By on December 6, 2013

2014 Honda Insight

If you were ever interested in the second coming of the Honda Insight, now may be the time to pull the trigger on that lease, for there may not be a 2015 model in the showroom come next year.

Two signs point to a last exit for the hybrid: the lack of activity surrounding the marketing of a 2015 Insight, and the fact that the hybrid has become more and more redundant in Honda’s own lineup. Though the former could simply mean the Insight is going through a significant update that would merit such a delay, the latter speaks volumes about its bleak future.

In short, the Civic Hybrid is running circles around the Prius-shaped hybrid in the eco-friendly sales race — though the former costs nearly $25,000 to start over the Insight’s $19,000 base price — while the upcoming Fit Hybrid sedan may end up pulling potential owners towards its own offerings for the same price of admission as the Insight.

For their part, Honda can neither confirm nor deny the Insight’s last ride into the electric sunset. That said, the hybrid has already departed from Canadian showrooms, leaving the smaller CR-Z as the only analogue to the first generation and current Insight models.

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33 Comments on “A Last Exit For the Honda Insight May Soon Appear...”

  • avatar

    In addition to the model overlap, the 1st-gen model did Honda no favors. It wasn’t necessarily a horrible car, but the funky styling was a problem. The 1st-Gen Prius said: “I’m an eco-mobile, but I’m still pretty much a normal car.” The 1st-Gen Insighed said: “I’m a science project” more of a concept car than something you’d actually want to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Blasphemy! The first gen Insight is the King of Swing and the purveyor of all things cool.

      • 0 avatar

        Shoot… I should have made it more clear that my “science project” comment referred more to the styling than the merits of the vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          No worries. The big tragedy here is that Honda decided to saddle this vehicle with the same technology that hasn’t proved to be a good fit for Honda’s heavier family vehicles. I would expect the battery depletion rate to be far more dramatic over the ensuing years than, say, the Prius C.

          I do like the theoreticals of this vehicle for the frugalist. But to be brutally blunt, even a Corolla sold at MSRP would likely offer better value if you keep your cars to the 150k mark and beyond. I just don’t have long-term faith in this generation of hybrid technology.

          Here is an excellent breakdown of the issues with some related feedback from the Lead Engineer for the 2nd gen Insight.

    • 0 avatar

      Considering they made the first gen 99-06, you very rarely see them. I think the lack of rear doors also hurt them greatly. Prius people most often have kids/grandkids.

    • 0 avatar

      The first generation Insight was more like a beta tester. The styling and configuration (2 seater) turned off a lot of mainstream buyers but also attracted early adopters (aka nerds) who are, by nature, not only tolerant of quirks and shortcomings of new technology but enthusiastic about it. Kind of a win-win if you ask me.

      Now, if you ask me more, Honda squandered a lot of what they learned about their hybrid drivetrains and gone done messed up big when they went cheap and undersized the IMA battery on second generation Civic Hybrid. SMH…

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The car I wanted to love…

    Oh wait. That was the CR-Z. Never mind.

  • avatar

    I have been keeping an eye out for used cars for my brother and I have noticed these are a relative bargain in the used market. Much cheaper than an equivalent Prius and even cheaper than a ICE Civic. I realize they are not quite as great on gas or driving dynamics but I have driven one, it isn’t as terrible as reviews would have you believe. Now a new one?? Seems still too expensive for what you get, which of course will seal its fate.

    Perhaps this will allow Honda to give some love to the CRZ, which appears to have been all but forgotten.

    On a side note, I saw that Jackson Racing has a supercharger kit for the CRZ that is getting some amazing reviews by owners. Its relatively affordable too, and I wonder if it would fit the Insight?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll admit that one of these (used) is high on my list for a daily commuter vehicle. I like the size better than the Prius, and while the hybrid system isn’t as advanced as the competition, it gives good gas mileage. Yeah, it’s white bread on four wheels, but with two motorcycles and a sports car in the garage I can afford dullness and competency.

