(Plus 55 Other Reasons Why it’s the Best Hybrid Car in America)
For what it’s worth, Honda’s M.O. has always revolved around creating fuel-efficient cars – ever since 1974’s catalytic converter-less Honda Civic CVCC broke the mold. But the MPG trees didn’t really bear fruit for Honda until 1999, when the first Insight model graced us with its presence as America’s only gas-electric hybrid car. (Then it left. Then it returned. Then it left again.)
After several iterations, the third-generation Insight nameplate returned to bask in the limelight as a conventional-looking 2018 sedan with a great many unconventional assets. Now, some two years later, the hybrid’s charm is just as apparent in the current 2021 Honda Insight.
But you didn’t come for a history lesson; you came to see why the new Insight may be not only Honda’s best hybrid car, but perhaps one of America’s best hybrid cars under $25k.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Situated somewhere between the Honda Civic and Honda Accord, the new Honda Insight looks the part of a traditional four-door sedan. In fact, it shares many components found in the Civic, and there are few external signs that it’s a hybrid car aside from the “Insight” badge branded onto its tail and side panel.
Once you burn through a full tank of gas, however, it’s quite apparent this Honda is anything but a traditional sedan.
Compared to rival hybrid cars, the ’21 Insight is a spry little fella, balancing fuel efficiency with asphalt-ready quickness. It’s fitted with a gas engine and electric motor that churns out 151.5 horsepower* and 197 lb.-ft. of torque – enough to push the Insight up to 60 mph in under 8 seconds.
In all, it’s just as pleasant to drive as the Civic, which is no small feat for a hybrid car. At low speeds, its electric motor is the star of the show; when get-up-and-go is required, Insight’s peppy inline-4 purrs to life and seamlessly comes to the rescue. Either way, noise from the engine bay is minimal.
“The Insight is a lovely thing that’s surprisingly fun to drive, more capable than we’d expect, and great on gas.” – Motor Trend
That pleasantness expands into other areas, too. Handling, for instance, is surprisingly sporty – and not just for a hybrid car, either – easily rounding “S curves” with aplomb. Insight’s suspension is supple, soaking up road nonsense as if it were its job (which it is). And unlike other hybrid cars of its ilk, which use a mixture of hydraulic and electric regenerative braking, the 2021 Insight’s brakes feel appropriately responsive to heel pressure.
55 City MPG
Perhaps the best reason to buy a new Insight is its fuel efficiency. With the base 2021 Insight LX and higher EX trims, expect EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 55 mpg city and 49 mpg highway. (The Insight Touring returns 51 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway, in comparison.)
While 99% of applause should be directed at Insight’s excellent hybrid powertrain, its regenerative brakes should get a pat on the back, too. Insight features steering wheel-mounted deceleration paddles to help drivers control how much or how little regenerative braking is used to recoup battery energy.
Because seeing is believing, you can even track how efficient your Honda Insight is from the car’s customizable Driver Information Interface. Easily track real-time energy flow and usage in addition to your more standard driving details, like trip mileage, phone calls, and speed limit info.
With an MSRP of just $22,930*, the 2021 Insight LX is cheaper than most of its competitors, including the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ($27,759), Toyota Camry Hybrid ($28,430), and Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,000). In fact, choosing a decked-out, range-topping Insight Touring ($28,840*) over any of these entry-level hybrid cars would amount to a difference of just a few hundred buckaroos.
“Insight’s minimal price premium over the Civic and superb fuel economy make it a smart buy.” – Car and Driver
Every new Honda Insight also comes with a remarkable 8-year High-Voltage Battery Limited Warranty. Talk about a really smart buy.
2021 vs 2020 Insight: What’s New?
Like the 2020 Insight, the new 2021 model is equipped with Honda Sensing and offers best-in-class passenger space (97.6 cubic feet in the LX and EX). All Insights also come standard with multi-LED headlights, push-button start, Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay® and Honda’s 3-Mode Drive System.
What’s new? The 2021 Insight improves on the outgoing 2020 model by offering standard blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert (EX and Touring trims). Radiant Red Metallic paint is also a new addition across the Insight lineup. In the Insight Touring, you get new leather seats plus an 8-way power driver’s seat, Honda navigation, dual-zone automatic climate, and a few other niceties.
“The Insight has a report card we wish we had in school. Safety officials from the federal government and IIHS give it a spotless report, and it’s one of few cars on the road that have aced every available test.” – The Car Connection
Want to learn more about the 2021 Honda Insight? Contact our Miami Valley Honda Dealers near Dayton to request a quote or speak with one of our hybrid car salespeople. We’ll set you up with an Insight test drive or help you get started with your hybrid car loan or lease.
*Total system horsepower as measured by the peak, concurrent output of the two electric motors and gasoline engine.
*55 city/49 highway/52 combined mpg rating for LX and EX trims. 51 city/45 highway/48 combined mpg rating for the Touring trim. Based on 2021 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack’s age/condition and other factors.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $955.00 destination charge and options. Dealers set own prices.