The Honda Insight hybrid is an efficient, well-equipped, practical and clean-living car that can cope with family life.
Hybrid engine lacks muscle and isn't terribly refined. The steering has virtually no feel, and there are cheaper hybrids out there.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Insight’s combination of a 1.3-litre petrol engine and battery-powered electric motor is okay around town, but it struggles to reach the national speed limit and overtaking on motorways is a painfully slow experience. This is particularly true if you follow the Insight’s economic driving guidelines and engage the Econ switch, which cuts torque and adjusts the throttle settings.
Ride & Handling
The light steering is welcome in town, but it stays light at higher speeds. This is very unnerving, especially when the car responds so sharply to even small inputs from the driver. The ride feels decidedly lumpy on any sort of road surface, and the front suspension crashes noisily into potholes, while the rear end can be bucked about by speed humps. The handling feels sloppy and cumbersome, too.
While other hybrids can run silently on battery power at low speeds, the Insight’s petrol engine fires all the time you’re moving. It stays subdued when you’re driving slowly, but the gearbox is jerky and the stop/start system is slow to operate. Put your foot down, and the engine makes an incredible racket. Wind noise isn’t a problem at motorway speeds, but the tyres make themselves heard.