Honda has yet to announce details on the Insight hybrid for the 2012 model year, but don’t be surprised if the automaker rushes a revised car to the market. The Insight, which is a hybrid-only five-door hatchback, has sold below the automaker’s expectations, even with a sub-$20,000 base price.
In the 2010 calendar year, Honda sold 20,962 Insights, or less than the number of CR-V compact SUVs customers bought in December 2010. The Insight hybrid is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. The nickel metal hydride battery pack and 1.3-liter engine size have both since been upgraded on the new 2012 Civic Hybrid. That car is expected to get EPA-rated mileage of 44/44 mpg, up from the 2011 Insight and Civic Hybrid’s 40/43 mpg.
The Insight’s total hybrid system power level is 98 horsepower at 5800 rpm. Torque peaks at 123 pound-feet at 1000-1700 rpm. Unlike the Honda CR-Z hybrid three-door hatchback, we’re not likely to see a six-speed manual transmission join the Insight’s CVT. For the 2011 model year, Honda dropped the Insight’s price by introducing a low-volume base model with less standard equipment. Thanks to that Insight base model, the price spread between the base price of the 2011 Insight and Toyota Prius is now nearly $5000.
What we’ll be curious to see is how Honda can upgrade the noisy and unrefined driving experience of the current Insight hatchback without compromising the car’s position as the least expensive hybrid car available today.
By Zach Gale