      Final plus in its favor: My ex-wife has had one for three years now and is quite happy with it. And this is a woman who hates that she even has to bother to own a car. Definitely the anti-motorhead

      • 0 avatar

        I haven’t heard anyone complain about them either, and the ones I drove seemed fine, but then I like the Civic too so what do I know?! :)

        Some guy locally has a black one with upgraded rims, looks like Si or HFP wheels, totally changes the look of the car.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The first Insight set a fuel mileage benchmark that still has not been equalled. The second one was a product of Honda’s recent doldrum era, and was a miss in all kinds of ways. The new-era hybrid system in the Accord (which will no doubt make its way into the rest of Honda’s hybrid lineup in some form) makes continued production of the second Insight pointless.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I mean, if you think about the 50 MPG that the 2014 Accord Hybrid is supposed to get, it makes sense that Honda has lost interest in the Insight. At the same time, there is a market for cheap cars turned hybrid, like Toyota’s Yaris-based Prius C—which I see plenty of—so if Honda can downsize the Accord’s technology, put it in something Fit-sized and charge $10K less than they do for the Accord Hybrid, this could make sense…

  • avatar

    There’s no point in buying Honda’s ugly Prius copy when one can buy the real Prius from Toyota.

  • avatar

    That’s sad. It’s a great car. It’s not expensive, especially for a 2010-2011 with low miles, it has lots of space and gets very good mileage. Less than a Prius, yes, but it also costs less and feels a *lot* more nimble to drive. It’s basically the Prius for people who like cars. It has a real clutch and a large tach! More car, less appliance.

    The only thing I envy from the Prius is the bigger battery and the ability to creep on electric power only. A new Insight (or Fit) with the hybrid system from the new Accord would definitely be up top on the list when the time comes to replace my 2010.

  • avatar

    My wife bought one of these cars back in March. She bought it for her one hundred mile round trip commuite. I did not like the stop and start system it used and the cvt left much to be desired.

    After four months of ownership she t-boned someone at 55 mph in the Insight. She could not stop fast enough due to the regenerative braking. She is ok and so is the 80 plus year old she hit (who did not see her at all).

    The Insight was totaled. The adjuster came out and said he had never seen one of those before. Neither one of us misses that car. I don’t think many people will.

    • 0 avatar

      So far as I know, all hybrids are set up so that if the degree of braking demanded exceeds the regeneration capacity, the normal brakes are activated to provide that stopping power. If all the braking was done with regeneration, you’d have heard a scandal about enormous stopping distances for hybrids. That said, I haven’t examined the data to see if hybrids have longer stopping distances than equivalent non-hybrids, but I know the Escape Hybrid can’t stop quite as quickly as a non-hybrid Escape.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a 2nd gen Civic Hybrid (same hybrid system) and I have no problems with the braking distance. That includes during autocrosses. I have about a hundred other problems with it, including braking feel and smoothness, but the stopping distance is pretty good. Maybe better than a regular civic, as the regen seems to help.

    • 0 avatar

      That sounds like a story my wife would give me for explaining t-boning someone at 55. “The brakes don’t work right, that darn regen braking!”

    • 0 avatar

      “she t-boned someone at 55 mph in the Insight”

      Wow. She’s lucky to be alive.

  • avatar

    This is for the best. Honda has thrown a lot of spaghetti at the wall in the last decade or so: Insight, CR-Z, Element, Ridgeline, Crosstour. While I understand the attempts to expand the product line, none has been successful in a meaningful way.

    That said, Honda essentially leads in its core offerings: Accord, Civic, CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot and Fit. The Pilot and Fit are in need of a refresh, so it only makes sense for mid-sized Honda to focus engineering talent on keeping these core products at the top of the sales charts.

  • avatar

    Over here in Euroland, Honda have just leaped the competition with their 1.6 diesel Civic. 120hp, waves of torque, and an official mpg figure of 78.5. It’s also got the lowest emissions on the market, and sounds like a (good) BMW 4-cylinder petrol. It’s good to see them doing what they’re good at again, building great engines.

    That and the car it’s attached to make the Insight look like the half-hearted effort it always was, and it would work in the US.

  • avatar

    The new tech in the Accord Hybrid blows the Civic/Insight/CR-Z stuff out of the water.

    And the interior of the Insight is as bad as has ever been in a Honda product.

    Best they get rid of this, the CrossTurd, Ridgeline, Acura ZDX, and all the other answers to questions nobody asked, and concentrate on their core product. Like my 2013 Accord Touring. Best! Car! Evah!!!

  • avatar

    Insight – out of sight, out of mind! