Far be it for Honda to let an opportunity to out-innovate the competition slip through its grasp. With the recent surge in the hybrid-electric segment, it’s Honda’s stylish and downright spritely 2011 Insight that has cornered the market on fuel-sipping hybrid value.
The 2011 model year sees the introduction of a new, value-laden trim level to the Insight family and, with it, an impressive shift in starting price. The well-equipped, entry-level Insight slots in just before improved LX and top-of-the-line EX trims, and carries with it a starting MSRP of just $18,200. The Prius, Insight’s primary competitor in the hybrid segment, starts at just over $23,000 while fully electric entries from Chevy and Nissan (the Volt and Leaf, respectively), reach well into the $30K range.
Along with its eminently reasonable price tag, the newest Insight brings a healthy dose of style to the thoroughly bland and oftentimes painfully practical compact hybrid market. A lean, streamlined body fits in nicely amongst the sporty coupes and iconic sedans in Honda’s lineup, and it houses a number of standard
features including power side mirrors (EX trims add heating and integrated turn signals), projector beam halogen headlamps, body-colored accents and LED brakelights.
All Insights start with Honda’s 1.3-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with an ultra-thin, 10-kW electric motor, which kicks in primarily during acceleration or when additional torque is needed (climbing hills, for instance). Combined, the 98 hp and 123 lb/ft of torque generated by the engine and motor form the basis of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA®) hybrid system, which not only capably powers the Insight electrically at low speeds, but also recaptures energy during braking for storage in the trunk-mounted nickel-metal hydride battery. The result is an EPA mileage estimate of up to 43 highway mpg.
Instead of simply listing a maximum possible fuel economy rating, Honda has designed the Insight to actually help you attain it. The hybrid comes standard with an innovative Eco Assist™ feature, which provides instant feedback for eco-conscious driving practices and “awards” drivers over time for driving efficiently (awards take the form of leaves on the system’s graphic display and, indirectly, cash remaining in your wallet upon bypassing the pump). The green ECON Button, mounted prominently on the Insight’s dash, actually alters the hybrid’s driving systems––everything from throttle response and regenerative braking to the heating and air conditioning systems––to ensure maximum efficiency.
Inside, the Insight delivers more modern technology in its spacious and stylish cabin. Insights come well equipped with power features and a 160-watt CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input jack, speed-sensitive volume control and more. Upper trims offer Honda’s available Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with voice recognition, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, a USB audio interface, cruise control and a six-speaker audio system. EX trims now come standard with steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters for the Insight’s Continuously Variable Transmission, and EXs equipped with navigation get audio and Bluetooth controls on the wheel as well.
Safe for the environment, safe for you: The 2011 Insight delivers the superior construction and safety features you’d expect from Honda, starting with the company’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure, which is reinforced to protect against frontal collisions, and to protect occupants from the increased dangers they face when involved in a crash with a vehicle of a significantly different size. All Insights now come standard with Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control, as well as antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). Also standard are driver and front passenger’s active head restraints, front, side and side-curtain airbags, a tire pressure monitor and daytime running lights.
With sleek styling, a bevy of standard features and a starting price thousands less than its closest competitor, the 2011 Honda Insight easily offers the finest value in its class.
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, $750.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary