2010 Honda Insight

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2010 Honda Insight — Flash Drive

By Staff of MSN Autos

View Pictures:  2010 Honda Insight

With fuel efficiency and price so important to new car shoppers, this new Insight should sell like hotcakes. But it is a far cry from the original car to bear the name. The 2010 Insight seats four people comfortably, five less comfortably, and has plenty of useful space in the cargo area. Our test car was the EX, equipped with navigation, Bluetooth and a nice stereo — which, combined with the refined interior and quality materials, discouraged the inclination to call this an econobox. The Insight offers a number of cues to help achieve the best fuel economy. For example, the backlight of the speedometer rewards "good" behavior with a green glow. Blue means you're too strong on the throttle or brake. I was able to achieve a respectable 38 mpg in primarily city driving — more distance and fewer hills would easily have increased that number. While the Insight is very fuel-efficient, it is lacking in any kind of power for acceleration. There are paddle shifters and a sport mode, but I couldn't discern any difference in performance when using them, and I expect that most buyers of this car are not looking for strong driving performance anyway. One major complaint: I was unable to see the speedometer through the steering wheel. – Perry Stern

The 2010 Insight is Honda's eagerly awaited new hybrid. Powered by Honda's new Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, the all-new Insight is light on power but has enough grunt to keep up with traffic and pull out without creating an obstacle. The Eco Assist system, which changes the background color behind the speedometer based on driving style, is constantly encouraging the driver to be more economical. The driver can even choose Econ mode, which slows throttle and transmission response to further improve economy. The EPA rating of 40 mpg city is hard to achieve in a hilly area but would be doable in a flatter area. Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel seem to be more of a novelty, since the transmission is a CVT and manual selections are often trumped by the computer. The interior will accommodate four adults, but rear-seat headroom is affected by the sloping roofline. Rear visibility is improved by a lower glass panel similar to the original Insight. – Mike Meredith

The new Honda Insight is a fun and fuel-efficient car. It is smaller and lighter than the Toyota Prius, so it feels more agile and spirited. Commuting was easy in the Insight, and drivers are encouraged to drive better. Using the Eco Assist feature, the Insight educates drivers to operate the vehicle in a manner that is more fuel-efficient. Driving efficiently will illuminate the speedometer in green. If you are inefficient, you will generate a blue screen. Pressing the Econ mode will minimize the accelerator response to provide even better gas mileage. I averaged 45.5 mpg in mixed driving conditions, which included driving up numerous hills. However, I was able to get 58 mpg during a 20-mile commute on flat roads by hypermiling, annoying many other drivers in the process (I was tailgated a lot during my fuel-efficiency quest). The Insight is more compact than a Prius, so you can expect a tight back seat for 6-foot-tall adults. It does seat four comfortably, however. Priced at $23K including navigation system, the Insight delivers a great value for the price. – Joe Chulick

The new Honda Insight takes everything that Honda knows about maximizing a gallon of gas and serves it up for four people at a time. Where the original Insight converted the amazing CRX into an extreme fuel sipper, this one converts it into a family car. The vehicle's now-familiar shape has a very high trunk. The Insight extends the rear glass into the top of the trunk lid to improve visibility, but it doesn't work. A thick bar splitting the rear window limits the view in the rearview mirror. One promise is true: It barely sips fuel, returning more than 40 mpg almost all the time. The all-new Insight is cheaper than its obvious competitor, the Toyota Prius, but it's not as good. The hybrid bucks and lurches at times, as the electric motor kicks on and off; the Toyota Prius is smooth. – Paul Hagger

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BB01 - 7/25/2014 4:43:46 AM