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2012 Honda Insight Review

While test drivers were impressed with the 2012 Honda Insight’s confident handling, they said that rival hybrids get better fuel economy, have roomier interiors and more standard features.

Pros & Cons

  • Sharp steering
  • Good fuel economy
  • Quirky start-stop feature
  • Limited rear legroom
  • Few standard features
  • Bumpy ride

New for 2012

  • Updated interior and exterior styling
  • Rearview camera and navigation became available
  • Improved fuel economy




Critics' Rating: 6.6
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 7.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Honda Insight Overview

Equipped with a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, most reviewers said the 2012 Honda Insight offers underwhelming acceleration, but some still felt it has sufficient power for daily driving. The Insight has a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Test drivers disliked the Insight’s stop-start feature, which shuts down the engine when the car is stopped to conserve fuel, saying that it feels clunky. The Insight gets an EPA-estimated 41/44 mpg city/highway, which is superb for a small car, but hybrids like the 2012 Toyota Prius c consume less fuel. Reviewers said the Insight has responsive steering and corners confidently, making it more engaging to drive than rival hybrids, but several pointed out that the ride can be bumpy on rough roads.

While some test drivers said the 2012 Honda Insight’s interior is well-made with quality materials, others thought there are too many budget plastics compared to rival small cars. They wrote that the Insight’s front seats are supportive and said while there’s adequate space in the rear seat for short stints, cars like the Toyota Prius c have more spacious back seats. There’s a decent amount of cargo space for a compact hybrid, thanks to the Insight’s hatchback style and folding rear seats. The Insight comes standard with a two-speaker audio system, automatic climate control and power windows. Available features include Bluetooth, a USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, an upgraded sound system, a voice-controlled navigation system and a rearview camera. Reviewers liked the layout of dashboard controls and said they’re easy to use.

Other Cars to Consider

The Honda Civic Hybrid was redesigned for the 2012 model year and it gets slightly better fuel economy ratings than the Insight. The Civic Hybrid earned reviewer praise for its roomy cabin and comfortable ride.

The Toyota Prius c was an all-new model in 2012 and offers outstanding fuel economy for the class. The Prius c also has more cargo space and comes standard with Bluetooth and a USB port.

Compare the Insight, Civic Hybrid and Prius c »


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