If I say "Honda", you might say "Civic". Or "Accord". Or "CR-V". Odds are, you won't say "Insight". You might not even know there is such a car as the Honda Insight. And if you do, you probably have the wrong impression of it.
21 years ago, the first Honda Insight came along---a hybrid, to do battle with the Toyota Prius. It was funny looking (even compared to the Prius) and only a two-seater, which made it impractical for families. It flopped and was pulled from the market after seven years.
11 years ago, the second Honda Insight appeared. Also a hybrid, it had seating for five and looked like someone laid a sheet of tracing paper over a picture of a Prius and then blurred the details a bit so the lawyers could relax. It cost less than a Prius. But it was smaller inside than the Toyota, was slower than the Prius and still got worse gas mileage. It was dead and gone in five years. Strike two.
Last year, Honda brought back the Insight name but applied it to a new four-door sedan. It's a hybrid again, this time with an EPA fuel economy estimate of 51 miles per gallon highway and 45 city.
And it's darn near perfect.
An inch longer than a Honda Civic sedan, eight inches shorter than a Honda Accord sedan. An inch wider and taller than the Civic, and inch narrower and lower than the Accord. And sleeker than both.
There's virtually no performance penalty in choosing the Insight instead of the Civic. The Civic has 158 horsepower, the Insight 151. And let me remind you of the mileage payoff in the Insight, thanks to the hybrid: 51 miles per gallon highway, 45 city. That's for the Touring model, which I drove. Picking the LX or EX models, which weigh a bit less, get you an even bigger payoff---an EPA-estimated 55 miles per gallon city, 49 highway.
The other striking thing about the Insight is how rock-solid it feels on the road. The body integrity, the firmness of the ride (without crossing the line into harshness)---all adds up to a car that is responsive, handles beautifully and is fun to drive. And how many hybrids did you ever think you could say that about?
The 2020 Honda Insight Touring is also exceptionally well-equipped. Here's what comes standard for $28,340:
- Continuously Variable Transmission.
- Anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes.
- Electric power steering.
- Hill start assist.
- Sport mode.
- Vehicle stability control.
- Electronic brake distribution.
- Tire pressure monitoring.
- LED daytime running lights.
- Leather-trimmed seats.
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel.
- Premium audio system with ten speakers.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- HD Radio.
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
- Voice recognition.
- Multi-view rear camera.
- Bluetooth HandsFree link.
- Honda LaneWatch.
- HondaLink with smartphone integration.
- USB audio interface.
- Pushbutton start.
- Driver attention monitor.
- Dual-zone climate control with air filtration system.
- Eight-way power driver seat.
- Four-way power front passenger seat.
- Heated front seats.
- Fold-down rear center armrest.
- 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback.
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror.
- Front automatic up/down windows.
- Illuminated visor vanity mirrors.
- Floor mats.
- Tilt and telescoping steering wheel.
- Electric parking brake.
- Power moonroof.
- 17-inch alloy wheels.
- LED headlights, taillights and fog lights.
- Automatic high-beam.
- Automatic on/off headlights.
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers.
- Heated power door mirrors with turn indicators.
- Remote engine start.
- Walk-away automatic locking.
- Smart entry with security system.
- Adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow.
- Collision mitigation braking system.
- Lane-keeping assist.
- Road departure mitigation.
Again, all of the above is standard equipment. There are no options. So, for this loaded, top-of-the-line 2020 Honda Insight Touring, once you add $895 destination and handling charges, the bottom line on the window sticker is $28.985.
That's a screaming bargain for a car that, all things considered, might be the best Honda sedan you can buy right now---and one that will allow you to pass by a lot of gas pumps.