The Honda Insight is a 5-door hatchback marketed as a hybrid electric compact car. It is sold only with a front engine and front-wheel drive design. With its low base price and hybrid electric capabilities, Honda claims the Insight is the least-expensive hybrid car available to the public. Although the Insight offers hybrid performance at a low price, automotive reviews have compared it unfavorably with the Toyota Prius at times. With gasoline prices fluctuating and rising, the Insight is experiencing higher demand.
The Honda Insight has a four-cylinder engine powered by gasoline and an electric motor. The gasoline engine produces 88 horsepower while the electric motor adds 13 horsepower. Predicted fuel economy is 40 miles per gallon under city conditions and 43 during highway driving. The Insight seats five. Because of its limited horsepower, drivers are advised against towing anything. Honda designed the Insight in Japan and assembles the car in Suzuka, Japan.
The first generation of Insights was manufactured from 2000 to 2006 as a gasoline-only vehicle. Honda decided to reuse the name when it put the second generation of hybrid Insights on sale in 2009. Critics initially compared the Insight harshly with the Toyota Prius, the main competitor in the hybrid electric compact car market. Honda adjusted the base price and trim levels in 2010, aiming the Insight at people who couldn't afford more expensive hybrid cars. The Insight has been relatively popular as a cheaper alternative to the Prius, selling 143,015 cars in its first year on the global market.
Honda sells the 2011 Insight in three trim levels. The base trim includes 15-inch steel wheels, key-free entry, and powered accessories among its standard equipment. The LX trim upgrades the sound system to four speakers, provides a USB interface for MP3 players, and includes floor mats. The top-tier EX trim has 15-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and moves some controls to the steering wheel for added convenience. The EX trim is eligible for a navigational system upgrade. The navigation package has Bluetooth capabilities, a touchscreen directional unit, and responds to voice commands.
The government gave the Insight a five star rating in 2010 for driver safety in a head-on collision. The car also received five stars for drivers during side-impact crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the Insight as Good" for front and side crashes. The Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization awarded the Insight a 2009 Good Design Award. Kelley Blue Book placed the Insight in its Top 10 Green Cars for 2010. Independent automotive reviews have noted the Insight's accurate steering and decent handling for its size, but mentioned that it does not compare favorably in some respects to the Toyota Prius.
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