A couple of factors that make the Honda Insight stand out in its segment are its low ownership cost and the high fuel economy it returns. Unfortunately, the Japanese automaker has announced that it will end the hatchback’s production in summer this year. That means the 2014 Honda Insight is the last to roll out.
UNDER THE HOOD
Powering the 2014 Honda Insight is a hybrid system that’s made up of 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric motor and a nickel-metal battery pack. The system can put out up to 98 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. The front wheels receive this power through a continuously variable transmission or CVT. The fuel-saver automatic start-stop feature is standard on all Insights.
The EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2014 Honda Insight is 41 mpg in city, 44 mpg highway and 42 mpg combined. These ratings are among the highest in the class.
ON THE ROAD
The Honda Insight feels more like a gasoline-powered vehicle than a hybrid from behind the wheel. The reason for this is the 4-cylinder engine powers the Insight most of the time. The only time the electric motor gets more active is when more power is needed.
One thing you might not like about the Insight is the automatic shut-off feature of the air conditioning which triggers when the engine stops. Although the air con resumes operation once the Insight starts moving again, you might find this feature annoying especially during summer. It is supposed to save energy, but it doesn’t seem so convenient.
INSIDE THE 2014 INSIGHT
The base Insight offers only the simplest technologies a hybrid car could have. It comes with two speakers and an automatic climate control to name a few. An advantage of this is you get a neat-looking gauge cluster and an easy-to-understand layout of the controls.
The front seats are comfortable but the rear seats lack headroom and legroom. The cargo space measures nearly 16 cubic feet up to 31.5 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are folded down. Many competing hybrid hatchbacks actually offer more.
The base 2014 Honda Insight comes with 15-inch wheels, daytime running lights, LED brake lights, automatic climate control, 8 beverage holders, 60/40split fold-down rear seatback, two-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio system, remote entry, and auxiliary audio jack.
The Insight LX adds security system, cruise control, steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, 6 beverage holders, center console with armrest and storage, selector knob, 4-sepaker audio system, and USB audio interface.
The Insight EX has 15-inch alloy wheels, heated power side mirrors with turn indicators, automatic headlights, Bluetooth, 6-speaker audio system, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. A navigation system is optional.
Photo credit: thecarconnection.com