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Honda Insight

The original hybrid gets a little more green.

HYBRID

Toyota might have aimed for its diminutive Prius c hatchback to be the least expensive hybrid vehicle sold in the United States, but that title once again goes to the Honda Insight. It rings in at an impressive $19,290 this year, about $400 less than the much smaller Prius c and thousands less than the Civic Hybrid. There’s a reason for the Insight’s lower purchase price. It uses the old (but no less powerful) hybrid system, with a nickel-metal-hydride battery to store energy (the Civic Hybrid now uses lithium-ion) and a 1.3-liter inline four to the Civic Hybrid’s 1.5-liter engine. Fuel economy, at 41/44 mpg city/highway, nearly matches the Civic Hybrid’s but doesn’t reach Prius or Ford Fusion levels. Inside, the cabin is an appealing mixture of Civic, Fit, and first-generation Insight, with effective ergonomics, intuitive controls, and lots of nooks and crannies for storage. The exterior design, which was slightly changed for the 2012 model year, continues for 2013 and keeps the car’s futuristic look and shape. All in all, the Insight brings a simple, price-minded attitude to a crowded market, and it should appeal to buyers who’ve been intrigued by hybrids but didn’t think it made economic sense to purchase one — until now.

COMPETITORS

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota Prius

new for 2013

The Insight is unchanged for 2013 after receiving a refresh for 2012.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags are available, as are ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 41

HWY 44

PRO

Good gas mileage

High value for the dollar

Familiar Honda interior

CON

Wind and road noise

Mediocre ride quality

Base Price Range: $19,290–$24,480

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Insight, LX, EX

BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 1.3L I-4/electric hybrid, 111 hp, 181 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: Continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 85.0 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 15.9/31.5 cu ft

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