Honda’s entry into the hybrid hatch market hasn’t come without any adversity. It’s tough enough to break into a segment long dominated by the Toyota Prius and etch a name for itself; even more so that you’re coming into the fight with less fuel economy than the proverbial kingpin.
But all is not lost in Honda’s quarters. After all, the 2014 Insight still has some cards up its sleeve, starting with a price considered as the least expensive in the market. And like with most hybrids , fuel economy is always a hallmark for the Insight, thanks to its capability to hit 41 mph in the city and 44 mpg on the highway.
All that, though, and you’re still likely to take what you can get with the Insight. It doesn’t look nearly as good as what you’d like, but for a car that doesn’t do much outside give you bang for your buck in mileage, you take what you can get on the other things.
Click past the jump to read more about 2014 Honda Insight
The Honda Insight comes with an weird shape, like a mini minivan with a surprisingly bulgy rear end that’s made more distinguishable by its split-glass rear window. The high trunk line makes it a little harder to see from the rearview mirror, but like anything, compromises had to be made to make the car look like it does.
But even with its curves placed in odd positions, the Insight is actually pretty compact at just 172 inches in length. The packed in nature of the Insight could be a boon for some people, especially when it comes to driving around a congested city.
Up front, the Insight actually looks surprisingly like the Accord, save for the more pronounced chrome grille. But there are elements of the Accord in there that have been mixed in with the blue-tinted chrome bezels near the grille and around the headlights.
2014 Honda Insight - Exterior Specification
|Curb Weight (lbs)||2747|
|Weight Distribution (%, front/rear)||58 / 42|
Gallery Honda Insight
Given its peculiar body, the interior of the Insight is actually pretty nice. Honda didn’t waste any space, knowing that if it did, there probably wouldn’t be too many people who’d appreciate having to struggle through and stay comfortable inside.
With the makeup of a sedan, the Insight can accommodate up to five passengers while also holding enough cargo space to at least carry an appreciably amount of items. All in all, the Insight has as many as 31 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded and stowed away.
As far as the controls are concerned, the Insight’s console was designed for function and easy accessibility. There’s also an "Econ" button just to the left of the steering wheel that will come especially handy when you want to tweak how the car is running at a given point in time.
If there’s a drawback to the cabin, you might get a tad frustrated on the crunchiness of some of the buttons. It’s a minor inconvenience in the bigger scheme of things, but if you’re nit-picky about the littlest of things, then you’re going to have your bouts of frustration navigating through all those buttons.
2014 Honda Insight - Interior Specification
|Headroom (in, front/rear)||38.4 / 36.4|
|Legroom (in, front/rear)||42.3 / 33.0|
|Shoulder Room (in, front/rear)||52.7 / 50.4|
|Hiproom (in, front/rear)||51.6 / 48.7|
|Cargo Volume (cu ft, seat up/down)||15.9 / 31.5|
|Passenger Volume (cu ft)||85.0|
The Honda Insight is powered by the company’s Integrated Motor Assist system, which makes use of a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine and combines it with a 10-kilowatt (13-horsepower) electric motor. It’s a rather pedestrian setup that only nets a total of 98 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 123 pound-feet of torque at 1,000-1,700 rpm.
Gas mileage for the Insight is at 41 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway, good enough numbers but still a ways away from the Prius.
2014 Honda Insight - Drivetrain Specification
|Output (HP @ RPM)||98 @ 5800|
|Torque (LB-FT @ RPM)||123 @ 1000-1700|
|Bore and Stroke (mm)||73 x 80|
|Compression Ratio||*10.8 : 1|
|Valve Train||8-Valve SOHC i-VTEC|
Pricing for the 2014 Insight begins at $18,725 for the base model and goes all the way up to $23,915 for the Insight EX with Navi PZEV.
|Insight LX PZEV||$20,500|
|Insight EX PZEV||$22,190|
|Insight EX with Navi||$23,915|
|Insight EX with Navi PZEV||$23,915|
The Ford C-Max Hybrid is one of the Insight’s main competitors, as it is in the same ballpark in terms of price. Both the C-Max and the Insight have roughly the same mileage with the former netting 45 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
But here’s where the C-Max absolutely blitzes the Insight: its 188 horsepower and 129 pound-feet coming from its 2.0-liter engine and electric motor are miles ahead of what the Insight is getting out of its own hybrid system.
Gallery Ford C-Max
The Toyota Prius is still the unquestioned king of this category - and its not even close. It also has the power advantage over the Insight, thanks to a 1.8-liter engine that develops 98 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque and combined with a large electric motor that produces 36 horsepower on its own. Taken together, the numbers amount to 134 ponies for the Prius, more than most hybrids in its class.
And that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that the Prius gets 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway.
Gallery Toyota Prius
For all of the positive attributes of the Insight, it’s only as good as what other hybrids can’t do for you. In its case, the Insight costs cheaper than most, and that’s about it. If you want the full hybrid experience at a bargain price this is your car. But if you want to get more out of your ride, there are better options available.
- Ample space on the cabin
- Fuel economy is right up there
- Cheaper than most hybrids
- Power falls short
- It’s not the most pleasant-looking ride out there
- Other available options
Gallery Honda Insight
Honda’s award-winning Insight hybrid returns for 2014 as still the most affordable hybrid for sale in the US. Going on sale tomorrow, the 2014 Insight has an MSPR starting at $18,7251. The Insight offers a unique blend of fuel-efficient hybrid performance, 5-door hatchback practicality, top safety ratings and a host of user-friendly features.
The value-oriented base Insight model features automatic climate control, a 160-watt audio system, power windows and more. The Insight LX adds steering-wheel mounted audio controls, a USB audio interface, a security system, an armrest console, cruise control and floor mats. Premium features on the Insight EX include automatic headlights, alloy wheels, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Insight EX is also available with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2 with FM traffic and voice recognition and a rearview camera. View, build and price a 2014 Honda Insight now at http://automobiles.honda.com/insight-hybrid.
The Insight is powered by Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) system. Utilizing a 1.3-liter i‑VTEC® gasoline 4-cylinder engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor, the IMA™ system develops 98 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 123 lb-ft. of torque at 1000-1700 rpm (both figures SAE net). Friction-reducing measures used throughout the engine and the transmission help maximize fuel efficiency.
The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) provides better fuel efficiency and acceleration than a conventional transmission. Combined with a Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system, the CVT constantly adjusts to provide the most efficient drive ratio possible depending on torque load. On the Insight EX, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow manual shifting though seven fixed ratios for a sporty driving experience.
All Insight models include Eco Assist™, a sophisticated feedback system using an adaptive color display to indicate overall driving efficiency. In addition, a push of the dash-mounted ECON button modifies throttle control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and cruise-control operation (if so equipped) to further maximize fuel efficiency. Eco Display provides feedback on braking and acceleration, while Eco Score provides ongoing support of an efficient driving style.
The Insight’s sleek body features include a distinctive grille design with a blue accent bar representing the Insight’s high-tech hybrid identity. Functionally, strakes ahead of the front wheels direct air around the front tires, the shape of the engine bay underbody cover assists efficient aerodynamics and air diffusers under the rear bumper smooth airflow behind the vehicle.
MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion-beam rear suspension design help maximize the Insight’s interior space. Meanwhile the electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion power steering (EPS) offers predictable and linear steering feel, while also saving fuel compared to traditional hydraulic systems that put a greater load on the engine. And with its 36.1-foot turning diameter, the Insight offers good maneuverability in congested urban settings.
The Insight’s roomy interior offers comfortable seating for up to five passengers. Versatility is also a strong point, and the 60/40 split rear seatbacks enable transporting both passengers and cargo - up to 31.5 cubic-feet of space with both seatbacks folded. The Insight LX has premium seat fabric, while the Insight EX is upholstered with a combination of synthetic leather and premium fabric.
Advanced instrumentation gives the Insight an upscale look, and provides the driver with key information at a glance. A large digital speed display is positioned high in the instrument cluster, close to the driver’s sightline. The convenient Multi-Information Display (MID) allows quick access to a range of useful information with convenient steering-wheel mounted controls. Automatic climate control is standard.
On Insight EX models, the available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2 includes a rearview camera and provides routing and guidance to individual addresses and more than 7-million points of interest within the continental United States. With its 16-GB memory system, it offers fast route calculation and includes FM traffic, a subscription-free service that alerts drivers to traffic conditions.
Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure provides enhanced occupant protection and crash compatibility between vehicles of different sizes and ride heights in frontal crashes. Insight also has anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD), and a front body structure designed to help mitigate pedestrian injuries. Passive safety features include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), side-curtain airbag system, and driver’s and front-passenger’s active head restraints.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the 2013 Insight a "2013 TOP SAFETY PICK." The IIHS rates vehicles on performance in front and side crash tests, a roof strength test, and evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.
The 2013 Insight was named one of the "Greenest Vehicles of 2013" by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The "Greenest Vehicles of 2013" exclusively lists 12 top models that have achieved the highest overall Green Scores according to ACEEE’s Green Book® at greenercars.org.