2012 Honda Insight Preview

2012-Honda-Insight The 2012 Honda Insight gets a new look, some new features and (believe it or not!) even better fuel economy.

An increasingly crowded hybrid field now includes the Ford Fusion, the Kia Optima and, of course, the venerable Toyota Prius. All are pricier, except the new 2012 Toyota Prius c, which offers a nearly price-level competitor for the Insight. Honda's looking to at last gain some ground on the Prius in 2012 with numerous updates, most subtle on their own, but together adding up to a pretty comprehensive update.

Outside, a thin, blue accent bar has been introduced on the grille to denote its high-tech hybrid identity, while restyled bumpers contribute to a 2% increase in aerodynamics. New headlight and brake light internal reflectors, slightly wider tires and new 15-inch wheel covers round out exterior tweaks.

Inside, a reconfigured rear seat offers improved legroom and head room, and the gauge cluster gets a more technically sophisticated look. Cupholders are bigger, seat fabric is posher, and the cabin is quieter. A rearview camera is now available, packaged with an upgraded optional navigation system.

Honda's Integrated Motor Assist featuring a 1.3L i-VTEC 4-cylinder gas engine and 10-kW electric motor develops 98 combined hp at 5,800 rpm and 123 lb-ft of torque at 1,000-1,700 rpm; new friction-reducing measures and a CVT automatic transmission mean fuel economy improvements this year. Its Eco Assist System further enhances the efficiency of throttle control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and cruise operation, and provides feedback on driving style via a 3D-ish background in the speedo: green for really efficient, blue for not-so-much.

Fuel economy is now rated at 4.7L/100km around town and 4.4L/100km on the highway.

One trim, the LX, is available starting at $21,990.