Posted Dec 22nd 2011 10:08AM
The 2012 Honda Insight Hybrid has been freshened up. Its front and rear ends have gone under the knife, and a fresh wheel design features new energy efficient tires designed to eke out more fuel economy. Honda engineers have also improved the Insight’s aerodynamics slightly in an effort to further boost fuel efficiency. As for the Insight interior, the Insight gets upgraded audio and navigation system features, and the center console cup holders grow in size to accommodate larger drinks. New colors include Frosted Silver Metallic, Milano Red, and Truffle Pearl.
The 2012 Honda Insight hybrid bears a striking family resemblance to the highly progressive FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. The front of the Honda Insight is strong and lean with eye-catching projector-beam headlights. The taller rear helps this 5-door hybrid slip easily through the air, and unique LED brake lights complete the look. The Insight was designed with a low center of gravity and a 5-passenger cabin. Five-door access helps meet the needs of an active lifestyle. New for 2012, the Honda Insight features a revised and more spacious interior. The use of smaller internal components allows for more cabin and cargo space, making the Honda Insight family-friendly and versatile. And the Insight was designed and built from the ground up to be what it is: a hybrid.
The 2012 Honda Insight hybrid retains the same basic Honda Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system that pairs a 1.3-liter i-VTEC gasoline 4-cylinder engine with a 10kW electric motor to yield 98 horsepower and 123 lb-ft. of torque. However, a series of friction-reducing measures in the engine and the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) contribute to improved 41/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined EPA ratings, numbers that literally one-up the 2009 Insight‘s stats across the board. Those gains ensure that the 2012 Insight Hybrid remains the most fuel-efficient vehicle under $20,000.
As for pricing specifics, the base 2012 Honda Insight Hybrid opens at $19,120, with the Insight LX starting at $20,945, the Insight EX at $22,585 and the Honda Insight EX with Navigation commanding $24,310. It can serve as gateway product to hybrid technology before one spends bigger bucks on other, pricier hybrids. At first glance, the Insight can be mistaken for the midsize Toyota Prius, but it is classified as a compact vehicle.