The battle of the Japanese hybrids began in the late 1990s with the introduction of the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius. Since then, the entire automotive industry has embraced electrified cars, and these compact sedans are two of the most popular choices. While the Prius manages to outsell the Insight by a sizeable margin, the hybrid Honda is still the better choice. The Insight is cheaper to buy, more fuel-efficient, and nicer to look at.
The Honda Insight is $1,595 cheaper
Starting at $22,930, the Honda Insight comes in at $1,595 less than the Toyota Prius’ $24,525 base price. The Honda Insight’s range-topping Touring trim level comes in at $28,840. The Prius, on the other hand, will cost $29,575 if you want the very best one.
If you want an even better deal, opt for the 2020 model, which is almost identical to the 2021 model. According to CarsDirect, the Insight’s national inventory is nearly sold out. The 2020 Prius is no longer available, meaning that buyers are stuck with the higher price.
The Insight is cheaper to own
Aside from being cheaper to buy, the Insight is also less expensive to own, with models retaining greater value in the used market. A quick search on AutoTrader revealed that a 2019 Toyota Prius LE sells for around $17,000. The used market price represents a loss of almost $8,500 in the first two years of ownership.
On the other hand, a similarly optioned Honda Insight EX sells for about $19,500, representing a $5,310 value loss in the first two years. The Prius’ excellent sales figures mean there are also more used vehicles available, driving the prices down rapidly. As a result, opting for the rarer Insight is kinder to your wallet.
The Insight is more fuel-efficient in real-world testing
Although EPA-estimated fuel-efficiency ratings set a nice baseline figure for how fuel-efficient a car should be, real-world results often differ. During Consumer Reports’ testing of the Honda Insight, it found that the official fuel-efficiency stats were partially underrated. While the Insight’s official city fuel economy figure of 55 mph already trumps the Prius’ 54 mpg, real-world tests revealed a wider gap.
Consumer Reports’ Insight test car managed to consume 62 mpg on the highway and 44 mpg in the city for a combined rating of 54 mpg. The Prius, on the other hand, consumed 59 mpg on the highway and 43 mpg in the city for a combined average of 52 mpg.
The Honda Insight has more available options
While the Toyota Prius may offer more trim levels, the Honda Insight has a wider variety of available options. While both the base Insight and Prius feature cloth seats, only the Insight allows buyers to option leather-trimmed seats in higher-spec models. The Prius, on the other hand, only offers SofTex, synthetic leather-like material for it’s higher trims.
Besides better interior options, the Honda allows buyers to add additional exterior elements such as a rear spoiler, a blacked-out lip kit, and chrome accents throughout the exterior. The result is that the Insight is more customizable.
The real winner here is the buyer because both of these Japanese hybrids are excellent choices. Despite their relative competitiveness, however, the 2021 Honda Insight is one step ahead of it’s Toyota rival.