A significantly updated 2012 Honda Insight hybrid features new exterior styling, an enhanced interior, additional features on select models and an EPA fuel economy-rating improvement of 1 mpg.
The Honda Insight's city/highway/combined EPA fuel economy rating of 41/44/42 mpg, up from 40/43/41 on the prior model, continues to offer the highest EPA fuel economy rating of any new vehicle currently available with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting under $20,000.
The aerodynamically styled, five-passenger, five-door dedicated hybrid vehicle receives extensive changes inside and out for 2012. Exterior changes include a more distinctive grille design that introduces a thin, blue accent bar representative of the Honda Insight's high-tech hybrid identity. Restyled front and rear bumpers, along with changes under the vehicle, contribute to a 2-percent increase in aerodynamic performance. New designs for the headlight and brake light internal reflectors further complete the refreshed look. Insight and Insight LX models have 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, contribute to confident driving performance.
The Honda 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 Honda Insight LX has new, more premium 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 Honda Insight EX models, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with voice recognition receives several notable upgrades including the addition of a rearview camera. The system provides routing and guidance to individual addresses and more than 7-million points of interest within the continental United States. 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 Honda Insight is powered by an Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) system comprised of a 1.3-liter i‑VTEC® gasoline 4-cylinder engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. The combination develops 98 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 123 lb-ft. of torque at 1000-1700 rpm. For 2012, friction-reducing measures in the engine and the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) contribute to the new model's increased fuel economy. A 10.6-gallon fuel tank provides an estimated maximum driving range exceeding 400 miles.
The Honda Insight features the Eco Assist™ System, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation while providing feedback related to individual driving styles. 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 more efficient).
Aerodynamic refinements for 2012 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 include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side-curtain airbag system; anti-lock brakes 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, which provides improved occupant protection and crash compatibility between vehicles of different sizes and ride heights in frontal crashes.
The 2012 Insight is offered in three distinct models. The value-oriented base model, simply designated as "Insight," is well equipped with a 160-watt, two-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, power windows, remote entry and more.
The Honda 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 Honda Insight EX adds alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, an audio system with six speakers, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and much more. For 2012, the EX gains Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®3, 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.
New exterior colors include Frosted Silver Metallic and Truffle Pearl, which replace Clear Sky Blue and Crimson Pearl.
Honda Insight accolades include J.D. Power and Associates "Highest Ranked Compact Car in Initial Quality in a Tie" in their 2011 Initial Quality Study SM (IQS) (the Insight tied with the Civic). The IQS names the highest performers within the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. And for the past three consecutive years, the Insight was named a Top 10 Green Car by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com4. The Insight was also named one of the "Greenest Vehicles of 2011" by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Honda is a leader in developing cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, including the original Honda Insight, introduced as America's first mass-produced hybrid car in December 1999. Honda is also a leader in the development of advanced alternatives to gasoline, including the zero-emission, hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity fuel-cell electric car, the world's most-advanced production fuel cell automobile.
Honda's diverse lineup of environmental vehicles also includes the Civic Natural Gas sedan, the only retail CNG passenger vehicle currently available from any automaker in the U.S., and three distinct gasoline-electric hybrid models: Civic Hybrid, CR-Z sport hybrid and Insight hybrid.
Honda was named America's "Greenest Automaker" for the fifth consecutive time by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in late 2010. The award is earned by the company with the lowest combined score of its smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2) in its U.S. automobile fleet. Honda has led the UCS rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since the first UCS study in 2000, marking a decade of Honda leadership in reduced vehicle emissions. Honda earned the recognition with an industry-best score based on model year 2008 data, the latest available for analysis.