2021 Honda Insight

2021 Honda Insight Review: A Clever Hybrid With Style

by Morgan Carter

Being eco-friendly is becoming easier, cheaper, and more stylish by the year, and the Honda Insight is an excellent example of this. Based on the handsome Honda Civic, the compact sedan veers away from the quirky design philosophy that so many electrified vehicles seem magnetically drawn to. Two years after its full overhaul in 2019, the Insight is still very up-to-date, with even more standard features added for the new year. The powertrain remains unchanged, though, which isn't a bad thing. The gas engine, coupled with the electric motors, develops a combined 151.5 horsepower, and the nimble handling of the sedan gives it more personality than the gawky Toyota Prius. More orthodox styling, plenty of passenger and cargo space, and a decent list of driver-assistance features under the Honda Sensing umbrella make the Insight a top pick for those who want hybrid sedan without all the pretense.

Read in this review:

2021 Honda Insight Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Insight?

For 2021, the Honda Insight only gets a few tweaks to help keep it on the podium for another year. Honda Sensing now comes standard on every model with features like collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation, ensuring that the Insight earns a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. Beyond the base model, the Insight EX and Touring each get blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Pros and Cons

  • Spirited driving dynamics
  • Almost unbeatable fuel economy
  • Spacious cabin and trunk
  • Handsome for a hybrid sedan
  • Plenty of standard driver-assistance features
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick+ recipient
  • Unrefined, noisy gas engine
  • Roof is a bit low in the back
  • Simplistic infotainment on the base model

2021 Honda Insight Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
1.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,930
EX
1.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,810
Touring
1.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,840

2021 Honda Insight Exterior

Slotted between the Civic and the Accord, the Honda Insight bears a striking family resemblance, but it gets its own grille and rear light designs. And while it may be a hybrid, it doesn't look as awkward as some of the competition. Riding on 16-inch alloys as standard, with available 17-inchers, the four-door sedan comes outfitted with automatic LED head and taillights. Reserved for the top-tier Touring are LED fog lights and a power moonroof, along with exterior chrome accents.

2021 Honda Insight Front View Honda
2021 Honda Insight Rear View Honda
2021 Honda Insight Side View Honda
See All 2021 Honda Insight Exterior Photos

Dimensions

With an overall length of 183.6 inches, the Insight is large enough to comfortably seat all its occupants, even though it gets the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as the Civic, which has smaller dimensions. It's no taller than any other sedan, standing 55.6 inches tall, but its width of just 71.6 inches means that it can fit into relatively small spots without too much fuss. The EX weighs in at 2,987 lbs, while the Touring maxes out at 3,078 lbs.

  • Length 183.6 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Height 55.6 in
  • Max Width 71.6 in
  • Front Width 60.9 in
  • Rear Width 61.6 in

Exterior Colors

A total of six paint colors make up the palette for the Insight. From this selection, the base-level LX only gets access to Modern Steel or Platinum White, which costs $395 extra. Crystal Black and Lunar Silver expand the standard options on the EX and Touring, while Radiant Red and Cosmic Blue are extra $395 options. Aegean Blue and Crimson have been dropped from the palette for the new year.

  • Platinum White Pearl
  • Cosmic Blue Metallic
  • Radiant Red Metallic
  • Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Modern Steel Metallic
  • Crystal Black Pearl

Honda Insight Hybrid Performance

The gasoline engine at the heart of the Insight certainly doesn't impress on its own, with only 107 hp and 99 lb-ft, but the twin electric motors improve the overall output figures to 151 hp and 197 lb-ft. This is more than enough to give the sedan a swift kick in the pants. It won't be beating any land-speed records, but the Insight can make the 0-60 mph sprint in around eight seconds, according to independent tests. This gives the Honda a slight edge over its key rival, the Toyota Prius, which isn't quite as spirited on the road. However, the Insight is restricted to front-wheel-drive, so it isn't as capable on slippery roads as the competition.

2021 Honda Insight Front View Driving Honda
2021 Honda Insight Rear View Driving Honda
2021 Honda Insight Engine Bay Honda

Engine and Transmission

Under the hood of the Honda Insight is an Atkinson-cycle 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that develops a modest 107 hp and 99 lb-ft. The majority of the power comes from the pair of electric motors, which develop their own 129 hp and 197 lb-ft. Working in unison, these two generators give the sedan a combined 151 hp to work with. Most of the heavy lifting is done by the stronger motors, with the gasoline engine providing an electric charge.

