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2013 Honda Insight

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2013 Honda Insight Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If all you want is to save on fuel, there are actually some non-hybrid alternatives that do awfully well. Check out the 40-mpg Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze, and the 42-mpg VW Golf TDI.

What's New for 2013

Honda gave the Insight hybrid hatchback a mild makeover last year, and for 2013, there are no substantial changes.

Driving the Insight
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.

5-DOOR PROFILE
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.

ECO ASSIST
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.

2013 Honda Insight Details
2013 Honda Insight photo Interior

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.

Exterior
2013 Honda Insight photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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

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2013 Honda Insight Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 139 Ratings for the 2010 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.3/10

No problems ever

By on Thursday, December 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Price, reliability, effortless maintenance"

Cons: "Blind spots, back seat tight for passengers"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Purchased new 2010 model. Replaced tires around 48000. Other than changing oil and wipers, basically carefree problem free vehicle. Avg 45 mpg. Interior has held up remarkably. Overhead interior light burned out at about 85k miles. Can't beat the ride when zipping through the city and highway at 70 is still smooth. Fold down back seat makes for surprising cargo room. Did change fluids at 89000 miles because dealer recommended. Saw no change in already good performance. Want a new higher ride vehicle but why? This one is still performing as new with practically no maintenance"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Love the gas mileage..Sporty style is fun 2 drive

By on Friday, December 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,610

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "Tire pressure changes when weather drops below 32*"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My all time favorite car to own. I've owned in the past: Honda Accord (2), Volvo Wagon (3) and an Xfinity Qx4 and the Honda Insight is the one I would rate overall as number one. This car has it all. The gas mileage was a huge selling point and I average about 45mpg. This car is sexy and sporty and I love driving it. The Soccer Mom days are over and this car better reflects my personality now that my kids are grown. I am conscious about the environment and still young at heart having fun driving my Honda Insight. it's almost embarrassing to admit how many winks I get at stop lights from much younger men (LOL). If they only knew what I look like behind those "Foster Grants", it's the car they car attracted to and when I catch them starring at the car they are thinking "im a sexy chick driving a sexy car". That is true but I'm smart too because this car will pay for itself with the money I save in gas."

8 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Reliable, economical, practical

By on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Economical, reliable"

Cons: "no sat nav"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my third Insight and 5th Honda, in a row. I cannot fault the car's performance, reliability and practicality."

16 people out of 30 found this review helpful

Great gas mileage..

By on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Cons: "needs a map light../driver mirror"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love my Insight..so easy on gas and I like driving it.Just the right size for me and hatch back great for loading stuff."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

If you hate it, don't buy it as will last forever.

By on Sunday, May 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 212,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Probably cheapest car too own."

Cons: "Where is the fun?"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"My 2011 Insight base has 212000 miles and not a single problem other than normal wear and tear. Averaging 48mpg over life of car. Build is so solid as if car was molded from one piece. Nor squeak nor rattle of any kind. Car has been cheap to maintain. Oil changes come about 12k. Serpentine belt changed at 200k. Brake pads and shoes also lasted 200k. Oem tires worn out at 30k. Replacement Ecopias lasted 100k. I use Nitto SN2 winter tires, excellent traction over frozen stuff.. Battery still strong. Cvt still sliky smooth. Now the bad. Eight, yes eight spark plugs on 4 cylinder engine only pricey maintenance at 105k and 210k. Handling like driving in mud.Car cant even hold a straight line. Slow slow and slow. Above 65mph engine makes a racket. Cramped interior especially back seats."

35 people out of 55 found this review helpful

Highway milage 52 mpg

By on Monday, May 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Like that mpg"

Cons: "Driver blind spot"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Wanted good mpg and got it! Averaged 52.3 mpg Spokane to Seattle via North Cascades highway. Around town 38-42."

18 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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