The 2012 Honda Insight may not be an all-new design (after all, the car did just launch in 2009), but the hybrid hatchback does incorporate a few tweaks for the new model year. Pricing for a base 2012 Insight starts at $19,120, or $150 more than a 2011 model.
Although the 2012 Insight wears redesigned 15-inch wheels and a new lower front fascia, most changes on this refreshed Honda add to the driving experience. Fuel economy has improved on some models to 41/44 mpg city/highway, an improvement of 1 mpg in the city and on the highway compared to the 2011 model. That's thanks to friction-reducing measures in the engine and CVT, Honda says. The 2012 model, like the recently announced 2012 Honda Fit, benefits from improved noise insulation efforts. Honda also claims the Insight's modified front and rear bumper fascias and a few tweaks beneath the car help improve the car's aerodynamic efficiency by two percent..
2012 Honda Insight base model - $19,120, up $150
Honda's new-for-2011 base model returns in 2012 and, like all other 2012 Insights, features a 0.6-inch increase in rear seat headroom. The instrument cluster's appearance has been changed, and rear visibility is improved, thanks to a slimmer rear wiper motor housing and a thinner rear spoiler.
2012 Honda Insight LX - $20,895, up $225
The LX model features upgraded seat fabric and a more supportive front armrest. The 2012 Insight LX has a four-speaker sound system (the base model has only two), a USB audio interface, floor mats, a security system, and map lights and steering wheel audio controls.
2012 Honda Insight EX - $22,585, up $325
EX models jump $325 over their 2011 counter parts, but gain automatic headlights, seats made of synthetic leather and fabric, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Other EX content includes alloy wheels, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, heated side mirrors, a six-speaker sound system, and the option of a navigation system, which includes a rearview camera this year, and is now $1725 (down from $1775 last year). The new navigation system is said to be quicker, and includes a 16-Gb flash memory system instead of the 4.7-Gb DVD-based system on the outgoing model.
In all, the 2012 Insight claims to be slightly quieter, more efficient, and less cheap inside. Will the changes and low price increases lead to a modest sales bump or will Honda's least expensive hybrid remain firmly in the Toyota Prius' shadow?
All prices include a $770 destination charge.