I logged about 200 miles during my two nights with the Insight and I just don't get it. I understand this is pitched as the hybrid for the masses, but I don't see the mass appeal. The combination of CVT and 1.3-liter engine means the car is usually very loud, especially if you're trying to keep up with traffic in the city or merge on the highway. Steering is very lifeless and has the typical electric feeling, or lack thereof. I'm not an anti-hybrid guy, but I'm so blown away by the Ford Fusion Hybrid that every other hybrid on the market seems lackluster in comparison (although I have yet to drive the 2010 Toyota Prius). This Honda Insight feels crude in comparison to the admittedly more expensive Fusion Hybrid.
Is 40+ mpg fuel economy worth it? Since I do virtually all highway/rural driving, this is the wrong 40+ mpg ride for me. I'd be much happier with a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The Insight is worth consideration for people who spend a lot of time below 60 mph and sitting in traffic, but there are several other cars that are more enjoyable in those settings.
If I were in the market for a fuel-efficient Honda product, it would have only two wheels. I've owned a Honda motorcycle in the past and loved it. Though I suppose it would make for some awfully cold commutes during the Michigan winters...
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor