The original hybrid gets a little more green.
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.
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Toyota Camry Hybrid
new for 2013
The Insight is unchanged for 2013 after receiving a refresh for 2012.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are available, as are ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Good gas mileage
High value for the dollar
Familiar Honda interior
Wind and road noise
Mediocre ride quality
Base Price Range: $19,290–$24,480
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