The Honda Insight is back to challenge the Toyota Prius for the efficiency crown
If you’re looking to buy a hybrid, fuel efficiency is the name of the game. And while the 2019 Honda Insight or the 2018 Toyota Prius may not be the most exciting cars out there, they certainly hit the bullseye on economy. Both achieve more than 50 mpg, and both show decades of advances in hybrid technology since their first generations emerged. However, Honda has taken a slightly different route with the new Insight.
While the first two generations came in hatchback form, the new model is a sedan. While the Toyota Prius has grown more brazen in its styling, the new Insight also appears more traditional. After a five year gap, however, Honda’s reentry into the segment gives buyers an alternative to what many consider the quintessential hybrid. So how does it compare? Tommy and Roman head to Minneapolis, Minnesota to find out how the new Insight stacks up to the current hybrid champion, the Prius.
On the aesthetic front, Honda built the new Insight more as a normal, driver-centric car. There is plenty of clever tech going on, including the digital gauge cluster, selectable drive modes and ubiquitous safety tech. It also looks good on the outside, as its essentially a larger Civic. It doesn’t scream “I’m a hybrid!”, however. If it weren’t for the hybrid badges, some may struggle to tell it apart from an ordinary car. The Prius, on the other hand, wears its hybrid identity on its sleeve. Everyone knows what it is, and it takes a bold exterior and futuristic interior, complete with a huge center display, and shows it to the world. As the Prius is a hatchback, it’s also a bit more practical, offering 10 more cubic feet of cargo space over the Insight.
Which one is quicker?
The Toyota Prius and the new Insight come out neck and neck on fuel economy. While the Prius Eco makes 56 mpg combined, the Prius Four we tested manages 52 MPG. That puts it right on track with Honda’s newest hybrid. However, while both cars are equal on fuel economy and their powertrains – both have Atkinson-cycle engines and electric motors – the new Insight is more equal than the Prius on performance.
The Prius manages 121 horsepower with its 1.8-liter engine and electric motors. The 2019 Honda Insight, on the other hand, makes 151 horsepower. When pushed in a 0-60 test, the new Insight manages the run nearly three seconds faster. Not that folks will be drag racing these hybrids, but it’s still good to know which one is the best when accelerating onto a busy freeway.