Honda Insight 2010 Detail Specification Video Reviews


From $19,800
Affordable price, excellent fuel economy, seamless hybrid powertrain, pleasant driving experience.

Tight backseat, invasive road noise.

The Honda Insight hybrid is back. This time, however, it’s been reincarnated as a four-door sedan that serves as Honda’s answer to the iconic Toyota Prius.

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For most of this decade, Toyota’s 46-mpg Prius has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the extreme fuel-miser segment. Only Honda’s 42-mpg Civic Hybrid comes close, and its sales have been hampered by lethargic acceleration and a not-hybrid-looking-enough sedan body design. Enter the four-door 2010 Honda Insight, which takes dead aim at Toyota’s green machine by offering comparable fuel economy and a look-alike hatchback layout at a considerably lower price. Of course, those with a longer memory might recall the first-generation Honda Insight, too, but its futuristic look was too impractical for most people despite stellar fuel efficiency. Not so version 2.0.

Under the new Insight’s hood is Honda’s familiar Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. IMA starts with a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 88 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque, and it adds an electric motor that generates another 13 hp and 58 lb-ft, enough to propel the Insight up to 30 mph without the gas engine’s help. A nickel-metal hydride battery pack keeps the electric motor whirring, and the electric motor returns the favor via regenerative braking, becoming a battery-charging generator when the brakes are activated. Notably, the gas engine’s crankshaft never stops spinning, even when the Insight is operating solely on electric power, so there’s no unseemly coughing or rumbling as the gas engine comes online.

In addition to seamless and adequately perky performance, the payoff is an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city/43 highway and 41 combined, according to Honda. That’s a bit off the Toyota’s pace, but the deficit shouldn’t be a significant factor for most buyers. Over the course of a 15,000-mile year of driving, the Insight will run you an extra 40 gallons of gas, which accounts for a tiny fraction of the money you’ll save by choosing the Insight in the first place. With a starting price in the high teens, the Insight handily undercuts its crosstown rival’s $22,000 base price, not to mention the Civic Hybrid’s $23,550 cost of entry. In fact, the loaded Insight EX with the navigation system won’t cost too much more than a bare-bones Prius.

The Insight has two significant warts: Its backseat is considerably tighter than the Toyota’s family-sedan-grade rear quarters, and there’s plenty of Honda’s trademark road noise at higher speeds. On the flip side, though, it has sensible gauges and a superior driving position. Given its impressive talents and attractive price, it’s hard to fault the 2010 Honda Insight. Until the next Prius arrives, at least, the Insight is the new ruler of the hybrid-hatchback roost.