The power is regulated by a CVT transmission, which directs all force towards the front wheels only. While the Insight won't wow with its acceleration, it still impresses when compared to similar hybrids. Passing on the highway doesn't require much fuss, either, but the gas engine can get a bit noisy. Still, a lively hybrid is nothing to sniff at, and this is just one of the reasons that the Honda Insight stands out from the crowd.

  • Engine
    1.5-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

While it may be a hybrid, the Honda Insight neither looks nor feels the part. With precise, responsive steering, there's little doubt that the Insight is closely related to the nimble Civic. That's not to say the sedan is sporty by any stretch of the imagination, but it can definitely feel that way compared to clunkier hybrids. Several drive modes, including Normal, Sport, Econ, and EV, allow for a variety of driving dynamics.

But, while Econ may deliver the best fuel economy, it may make you feel like you're pedaling a 1.5-ton bicycle. EV is equally as pointless, with the small battery only storing enough charge to power the sedan for a mile or so. So we'd suggest sticking to Normal for most day-to-day driving. But if you want a little bit of fun, the Insight is ready to deliver it in Sport mode. A bit more feedback and surprisingly sharp steering make the compact quite engaging around town.

The Honda also rides quite well for an affordable hybrid sedan. Sure, some larger bumps will cause it to bounce around a little, but, for the most part, it sticks to the road quite well and never feels particularly floaty. Naturally, the brakes come with a regenerative function, which can actually bring the sedan to a stop without even touching the pedal, if you set them high enough. Wind and road noise is well-managed, for the most part, but the whine of the engine when pushed to its limits can be quite annoying.

Insight Gas Mileage

The Honda Insight is a close competitor to the ever-popular Toyota Prius in terms of fuel economy, especially in its non-Touring guise. The base LX and mid-tier EX both boast outstanding gas mileage, achieving 55/49/52 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles in EPA testing. The Prius only gets one mpg extra in the combined cycle. Slightly less impressive, at least in terms of gas consumption, the Touring still gets a decent 51/45/48 mpg. Each model comes equipped with a 10.6-gallon fuel tank which is more than happy to take regular unleaded-type gas. In its most efficient guise, the sedan is able to cover up to 551 miles between gas station visits.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    10.6 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 55/49 mpg
* 2021 Honda Insight LX CVT

2020 Honda Insight Interior

While not the largest sedan on the market, the Honda Insight is still pretty spacious. Similarly, the interior isn't all that lavish, but it's well-built and comfortable. There are some hard plastics, but they are kept out of immediate view, and the upper trims do an even better job of covering them up with more high-quality materials. The infotainment suite is a bit basic on the EX, but it quickly picks up as you upgrade through the trim levels. Across the range, the controls are laid out for ease of use, and include features such as cruise control, automatic climate control, and LED ambient lighting. You may have to pay a bit extra, but the leather-appointed power front seats on the Touring make the Insight feel more premium than the price tag.

2021 Honda Insight Driver Seat Honda
2021 Honda Insight Steering Wheel Controls Honda
2021 Honda Insight Front Seats Honda
See All 2021 Honda Insight Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Within the surprisingly spacious cabin of the sedan, there is room for five passengers. Although, while there is never any real lack of legroom, the rear seats aren't quite as generous in the headroom department. Regardless of trim level, the sedan has comfortable seating, but you'll need to spring for the top-tier Touring to get power-adjustable front seats. On the plus side, this also sees the front seats heated, and every seat wrapped in leather. Thanks to the wide-opening doors, getting in or out is easy enough. However, visibility is more of a mixed bag. You can see just fine over the dash, but rearward visibility is hindered by the broad rear pillars. The EX and Touring make up for this with the newly-available blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.3 in
  • Front Head Room 39.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.9 in

Interior Colors and Materials

While there isn't much choice when it comes to color, the interior of the Insight is still well-appointed. The entry-level LX is the most limited trim, with only black cloth on offer. The EX is a little more varied. It sticks with cloth upholstery, but adds Ivory to the palette, assuming you choose a corresponding exterior color. The interior becomes quite a bit plusher when you upgrade to the Touring, thanks to the genuine leather-appointed seats. Just like the lower trims, though, the color choices remain either Black or Ivory. In typical Honda fashion, the interior is durable and well-constructed - definitely built to last.

2021 Honda Insight Trunk and Cargo Space

As we've come to expect from Honda, the Insight offers a pretty impressive amount of cargo space for a relatively small sedan. Naturally, the battery under the rear seats means that it can't match the trunk size on a similar, regular sedan. However, 15.1 cubic feet is nothing to sneeze at, although the Touring sacrifices a little space, offering 14.7 cubic feet. Regardless, the Insight has everything you need for daily usage. A week's worth of groceries will easily fit in the trunk. Alternatively, you could stow several suitcases, assuming they aren't overly large. If you need a bit more space, the rear seats can be folded down, but the base LX doesn't offer the 60/40-split rear seat that its more expensive kin do.

There's a fair amount of small-item storage around the cabin, too. The center console comes standard with a well-sized storage cubby, as well as built-in cupholders. There's also a standard glove compartment, and all four doors supply ample food pockets. The top-of-the-range Touring further adds a seatback pocket on the passenger's side.

2021 Honda Insight Rear Row with Seats Folded Honda
2021 Honda Insight Rear Row with Seats Folded 1 Honda
2021 Honda Insight Luggage Space Honda
  • Trunk Volume
    15.1 ft³

Insight Infotainment and Features

Features

While the LX may be the base model, it actually gets a decent list of standard features. Alongside the rearview camera, it gets the Honda Sensing suite, comprising pre-collision avoidance, traffic sign detection, lane keep assist with lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. At this level, the automatic climate control is single-zone only, while other comforts and conveniences include push-button start, a 12-volt power outlet, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. The EX adds remote engine start, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and split-folding rear seats. Leather replaces the standard cloth on the Touring, and both front seats get heating and power-adjustability. Dual-zone climate control becomes the standard, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and auto-dimming rearview mirror are added. Regardless of the trim level, every Insight gets a seven-inch digital instrument cluster.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite is pretty basic on the LX, with only a five-inch LCD display, Bluetooth functionality, and a six-speaker sound system. However, this simplicity makes it even easier to use than the upgraded system on the upper trim levels. Along with a larger eight-inch touchscreen interface, the EX also gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, and HD Radio, while an extra two speakers are added to the sound system. The standard USB port is upgraded to a 2.5-amp port, too. To get navigation and Wi-Fi access, you'll need to upgrade all the way to the Touring. This also sees the installation of a ten-speaker premium sound system. While the upper trims get full functionality, the system itself isn't the most intuitive. Nevertheless, it is functional.

Honda Insight Common Problems and Reliability

The Insight earns a relatively average dependability score of 77 out of 100 from J.D. Power, which corresponds with its hit-and-miss track record. There were two recalls in its debut year of 2019, for faulty airbags and seatbelt pretensioners, as well as errors with the rearview camera. These problems were cleared up, but 2020 saw a single recall for a faulty fuel pump. At this early stage of the 2021 model year's availability, there have been no recalls. Honda covers the Insight with a standard 36,000-mile/36-month limited warranty. The powertrain gets a slightly longer warranty of 60,000 miles/60 months. In terms of hybrid components, the battery is covered for 100,000 miles/96 months.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Honda Insight Safety

The NHTSA has not yet conducted a review of the Insight for the 2021 model, but the sedan has been comfortably earning five stars in the safety field since its release, and the added safety features can only see it retain its excellent scores. The IIHS is equally impressed with the Honda, awarding it top scores of Good across the board as well the Top Safety Pick+ award for 2020.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Honda Insight Key Safety Features

The Insight benefits from the Honda Sensing safety suite, which compromises forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, and lane departure warning. The base model also gets automatic high-beam assist, ABS, EBD, stability and traction control, and six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain. The upper trims expand upon this offering with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, both new for 2021.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Honda Insight a good car?

Sticking with what works, Honda has made very few changes over the 2020 Honda Insight for the 2021 model year, and we certainly aren't complaining. The Insight hybrid still impresses with excellent fuel economy, bested only by a select few like the renowned Toyota Prius. Unlike its rival, though, the Insight gets bonus points for stylish design and a spacious, well-appointed cabin. Its near-athletic driving dynamics don't hurt it's score, either.

Every model comes equipped with Honda Sensing, while the upper trims get even more driver-assistance features. The infotainment suite is responsive and easy-to-use, too. Add to this the Insight's competitive trunk space and appealing price tag, and Honda's award-winning subcompact is still earning high marks in our books.

🚘What’s the Price of 2021 Honda Insight?

The 2021 Honda Insight remains an eminently affordable sedan, with the base-level LX for sale at a starting MSRP of $22,930. The Honda Insight EX adds $1,880 to the base price at $24,810, while the top-tier Touring starts bidding at a slightly less modest $28,840. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and the manufacturer's $955 handling fee, which is $25 up from last year.

