2010 Honda Insight adds respectable handling to hybrid market

2010-honda-insightToyota, with its successful Prius model, has enjoyed several years of little competition in the 4-door hybrid market. Although Honda had been selling an older generation Insight, its styling and technology were dated.

With the 2010 Honda Insight, that is no longer the case. Engineers at the vaunted Japanese automaker were paying close attention. So much so, you may even mistake the new Insight as a Prius at first glance.

But the new model brings something previously not seen in the same sentence as hybrid: handling.

That’s right. The new 2010 Honda Insight, according to Car & Driver, CNET, and others, is actually fun to drive. Now things are getting interesting! You can, perhaps, have your cake and eat it too, enjoying 40mpg fuel economy along with spirited cornering.

In addition, the new model also has the lowest base MSRP ($19,800) compared to the Toyota Prius ($26,574) and Honda Civic Hybrid ($25,650).

CNET (yes, even CNET rates them… demonstrating how technology and cars are increasingly synonymous) scored the car “Excellent” with 4 out of 5 stars, and Car & Driver magazine recently ranked it first in a hybrid shoot-out, citing handling as a key plus.

I look forward to taking one for a spin sometime, and will report back. Meantime, I’d say the new Honda Insight is the one to beat when it comes to the latest compact hybrids—Tesla, of course, is the current king of the sports car segment.

Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.
  • Mike Locurcio

    It's true. Handling, aka "fun to drive", was the deciding factor in my recent hybrid purchase. Well, sticker shock was up there, too, especially when you consider the fact that on my budget, "going green" translates into "saving green". But even if money were no object I would choose the Insight over the Prius, having driven both. The Honda is a spirited, precise, well-mannered machine that feels as good as it looks. Both cars are stylish (some say similar) in appearance, but Honda managed to keep the price down while improving the performance of the hybrid technology.

  • Mike Locurcio

    It’s true. Handling, aka “fun to drive”, was the deciding factor in my recent hybrid purchase. Well, sticker shock was up there, too, especially when you consider the fact that on my budget, “going green” translates into “saving green”. But even if money were no object I would choose the Insight over the Prius, having driven both. The Honda is a spirited, precise, well-mannered machine that feels as good as it looks. Both cars are stylish (some say similar) in appearance, but Honda managed to keep the price down while improving the performance of the hybrid technology.

  • Mike Locurcio

    It’s true. Handling, aka “fun to drive”, was the deciding factor in my recent hybrid purchase. Well, sticker shock was up there, too, especially when you consider the fact that on my budget, “going green” translates into “saving green”. But even if money were no object I would choose the Insight over the Prius, having driven both. The Honda is a spirited, precise, well-mannered machine that feels as good as it looks. Both cars are stylish (some say similar) in appearance, but Honda managed to keep the price down while improving the performance of the hybrid technology.

  • Mike Locurcio

    It’s true. Handling, aka “fun to drive”, was the deciding factor in my recent hybrid purchase. Well, sticker shock was up there, too, especially when you consider the fact that on my budget, “going green” translates into “saving green”. But even if money were no object I would choose the Insight over the Prius, having driven both. The Honda is a spirited, precise, well-mannered machine that feels as good as it looks. Both cars are stylish (some say similar) in appearance, but Honda managed to keep the price down while improving the performance of the hybrid technology.

  • Gene T

    As a fan of Top Gear, it's hard to ignore the Jeremy Clarkson review:<br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article6294116.ece?token=null&amp;offset=0&amp;page=1&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_c…</a>" target="_blank">http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_c…</a></a> <br />
    We own 3 Hondas, and I wanted to like it, but I'm thinking Prius for now.

  • Mike Carrall

    Wow! Thanks for the link. Top Gear is superb stuff. I still remember Jeremy Clarkson's intoxicating drive and review of the Ford GT. If (big if) I remember correctly, he liked it so much he bought one. Regarding the Insight, quite the contrarian opinion based on everything I've read at least. Seems like the CVT transmission is very &quot;dodgy&quot; to say the least! When I drove the Prius, I quite liked it. So I'm anxious to get behind the wheel of the Honda soon to see for myself if what Mr. Clarkson espouses is indeed true-given his legend, it's hard to doubt it's veracity.

  • Gene T

    As a fan of Top Gear, it’s hard to ignore the Jeremy Clarkson review:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article6294116.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

    We own 3 Hondas, and I wanted to like it, but I’m thinking Prius for now.

    • Mike Carrall

      Wow! Thanks for the link. Top Gear is superb stuff. I still remember Jeremy Clarkson’s intoxicating drive and review of the Ford GT. If (big if) I remember correctly, he liked it so much he bought one.

      Regarding the Insight, quite the contrarian opinion based on everything I’ve read at least. Seems like the CVT transmission is very “dodgy” to say the least!

      When I drove the Prius, I quite liked it. So I’m anxious to get behind the wheel of the Honda soon to see for myself if what Mr. Clarkson espouses is indeed true-given his legend, it’s hard to doubt it’s veracity.

    • Mike Carrall

      Wow! Thanks for the link. Top Gear is superb stuff. I still remember Jeremy Clarkson’s intoxicating drive and review of the Ford GT. If (big if) I remember correctly, he liked it so much he bought one.

      Regarding the Insight, quite the contrarian opinion based on everything I’ve read at least. Seems like the CVT transmission is very “dodgy” to say the least!

      When I drove the Prius, I quite liked it. So I’m anxious to get behind the wheel of the Honda soon to see for myself if what Mr. Clarkson espouses is indeed true-given his legend, it’s hard to doubt it’s veracity.

  • Gene T

    As a fan of Top Gear, it’s hard to ignore the Jeremy Clarkson review:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article6294116.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

    We own 3 Hondas, and I wanted to like it, but I’m thinking Prius for now.

    • Mike Carrall

      Wow! Thanks for the link. Top Gear is superb stuff. I still remember Jeremy Clarkson’s intoxicating drive and review of the Ford GT. If (big if) I remember correctly, he liked it so much he bought one.

      Regarding the Insight, quite the contrarian opinion based on everything I’ve read at least. Seems like the CVT transmission is very “dodgy” to say the least!

      When I drove the Prius, I quite liked it. So I’m anxious to get behind the wheel of the Honda soon to see for myself if what Mr. Clarkson espouses is indeed true-given his legend, it’s hard to doubt it’s veracity.