When you think of a hybrid car, your first thought is probably a Toyota Prius. We don’t blame you, since the Prius has been around for 20 years and has cemented itself in the minds of anyone looking to get the most out of their trips to the gas station. But what if you’re on a tight budget and still want great gas mileage?
In that case, we suggest checking out a second-generation Honda Insight, which was made from 2010 to 2014. Fortunately, you can now pick one up for under $5,000.
Why a Honda Insight?
Sure, you could easily find an older Toyota Prius for around $5,000 as well, but we’re going to go out on a limb and tell that it’s OK to be different. After all, Honda makes reliable cars as well and we have no doubt that a second-generation Insight will serve you well for many years. Also, it’s able to get around 40 mpg without skipping a beat.
Why does it only get 40 mpg?
If you were to compare the Honda Insight to the Toyota Prius of the same vintage, then you’ll likely wonder why it has a 10 mpg deficit as the Prius was able to return an EPA-estimated 50 mpg. While we’re not engineers, we can at least tell you that the reason could be due to the fact that the Honda Insight was powered by a small 1.3-liter engine that was paired to a CVT transmission with a small electric motor in between them, which was dubbed as Honda’s “Integrated Motor Assist” system.
This means that the electric motor mainly existed to assist the gas engine during hard acceleration and slower speeds, but was never meant to drive the car on electric power only, unlike the Prius. But if it’s any consolation to you, MotorTrend reported getting a real-world gas mileage return of 38 mpg in their long-term Honda Insight test car, while the Prius of the same year returned a mere 42 mpg.
Why does it look like a Prius?
At first glance, we wouldn’t blame you if you mistook the second-generation Insight for a Prius, after all, it has the same wedge shape. But it looks that way because aerodynamics is important when it comes to squeezing out the most fuel efficiency possible, so Honda took a small page from Toyota’s book and styled the Insight accordingly so that it can slice through the air easily. Also, the front end was styled to look more like the Honda FCX Clarity of the same year, which we think looks more attractive than the one on the Prius.
What’s on the inside of the Insight?
On the inside, the second-gen Honda Insight has room for five occupants, although those sitting in the backseat will be a little cramped. The front-seat passengers, on the other hand, have more leg and headroom and will benefit from some luxuries like an automatic climate control system, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack and USB input. Considering it was made a decade ago, don’t expect any fancy frills as most of the interior is made of hard plastics, however, you’ll at least enjoy the futuristic dash layout and instrument panel.
How does the second-generation Insight cost?
When it was new in 2010, the Honda Insight retailed for around $22,000 for the EX trim level but you can now find them for under $5,000 in most parts of the country. Just note that the newer 2013 and 2014 models are still priced around $10,000 to $12,000, however, you should be able to find a second-generation Insight with reasonable mileage for less.