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Honda has taken fuel economy very seriously from the get-go. In fact, it’s one of the reasons the Japanese auto giant made it in the U.S. in the first place. However, one model has been consistently delivering remarkable fuel economy for over two decades now. The Honda Insight is a legend of efficiency that, frankly, is a bit underappreciated! It’s been giving the US over 50 miles per gallon on average for over twenty years!

Party like it’s 1999, even though it’s 2022

Silver 2002 Honda Insight shot from passenger side
2002 Honda Insight | Honda

According to the EPA, the combined fuel economy ratings of a 2002 Honda Insight and a 2022 Honda Insight are nearly identical.

The classic wheel-cover baring lovable little hatchback that is the 2002 Honda Insight gets its average a bit differently than the modern version, though. It has a rating of 48 mpg city and 59 mpg highway. Overall, its combined EPA fuel economy rating is 53 mpg.

On the flip side, the modern Honda Insight has almost the exact opposite ratings. It has a fantastic city rating of 55 mpg with a highway rating of 49 mpg. So, the 2022 Insight’s combined rating is 52 mpg.

It’s a wild concept. Throughout twenty years of safety advancement, technology development, and vehicles just getting bigger in general, the Inishgt only lost a single mile per gallon rating for twenty years. The engine got bigger, too! Really, what we should take from all this, is that engine efficiency developments have come a phenomenally long way in 20 years.

Let’s take a look at the specs of each one of these hybrid hypermiling heroes!

More power, more engine, and more weight makes this feat more impressive

2021 Honda Insight | Honda

One of the most significant contributing factors to the massive fuel economy numbers of the 2002 Honda Insight is its remarkably light weight and small form factor. According to Honda News, the curb weight of a 2002 Insight is just 1,847 pounds with a manual transmission. Furthermore, the overall length of the Insight was merely 155 inches. The 2022 model dwarfs these figures coming in at 3,000 pounds and 183.6 inches long. It weighs nearly double and is over two feet longer!

Another one of the key elements to the original Insight’s fuel economy success is its engine. It uses a tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine with a punitive output of 67 horsepower. It was specially developed to burn lean to use as little fuel as possible. Additionally, it is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A CVT automatic was available. However, the manual offering is the most fuel-efficient.


Used Honda Insights Are Selling Cheap and Fast

The 2022 Honda Insight has an extra cylinder and more displacement. It uses a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder with Honda’s intelligent VTEC system controlling both the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize fuel consumption. It makes 40 more horsepower than its 2002 counterpart. Additionally, the 2022 Insight is offered only with an automatic CVT.

Perhaps the most significant difference between them, though, is their design. The original insight is a goofy little hatchback that engineers explicitly optimized for fuel efficiency. In contrast, the 2022 model is a sporty-looking four-door sedan. Though much more practical, it’s easy to miss the quirky little first-generation Honda Insight.

No matter what year you get, though, you can be positive you’ll enjoy the fuel economy. So, thank you, Honda Insight, for giving us remarkable fuel economy over the years. The world loves you no matter what your appearance is!