive using at least one of the following two methods: (1) using SPORT mode and higher than normal acceleration from a stop on a level road; and/ or (2) using normal or SPORT mode on a relatively steep hill. If the noise and acceleration is acceptable to you, then you presumably have gotten past one of the biggest downsides of this model. PROS: 1) Looks are well above and beyond Civic and Accord (to me). Fantastic tail end design, while front end is bold, kinda menacing in a way and yet similar to Accord. 2) Overall interior design/ ergonomics/ space. 3) Has a gas cap (please GOOGLE the big issues/ problems concerning 2016-2017 Honda Civic capless gas tanks). 4) New transmission control/ operation was easy to get used to after decades of the traditional automatic transmission stick. 5) Sport mode has allowed me to enjoy solid acceleration on highway entrance ramps and coming out of toll booth lanes. However, please note that 0-30 mph acceleration is much, much better than 30-60 mph. At 25-30 mph, car loses much of its punch. 6) On local/ suburban roads with low mph and little need for acceleration, car is very quiet. 7) Ride quality is solid. 8) OEM tires (Michelin Energy Saver - Insight EX) on the Insight are considerably better than stock tires for most compact vehicles even if they aren't great for sporty cornering. 9) LED headlights and taillights (for the most part). 10) Auto lock car by touching drivers door handle in that particular space. 11) Love the acoustic harmonic music that resonates when starting and initially accelerating in vehicle (used to warn pedestrians about an otherwise quiet vehicle). CONS: 1) As mentioned at the top of my review, the noise on steep inclines, hard acceleration and in SPORT mode is really high! I am willing to live with it, but this could definitely be a dealbreaker for many auto buyers out there. 2) Front seat comfort in my EX version was not good on test drive. Purchased two separate VERY high-end ergonomic wedge cushions from a high-end furniture company in Canada ($350-$400 total) to completely compensate for uncomfortable seating and lumbar. Seating is now good purely on that basis. Front passenger seat height is inexplicably low. 3) Rear visibility seems considerably inferior to Accord and Subaru Impreza (the latter of which I drove for past six years). I know it is similar to Civic but still looks a bit cramped/ tight. 4) Scratches have mysteriously developed on car body and headlights -- also, original paint job doesn't seem like it will hold up well for over a decade or more. Now could this be applicable to many Honda vehicles and not necessarily the Insight? Nonetheless, I did not see this problem so early when I had purchased/ leased three previous vehicles: (1) 1997 Honda Civic; (2) 2012 Subaru Impreza; and (3) 2015 Impreza. 5) Why can't the Insight have cupholders - like the Accord - that have the flexible ends (which are more stable and allow for many more cup size differences)? On the other hand, I do particularly like the one huge cupholder inside armrest. 6) Why can't I have the Prius option of regen paddles that PERMANENTLY allow me to set brake regen levels - rather than temporary (for a few seconds)? Given a choice, I would definitely use maximum regen most often. I don't like the idea that I have to hit the paddles many times during each/ multiple drives in order to save cumulative bits of energy at a time. 7) Car did not come with spare tire and it is a bit of an ordeal along with needless expense to have to custom order spare tire with related accessories.
5 out of 5 stars
Really enjoying the car
Albert Wiersch, 08/05/2018
2019 Honda Insight EX 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Overall I think Honda hit it out of the park on this one. Truly a Prius killer if you ask me. I have the EX (middle) trim. However, that's not to say that nothing could be improved as there is always room for improvement... like lumbar support (although I am finding the seats comfortable enough without it), rear cross traffic detection (although one of the modes of the rear view camera … is very wide angle and you can see vehicles coming from relatively far away), and proper blind spot monitoring (although I'm getting use to the LaneWatch camera system and I've purchased circular blind spot mirrors for both side-view mirrors). The one thing I do miss most about my previous car, a Honda Fit, was the hatchback and how practical it was. The practicality of the Honda Fit and its hatch made going to Costco and loading my car up pretty easy. The Insight is more work and hassle when it comes to loading and unloading large "cargo" but driving the Insight to and from Costco is definitely more pleasant and "upscale". Now with my quibbles out of the way, I think the fuel economy is excellent. In hotter weather I've noticed that using the AC will probably take 5 to 10 MPG off your gas mileage though. And pretty much everything else (other than what I mentioned above) is very good to great. Ride quality is very good and, for the most part is relatively quiet, especially when the gas engine is not running. When pushing it though, the gas engine can get loud. Acceleration is good. It's not bad and not great, but good... and the reviews say much better than a Prius. I really love how fast, responsive, and smooth the Insight is from a stop. Speaking of stops, I also really like the brake hold feature that will hold the brake for you when you come to a stop. To go again just press the accelerator. I also like that there is no transmission in the car. It has an "E-CVT" which I think is like a simulated transmission. At speeds of around 45 MPH and higher the gas engine can directly power the wheels and a little gear will appear in the power flow screen... otherwise the gas engine is mainly there to generate electricity for the electric motor and to charge the small lithium ion battery pack that's under the rear seat (so it doesn't take up trunk space). So I totally agree with the notion that the Insight is a great compact sedan that just happens to be a hybrid. I would not recommend the LX (lowest) trim because for a little more money you can upgrade to the middle trim (EX) and get some serious upgrades (much better Infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, remote start, walk-away door locks, and more). The highest trim (Touring) is significantly more money and you lose some fuel economy so consider if those added "luxury" features like leather are really worth it to you. Finally, it looks so much better than the Prius.
5 out of 5 stars
Wonderful driving experience, and it looks good to
2019 Honda Insight EX 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
The interior is very quiet, allowing the wonderful stereo to sound awesome. The handling and ride quality are a pleasure. I'm averaging more than 51 mpg over more than 1,400 miles of mixed highway, twisty mountain roads and city driving. When I's stuck in stop and go traffic the MPG get's improves! I have a favorite breakfast place about 20 miles from my home and the Insight is averaging … about 65mpg and the trip there. The engine noise when going up a hill was disturbing at first, but I'm either getting used to it or it's getting better with more miles on the car. I have been pleasantly surprised with the acceleration when entering the freeway, the Insight moves briskly when it needs to. One complaint is the Lane Assist technology - on several occasion when trying to change lanes, the car will suddenly brake, and there are no cars or other obstacles in front of me - scary, I have been canceling Lane Assist and ACC when I know that I might need to exit the freeway or change lanes in order to avoid the unexpected, and unwarranted braking.
4 out of 5 stars
3 year review update
Bill Burke, 07/23/2018
2019 Honda Insight EX 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
Every 2 or 3 years I upgrade my Civic. Anyway, just traded in my 2017 Civic EX for the 2019 Insight EX. I got a good price $23,300 and the car is worth the extra 3K that I paid for the civic ex. It feels like a larger car, rides smoother and a little less sporty, but I'm getting older, so I like to feel the road less. It is my first hybrid and I like driving it. If I put into sport mode, … well it is not insane like the Tesla, but the response is immediate. I did a 0-=60 and got around 8 seconds. That's respectable enough for me. The only downside is the various engine sounds that they designed into it. I think that is unnecessary and it loses half a star for that. While the pros don't like the lanewatch, I prefer it to beeps of the BSM system. I'm a big boy, I can determine with my eyes whether it is safe to change lanes. I would like it on the left side, but it is not as "blind" on that side admittedly.I am always getting over 50 MPG which saves me $30+/month. Edited...in winter getting 48mpg. I think the heater drains the battery. Also warming up on cold days in NY hits the mpg. I like the sedan because when I was growing up, that's all there was, Plus they still are more efficient. The few times I carry stuff in the trunk, I feel it is safer than in the hatchback.anyway, I am very happy with this car. We will see how it holds up and I'll update if anything changes. update . Traded it in and lost a star for electric problems. Head unit kept rebooting and power outlet dead. Wanted a new one but price increase brought it up to 26000. So for 1500 more I got the toyota camry hybrid le. Got 16500 for trade with 42k on the insight. Loved my insight but the camry hybrid is better in almost every area. Ill review that soon.
2019 Honda Insight videos
ELANA SCHERR: The epic battles of automotive history-- Corvette vs. 911, F-150 vs. Silverado, 3-Series vs. C-class, Camaro vs. Mustang. DAN EDMUNDS: And don't forget-- Honda Insight vs. Toyota Prius. [MUSIC PLAYING] ELANA SCHERR: These high mileage hybrids represent another iconic car pairing. DAN EDMUNDS: That's right. These are the longest-running names in the hybrid business because they're the ones that started it all. ELANA SCHERR: Today, we're going to figure out which of these two is right for you. DAN EDMUNDS: But before we get into that, remember to use Edmunds next time you're ready to buy a car, truck, or hybrid vehicle. And click Subscribe if you want to see more videos like this one. ELANA SCHERR: Also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. [MUSIC PLAYING] With EVs, plug-in hybrids, and standard hybrids on the market, it can get confusing knowing which car falls into which category. The Prius and the Insight we have here are standard hybrids-- no range anxiety or need for a home charger. These guys charge their own batteries. DAN EDMUNDS: And they can do that because they have electric motors paired with their gasoline engines. Those motors don't just move the car forward, they also generate electricity and slow the car each time you hit the brakes. And that's why hybrids get such great fuel economy. In fact, most deliver higher city mileage than highway mileage. So the Prius is actually a really nice place to sit if you're the driver. That didn't used to be the case-- at least for me. But this new generation that's been around the last couple of years, they lowered the seat, they made it height adjustable, and they improved the reach of the steering wheel. So it's a more normal driving position. I don't feel like I'm in a bus. Car's a little bit narrower than I might like, but certainly my headroom and leg room-- plenty of that. After that, the weirdness of the Prius starts to become apparent. For one, I've never been a fan of the centrally-mounted instruments. The other thing that always bugs me is this shifter here. It's so bad that they have to put a beeper in it in case you put it in reverse inadvertently. You couldn't tell otherwise. It's also got a park button and a park brake, which always gets people confused. But other than that, the climate control system is really easy to use. These are nice, big cup holders-- seat heaters are here. The stereo in this Prius doesn't have Apple CarPlay, but that's going to change in 2020. But you will lose the CD player, which is here now, and it won't be next year. Well, that's about it for the front. Elana, how are you doing in back? ELANA SCHERR: Actually, it's great back here. I mean, you're a tall dude, and I got plenty of space, lots of headroom, two USB ports, and cup holders. DAN EDMUNDS: Nice. Well, why don't you hop in the front and let's go for a drive? ELANA SCHERR: Do they have cup holders up there? DAN EDMUNDS: Oh yeah. ELANA SCHERR: I feel like the Prius is a really good example of a car where if you haven't been in one in a few years, your idea of what it's like to drive one is just totally wrong now. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, absolutely. A couple of years ago, they redesigned the car completely, made it look a little bit more like a Dart. And in the process of doing that, they really improved it in a lot of ways, actually. Driving position here where I am is much better. And then the ride is also more refined and smoother because they've replaced the old twist beam suspension with a multi-leg setup. And that just makes the ride that much more pleasant. It also improves the handling, the steering is good. The main dynamic problem I have with it is the way the brakes feel. ELANA SCHERR: They feel very soft. It's not that they don't stop the car-- they will stop the car fine. But they feel-- what's the opposite of confident? Insecure. They have insecure feeling brakes. DAN EDMUNDS: What's going on is this kind of a brake by wire system. So when you press the pedal, you're really telling the computer you want to slow down. And it's looking at how hard and how far you press the pedal and kind of determining how much stopping power to give you. And then it decides well, I'll use the magnetism of the electric motor or I'll use the friction brakes or maybe both together. And so as a result, you're not really pushing on a master cylinder like you are in every other car. Now, all electrified cars-- electric cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids-- they all have brakes like this. But for some reason, the Prius has just never gotten any better from what they landed with about 20 years ago when the car came out. And the biggest thing for me is when you back out of a parking space, because you're trying to just kind of lightly dab the brakes and they're a little too grabby at that point. And it just doesn't feel right. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah, it would be hard to stage this car for a dragster. Speaking of dragsters, my feelings about the Prius are always like, oh my god, it's the slowest car you can buy. And that is not true anymore. DAN EDMUNDS: No. It's no problem when you want to merge onto a freeway or past somebody. I mean, it's not a speed demon, but it certainly has enough power to get out of its own way. ELANA SCHERR: Well, and then we took these cars all the way up in the mountains because we wanted to be surrounded by trees because we're eco conscious. We're saving gas. We're saving the environment. DAN EDMUNDS: And we like trees. ELANA SCHERR: And we like trees. And we had some serious hills to get up here, and the Prius seemed like it had no problem doing that. