44 mpgUS highway… Hmmm
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Oct. 17, 2011
2012 Honda Insight – Cleaner aero, a few more tidbits and a price increase. See our preview of the very affordable 2010 Honda Insight-II
for more details as to how the past matches up with the present.
An updated 2012 Insight hybrid debuts today with a slightly enhanced exterior, interior, additional features on the high end models and an EPA fuel economy rating improvement of 1 mpg.
The Insight’s city/highway/combined EPA fuel economy rating of 41/44/42 mpgUS is up from the 2010/2011 ratings of 40/43/41 mpgUS and continues to offer the highest EPA fuel economy rating of any new vehicle currently available with a MSRP under $20,000. Under 20,000 USD is the base model that is unfortunately not a very desirable offering in this day and age let alone never found anyway.
For 2012, restyled bumpers and aero enhancements under the vehicle contribute to a 2-percent decrease in aerodynamic drag. Headlight and brake light internal reflectors are also new.
Insight and Insight LX models include new 15-inch wheel covers and the Insight EX has newly styled 15-inch alloy wheels. Slightly wider 185/60R15 tires, up from 175/65R15 tires on the prior model have also been added.
The Insight’s interior refinements for 2012 include a reconfigured rear seat area for better leg and head room; a redesigned gauge cluster background with a more technically sophisticated appearance; reshaped center-console beverage holders that accommodate larger drinks; and a more supportive front armrest (Insight LX and EX).
The Insight LX has new seat fabric, while the Insight EX is upholstered with a combination of synthetic leather (new) and premium fabric. Rear-seat headroom improves by 0.6 inches with changes to the rear headliner shape and deeper sculpting of the rear seat cushion to improve rear passenger comfort. Rearward visibility improves with a more compactly mounted rear-wiper motor housing and a thinner rear spoiler that creates a larger viewing area out the lower back window. The Insight becomes quieter for 2012 with increased thickness to the vehicle’s existing noise-insulation materials and additional insulation panels in the cargo area.
Available on Insight EX models, NAVI with voice recognition receives several upgrades including the addition of a rearview camera. The system provides routing and guidance to more than 7-million POI’s within the continental US. A 16-GB flash memory system replaces the 4.7-GB DVD-based system used on the prior model. The new system offers faster route calculation and includes FM traffic, a subscription-free service that alerts drivers to traffic conditions.
The Insight is powered by the same 1.3L i-VTEC with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) incorporating a 13 HP electric motor.
The Insight features the same Eco Assist that can enhance efficient vehicle operation if allowed to do so. Eco Assist can help drivers improve fuel efficiency, both by altering vehicle functionality and providing driver feedback, with fuel economy dependent on their given set of driving conditions. Pressing the ECON button can further enhance the efficiency of multiple vehicle systems: throttle control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and cruise-control operation (if equipped). Eco Assist also provides feedback about driving style via a 3D-like background within the speedometer. The background changes colors from green to blue to reflect how efficiently or inefficiently the driver is accelerating or braking (green is good
just like in the preview).
The Aero enhancements include changes to the shape of the engine bay underbody cover and the addition of air diffusers under the rear bumper to smooth airflow exiting behind the vehicle. The strakes ahead of the front wheels have been extended by 0.4 inches to better direct air around the wider front tires.
Standard safety features on all Insight models just like its predecessors include front, side and side-curtain airbags; ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD); driver’s and front-passenger’s active head restraints; and a front body structure designed to mitigate pedestrian injuries. The Insight also features Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure.
The 2012 Insight’s three trims consist of the base model with a 160-watt, two-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, power windows, remote entry and more.
The Insight LX adds a four-speaker audio system, USB audio interface, armrest console, floor mats and a security system. New for 2012, the LX has map lights and steering wheel audio controls.
The Insight EX adds alloys, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, an audio system with six speakers, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and more. For 2012, the EX gains Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, automatic headlights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Insight EX is available with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition and rearview camera.
Where Honda continues to miss the boat is the lack of inclusion of Bluetooth HandsFreeLink in its lower trimmed base and LX trims. Given the market demographics of the Insight, is it not about time we see this important safety feature standard across the entire Honda lineup as many less expensive competitors automobiles do today?
New exterior colors include Frosted Silver Metallic and Truffle Pearl, which replace Clear Sky Blue and Crimson Pearl.
The Insight has won awards from J.D. Power and Associates for the "Highest Ranked Compact Car in Initial Quality in a Tie" in their 2011 Initial Quality Study SM (IQS) (the Insight tied with the Civic). In addition, the Insight was named a Top 10 Green Car by KBB. The Insight was also named one of the "Greenest Vehicles of 2011" by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
2012 vs. 2011 Honda Insight
|Trim||Price||EPA FE Ratings (city/highway/combined mpgUS)|
|2012 Base Insight||$18,350||41/44/42|
|2011 Base Insight||$18,200||40/43/41|
| || || |
| || || |
|2012Insight EX ||$21,815||41/44/42|
| || || |
|2012Insight EX with Navi||$23,540||41/44/42|
|2011Insight EX with Navi||$23,265||40/43/41|
MSRP excludes tax, license, registration and $770 destination
which remains unchanged from 2011 to 2012.
The question I now have is can the refreshed Insight-II match the 75 + mpg that the 41 mpgUS highway rated Civic HF and 44 mpgUS highway rated HCH-III provided on our 96 mile test loop? Someday we will get a chance to find out