When buying a new car, performance is always one of the top considerations. In recent years, however, instead of measuring things like horsepower, torque and zero-to-60 times, performance is more often being measured in miles per gallon. If you want the ultimate in fuel efficiency, look no further than the 2011 Honda Insight.
With a new base model for 2011, the Honda Insight (MSRP starting at $18,200) is one of the most affordable hybrid-powered vehicles available, and with up to 40 mpg city/43 mpg highway, it’s also one of the most fuel-efficient. It isn’t just what’s under the hood that makes the Insight fuel-efficient though. The Insight features low rolling resistance tires and a wedge shape proven in wind tunnel testing to have among the lowest coefficients of drag of any automotive design, helping the Insight cut through the wind and pass more gas stations than most other cars.
Under the hood, all three trims – Insight, Insight LX and Insight EX – feature a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for a combined output of 98 hp and 123 lb/ft of torque.
Honda has not only built a reputation for making fuel efficient vehicles, it’s also known for cars with enhanced handling characteristics, and the Insight is no exception. Unlike other hybrids, which put driving dynamics far down on the priority list, the Insight is fun and quite responsive through communicative steering and a suspension tuned more on the sporting edge.
Once inside the Insight, drivers will notice user-friendly, conveniently placed controls. Clean and simple, the interior layout of the Insight is a refreshing departure from the complicated instrument layouts of other hybrid vehicles.
The Eco Assist™ feature in the Insight helps you learn how to drive more efficiently. The instrument cluster features animated trees that flourish when you maximize fuel economy and wilt when you don’t; a nifty feature for drivers concerned with fuel performance.
The Insight also packs away a respectable amount of cargo for its size. With a rear hatch door for easy access, the Insight offers 31.5 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded.
The Insight comes well equipped with remote entry, full power accessories, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, 15-inch wheels and a two-speaker audio system with CD player, auxiliary input and speed sensitive volume control.
Choosing the Insight LX gets you a four-speaker audio system with USB interface, a center armrest and storage bin and cruise control. Insight EX buyers get heated mirrors, transmission paddleshifters and audio controls on the steering wheel, vanity mirrors and a six-speaker stereo. If you really want to load up your Insight, the Insight EX can be equipped with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition, Bluetooth integration and a digital audio card reader.
Regardless of which trim you choose, all Insights come standard with Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control, antilock brakes with brake assist, front side airbags, side-curtain bags and active front headrests. All these features make for an exceptionally safe vehicle, one that earned a perfect five stars in 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) head-on collision testing, thanks in part to the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure, which helps minimize occupant injuries in front-end collisions. The Insight also received a top rating of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in frontal-offset and side crash tests.
In classic Honda tradition, the Insight is a well-executed machine that takes advantage of modern technology to maximize fuel efficiency without pillaging your bank account. It’s reliable, safe, practical, sporty and refreshingly simple. And with its combined 41 mpg, you’ll be watching the little tree next to your speedometer bloom as everyone else is stopped at a gas station with fuel efficiency envy, watching you pass.
If you know all too well what fuel efficiency envy feels like, maybe it’s time you stop in for a test drive of the 2011 Honda Insight.
Based on 2011 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $770.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary