By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.5
Although it hasn't knocked off the public's darling hybrid, the Toyota Prius, Honda's Insight is staking out a space of its own. The 2013 Honda Insight hybrid offers a sleek and modern 5-door hatchback design, intriguingly advanced powertrain technology and a sub-$20,000 price tag. Its EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy is a miserly 41/44 mpg. But it's also true the car's actual over-the-road performance is modest – likely less than what its advanced wedge-shape styling promises to most eyes. Honda's own Civic Hybrid is selling briskly so it isn't that consumers are resistant to the company's hybrid technology. Buyers just have to get used to the idea of advanced design and lively handling in the service of efficiency rather than driving thrills.
While its fuel-economy figures are less astounding than those posted by the Toyota Prius, the 2013 Honda Insight is still a gas-sipping wonder. And its price of entry is not so steep that buyers have to wonder if they'll live to see the payback in gasoline savings.
Honda gave the Insight hybrid hatchback a mild makeover last year, and for 2013, there are no substantial changes.
Driving Impressions In the 2013 Insight, Honda has a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle that will deliver real savings at the pump without costing a fortune up front. The 1.3-liter gasoline engine develops 98...... horsepower and is boosted by a 13-horsepower electric motor. The electric motor seamlessly assists the gasoline engine when passing or climbing hills. If this doesn't sound like a thrilling driving experience, well, it isn't. But there is an entertaining aspect to using technology and new driving habits to save the planet. The EX model's paddle shifters do make the driving experience vaguely sporty, and the Insight's steering feels well connected and its ride well controlled. Honda's own conventionally powered Fit makes an interesting comparison: It's certainly more driver-involving in a conventional, gear-jamming way, but simply out of the Insight's league for pure, high-tech efficiency.
Boasting hatchback access and flexible load space, the 2013 Honda Insight hybrid is the new SUV: Sensible Utility Vehicle. With the rear seat folded, the Insight offers over 31 cubic feet of cargo volume – and does so within an overall length of just 172 inches.
It is driver-selected so you don't have to use it. But once you've purchased a Honda Insight hybrid, why wouldn't you? Eco Assist helps teach you how to drive more efficiently, saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint.
The 2013 Honda Insight hybrid has a modern and practical interior design. The LX trim uses handsome cloth upholstery while synthetic leather-and-cloth graces the EX. Deep cutaways in the headliner and front seatbacks aid rear-seat passenger space. The 5-door configuration with a large rear hatch and folding 60/40 rear seats adds versatility. Instrumentation is both functional and futuristic, and can encourage better fuel economy. There's an Assist/Charge meter to monitor current flow to and from the battery, and Eco Assist gives feedback via the varying-color cluster background. An ECON button adjusts throttle, CVT, idle-stop duration and air-conditioning on/off mode.
The Insight's wedge-like profile and fastback roofline are its strongest visual features, with the cool split-glass rear window (remember the second-generation Honda CRX?) a close second. The grille and headlight treatments that include cool blue lighting were instituted in last year's facelift, and they still look good. Honda says the bumper, headlight and grille revisions led to a 2-percent increase in aerodynamic efficiency, and that's something the hyper-efficient cars in this class can always use.
As with most Honda offerings in the U.S., the marketing execs have worked to keep the purchase of a 2013 Honda Insight very simple. The base model is naturally more Spartan than an LX or EX, but still comfortably equipped with automatic climate control, power windows with auto up/down, tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and manual seat-height adjustment for the driver. The LX ups the ante with cruise control, a USB audio interface and center armrest storage, while the EX models gain steering-wheel paddle shifters, faux-leather-and-cloth seats, heated outside mirrors, alloy wheels, 6-speaker audio and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.
The only option offered is the EX's available navigation package that includes a 16 GB flash memory system, 6.5-inch display radio, voice recognition, a rearview camera and FM traffic reports. Among the available accessories are a leather steering-wheel cover, an automatic-dimming inside mirror and SiriusXM satellite radio.
All 2013 Honda Insights are powered by Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system. This hybrid powertrain uses a 1.3-liter SOHC 4-cylinder gasoline engine – boasting i-VTEC variable valve timing – in combination with a 10-kilowatt (13-horsepower) electric motor. The compact nickel-metal hydride battery pack recaptures and stores energy from vehicle braking and deceleration, which the electric motor can then turn into a power boost to aid acceleration. The transmission is a continuously variable type (CVT) with paddle shifters on the EX model. The engine itself, with but two valves per cylinder, is relatively low tech, but everything else is appropriately high tech.
1.3-liter inline-4 (plus 10-kilowatt, 13-horsepower electric motor)
98 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
123 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000-1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 41/44 mpg
All 2013 Honda Insights provide excellent value in their segment. The base 2013 Honda Insight hybrid starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,290, while a top-line EX with navigation goes for $24,480. There are no other options to add, and even the accessories list is spare, with just a $312 SiriusXM satellite radio breaking up the floor mats and cargo-area covers. Between the small margins Honda dealers get on small cars and frequent upward spikes in gas prices, Insight transaction prices will likely run close to MSRP. Still, you should check KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price to confirm what consumers are paying for Insights in your area. Over the long haul, we expect the Insight to enjoy a resale value that's fully competitive with – or superior to – other hybrids in its segment.
By Ray on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Low cost - fun and always feels new"
Cons: "Mountain driving low battery power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Still fun and enjoyable to drive. Lowest overall cost of any car ever owned. Climate Control is great (change cabin filter regularly) Good Feel of the road but stiff - Not a great mountain car but most front wheel drive cars are not either...Very handy hatchback but rear seats are not for large people...The EX model has the "Worth every dollar" features.. The Honda "Eco=Boost" Hybrid technology is far simpler and may be more trouble free in higher mileage years...."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Sadie on Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on gas"
Cons: "A very bumpy ride!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is great on gas and handles well but is a very bumpy ride and you feel every and I mean every bump and crack in the road! It would probably be a good car for a kid or for local travel, but annoying on longer drives. I would not buy another one but will miss the wonderful fuel milage!"
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By TheDeliveryDriver on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great mpg, good price, comfortable, stylish"
Cons: "Requires reading the manual for best usage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the EX w/Navi model of this car. I've looked at several reviews, and decided that if I was going to get this car, I wanted the additional features. I haven't been disappointed! I am a delivery driver, and average about 200 miles per day - including both highway and city driving. I bought this car for it's awesome gas mileage for BOTH city and highway (40+city, 44+highway), and haven't been disappointed. I have read several reviews about problems with braking in time. After READING the owners manual, it turns out that if you put the car into 'S' gear, you get more power for acceleration and braking (confirmed). Go figure - reading how something works... Also, if you don't tailgate, you'll have plenty of room to stop anyways. :P Problem solved. I've used several opportunities to play with different combinations of driving style during my deliveries. The best combination thus far (for me) would be this: In CITY DRIVING, short distances and less than 40mph - use the 'S' gear. This keeps the engine running at stop signs/lights, so you don't have to worry about the engine turning back on if you're in a hurry. Paddle shifters are optional for faster acceleration, but really, how fast do you need to accelerate in traffic? Getting on ramps, sure, but otherwise no. If you use the 'D' gear in city, I can see how people might be annoyed by the continual starting/stopping of the engine. Even so, it's a smooth transition and you don't really notice it after a while. I still suggest the 'S' gear however. On HIGHWAY DRIVING, long distance and more than 40mph - use the 'D' gear. You'll get better gas mileage, and you can still use the paddle shifters if you need a faster change in speed. As for comfort, I love the mix of fabric and leather. I use the a/c frequently, despite the fact that it does hinder the gas mileage, but not all that much if used smartly. - I suggest using the economy setting (cycles the air inside, rather than pulling from outside) on super hot days, as it gives the a/c a bit of a break and takes less energy. Even with the a/c running, I still get great gas mileage! The Vehicle Stability Assist makes taking corners a smooth ride, especially since it's combined with the Electronic Brake Distribution. This means that each wheel has a sensor attached to it's brakes, so that if you're taking a corner too sharply, it will apply the appropriate brakes to the appropriate wheel. It does all the hard work for you! In regards to the small rear window - Yes, it's quite a bit smaller than most cars. HOWEVER, I have noticed that the driver's side mirror, when angled appropriately, can provide visibility both behind and to the side of the car... which means I don't really need to use the rear-view mirror at all. It also helps being used to only using the side mirrors, which in all reality, you might as well get used to it if you plan on taking full advantage of the trunk cargo space by moving larger objects. I enjoy having the steering wheel controls/ voice command controls for things like music, gps, and phone calls. That means I can be a safer driver since I'm not having to take my eyes off the road. Still, this car is for the ECONOMICALLY MINDED DRIVER. This is NOT a sports car. This car will train you to be a better driver economically wise (via color cues to good/bad gas driving habits). This car is not meant for those who want to just jump in and speed off. Those cars are for beginner drivers (not including professional race car drivers - they have a lot of controls to worry about). If you do that with this car, you have no right to complain about the lower gas mileage you'll be getting... or for any car, for that matter (as they post their gas mileage claims with ideal driving conditions). Also, if you want to get the most of the car, READ THE MANUAL! There's a lot going on under that hood! This car requires a committed driver who will adhere to the gas mileage cues and will handle the car (accelerating/braking, etc) appropriately. Treat the car nicely, and you'll be rewarded with awesome gas mileage. Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase. After calculating the gas consumption with my old car (and driving 200+ miles each day), I'm actually SAVING money despite the fact I now have monthly payments and an increase in car insurance. I'm essentially getting paid to own this car!"
19 people out of 26 found this review helpful