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2010 Honda Insight EX Review - VIDEO ENHANCED

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2010 Honda Insight EX



Model: 2010 Honda Insight EX
Engine: 1.3-liter I4 with IMA (Integrated Motor Assist)
Horsepower/Torque: (gasoline) 98 @ v5800 rpm/123 lb.-ft. @ 1000-1500 rpm: (electric) 10 hp @ 1500 rpm/123 lb.-ft. @ 1000-1700 rpm
Transmission: CVT with paddle shifters
Wheelbase: 100.4 in.
Length/Width/Height: 172.3 x 56.2 x 66.7 in.
Tires: P175/65R15
Cargo volume: 15.9/31.5 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
Fuel economy: 40 mpg city/43 mpg highway/35.8 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 10.6 gal.
Sticker: $23,770 (includes $670 destination and handling)

The Bottom Line: There's no doubt the Honda Insight looks like a Toyota Prius. It has different performance (the EPA estimated economy is lower, for example) and some unique "green" interior features (the speedometer and the "pwr/eco" gauge on the left of the tachometer). The good news is that it's not as weird as the first Insight. You get the feeling that this car was built to a price point, very unlike Honda.

The Honda Insight was my first hybrid car. The first version of the Insight was drastically aerodynamic, which contributed to its phenomenal fuel economy (we averaged 60 mpg during one trip).

The new Insight is somewhat more conventional, if "conventional" means that it resembles the Toyota Prius, which will be its biggest competition. However, the Prius advertises more than 50 mpg fuel economy, while the Insight's estimates are more conservative (40 mpg city/43 mpg highway).

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The Insight has a lot going for it, though. For one, it has the best speedometer/economy hint I've ever seen. First, the speedometer is digital and is mounted just below the windshield in the driver's line of sight. So there's no need to look down to see what your speed is. Also, if you're driving "economically" the background color to the speedometer is green. If not, it's blue.

Mounted central in the instrument panel is the tachometer, just like in a racing car. The fuel gauge is mounted to the right. To the left of the tach is a "power/economy" gauge that tells you whether you're using the battery or charging it.

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With the dramatically styled rear end, there's a split rear window. Part is almost horizontal, part is nearly vertical. the "splitter" houses the CHMSL (center high-mounted stop light). the view out the rear is disconcerting (as it is in the Prius). I realize that it's designed that was because it has to be designed that way. In the rain it's even weirder. The flat portion is useless because it's covered with water and all you can se eis what's visible through the vertical part.

The engine is noisy, especially when provoked. There's adequate power, although as with most small hybrids, power is not the prime selling feature. In addition, the transmission is noisy.

There's also an unusual tinny sound to the doors when you close them. You get the feeling that this car was built to a price point, very unlike Honda.

Click PLAY to watch a short video clip of the Honda Insight

Despite the fact that the Insight is a compact car, there's adequate legroom front and rear. In addition, there's no rear center hump so a (small) third passenger could fit back there. Rear headroom is excellent - I had 8 inches. Foot room under the front seats is cramped. There are nice side rear windows that eliminate any cramped feeling.

All four door pulls have bottoms to them so everyone can hav etheir cell phone at the ready. Can you imagine what it woul dbe like if all four rang at once? There are also assist handles above all four doors.

There's a good trunk, and with 60/40 folding rear seat backs it becomes almost cavernous (well, a small cavern). It's also practical with a flat floor.

The HVAC system was excellent for cooling in hot weather. It also has a unique control that's in fitting with the rest of the dash.

For storage, there's a small cubby (with a pushbutton lock) in the center stack (like a mini glove box). The AUX input is underneath with a 12-volt power outlet. There are two cupholders with a split cubby ahead of them, located in front of the shifter. The Insight also has a good-sized glove box. The small arm rest/center console has a USB input inside for iPods and the like.

While the Insight has a bunch of unique attributes, it still has to compete with the Prius, which has a big head start.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate