The second-generation Insight is very different from the earlier car even though it shares much of the same technology. It’s a practical, 5-passenger 4-door hatchback that is completely conventional except for the hybrid powertrain. The Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain still has an electric motor attached to the engine’s crankshaft, so the engine must be turning over for the vehicle to move. However, under certain low-speed driving conditions the fuel system is turned off, so the car can actually be driven on electric power alone.
The 4-cylinder engine and electric motor produce a combined 98 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. The car weighs 2700 pounds, so its acceleration and 43-mpg fuel economy are about the same as its competition; but this car was designed to compete on price. When new, it cost the same as other non-hybrid compact cars, and today even a 2014 model (the last year) sells for several thousand dollars less than a 2014 Prius.
We found only a few significant service bulletins, and those issues can be addressed with software updates. The one serious recall is common to all Honda and most other Asian models; the car is fitted with a Takata airbag that may cause serious or fatal injuries when deployed. Replacement parts are available as of fall 2016, and Honda says they will replace these units free of charge.
Except for the hybrid motor and high-voltage battery, there’s nothing exotic about this vehicle. Any repair shop that’s properly equipped to service a Honda should have no trouble with normal service and most repairs on this Insight. Because the IMA system is not as efficient as other hybrid powertrains, ACDC gives this hybrid only one (of two) thumbs up. But it still offers all the utility and reliability of any other Honda.
To find a hybrid vehicle service shop near you, go to shop finder on this web site.