Honda Insight Models

Without any significant changes, the new Honda Insight is offered in three trim levels, once again: LX, EX, and Touring. Under the hood of each model is a hybrid powertrain comprising a four-cylinder engine paired with twin electric motors to develop a combined 151.5 hp for the front wheels. An electronic CVT simulated gear shifts for the sedan.

The entry-level Insight car, the LX rides on 16-inch alloys and comes equipped with automatic LED headlights. Standard features include automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, and push-button start along with a five-inch LCD screen, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system, while the Honda Sensing suite includes pre-collision avoidance, lane keep assist and departure warning, and traffic sign recognition.

One step up, the EX adds smart entry, fold-down rear seats, and remote engine start. It also upgrades the infotainment suite with an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, HD Radio, and an eight-speaker sound system. The Honda Sensing suite is further bolstered with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

At the top of the range, the Honda Insight Touring gets larger 17-inch alloy wheels, LED foglights, and a power moonroof. The cloth upholstery is upgraded to leather, and the now-heated front seats gain power-adjustability. Dual-zone automatic climate control is made standard. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and an auto-dimming rearview mirror is added. Lastly, the infotainment suite gets Wi-Fi functionality and navigation, and the sound system is upgraded to a premium ten-speaker set-up.

See All 2021 Honda Insight Trims and Specs

Honda Insight Additional Packages

While there are a fair number of packages available to the Insight, they are almost exclusively cosmetic add-ons. The Illumination Package ($1,071) adds interior illumination, an illuminated door sill, door panel illumination, and a welcome light. The Premium Chrome Accent Package ($2,059) is the glitzier option, giving the trunk trim, front bumper, and door trim a chrome makeover. It also adds 17-inch dark chrome finish alloy wheels. If you want to take a slightly subtler approach, the Sport Black Styling Package ($1,249) equips the Insight with underbody spoilers on the front, side, and rear, and gives the front grille a black accent. Among the actually value-adding options, the lower trims can add an auto-dimming rearview mirror ($416), while every trim can add parking sensors for $515.

🚗What Honda Insight Model Should I Buy?

Since the optional packages don't really offer much value, it all comes down to which trim has the best list of standard features. The LX is a bit bare-bones, but it covers most of the bases. Still, we think you shouldn't aim any lower than the middle of the range - the EX. Priced well below $30k, the Insight EX doesn't get the heated power front seats that the Touring gets, but it does get the larger infotainment touchscreen, smartphone integration, improved driver-assistance features, and an upgraded sound system. It also gets the same good fuel efficiency that the base LX gets - something the Touring can't boast.

2021 Honda Insight Comparisons

Honda Accord Hybrid Honda
Toyota Prius Toyota
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Honda Insight151 hp55/49 mpg$22,930
Honda Accord Hybrid 212 hp48/47 mpg$25,870
Toyota Prius 121 hp58/53 mpg$24,325

2021 Honda Insight vs Honda Accord Hybrid

Larger than the Insight, the Honda Accord Hybrid gets all the benefits that come from adding a few inches here and there. This means it has even more passenger space, as well as a generous 16.7-cubic-foot trunk. Naturally, the bigger sedan needs a bit more oomph to get it moving with the same degree of quickness, which it gets from the 212-hp powertrain. The Accord comes well-appointed, too, with Honda Sensing and all the basic comforts you'd expect from a modestly priced sedan. If money isn't quite so tight, the upper trim levels of the Accord border on the premium level, and the available features can make the smaller sedan look a bit basic. With competitive gas mileage and better driving dynamics, the Accord is the slightly better choice.

See Honda Accord Hybrid Review

2021 Honda Insight vs Toyota Prius

The go-to name in small hybrids, the Toyota Prius is still extremely popular. It definitely flaunts its hybrid status a bit more than the toned-down Insight, thanks to its eccentric styling. And, while this may appeal to some, those who don't find it endearing will see the Honda Insight as a breath of fresh air. Powered by a less impressive four-cylinder engine paired with a single electric motor, the Prius can only put out a combined 121 hp, and it doesn't have the almost 200 lb-ft of torque available to the Honda, either. However, it does get access to AWD, which recommends it to buyers living in areas that are prone to poor weather. But, thanks to its updates in both looks and technology, the Honda Insight just feels like the better pick, and you no longer have to sacrifice fuel economy in the process.

See Toyota Prius Review

Honda Insight Popular Comparisons

2021 Honda Insight Video Review

Check out some informative Honda Insight video reviews below.

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Photos
$22,930 - $28,840
Price Range (MSRP)
Honda Insight