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Honda Insight gives fuel efficiency a Civics lesson

Scott Sturgis, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Automotive News

2019 Honda Insight Touring: More affordable economy.

Price: $28,985 as tested (no options on test vehicle). A base model starts at $22,380.

Conventional wisdom: Consumer Reports liked the "fuel economy, ride, and standard AEB," but not the "gear selector, controls, front-seat comfort" and that the "low stance hurts access." Motor Trend likes the "smart style and packaging, excellent ride, lane centering technology," but not "the roaring, thrashy powertrain."

Marketer's pitch: "As beautiful as it is efficient."

Reality: If you like the Civic and saving fuel, this is the unit for you.

Catching up: Recently, we took a spin in the Kia Niro Plug-in, which offers a roomy plug-in hybrid wagon, but for six grand more than this cordless Honda sedan. Will the savings make the Insight worthwhile?

 

What's new: All of it. The Insight gets a new look and new features for 2019; it's now based off the Civic, so use that as your guide.

Up to speed: The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and hybrid motor team up to provide a total of 151 horsepower.

Necks will not be snapped while accelerating. Getting to 60 mph takes 7.7 seconds, according to Motor Trend, but that strikes me as really optimistic. Sport mode does make acceleration strikingly better but fuel economy substantially worse.

The engine-hybrid drive setup is unlike most other companies', though; the engine sounds don't match the speed of the car. So a roar from the front might not be accompanied by a pulling movement. Strange, unless you've experienced the Chevrolet Volt or other similar cars; it's nothing like a Prius or other Toyotas.

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