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. And in the past, a Prius might have made a lot of noise as the continuously variable transmission spun up the engine. But now they've got more sound insulation, and it's not nearly as noticeable as it has been in the past. On coarse roads like this one, you'll hear a little bit of road noise because these are low-rolling resistance tires and they're kind of skinny. And there's just only so much they can get a tire to do when they're trying to maximize them for fuel economy. ELANA SCHERR: Something that we're seeing in pretty much all new cars is all these different changeable modes, right? Because you're no longer stuck just with however the car was designed originally, because there's computers controlling everything. So when you're in a performance car, a lot of times they have modes like comfortable driving, semi-sporty driving, and then hardcore track driving. When you're in EVs and hybrid, it's almost the opposite. The different modes are not to be more power usually, they're sort of more efficient. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, exactly. In this car, you've got the normal mode, which is just fine. You can get the rated fuel economy. In fact, we've had 48 miles per gallon on the way here without really trying very hard. But there is an eco button, and it really just kind of helps by making the throttle a little deader-- in case you're a lead foot, maybe it helps you out-- ELANA SCHERR: Was that directed at me? DAN EDMUNDS: If you can't help yourself. ELANA SCHERR: Was that, like, very pointedly directed at me? DAN EDMUNDS: I didn't say-- ELANA SCHERR: You looked at me. DAN EDMUNDS: I said you in a kind of a more general sense. It wasn't you. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah, it was me. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. Anyhow, that also turned down the air conditioner a little bit. And on the other end of it, there is a power mode which will use more fuel but will help make it a little bit more responsive. But really, this car is just fine in normal mode. You really don't get a lot for either of those other two modes. Now, there is another mode, an EV button is here. And if you're going slow enough, you can cruise along a little ways in electric mode. But it isn't really anything you can do for any distance. ELANA SCHERR: Is that mostly for light coming quietly into a neighborhood or tooling around a parking lot? Or is it kind of just a for show thing? DAN EDMUNDS: It's one of those things where it feels like something you can amaze your friends with, but it's not enough to actually go anywhere in that mode. And if you get on the throttle at all and ask the car to accelerate even a little bit, it pops out of that mode right away. ELANA SCHERR: This is a really pretty road, and it's also a very curvy road. DAN EDMUNDS: Yes. ELANA SCHERR: So you're behind the wheel right now, what do you feel? DAN EDMUNDS: The steering feels pretty good. It weights up in corners. The car follows the line I want it to go on. There's no surprises there. It doesn't feel like it's going to be affected by bumps that I might hit in the middle of the corners. And that's partially helped by the rear suspension, which is a lot more compliant than it has been in the past. It's just really easy to drive on this road and actually a little bit of fun. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah, I was surprised because the design of the car, it looks kind of top heavy. But of course, it isn't. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. Well, one of the benefits of the lower seating position is you don't move as much when the car rolls in corners. And the car doesn't roll as much in corners because the center of gravity isn't as high. ELANA SCHERR: They put better tires on them now too, right? The very early ones had these kind of very hard, super low-friction tires. I felt like they didn't have a great grip. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, these are still low-rolling resistance tires, but the technology that goes into low rolling resistance tires has been improving for 20, 25 years. And so the tires that we have today can provide more grip. ELANA SCHERR: Dan, I think you and I have the same major complaint about the Prius. All right, say it on three-- ready-- one, two, three-- DAN EDMUNDS: The shifter. ELANA SCHERR: The center console-- oh. DAN EDMUNDS: What? No actually, I agree with you. ELANA SCHERR: I agree with you. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, they're both a little bit weird. I mean, the shifter in the Prius started out weird when they first introduced the car. It's so weird that they have to have a beeper inside the car when you're in reverse to let you know that you are in reverse because if you look at the lever, you won't be able to tell. Woo, corners. The center display is, well, it's in the center. And it's just not where I want to look. I want to look straight ahead at the road. Right here inside the steering wheel's where I expect the instruments to be. And they're just not there. ELANA SCHERR: Well, OK, to be totally fair, people like a little quirk in a car. DAN EDMUNDS: Well, that's true. ELANA SCHERR: I could get used to the information being in the center console. Even the Mercedes A-class and stuff is starting to have these big, long displays that go all the way across the dash. So obviously we as humans can get used to that. But they didn't do anything with the blank space behind the steering wheel. It's just this sad, blank piece of plastic. It just seems like such a design fail to me. DAN EDMUNDS: If I have to give it one positive point, it's because if your eyes don't focus as well as they used to, it's further away than it would be if it was right here. And that makes it easier to keep in focus. So I can just see it. ELANA SCHERR: That's a stretch. That's a stretch, Dan. DAN EDMUNDS: Is it? ELANA SCHERR: I think that's a stretch. DAN EDMUNDS: Talk to me in 10 years-- maybe 20. ELANA SCHERR: I will say, though, that the graphics that tell you how you're doing and what's recharging what and how full your battery is are a super fun game. And I understand why so many Prius drivers are doing weird braking things and driving slow in front of you, because they're recharging their batteries and they're watching it happen in real time. And it is kind of addictive. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, the highest I've ever scored is 93 out of 100, and I don't know how to get to 100. ELANA SCHERR: I really enjoy getting into the Insight. First of all, it's a very friendly car. It makes a sweet humming sound when it's in the electric mode. And when you first get into the car when you have the key-- even before you turn it on-- it sort of plays you this little song like it's happy to see you. So I feel affectionate towards it. It doesn't hurt that it looks great too. I mean, I like it for its personality, but also it's got good looks. The materials are nice and they're interesting. Some of that is because we are in the touring tram, and so the power leather seats are something that you do pay for. But I think they're worth it. Everything is laid out nicely in the Insight. I know exactly how to work it even if I've never been in one before. It has a kind of funky push button shifter, but unlike some of the other cars with their very strange shifters, it's real obvious what you press to get what gear you need and also what gear you're in. I mean, it lights up. I do have one complaint about the shifter-- this is only going to be relevant to those of you who do this-- which is that the park button is really skinny, and I keep hitting my nail on it. And I'm kind of worried I'm going to break one. So Honda designers, hear me out. Think of the manicures. Another thing that's great about the interior is that it's all very adjustable. First of all, nice, big phone pad. You can fit a lot of different models in it. And the USB ports are right up next to where you're going to put the phone so you don't end up with a cord that's running all the way across your console. There's also a 12-volt outlet. Your different driving modes-- very clear, very obvious. There's cup holders in the console. It also slides back, and you can fit a giant Big Gulp. This armrest also slides back. So if like me you're short, you have your seat far forward, you can move the armrest far forward. And if you are Dan and you are tall, you can move the armrest back. And then you've got a console underneath. Very smart. Honda always does a good job with storage in the interior. Gauge clusters nice and clear, and you've got a nice infotainment screen. It's big, it's very clear, it has all these nice, physical buttons that run down it and a volume knob. And it works very well. But if you don't want to use it, you don't have to, because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported. Because of the push button shifter, there's a lot of room up here in the front seat. But I don't know if Dan's going to say the same thing about the backseat. Dan? DAN EDMUNDS: Actually, it's pretty spacious back here. I've got plenty of leg room. It's nice and wide. My hair touches the roof just a little bit, but I'm 6 foot 2. So this is pretty decent. I could spend a lot of time back here. ELANA SCHERR: Unless you needed to charge a phone. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh right. There are no USB ports back here. This is the touring, right? ELANA SCHERR: Why don't you get in the front seat? You can charge up here. DAN EDMUNDS: OK. ELANA SCHERR: Dan, I'm hoping that this next drive gives us some insight into which one we like better. DAN EDMUNDS: I see what you did. ELANA SCHERR: I did that. DAN EDMUNDS: The Prius has certainly changed, but it's still following the same path it established when it was new. But the insight has really had a lot of twists and turns. It started out as a really weird little car that's still beloved by people who own them. And then it turned into something that tried to be a Prius. And now-- ELANA SCHERR: It looks like a regular civic. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah exactly, just with a more premium interior and a little bit less of a boy racer exterior. ELANA SCHERR: Hey, nothing against boy racers. DAN EDMUNDS: No. So how is this driving? I mean, it feels a little bit different than the Prius. ELANA SCHERR: I think the Prius feels a little bit more powerful. This engine seems to be working a little harder to make us move-- or at least it's making more noise about what it's doing. DAN EDMUNDS: It sounds like it's working harder, yeah. I don't know if it is. ELANA SCHERR: I mean, it isn't like it's not getting us up the hill. And if I'm not satisfied with it in the normal mode, I can put it in a sport mode and it does give me sort of a little more throttle response then so I don't have to floor it. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. This car feels like a real sedan. How does it drive? ELANA SCHERR: It drives like a real sedan. Actually, I think in some cases it drives better than what you'd expect from a real sedan, because it's kind of got that nice, low center of gravity. And you do feel that when you're going around corners because it doesn't feel tippy. I mean, the whole car is a little bit longer and wider than it used to be. And it's longer and wider than the Prius. DAN EDMUNDS: I mean, this looks and feels like a premium Civic not the kind of hybrid that the Insight used to be, which was a wannabe Prius. ELANA SCHERR: Well that's exactly what it is. It shares a lot of its underpinnings with the Civic. And it looks like a Civic. It's basically the Civic hybrid but with a fancy name. DAN EDMUNDS: What? I couldn't hear you about that engine there. ELANA SCHERR: Oh I know. How would you describe that sound? Sad cow? Haunted house? DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah there's some of that. It sounds like it's complaining, but it's doing the job. I think it's just not as much sound insulation or something. You seem to be getting around these corners really easily. I see a smile on your face. ELANA SCHERR: It's actually pretty fun. This is a beautiful road. And to be able to take a car like this up here without worrying about the range or where I'm going to plug it in to charge it is kind of the whole point of getting a hybrid. DAN EDMUNDS: Exactly. Yeah, and it's interesting how these cars have such different approaches but they end up in the same place as far as fuel economy. They're both rated at about 52 MPG combined, which is outstanding. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah it's crazy. You think about how just 20 years ago a car that was getting that much would be full-on science fiction. DAN EDMUNDS: And really dinky. ELANA SCHERR: One of the things that I really like about driving the insight is the seats are so comfortable. DAN EDMUNDS: Right? ELANA SCHERR: Oh my god. We've been on a long drive for this shoot, and I have not wanted to get out of this car. DAN EDMUNDS: Power leather-- we are on the touring, so it has some of those bells and whistles. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah, I think you give up 2 or 3 MPG to get power seats and this fancy moonroof. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. The 52 MPG is the LX and the EX not the touring. ELANA SCHERR: But it's still very affordable, even in the touring trim. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh absolutely. I mean, yeah, you don't have to pay a lot of money to save money on gas. ELANA SCHERR: Which you used to. I mean, that is an incredible thing about the new hybrids. It used to be you were kind of doing it to make a point. You weren't really going to drive the car for as many years as you would need to make up how much more expensive it was than just getting a gasoline engine. But nowadays, they're really affordable. It's also not a forced look anymore. And that, I think, is what the Insight gives you over the Prius. You don't have to kind of join a community of hybrid people. You can just have a nice car that's a hybrid. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. The Prius is a little bit more like a tattoo in that regard. Everybody knows what you're in. ELANA SCHERR: So really when you're thinking about the two cars together, it isn't like a one is a better approach than the other, it's just that they're so different they really give you an option. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. Even though they're two different approaches, they're pretty much the same fuel economy. ELANA SCHERR: Which is interesting, because they don't drive the same. DAN EDMUNDS: Right. ELANA SCHERR: They're very different. So, Dan, which of these would you take home? DAN EDMUNDS: Oh, it's a close call. I like them both and there's things I don't like about them both-- the noise in the Insight and the brake pedal feel of the Prius, but those two things kind of cancel each other out. And in the end for me, it's the Insight, because it's the bigger, more mature car that I could see myself driving every day. ELANA SCHERR: I've got to go with you, Dan. I would also choose the Insight because I'm extremely shallow and I think it's prettier. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah, it is prettier. ELANA SCHERR: But seriously, in the end, it was so close. I did not expect it to be so close, but both cars were really pretty nice to drive and they would both be extremely useful as day lays. I think that the Prius might win out in terms of being more family friendly, because it's available with all-wheel drive and that hatchback. It just has a little bit more room for everybody. But the Insight looks so much better. DAN EDMUNDS: Oh yeah. Absolutely. And that reminds me in the past cars like this, you had to give up a lot to get high fuel economy. But that's not true anymore. Each of these is a great daily driver. You can't go wrong with either one. But in the end, the Insight is higher ranked on the Edmunds rankings. It's got the number one spot. ELANA SCHERR: So get out there, save some money on gas, and figure out what you're going to spend it on. 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2019 Honda Insight vs. 2019 Toyota Prius -- Hybrid Comparison Battle
When you think of long-standing car rivalries, you might not consider the 2019 Toyota Prius and the 2019 Honda Insight. You should. These two fuel-sipping cars were the vanguard of affordable hybrid technology in the late '90s. And today, they're still at it.
2019 Insight Highlights
|Combined MPG||52 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$75/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the Insight models:
- Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Warns if a front collision is imminent and automatically applies the brakes if the driver doesn't respond in time.
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Warns if your vehicle is drifting out of its lane and corrects steering back to center if the driver doesn't respond.
- Honda LaneWatch
- Projects a view of the side blind spot when the turn signal is activated to show you if a vehicle or other object is present.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.3%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood