When one must make a choice
I often forget that cars are first and foremost a means to an end. They are meant to take people from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. Comfort, performance, styling and any type of derived pleasure are not essential elements to what can be considered a basic mode of transportation. This is what the 2012 Honda Insight is, and I kinda like it.
Let’s rant, again...
But it’s all done wrong. Indulge me in my short rant on Honda : The Insight is another prime example of Honda’s forward thinking, which is far too ahead of the curve. This $21,990 car is an easy way to land incredible fuel economy, interior room and utility, but no one will ever know about it.
Far from being pretty or ugly, the Insight likely represents and meets the needs of a large portion of the buying public, consumers, and those who need a car but don’t want a car. The Insight is perfect in that way.
Honda, put your pants on and promote other products besides the Civic and CR-V.
Aerodynamic for a purpose
The 2012 Honda Insight’s shape is highly purposeful as its drag coefficient is 0.28, making it a very sleek car indeed. Aesthetically speaking, the car’s styling is very modern and quite functional, however, is betrayed by its 15” hubcaps that are a faux pas in 2012.
The remainder of the design is reminiscent of many current and popular cars such as the Toyota Prius and (if you squint to the point of seeing next to nothing) to that of the Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break.
The functional aspect comes in the form of a highly accommodating cabin in the 2012 Honda Insight. Four occupants (five would be tight, shoulder-wise) find more leg-, shoulder- and headroom than in many midsize cars. The trunk also benefits greatly as the large hatch and high roofline create easy loading and much volume.
The 2012 Honda Insight is motivated, as best as possible, by a 1.3L 4-cylinder with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). I felt the need to add “as best as possible” as the 98 hp and 123 lb-ft of torque are no more than adequate to get things moving. There I go again, forgetting that this is a tool...
These days, rarely do I encounter a car that consumes what the EnerGuide, published by Natural Resources Canada, indicates. The Honda Insight did really well, taking only 5.0L/100km, only a few drops more than the posted 4.7/4.4 city/highway numbers. The slight variation is a direct result of the driver’s will and likely because the IMA system does not allow for full-on electric driving.
At what cost?
The principal elements that make the 2012 Honda Insight as efficient as it is are its multiple technologies that manage the intake of black gold. Unfortunately, it is these elements that mostly ruin the driving experience. From a standstill, the powertrain jerks and can be unpleasant when the slow start-stop system wakes up.
The CVT functions as though it was a generation behind because of its sloppiness and lack of refinement. In ECO mode, and when driving ECO-minded, it’s more than tolerable. However, unless the driver is in the mood, it won’t work.
The other cost
For 2012, Honda Canada has decided to pull the EX version from the lineup for reasons I can only fathom as being that sales are so weak that the business case for two trims does not make financial sense.
What I find especially odd is that between January 2011 and May 2012, the 2010-only EX outsold the 2010 and 2012 (there was no 2011 in Canada) by about 40% (LX: 121 vs. EX: 171).
The discontented LX version was never the big seller, however, it is now the only one offered. It would seem as though Honda has chopped its own legs from under itself. This way, they’ve ensured that they will sell fewer cars. Maybe that is the plan for Canada. The existence of the Civic Hybrid creates a redundancy that does not help the Insight’s case.
What about the Insight?
It’s a good car, not in so much as it is a good car, but that it will carry four peeps “comfortably” and some stuff wherever they need to go.
The ride is good as the simple suspension setup is supple and forgiving, and fuel economy is phenomenal. The bottom line is that one has to be in the mood for this vehicle.
Auto journalist & Consumer Ratings
Editor's Review Highlights
2012 Honda Insight Specifications
Similar to 2012 Honda Insight