If you’re looking for a hybrid, a compact sedan or even just a car in the $25,000 range, the 2020 Honda Insight needs to be on your shopping list. Its list of virtues is long, going far beyond the most obviously appealing attribute: 52 miles per gallon in combined driving. That’s the same rate as the all-new Toyota Corolla Hybrid, another affordable compact sedan.
The Insight is an outstanding value not just for a hybrid, but for a compact car in general. It has an interior that is surprisingly nice for its price, and it is generously equipped from the base model up with features like standard Honda Sensing safety tech. It also offers an engaging driving experience, which is something that can’t be said of all hybrids, and it boasts a refreshingly conventional design inside and out.
The Insight also boasts clever interior storage, a user-friendly tech interface and safety ratings that literally could not be better. It’s quite simply one of the most impressive hybrids at this price point.
What’s New for 2020?
Other than the newly available Platinum White Pearl paint, there are no noteworthy changes for 2020. See the 2020 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, versatile cabin
- Great value
- Perfect safety scores
What We Don’t
- Engine can be a bit loud and comes on at unexpected times
The Insight’s hybrid powertrain consists of an electric motor that drives the front wheels. It’s powered in most cases by a lithium-ion battery and a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that acts as a motor-generator. Only in maximum acceleration situations or during a constant highway cruise is the engine directly connected to the wheels. This is different from 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 2020 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’s 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 ($24,310) 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 ($28,340) adds a power moonroof, 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 anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, six 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 five stars in every crash category. It also got perfect scores in testing done by the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which resulted in an award of Top Safety Pick+.
Behind the Wheel
Because of Honda’s distinctive hybrid design, the Insight 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 it 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. 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 — and that’s not a bad thing.
Inside, the 2020 Insight represents a clear step up from most other hybrids in this price range. The quality of materials is much higher, and you can see, feel and hear this, as the softer materials reduce echoing. It also gets the Civic’s clever storage area in the center console, but it 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, which is 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 it’s still not quite as versatile as some of its hybrid hatchback competitors.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid – We’re not sure what took so long for Toyota to build a hybrid variant of the Corolla, but it’s finally here with 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, and it’s the Insight’s closest competitor. They’re similar in terms of size, fuel economy and price, and they’re both worth a test drive.
2020 Hyundai Ioniq – The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq is another hybrid that is priced similarly to the Insight, and this hatchback is even more efficient, which makes it an attractive option for frugal shoppers. The Hyundai also has a superior warranty.
2020 Honda Accord Hybrid – Bigger, more powerful and even more refined, the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid is pretty much just a nicer Insight — with a heftier price, of course.
Used Chevrolet Bolt – Why not consider a certified pre-owned electric car for the same price as the Insight? The well-executed Chevy Bolt is starting to trickle into used car inventory, and 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 $1,380, the EX trim adds an abundance of desirable features, including a fold-down rear seatback and Honda’s latest touchscreen interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Every Insight is a great value, but we think the EX is in the sweet spot. Find a Honda Insight for sale