Honda recently announced revisions to its hybrid Insight for 2012, revealing minor updates and increased pricing as the hatchback enters its fourth year on the market. While the automaker stopped short of making drastic changes, the revisions include new features, tweaked exterior styling and slightly increased pricing compared to its 2011 counterpart.

On the outside, car shoppers will likely notice several updates to the 2012 Insight, which is scheduled to arrive soon at dealerships nationwide. While the most obvious changes are new 15-inch wheels and a restyled front fascia, the hatchback's rear bumper was also subtly altered for the new model year. Other updates include a smaller rear wiper housing and a thinner rear spoiler, each designed to improve outward visibility.

Honda also made some minor improvements to the Insight's interior and under its hood. Inside, there's small increase in rear headroom, an altered instrument cluster and improved noise insulation efforts. There's a slight fuel economy boost thanks to friction-reducing measures in the engine and transmission.

With a starting price of $19,120, base models see the smallest increase, jumping just $150 compared to 2011 versions. While LX models add $225 to reach $20,895, Honda says the mid-level trim also features upgraded seat fabric and a more supportive front armrest. The same is true of top-line EX models, which gain $325 for the new model year to start at $22,585. According to Honda, the Insight EX also gains automatic headlights, a leather shift knob and leather-trimmed seats for the new model year.

With just 14,000 sales recorded so far this year, the Honda Insight remains considerably less popular than its major rival, Toyota's hybrid Prius hatchback, which has sold more than 95,000 units. Only time will tell if the Insight's updates are enough to put a dent in the Prius's remarkable popularity.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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