2019 Honda Insight – Review & Road Test

2019 Honda Insight – Review & Road Test


You know how hybrid cars tend to look
weird, well, we’ve turned a corner. This is the
Honda Insight, and it’s a hybrid, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at it. Aside from some badging the latest
Insight looks like a normal sedan. Actually, scratch that, it’s more
attractive than a normal sedan, almost like elements from the handsomely-styled
Accord have been expertly grafted onto a Honda Civic. Well, that’s not far from the
truth. The Insight springs forth from Honda’s excellent Civic platform, though
it has a distinct character all its own. Aside from the 10th generation Civic’s
roof and rear-quarter panels, the Insights exterior is unique. Standard LED
headlights impart premium aura, but the Insight’s semi-elevated stature really
hits home inside. With added hood – and fender insulation along with standard
active noise cancellation, the Insight’s cabin is notably quieter than the Civic.
It also looks fancier, note the stitching and the perforated leather. That’s class,
baby. Heated power-adjustable leather seats are reserved for the priciest
touring trim, but even the cheapest LX trim features stitching, plenty of soft
materials and this helpful multifunction 7-inch screen in the gauge cluster. Like
the Civic from which it spawned, the inside is a monument to practicality.
Passenger space is great, yes, even in back. The center console is large and
easily reconfigured sight lines out of the vehicle are nearly unimpeded, and
there’s a handy USB adjacent phone tray that’s big enough to hold an iPhone 8
plus. FYI despite how it looks, wireless phone charging is not available. It’s not
a big deal since wireless CarPlay isn’t ubiquitous yet. At some point it will be,
and then I’ll complain about it. Actually, no I’m one of those moody guys who’s
going to complain about it now. To soothe the pain of having to connect
the cable every once in a while, consider the Insight’s outstanding efficiency with
the LX and EX trims you’re looking at 55 city and 49 highway knock four mpg off
both of those figures if you choose to swankier touring trim. Evidently
class adds weight and drag. The Insight’s efficiency comes via a 1.5-liter
Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine, a lithium-ion battery pack, and Honda’s two-motor hybrid drive system. With gasoline and electric bits smoothly merging their
outputs, power is respectable among hybrids, especially that torque figure.
Put to good use on the mean streets of rural Minnesota the Insight accelerates
authoritatively for a 50 mpg-plus hybrid. It won’t set your heart ablaze,
but if you wanted to merge with traffic or overtake traffic you could do that,
somewhere with traffic. If you really stand on it, you’ll be treated to CVT-
style engine drone. That’s the price you pay for efficiency. Like its Honda
Clarity hybrid kin, the Insight offers multiple drive modes that vary the
throttle pedals urgency. The sport is sharply responsive. Econ is mellow, and
normal is you know normal. There’s also an EV mode that under the right
circumstances lets you cover up to a mile using only electricity. Returning
from a night of partying but don’t want to wake your parents? Try EV mode. One
of the Insight’s greatest tricks are its regenerative brakes. They feel like
normal brakes. There’s no hybrid woodenness, and gliding to an
imperceptible stop is not only possible but likely. It’s so nice when I can cross
something off my complaint list, which reminds me, there’s no adjustable lumbar
support in the Honda Insight. One last braking note, the driver can
adjust regenerative braking intensity with paddles on the steering wheel. Left
paddle for more intense braking, right paddle for less. It’s a helpful feature
that keeps you from having to ride the brakes down long hills. Honda has also
done an admirable job tuning the suspension. Road impacts are absorbed
with smooth sophistication. Coupled with a quiet cabin and nicely weighted
steering, the Honda Insight is a supremely comfortable, long-haul commuter,
but can it be driven stupidly? Apparently stupid mode is available. On a more
pragmatic note, cargo space is a generous 15.1-cubic feet, and thanks to the hybrid
battery’s placement under the rear seats, the seat backs fold like a normal sedan’s.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on EX and Touring trims, as is
this smartly arranged volume-knob equipped eight-inch touchscreen.
Meanwhile, for a little less than $23,000 the LX slums it with a still usable 5-inch display and honestly it’s probably overstating it but for our
money the EX is worth its modest premium. For
a mere $1,200 or so the EX has remote engine start, Honda’s lanewatch blind-spot camera, smart entry with walk away auto lock, 60/40 split rear seat backs, a
center rear armrest and external trunk release, and you know it, just spend the
extra $1,200. On the safety front, automatic high beams, traffic sign
recognition and a multi angle backup camera are standard on all trims, as is
Honda Sensing. So even the cheapest Honda Insight provides dynamic cruise control,
lane keeping assist and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
As noted elsewhere, Honda Sensing works wonderfully. Lane keeping assist in
particular keeps the inside squarely in its lane without any of the jittery
steering action you’ve seen in similar systems. Obvious Honda Insight competitors include
the similarly efficient but slightly pricier Toyota Prius and the less
expensive but also less fancy Hyundai Ioniq. Both cars are traditional answers
to the hybrid question leading back to the core problem with hybrids they come
with baggage. Many car buyers still think of hybrids as slow, strange-looking
self-congratulatory, eco mobiles. Then there’s the Honda Insight. It’s a prime
example why we should focus on results not labels. Okay, it is literally labeled hybrid, but you’ve got to look
close. With the Insight there’s no pretense, no posing. It’s just a handsome,
enjoyable, practical sedan that also tops 50 mpg. Whether through magic or hybrid
engineering, that’s a remarkable result.

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. Why ugly honda… It looks like a accord and civic got mashed together , not too good….nissan or toyota all the way

  2. How reliable is it though like the accord hybrid… what's the best most reliable hybrid system? Any thoughts

  3. I heard that with hybrids if one engine fails you have to fix both. Which spikes up the mechanic bill. Is that true?

  4. The original 2000 Insight was a 2 seater with 60 MPG and the 2nd gen 4-door was priced at 18K…this 3rd gen is way overpriced @25K. For 25K you can get a plug in hybrid that gives you fuel flexibility (for most of your driving needs). Instead, a better bet is the Ioniq Plug-in hybrid. If you want a small/mid sized high mileage car.

  5. By far the most entertaining review. I've had mine for a week and I love it. A recurring complaint I hear is about in some reviews is the engine noise sometimes under heavy load. Yes it is louder than the car running in EV only or purely generating electricity for the batteries… but turn on the stereo and you'll almost never notice it.

    I went with the EX, and I agree it's worth the small premium from the LX.

  6. Torn between this or the Hyundai Ioniq 2018 PHEV — lifetime warranty on the battery, Incentives here in CA, and higher MPG…BUT the overall outside style that bugs me off

  7. I love the Insight now that I’ve seen vids going up, but I’m sticking with the Hyundai Ioniq because: it’s still cheaper and more efficient than any other hybrid, more luggage space since I travel, and it has a proper DCT with automanual.

  8. The alloy wheels for all trims look like sh*t, & 16" (LX/EX) is too small & stupid looking on a bloated fastback styled car like the Insight. So, tack on another $1-2K price to get decent wheels & tires in the right size/style.

  9. just buy a wireless pad plug it in and place it there and bam car now has wireless charging, can do this with just about any car.

  10. Love that this was shot in the Twin Cities, lots of iconic shots. Also loving this car; beautiful, practical, and fuel efficient. That's a combo I've been waiting for!

  11. few questions. does this have an option to drive in only electric? if so whats the range? also does this one have the option of charging the battery with gas like the Honda Clarity

  12. I would love to see a plug-in hybrid version of this…. Just give me 50 miles of pure EV, keep the cost low, and I would be in love ❤️…The Honda clarity is so god-awful ugly and pricey

  13. Kind of down playing that atrocious engine drone when accelerating hard. Very good looking car, though. A better drive than the Prius, but that's like saying someone has a more distinguished military record than John Wayne or Dick Cheney.

  14. Test drove an EX today. Beautiful car. Felt very refined. Really well priced considering its a hybrid, and it has a little more guts than most hybrid too (150 hp combined). Only hesitant on it being a 1st generation model tho, but I was impressed with the car.

  15. It recharges using regenerative braking, and also, with a gas fueled generator. Down the hill you don’t need to watch your speed or wasting your brake pads, just use the paddles on the steering wheel and the car will be sort of breaking, not using the brake pads though, but charging your battery at the same time. I drove at 72 mph on EV with no problem. It just doesn’t last for too long. I truly love this car. If you don’t see it too much on the streets, it’s because for some reason Honda doesn’t advertise it at all. Weird

    HONDA needs to advertise this car because nobody knows about. I live in CA and barely see one in a week. This car is absolutely amazing and beats Prius from every angle by far. But I keep seeing a lot of new Prius on the street every single day. People don’t know. When they realize it, they will regret buying a Prius. Prius is a great car but Insight is way better

  16. I was looking for a video reviewing the Insight, saw this, and Immediately thought “ugh. I don’t want a review from a company, I want an honest YouTuber review.”

    Turns out, this was one of the best reviews ever. You’re so honest….and attractive. Hello.

  17. It isn't ugly, but it isn't attractive either with that rear-bloated fastback sedan styling (& goofy alloy wheel designs in all trims). I may pick one up just because I want a nice, boring NON-push-belt CVT automatic, NON-GDI engine vehicle that I am not invested in visually one way or the other, & can just do regular maintenance on & drive it through a car wash without care.

  18. Everyone raving about the 45-50 mpg when back in the 90s a TDI Passat could get you 60 mpg and a CRX 50 mpg… Yeah, yeah I know diesel is evil and the CRX didn´t have airbags and all the safety equipment you get in 2018.

  19. Did some research and I´m still on the fence with this car. Many owner are not getting the claimed 50-55 mpg. Reports show 37-46 mpg and that is very , very disappointing. A real shame considering that the Insight has been the best looking Honda in years.

  20. do not buy this junk!! I bought this and did not drive single miles. I have mutiple warning light and hood do not close properly. They do not have the part in dealer and
    I do not know how long takes to fix it. The american honda said, they sent the part to dealer. I asked them to provided for tracking number and they said, they do not have it. what a big lier. terrible service. poor communication.

  21. You could easily put a charging pad in the phone holding slot. Most cars pre 2015 are missing this painfully obviously needed features ignored by idiot manufacturers.

  22. Currently deciding between a Prius or an Insight, and reviews like this one has gotten me to look to cars other than Prius to give me the Hybrid that I've always wanted.

  23. I just test drove one and although it is a beautiful car with a ton of tech features the engine is loud and annoying when accelerating

  24. Just test drove 2019 Honda Insight and absolutely loved it!

    I wonder why I don’t see these a lot on the roads! Maybe lack of publicity!

  25. Can't wait to get mine (a falling tree made my 2015 Honda Civic a total loss). The 2019 Honda Insight is such an enjoyable vehicle — and of course, can't forget about that MPG!

  26. I wonder what's the range of this car. 2019 Fusion hybrid gives little more than 533 miles, but drives like a turtle on freeway. I hate to go to gas stations, frequently!
    EDIT: Got the answer on Google. Its 551 miles.

  27. The old version looked like an appliance, which is what kept me from buying one. I will be buying a new car within 30 days and have narrowed my list to 4 cars. I am looking for safety, fuel efficiency, practicality vs. luxury., and handling. Thanks for the insight, lol!

  28. They got it wrong not making it a hatchback. Also calling the “regenerative brake” regenerative is a joke. No lumbar. Another negative. Prius is ugly but a better car.

  29. I’ve had my eyes on the Toyota Camry LE Hybrid (53MPG) for a month now, but this Honda Insight Touring sounds great too (55MPG) I can’t decide 🤯

  30. Honda royally screwed up their return to the hybrid market. The engine is a dog compared to even the Toyota Prius and Kia Niro. It really revs and gets extra, extra noisy when you push the pedal for increased power just a little bit… it may be a combo of the CVT and poor torque ratio. It reminded me of the severely under-powered Honda HRV compact crossover SUV from a couple years ago. The interior driver section is narrowly tight and cramped, especially if you are 6 foot and taller. I hope you're not claustrophobic!

  31. I was hoping for something a little more objective from Kelly Blue Book. More information and facts less personal opinion.

  32. I bought a Black 2019 Insight Touring last month and couldn't be happier. I LOVE this car! It looks great, and drives really smooth.

  33. Purchased my beautiful pearl black Insight EX last month (October 2019) and got a great deal because I waited for the end of year close out so I got one for $20,000.00. Driving it is a dream, I'm getting 60 mpg in town. When I stop for a red light the car switches to the Electric Motor so I don't use gas. When the light is green and I take off it's all electric switching to hybrid mode to charge the battery and help power the engine when I need the extra horse power. I've made one 600 mile round trip on mountainous roads traveling through eastern Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky on my way to rural Ohio and easily got 51 mpg, at times when I was going down hill or on flat roads the mileage increased to 54 at times but the overall was excellent at 51. Overall I'm happy but there is room for improvement. When driving uphill on mountainous roads the engine is loud, you can hear and feel it straining to use its combined 151 hp. I'm guessing the tach would read somewhere in the 6000-7000+ rpm range or higher but once the road straightens out it's back to being a fairly quiet car and very comfortable and easy to drive. I have to admit I love all the safety features including the ACC and LKAS which takes some getting used to.

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