Research carefully if you live somewhere cold
April 28, 2019
Just to put this out there first, I really like this car as an overall package. I'd echo the consensus from other reviews on this site. Even with the base LX trim we purchased, I really like the austere and functional interior. It's quite comfortable for me at 6'2" 230lb, and provides plenty of space even with two car seats in the back (one rear facing, one forward facing). The trunk is absurdly large, and I love the exterior style of the car. Yes, the engine noise is annoying when it's working hard - which happens even on brief mild uphill highway segments. But, importantly, even though it's not a fast or powerful car by any stretch of the imagination, the power available never feels inadequate. It's not gonna knock your socks off or anything, but it's plenty to do what you need to do without flooring it everywhere. That was a notable difference between the Insight and other compact hybrids I test drove.
All that aside, I'll devote most of my review to discussing fuel economy since I suspect many hybrid buyers value that above all else.
We recently moved and are now commuting ~100 highway miles every day. I ran the numbers and figured a hybrid would be more environmentally friendly and save us some money and in the long term, so we traded in our prior 32MPG commuter for a 2019 Insight LX.
After a few weeks of commuting, we've experienced fuel economy FAR below what I expected based on the advertised EPA estimates. It's currently around 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings (April is still early springtime around here), and I'm only getting about 37 MPG at that temperature. In the evenings, when the temperature has risen to to ~50 degrees, the fuel economy typically maxes out around 43 MPG. Even though we're still dropping below freezing most nights, I'm running on the stock tires until next fall. I assume winter tires will further worsen the fuel economy, and I'm afraid to see the MPG in January and February when daily highs temps are in the teens and 20's.
To expand on what I'm seeing in real world driving:
- I'm driving at typical highways speeds. As soon as I get on the highway, I set the adaptive cruise control to 70MPH and just follow the car in front of me for 40 miles.
- Even though it's 25 degrees outside, I don't have the climate control blasting heat. The car stays in our garage overnight, so the latent heat is plenty to keep me warm and prevent the climate control from having to work very hard.
- My commute isn't exceptionally hilly; in fact, it's pretty flat. I'm also driving a round trip on the same road every day, so uphill going one direction is compensated for by downhill on the way back.
- Traffic flows pretty smoothly along my highway commute, so there's very little braking and accelerating once I get up to highway speed.
- I have about 5-10 miles of "city" driving on each end of the commute. I'd hoped that would help the overall fuel economy, but if it is, it's not significant.
Overall, my biggest recommendation is to be aware that your real world fuel economy may be significantly worse than advertised if you're driving in even remotely cold temperatures. I really like this car as an overall package, but I'm quite disappointed by how much temperature affects the fuel economy. From what I've read, that may just be a hybrid thing, so I'm not specifically blaming Honda by any means. It's just something I never would've thought to research beforehand since temperature didn't make much of a difference with my non-electrified vehicles in the past. I traded in a "better" car to save money on gas, and now I probably won't be saving anything in the long run since my typical real world fuel economy is at least 25% worse than the EPA estimates.