Today, there is a wide variety of hybrid options, like the 2021 Honda Insight. However, when hybrid cars first hit the United States Market in 1999, the reactions from drivers and critics were mixed. On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with the amazing fuel economy. On the other hand, there were a lot of kinks to work out. From battery packs consuming any possible trunk space to losing power going uphill, to the prohibitive cost of adding any “cool” features to the mix, there were a few key negative points about early hybrid vehicles.
Now, over twenty years later, automobile manufacturers have a better grasp of how to work out these previous problems. In fact, several vehicles, from heavy-duty work trucks to SUVs, have been developed to include some hybrid technology. Restorative braking, engines that kick off during long periods of stopping, and other design elements have been incorporated into many makes and models of modern vehicles.
Instead of “hybrid options" on popular vehicles, we now have standalone hybrid models, like the 2021 Honda Insight. Offered in three trims, the 2021 Insight isn’t just a courtesy option for those who are interested in doing something good for the planet. Instead, the Insight is a fully developed vehicle, with plenty of power for a daily driver, loads of room, and some seriously good looks. Taking a look at the Insight in closer detail, Honda has clearly created the next automobile to lead American drivers into a hybrid future.
The 2021 Honda Insight might be the surprise hybrid drivers have been craving. No longer just an economical option, the Insight has developed into a standalone model that even the most discerning driver can enjoy. With refreshed engineering to the motor and engine, the pep and zip of the Insight is undeniable. Plenty of comfort and convenience features mean drivers have loads of choices that can satisfy their needs on the road of life, while the full suite of standard safety features on every trim helps drivers stay in control. While there is still debate as to whether hybrid vehicles are the future of transportation, the 2021 Honda Insight makes a solid argument on behalf of economic vehicles that have it all.
If you’re craving massive Gs and horsepower that takes your breath away, the Honda Insight is not the car for you. But if you’re looking for an immaculately designed engine with an electric motor that can get you wherever you need to go - without requiring you to spend a lot of money on fuel - the 2021 Insight is ideal for you.
The 2021 Honda Insight includes a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine and a high voltage lithium-ion battery with an electric motor. The engine uses the Atkinson Cycle, which is now a standard process in hybrid vehicles. The process involves careful and deliberate use of engine pressure to minimize fuel usage. At a high level, this type of engine maintains efficiency in hybrid vehicles, keeping power levels even and fluid throughout the drive. While early hybrids were criticized for having little power in lower gears, improvements in battery and motor thrust, along with tweaks to the Atkinson Cycle, have helped increase power, regardless of speed.
Additionally, the Insight includes one of the smoothest continuously variable transmissions on the market, sending conserved energy to the front wheels. In fact, early test drivers report that it’s almost impossible to tell that this is a hybrid vehicle, with a seamless engine to motor transfer.
Altogether, the system output for the engine and motor is 151 horsepower, aligning it with other non-hybrid sedans and coupes on the market. The biggest difference is in the fuel economy. The LX and EX models manage 55 MPG city and 49 MPG highway, while the Touring models offer 51 MPG city and 45 MPG highway.2
Honda’s engineering is world-renowned for innovation, so it’s worth noting that the Insight is also equipped with features to improve driving. This includes an Eco Assist System, which can allow drivers to travel up to one mile on electric alone, under certain situations. Hill Start Assist and Deceleration Selectors are also offered, putting power exactly where drivers need it.
Insight drivers can also choose from three driving modes: Economy, Sport, and EV. Economy mode helps stretch the fuel economy, which can be very helpful on longer trips. Sport adds extra pep to your commute, and EV is the standard operating mode for the 2021 Insight.
The 2021 Honda Insight is offered in three trims: LX, EX, and Touring.
The LX starts with all of the necessities for modern drivers. This includes Bluetooth with hands-free phone connectivity and streaming audio options, along with audio streaming from the USB port to an impressive six-speaker standard system. The Driver Information Interface includes a 7-inch screen. LED lights are standard as well, including daytime running lights, automatic on/off headlights, taillights, and brake lights. The rear seat back folds down to increase the 15 cubic feet of cargo room, as well.
Stepping up to the EX trim, drivers can enjoy more comfort and convenience features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The infotainment display upgrades to 8 inches in size and includes a high-resolution touchscreen and customizable, programmable features, along with integrated SiriusXM and HD radio. An extra USB port is added as well. While all Insights include push-button start, the EX trim and above include smart entry with walk-away auto-lock. This feature helps keep your vehicle secure even when your hands are full by automatically locking the doors as the key fob moves away from the vehicle.
The Touring trim of the 2021 Honda Insight takes hybrid vehicles to a new level of luxury. The comfort elements start with leather-trimmed, heated, power-adjustable front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. There’s also a one-touch power moonroof, automatic dimming rearview mirror, and a 10 speaker, 450-Watt premium audio system. As far as convenience is concerned, drivers can enjoy rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED fog lights, integrated side-mirror turn signals, HomeLink remote garage system, a built-in satellite navigation system with voice recognition and traffic alerts, and a WiFi hotspot.
The EX and Touring trim offer a few extra features to help drivers out. The rear seatbacks offer a 40/60 fold instead of requiring the entire seat to come down. They also include remote engine start, which allows drivers to get their cars warmed up-- or cooled off-- before the day starts. Drivers can also download the HondaLink app to gain security alerts and driving scores in real-time, along with remote access to your vehicle information via the app. This includes fuel range, vehicle health reports, and even navigation locations.
All 2021 Honda Insight models are equipped with a newly-updated Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance features. This includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System that senses the potential of a forward-moving collision and applies the brakes automatically. Road Departure Mitigation and a Lane Keeping Assist System are also included. These features detect lane markers and prevent drivers from crossing lane lines without signaling, apply braking to stay on the road, and adjust steering to keep drivers centered in their lane. Traffic sign recognition is a new feature that provides warnings about upcoming traffic signals to the Driver Information Interface screen, allowing drivers to be prepared for changes. Adaptive Cruise Control is also included in the Sensing suite, along with a rearview camera.
Additional safety features are available on higher trims. Blind spot information with cross-traffic monitor is available on EX and Touring models, along with access to HondaLink and dynamic guidelines on the multi-angle rearview camera. With all of these features packed into such a fuel efficient car, there's no reason not to drive one.