Honda Insight Hybrid

Research the 2012 Honda Insight

The Good

Benefiting from a sleeker design, the 2012 Honda Insight packs a lot of value into its low price. The smooth transmission delivers an even and predictable drive, and the Honda Insight’s MPG rating has been improved for the new model year.

The Bad

Don’t expect much in terms of performance. The vehicle also has high levels of road noise and, inexplicably, has a two-pane rear window that diminishes back-end visibility.

The Bottom Line

If you’re evaluating the Honda Insight vs. Prius, the Insight will win if you’re looking for comparable fuel economy for a lower price.


Three different trim packages are available: the base 2012 Honda Insight, as well as the Insight LX and the Insight EX. Even the top-of-the-line Insight is priced below the Prius base package, so Honda has positioned itself well to provide a viable alternative to its major competitor.

MSRP: $18,500 to $21,965

Average paid: $18,080 to $20,995


Acceleration and power

Comparing the Honda Insight vs. Prius, you will find the two vehicles have a great deal of similarity in terms of acceleration and performance. In short, neither vehicle offers much of either. The 2012 Honda Insight comes with a 1.3 L inline-4 hybrid gasoline-electric engine, which peaks at 88 horsepower – a weak maximum no matter how you look at it. Don’t expect much in terms of power with this vehicle; Honda’s engineers focused solely on maximizing fuel efficiency when they concocted this engine and powertrain.

Handling and braking

Honda Insight reviews are also highly critical of the vehicle’s handling, which is unresponsive, limited and rather stiff. The vehicle’s ride feels rigid, with a lot of vibration and road noise. Cornering is also very restricted, so don’t expect a whole lot of maneuverability at higher speeds. However, the braking is solid, powered by anti-lock technology and supplemented with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. The vehicle has very high safety ratings, and excellent braking abilities are certainly a boost in this regard.



Honda has added just over half an inch of headroom for the 2012 model year, but taller drivers and passengers may still find the interior dimensions to be a little limiting. Seat adjustability is somewhat limited, as the front seats recline and have adjustable headrests, but are otherwise rather immobile. To their credit, though, they are surprisingly comfortable and will serve you well on longer trips. The rear seats can be folded down to create cargo space, and display a 60/40 split bench configuration when intact. Cloth is the default seating material.


Remote entry, power windows, power door locks, an anti-theft engine immobilizer, 12-volt power outlet and climate control system are among the 2012 Honda Insight’s noteworthy standard interior features. A trip information system, including average fuel economy, fuel range, average speed and other vital information, is also standard. The standard entertainment system is a two-speaker AM/FM stereo with CD player, WMA playback and MP3 capability. The system also includes an auxiliary input port, speed-sensitive volume control and LCD display.

Cargo space

In a comparison of the Honda Insight vs. Prius, you will also find that the Insight has its chief competitor bested in the arena of cargo capacity. The 2012 Insight offers a peak of 31.5 cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats collapsed.


Honda prioritized safety as much as fuel economy with the 2012 Insight. For a small car, the Insight scored extremely well on crash tests, thanks in large part to the vehicle’s advanced compatibility engineering (ACE) design. It earned a four-star rating for rollover resistance, though detailed test information from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration was not available.

Standard safety features include side-impact door beams, child safety rear door locks, power-ventilated anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, traction control and stability assistance. Dual-stage front-impact airbags for the driver and passenger are standard; the front seats also have side-impact airbags. Side curtain airbags service passengers traveling in the vehicle’s rear seats.


Compared to the 2011 Honda Insight, the 2012 model offers improved fuel economy and minor changes to the various trim packages, in terms of standard and optional features. The Insight last underwent a major redesign in 2010; the 2012 model displays little styling variation from previous generations of the vehicle.

  • Transmission: 2-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) with overdrive
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Engine Type: Electric-gasoline hybrid inline-4
  • Engine Size: 1.3 L
  • Horsepower: 88 @ 5800 rpm
  • Torque: 123 @ 1000-1700 rpm
  • MPG, City: 41 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 44 MPG
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