We recently got to test the 2010 Insight, the hybrid electric car from Honda. The Insight is the main competitor to the Toyota Prius, and definitely shines at some key points when compared side-by-side to the Prius. For comparable models on a Prius versus an Insight, the Insight would come in almost $4,000 cheaper. Our tester model was the the fully-loaded Insight EX with navigation, with a base price of $19,800 and an as-tested price of $23,810. At that price, you would only be able to get a Prius sans navigation with the second out of four trim levels.
But, price isn’t everything. The Honda Insight is less powerful than the the Prius, getting 98 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 123 lb-ft of torque at 1,000-1,700 rpm. While we realize you won’t be buying the Insight for its power, the folks at Honda put in paddle-shifters to control the CVT so you could at least pretend that you are zipping around at sport car-like speeds.
And finally, to probably the number one thing people are concerned with when purchasing a hybrid, the fuel economy. The Insight gets very respectable gas mileage for a hybrid, averaging 41 mpg in mixed driving or 40 mpg city and 43 mpg highway. With the gauge right in front you of, you can easily see if you are being economical in your driving style. Honda took the fuel-saving aspects of the Insight to the extreme, including a “Econ Mode” button that you can push for additional precautions to prevent wasteful driving.