The 2014 Honda Insight carries over. A new model is expected for 2015...more
The 2014 Honda Insight is hawked as "the hybrid for everybody." Its reasonable starting price -- less than $20,000 -- makes it accessible for nearly everybody, but that doesn't mean it's appropriate for everybody. Yes, the Insight is fuel-efficient, affordable, and even cute. It has a lot of hybrid gizmos and interfaces for green-car enthusiasts, allowing the driver to wring out maximum fuel economy. But there's no getting around it: the Insight is slow. There's definitely a place in the market for a cut-rate hybrid, it's just that it won't appeal to everyone.
The 2014 Honda Insight is a back-to-basics hybrid. It runs a 1.3-liter in-line four-cylinder making 98 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. Yes, you read that correctly. In 2013, there is a car that putters along with just 98 hp. The hybrid element comes from a 10-kilowatt electric motor powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries. The only gearbox is a CVT, offered with paddle shifters on the sportier EX trim. While all of this sounds sedate, the payoff comes at the pump: the EPA rates the Insight hybrid at 41 mpg in city driving and 44 mpg on the highway.
The 2014 Honda Insight is accessible for casual green-car fans, but it has several features that make it appealing for true environmentalists. The Eco Assist function lets the driver monitor fuel economy, showing an ambient color on the speedometer to gauge the efficiency of your driving. It also gives you a score after each driving stint, with information about braking and acceleration. Drivers can switch into an Econ mode -- which modifies the throttle, transmission, and air-conditioning -- at the push of a button. In a hybrid, features like this are informative and useful in the same manner that specialized gauges in a sports car help the hot-shoe improve his or her lap times.
The 2014 Honda Insight seats five, though it looks and drives like a small car, which has counted against it in the minds of some American consumers. While fuel economy is impressive, larger cars on the market get comparable figures.
- Ford Fusion Hybrid
- Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- Toyota Camry Hybrid
- Toyota Prius