I drove a $29,000 Honda Insight hybrid to see how it stacks up against the mighty Toyota Prius — here’s what I discovered

Honda Insight

  • The 2019 Honda Insight is a high-MPG hybrid that looks like a normal sedan.
  • Its chief competitor is the Toyota Prius.
  • I thought the Insight more than held its own and in the end is a better car than the Prius.

I like hybrids. When I moved back to the New York area after a decade in Los Angeles, where I had owned a bunch of cars, I did what I had curiously never done in La-La Land and bought a used Toyota Prius.

For years now, I’ve enjoyed spending a meager amount of money on gas while having a versatile vehicle to handle everyday life: school dropoffs and pickups, grocery store runs, even the odd jaunt a few hundred miles here or there. True, I get to sample something like 30 vehicles every year thanks to my job at Business Insider. But for my money, the Prius has been an ideal backup mobile.

Of course, the Prius is … peculiar. Underpowered and completely unexciting to drive. It’s reliable as the day is long, but unengaging. Well made, but hardly luxurious. Virtuous, and that was Toyota’s genius when it was introduced. If you wanted flash, this wasn’t your car. If you wanted staggering good gas mileage, it was.

So, a great car — but could there be better? Could there be hybrids that were, you know, less hybrid-y, but achieved the same objectives?

Enter the all-new 2019 Honda Insight. The Insight started out as an oddball super-hybrid that could get massive MPGs, but that appealed to almost no one. When the Prius took off, Honda revamped the Insight, but that “Prius killer” version was also sort of a failure, despite some excellent engineering and a better price.

The latest Insight is, well, basically a normal-looking four-door with a superlative hybrid drivetrain. The best of its kind, in many ways. Honda let me borrow a $29,000 Touring trim-level Insight for a week, and I put it through its paces. Here’s how it went.


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My test car was the top-level Touring trim, in “Lunar Silver Metallic. It came it at $29,000, but that was with just an extra $1,000 destination charge — the vehicle is fully loaded for $28,000.

Unlike the original Insight — a very unusual-looking two-door — and the second-generation, which was eerily similar to the Toyota Prius in shape, the 2019 version resembles a statelier Civic.

I’m not crazy about the front end, which gives us a bit too much chrome, an overly strident slotted grille, and narrow headlights.

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