2013 Honda Insight Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 02, 2013
  • Seating for 5
  • Front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • EPA-estimated to achieve 44 mpg on the highway
  • Lacks electric-only driving mode
  • Honda's least expensive hybrid model
  • Base, LX, and EX trim levels available
  • Up to 31.5 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seat folded


With the recent launch of the Accord Plug-in Hybrid sedan, Honda has 7 alternative powertrain models in its lineup. The least expensive of the bunch is the 2013 Insight, which arrives unchanged after undergoing several updates for the 2012 model year. Base, LX and EX trim levels are offered.

Exterior Features

EPA-classified as a compact car and featuring a 5-door liftback body style, the 2013 Honda Insight is host to standard power-adjustable outside mirrors, LED taillights, rear window wiper, and blue-tinted headlight housings. Base and LX trims include 15-inch steel wheels, whereas the Insight EX is upgraded with 15-inch alloy wheels, as well as heated turn signal mirrors.

Interior Features

Among the 2013 Honda Insight's standard comfort and convenience features are automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, cloth upholstery, and a 160-watt sound system with 2 speakers. The mid-level Insight LX adds a second pair of speakers, USB port, steering wheel-mounted buttons for the audio system, front center armrest, floor mats, and cruise control; a total of 6 speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, exterior temperature gauge, automatic headlights, and synthetic leather trim are standard amenities found only on the Insight EX.

Optional Features

Honda offers a voice-activated navigation system for the 2013 Insight, though its availability is limited to the EX trim level. Highlights include a 6.5-inch touch-screen display, real-time traffic information, integrated rearview camera, steering wheel-mounted controls, and 16 GB of memory.

There are no other factory options, but accessories such as satellite radio service can be added by the dealer.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Honda Insight uses a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine, electric motor, and a nickel metal hydride battery. Total output measures 98 horsepower and 123 lb.-ft. of torque, which is transferred to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Paddle shifters are standard and only available on the EX variant.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Insight are 41/44/42 mpg (city/highway/combined).


Honda has equipped the 2013 Honda Fit with 6 air bags, traction control, front active head restraints, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes with front discs and rear drums, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist.

In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Insight received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset crash protection; the Insight also received a "Top Safety Pick" designation from the Institute. As this preview is written, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not rated the crashworthiness of the 2013 Honda Insight.


Like Honda's other hybrid models, the 2013 Insight features what the company calls Eco Assist. With the simple tap of a button, the system limits electrical draws on the powertrain and adjusts throttle response in an effort to improve fuel economy. Displays in the gauge cluster indicate how efficiently--or inefficiently--the car is being driven.
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