If you’re looking for a hybrid, a compact sedan or even just a car in the $25,000 range, the 2019 Honda Insight needs to be on your shopping list. Its list of virtues is long, going far beyond the most obviously appealing attribute of achieving 52 miles per gallon in combined driving. That’s the same as the Toyota Prius.
Yet, the Insight is more appealing in several ways than its most obvious competitor. It has a quieter and higher-quality cabin that brings with it more feature content for the money. The driving experience is also more involving and we think many will prefer the differing way Honda’s hybrid powertrain accelerates. We also appreciate that the Insight boasts a more conventional design inside and out than the Prius, which can be described as odd at best. The same can be said of another hybrid competitor, the Hyundai Ioniq.
Moving beyond comparisons to the Prius, the Insight also boasts clever interior storage, a user-friendly tech interface and safety ratings that literally cannot be better. It’s quite simply one of the most impressive new cars for 2019.
What’s New for 2019?
The Insight is all-new for 2019. See the 2019 Honda Insight models for sale near you
What We Like
More refined and conventional than other hybrids; exceptional fuel economy; smooth, almost EV-like power delivery; high-quality and versatile cabin; great value; perfect safety scores
What We Don’t
Engine can be a bit too loud and comes on at unexpected times
The Insight’s hybrid powertrain consists of an electric motor that drives the front wheels, powered in most cases by a lithium-ion battery and a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that acts a motor-generator. Only in maximum acceleration situations or when in a constant highway cruise is that engine directly connected to the wheels. This is different than how Toyota’s hybrid system works and you may prefer the driving experience as a result.
The resulting fuel economy, though, is just as excellent. In most trims, the Insight is estimated to achieve 55 mpg in the city, 49 mpg on the highway and 52 mpg in combined driving. The Touring trim’s estimates lower to 51 mpg city/45 mpg hwy/48 mpg combined, but in terms of actual gasoline used, the difference might be an extra $50 over the course of a year.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Honda Insight is available in three trim levels: LX, EX and Touring.
The base LX ($22,930) comes standard with 16-in alloy wheels, a backup camera, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, a driver inattention monitor, adaptive cruise control, automatic LED headlights and high beams, heated mirrors, push-button start, automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, one USB port and a 6-speaker sound system with a 5-in color display and a media player interface.
The EX ($24,160) adds Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot camera, proximity entry, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a rear center armrest, two USB ports, Honda’s latest 8-in touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, HD radio and an 8-speaker sound system.
The top-of-the-line Touring ($28,190) adds automatic wipers, extra chrome exterior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power front seats (8-way driver, 4-way passenger), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, integrated navigation, in-car Wi-Fi and a 10-speaker premium sound system.
Every Insight comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, 6 airbags (front, front-side, side curtain), forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, a driver inattention monitor and a backup camera. The EX adds the LaneWatch blind-spot camera.
The government gave the Insight a perfect 5 stars in every crash category. It also got perfect scores in testing done by the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, resulting in an award of Top Safety Pick+.
Behind the Wheel
Because of Honda’s distinctive hybrid design, the Insight’s accelerates a bit like an electric car. You get a similarly ultra-smooth acceleration feel, while the gasoline engine’s engagement is smoother and seemingly less frequent than what you’d get in a Prius or most other hybrids. That engine can get similarly loud, however, and comes on at times that aren’t always in-tune with what your right foot is doing.
As for the rest of the driving experience, the Insight boasts an agreeable ride-handling balance, reasonably communicative steering and a low, sporty driving position that collectively grants a more engaging, in-control feel than what you’d get in the Prius. Sure, Toyota’s trademark hybrid has improved dramatically with its most recent generation, but after back-to-back drives, the Honda remains the more engaging vehicle. Frankly, it feels like a heavier, electrified Honda Civic, which is basically what it is. Although the powertrain, some interior bits and much of the exterior body panels are different, beneath the skin, the Insight is basically a hybrid Civic. That’s not a bad thing.
Inside, the 2019 Insight represents a clear step up from other hybrids in this price range. The quality of materials is much higher — not only can you see and feel this, but you can hear it as well, as the softer materials reduce echoing. It also gets the Civic’s clever center console storage area, but enhances it with a handy, high-mounted smartphone holder next to the electronic shifter. The Insight also benefits from Honda’s latest and greatly improved touchscreen interface that’s unavailable in the Civic.
In terms of space, full-size adults should be able to fit in all outboard seating positions. The trunk is also enormous for a compact sedan at 15.1 cu ft., but since it’s not a hatchback like the Prius or Ioniq, it’s not quite as versatile.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Toyota Prius — The Insight’s prime competitor. Its hatchback cargo area may be more versatile, but the Prius is louder and less refined than the Insight. It’s also pricier. Watch how the Insight and Prius interiors compare
2019 Hyundai Ioniq — Many of the same comparisons can be made between the Insight and the Ioniq as can be done with the Prius. There’s one major difference: the Ioniq’s lower price tag and its superior warranty.
Used Chevrolet Bolt — Why not consider a certified pre-owned electric car for the same price as the Insight? Chevrolet’s well-executed Bolt is starting to trickle into used car inventory. It provides more than 200 miles of range and impressive performance.
Given the refinement, space and equipment you get compared to other low-priced hybrids, the base Insight represents tremendous value. That said, for only an extra $1,230, the EX trim adds an abundance of desirable features, most notable a fold-down rear seatback and Honda’s latest touchscreen interface. As such, we think that’s the one to get. Find a Honda Insight for sale