Honda Insight car review - one of the best economical hatchbacksThe 2010 Honda Insight: an economical hatchback, a great looking car, an enjoyable drive, and affordable hybrid technology. This car promises us so much. Does it live up to the hype? We've reviewed it and we think it does.
The Honda Insight is of course most commonly compared to the Toyota Prius. Its worthwhile remembering before we begin that these two cars occupy two different size classes in the U.S. The Prius is classified as a midsized car while the Insight is a compact. I mention this because these hybrid cars are so often compared and I think this difference often gets forgotten. Yes the 2010 Honda Insight is several thousand dollars cheaper than the 2010 Toyota Prius, which its so often applauded for, but you are getting less car for your money. The size difference is noticeable as we shall see later.
So first to the Insight's area of expertise - fuel economy. This economical hatchback will do 40 miles per U.S. gallon in the city, 43 on the highway and 41 mpg combined. Its slightly less fuel efficient than the 2010 Prius, but not by much, and you certainly wouldn't buy a Prius for its better fuel economy because you'd never make up the difference in the cars purchase price over its lifespan. CO2 emissions are just 101 g/km.
The Honda Insight achieves its high fuel mileage in many ways. Its a very light hybrid, weighing only around 2700 pounds, even with that heavy electric battery pack. Honda haven't done away with any important features to save weight either, unlike some highly efficient small cars.
Of course the main reason why this hatchback is so economical is because its a hybrid. A quite small 1.3 liter 4 cylinder gasoline engine combines with a 10 kilowatt electric motor powered by a 580 Watt Hour nickel metal hydride battery. The battery is charged where possible by free energy from regenerative braking and the vehicle can drive on electric power alone up to 30mph.
Other features helping the 2010 Insight hatchback's fuel economy include continuously variable transmission, a stop start system, variable cylinder management, low rolling resistance tires and of course that sleek, aerodynamic, Prius like shape.
Inside the hatchback, you will never forget this car is all about economy. Honda's Eco Assist system tells you how efficiently you're currently driving by changing the color of the speedometer - when its green you're driving well. More than this, if you've been driving economically over a long period of time Honda will reward you by displaying up to 5 leaves in the display. Apparently it takes quite a long time of responsible driving to get all five. Honda drivers are also able to download, analyze and share their driving history with other drivers.
Besides all the fancy eco technology, you also get bluetooth and other standard luxuries. The more expensive Insight EX has alloy wheels, cruise control, an upgraded audio system, paddle shifters, stability assist and a voice recognition navigation system. Standard safety across all models is good - front, side and curtain airbags, anti lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and a pedestrian friendly front nose.
Cabin space is adequate for the front passengers but can be cramped in the rear depending on how large your passengers are. While kids would be fine in the back some adults will be uncomfortable with the available head and leg space. Larger adults would be more comfortable in the rear of a Prius. The rear seat has a 60:40 split and there's 350 liters of storage space without folding the rear seats down.
This hybrid drives pretty well and probably beats Toyota's Prius in this area. It feels light, nimble and is quite enjoyable to drive. The small engine and electric motor do have their limitations on the highway. There's a lack of punch, but you just need to be aware of this and allow a bit more time and space. The ride is generally fine.
The 2010 Honda Insight is a really good car. It has no major problems to speak of. Its one of the most affordable hybrids, is well built, drives nicely and is safe. If you're also considering a Prius, while Honda's hatchback is several thousand dollars cheaper, you do get more with the Prius - a larger more powerful car and more features and luxuries. They're both great cars. Its up to you whether Honda's economical hatchback fulfills your needs or whether you need to spend the extra cash.
Read about similar cars:
Most Economical Medium Sized Cars in the World
Most Economical Family Cars in the U.K.
Most Economical Midsize Cars in the U.S.
Most Economical Medium Cars in Australia
Most Economical Midsize Cars in India
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