For the 2012 model year, Honda has made improvements to its aging dedicated hybrid, the Insight, to compete better with the refreshed Toyota Prius and other hybrids. Critical updates include better fuel efficiency, increased sound-deadening materials and improved rearward visibility.
Reduced friction in the engine and transmission in addition to improved aerodynamics boost gas mileage by 1 mpg over the 2011 model. The 2012 is rated at 41/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined. The combined rating is only 2 mpg less than the substantially more expensive 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid.
The Insight will also be quieter with the addition of thicker sound-deadening material. We thought the Insight had admirable noise dampening compared with other compacts, but not against the midsize Prius. A thinner rear spoiler and a more compactly mounted rear wiper motor improve rearward visibility.
In the cabin, a redesigned rear headliner shape adds more headroom for backseat passengers. The rear seat has been redesigned to improve comfort. There’s a new gauge cluster and larger front-passenger cupholders for large drinks. The armrest (when equipped) has been redesigned for improved support.
In terms of features, the LX trim now gets map lights, steering-wheel-mounted controls and a more premium fabric upholstery. The EX gets Bluetooth connectivity, automatic headlights and a new synthetic leather and premium fabric upholstery. The EX with navigation now has a rearview camera and a 16-gigabyte flash card system to improve routing and FM traffic updates.
All of these updates are small potatoes, but with its 2012 introductory price of $18,350 (up just $150 from 2011) the entry Insight costs $5,170 less than an entry retail-available 2011 Prius, which is likely to see a price increase when Toyota announces pricing for the 2012 model year. Even a loaded EX Insight with navigation is just about as expensive as an entry-level 2011 Prius. With improved gas mileage, the Insight’s value proposition just got a little more enticing.
Continue reading below for more pricing details:
2012 Insight pricing (2011 pricing)