2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
The Honda Insight has been gaining steam since its inception in December of 1999, making it the very first hybrid to be introduced to the North American market. A few months later, it was followed by the Toyota Prius. While the Prius gained a lot of initial momentum, the Insight has built it up over time, showing itself to be stiff competition for the Prius and other hatchback hybrids.
In 2019, Honda introduced the third generation of the Insight, which came exclusively as a sedan. It ditched the dying hatchback style in favor of the more spacious sedan body-style, looking more like an Accord Hybrid. Honda has also ironed out a lot of the previous generation's hybrid-y quirks, getting the new Insight to perform much more like the Accords. It could much better accelerate from a dead stop and showed more punchiness than ever before.
Its snappy acceleration, spacious cabin, and solid fuel economy carried over for 2020. In fact, everything carried over unchanged. No changes were really needed. The 2020 Honda Insight continued the trends of quickness and interior comfort. While cargo capacity isn't as lofty a number as a few top competitors, Honda makes the most of it by giving the Insight versatile storage options.
The 2020 line-up was absolutely likeable, but Honda is stepping it up for 2021. Now, the EX and Touring trim levels come with a standard blind-spot monitoring system with a rear cross-traffic alert equipped on it. Also, the Touring now has standard leather seats, integrated navigation, and a dual-zone climate control system. These aren't big changes, but they are welcome ones nonetheless.
Should you get the 2021 Honda Insight? Which trim level might work best for you? We will go over its trim level offerings as well as its tech features, driving performance, interior design, and safety and reliability ratings. Hang on 'til the end, as that is where we will offer a few suggestions for other small sedan hybrids to test-drive if you aren't settled on the Insight.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2021 Honda Insight comes in your choice of three trim levels: the base LX, the mid-tier EX, and the line-topping Touring trim. Each of the Insight's three trims is powered by the same standard 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine, which is paired up with an electric motor and battery pack for make it a hybrid. This engine basically supplies power to the electric motor, which then delivers power to the front wheels. When you get the Insight onto the highway, the gas engine kicks in and powers those two front wheels. Combined, you can expect to get 151 hp.
The LX trim is certainly a base trim, coming with only the necessities and a few creature comforts. The improved infotainment system does not come standard; neither does smartphone app integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You will have to upgrade if you want that. The LX does offer a small 5-inch infotainment touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity for phone and audio streaming. It also has a rear-view camera, a push-button start, and LED headlights. Also, each Honda comes with Honda Sensing, a bundle of driver aids that includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
Upgrading to the mid-tier EX trim level gets you standard blind-spot monitoring (which is named LaneWatch and only monitors the right-side blind spot) along with the Honda Sensing bundle's driver aids. An 8-inch infotainment system comes with integration for smartphones using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
If you decide to go all-out and get the Touring, you will now receive standard built-in navigation, leather seats, and a delightful dual-zone automatic climate control system. You sacrifice a few mpg and a tiny amount of cargo space for it, but it still isn't much. There is a sunroof that comes equipped, as well as power-adjustable and heated front seats, a 10-speaker sound system, and on-board Wi-Fi hot-spot connectivity.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
If we had to pick a trim level, we would go middle-of-the-road with the EX. While the Touring has a few more luxuries equipped, the EX has enough standard features on it without giving up its stellar fuel economy.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
Technology on the 2021 Insight is relatively standard for the industry. The upgraded infotainment system on the EX and Touring is extremely responsive to user inputs, and its interface is easy to navigate. There is a shortcuts button on the left-hand side of the screen that makes it simple for the driver to use the system while driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto help sync your smartphone apps, which is helpful on the EX since that doesn't come with the built-in navigation system.
How Does It Perform?
The Insight is definitely more refined than it used to be and even bests the Prius in terms of driving performance. It is one of the quicker hybrids with a 0-60 mph time of 8.1 seconds. This hybrid feels more like a gas-powered sedan. The brakes are predictable with a good amount of firmness, and steering remains consistent and provides plenty of feedback. The only problem is that, during hard braking, the brake pedal loses some of its connectedness with your foot.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
Hondas are generally regarded well for safety and reliability. The Insight earned a full 5-star overall rating from NHTSA, and IIHS gave it "Good" marks. It doesn't have any tip, and the rollover risk is considerably small. Hondas tend to last for years, sometimes even a few decades, so it should be a consistently solid vehicle. Consumers have given the 2019, 2020, and 2021 models some rather positive reviews.
What's the Interior Like?
The Insight's cabin is spacious both fore and aft. Heads and legs all fit with plenty of space left over, and even larger drivers can easily find a good seating position. It might just take a moment to get the steering wheel where you'd like it. The thick roof pillars do create some blind spots, but forward visibility is excellent. And, of course, the seats are packed with comfort. The only noise you hear is from the somewhat-whiny gas engine.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
The Insight's most direct competitor is the Honda Accord Hybrid. It is even more spacious than the Insight but has a bit more engine noise and a lesser fuel economy. The Accord does have more features available on it than the Insight.
There is also the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, which has an amazing 58 mpg combined, thereby dominating the rest of the competition. It is also more affordable, but unfortunately, it lacks a lot of the refinement you get on the Insight and Accord Hybrid.
Note: All Honda Insight lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.