2019 HONDA INSIGHT
If you are in the market for a compact hybrid, but you can’t stand the look of the Toyota Prius, check out the Honda Insight. The Insight offers great gas mileage (49 mpg) and styling that looks like it was designed for adults.
Although the Insight shares its platform with the Civic, the styling draws a lot from the midsize Accord. The grille, in particular, is almost the spitting image of the Accord’s, but on a slightly smaller scale. The nearly fastback roofline also mimics that of its larger sibling. This is a well- designed sedan with a lot of appeal. My test car received numerous favorable comments.
The interior of my test car also garnered praise. Perforated leather seats in my Touring model, and a cleanly designed dash with a soft-touch covering, made it look upscale. The large touchscreen on the dash delivered clear graphics, and was reasonably easy to operate. The infotainment system now includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto. However, there were a couple of nits to pick. The push-button gear selector on the console seems contrived, and the LaneWatch system that Honda uses in place of blind-spot warning is not great. It projects a picture on the screen when you turn on the right-hand turn signal, but there’s nothing for the driver’s side.
The Insight is one of the largest compact sedans in its class. The cabin is really roomy. This is most evident in the backseat, where even six-footers have plenty of legroom. Headroom is not as generous, but adequate. The trunk is surprising large, as big as that in a midsize car, at 15.1 cu-ft., thanks to the battery pack being stored under the backseat.
Under the hood, Honda equips the Insight with a 1.5-liter gas engine, an electric motor and a battery pack. Honda calls it its “two-motor hybrid” system. It primarily uses the electric motor and battery for propulsion, not the gas engine. The gas engine generates electricity for the battery pack, and comes into play when more power is needed. The Insight doesn’t use a conventional transmission, but relies on the hybrid system to provide the right amount of power when you need it. I found that the system worked well. The Insight accelerated briskly, and the cabin only became noisy when the gas engine cut in.
Behind the wheel, the Insight delivers predictable handling and a comfortable ride. The steering is nicely weighted, and provides decent feedback. The suspension, which is right out of the Civic, does its part by keeping the Insight well-balanced on twisty roads. Furthermore, this car smooths out bumps in the pavement like a higher priced vehicle. My only disappointment was with the regenerative braking system, that didn’t seem to do much.
Honda offers the Insight in three levels of trim, LX, EX and Touring. The entry-level LX ($23,725) is modestly equipped with LED headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition and the Honda Sensing safety system. That includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and forward collision warning and mitigation. The EX ($24,955) adds an eight-speaker sound system, Sirius XM radio and remote start. The top-of-the-line Touring ($28,985) gets luxury touches like a moonroof, leather seats and a navigation system.
The Honda Insight offers style, fine driving dynamics and outstanding gas mileage. It’s a good choice.