TORRANCE, CA – Honda updated its Insight hybrid to improve its fuel economy, revamp its exterior styling, and enhance its interior, according to a news release from the automaker. The Insight’s updated MPG numbers for the 2012-MY edition are 41/44/42 mpg, up from 40/43/41, for city, highway, and combined. MSRP for the vehicle starts at $18,350 for the base model and ranges up to $23,450 for the EX model with navigation.
The Insight is powered by an Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system comprised of a 1.3L i‑VTEC gasoline four-cylinder engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. The combination produces 98 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 123 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,000-1,700 rpm.
Honda said that for 2012, friction-reducing measures in the engine and the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) contribute to the new model’s improved fuel economy. A 10.6-gallon fuel tank provides an estimated maximum driving range exceeding 400 miles.
The Insight features Honda’s Eco Assist System, which the automaker said can help drivers improve fuel efficiency by altering vehicle functionality and providing driver feedback. Pressing the ECON button can further enhance the efficiency of multiple vehicle systems that include 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 (more efficient) to blue (less efficient) to reflect how efficiently or inefficiently the driver is accelerating or braking.
Exterior changes for the five-passenger five-door hybrid include restyled front and rear bumpers, and changes under the vehicle, that contribute to a 2-percent increase in aerodynamic performance. Other 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, according to Honda.
The vehicle also features a more distinctive grille design, new headlight and brake light internal reflectors, 15-inch wheel covers on the Insight and Insight LX models and newly styled 15-inch alloy wheels on the Insight EX. Tires are slightly wider, with 185/60R15 tires on the new model, up from 175/65R15 tires on the prior model.
The Insight LX has new, more premium seat fabric. 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. Honda worked to improve visibility behind the vehicle with a more compactly mounted rear-wiper motor housing and a thinner rear spoiler that creates a larger viewing area through the lower back window.
The Insight’s interior refinements for 2012 include a reconfigured rear seat area for more leg and head room; a redesigned gauge cluster background; reshaped center-console beverage holders; and a more supportive front armrest (Insight LX and EX).
Available on Insight EX models, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition now has a rearview camera. The navigation system provides routing and guidance to individual addresses and more than 7-million points of interest within the continental United States.
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.
Honda said the Insight also features the automaker’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which is designed to provide improved occupant protection and crash compatibility between vehicles of different sizes and ride heights in frontal crashes.
The 2012 Insight comes in three models, the Insight, Insight LX, and Insight EX. The base model (the Insight) is equipped with a 160-watt, two-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, power windows, and remote entry, among other features.
The Insight LX comes with a four-speaker audio system, USB audio interface, armrest console, floor mats, and a security system. For 2012, the LX has map lights and steering wheel audio controls.
For 2012, the EX gains Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, 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.