Honda Insight: One of the cheapest cars to own
Home » Car Reviews, Honda

Honda Insight: One of the cheapest cars to own


2012 Honda Insight
There are reasons why the Honda Insight is getting more and more on the road and the sales keeps on increasing. Is it because it is cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and gives really good fuel mileage? Let us share our reviews on the all-new 2012 Honda Insight and see if these are true. Thanks to Jeremy who had invited us to test drive his 2012 Honda Insight which he has just driven the car out of the show room last month. It is a one-month old baby and everything is brand new when we check out the car. We can still taste the new car smell in when driving it.

Jeremy paid RM99,800 to drive the car out of the Honda Showroom. These include the car price of RM96,686.65, insurance for a year RM2743.35, road tax for a year RM70 due to its engine capacity, and a few hundred dollars for handling fee, endorsement fee, and registration fee.

The Insight features a 1.3L i-VTEC four-cylinder IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) engine that produces 88 hp and 121 Nm. The motor itself produces 14 PS and 78 Nm which is a significant improvement compared to the previous models. The maximum combined output is 98 hp and 123 Nm of torque. The hybrid system also consists of a nickel-metal hydride battery pack which is stored in the cargo floor below the spare tire. The power is transferred from the engine to the front wheels through the famous CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) system.

Design of The Car

Honda Insight

It is charming, silky, and the aerodynamics of the car is great. Together with a set of 16” alloy rims and 185/55R16 tires, we can also see some image from the first generation Insight that was introduced in 1999. The 2012 model features a new pair of headlights that wear a blue tint highlight. The rear lights have been modified for better visibility.

The overall height of the car is 4,395mm but when one of our crew members with the height of 175cm sat on the driver’s seat, he can feel his head hitting the roof. Taller drivers may need to modify the height of the seat for more comfortable drive. The rear seats are a little bit cramped too. The boot is quite big and large items can be pushed into the car with the rear seats fold down. The space of the boot is one reason that makes Jeremy decide to take this car rather than the Prius.

Honda Insight rear view

Road Test

We didn’t really rev the car very fast because it is still a new-born baby to the owner. Jeremy allowed us to drive his car up till 120 km/h (75 mph) and try the performance of the car from 0 to 100 km/h. We drove the car for a few kilometers and it gave us the feeling that says, “Just go as far as you want, the fuel will take care of itself”. The cabin is quiet during the ride but there are not enough leg rooms for rear seats. It took us about 11 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h, a few seconds faster than the Honda Civic but a split of a second slower than what it is written in the brochure. It could be due to the gas pedal not fully stepped.

At the right hand side of the steering wheel, there is a cruise control button where driver can set and maintain a steady speed for long journey drives. This will give better mileage. Besides, there are also a lot of gadgets to play around. These gadgets are mostly related to the hybrid system.

Honda Insight interior

Fuel Economy

41 city/44 highway mpg; 17.4 city/18.7 highway km/l; It is impressive but it does not measure up to the Toyota Prius which rated at 53 city/46 highway mpg.

What is good about this car?

The Honda Insight is without a doubt a great 4-door hatchback and also one of the cheapest cars to own this year. According to Yahoo, the average 5-year fuel cost is $6,508, the average 5-year insurance cost is $5,487, resulting in the total 5-year ownership cost of $29,786 in the U.S. It has been proven that the Insight is cheap to buy, cheap to maintain because spare parts are inexpensive, and most important it is enjoyable to drive. This also explains why the 2000 Honda Insight has been ranked as the most efficient Environment Protection Agency (EPA) certified gasoline-fueled vehicle ever. Besides fuel economy, the 2012 Honda Insight scores an overall of Good results from the IIHS crash test.

Honda Insight

What is not so good about the car?

The only concern about buying a hybrid is the replacement of the battery pack that could be costly. The car battery enjoys a warranty of up to 253,000 km (157,000 miles) of use or 10 years. The battery pack will cost around US$2000 dollars and an extra of US$900 dollars for the installation. During our test drive, we notice that the car engine shuts off with auto-off engine at traffic lights and the air-conditioning is off too.

Honda Insight interior


  • United States: MSRP from $18,350
  • United Kingdom: Price from £16,995 OTR (On The Road)
  • Malaysia: As of 2012, only one model available at RM99,800 OTR.

Honda Insight’s main competitor: Toyota Prius is, and always is, the first challenger for the Insight. Although the Insight has undergone great improvements, it still has a long way to go to catch up with the Prius as far as the headroom, legroom, and fuel mileage are concerned. The Insight’s mileage is not as good as that of Prius but it is still one of the most popular hybrid cars with cheap selling price. Other than that, the 16.1 overall steering ratio, 5.17m turning radius at wheel, and 11m turning radius at body make it more fun to drive compared to the Prius.

Honda Insight’s similar cars: Lexus CT 200h Hybrid, Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid, Honda CR-Z, Honda Jazz/Honda Fit, Toyota Prius C, and Ford Fusion Hybrid.

In conclusion, the Honda Insight has proven that hybrids will not make a dent in your pocket. It is a hybrid car that can hug the road and the planet at the same time.

Honda Insight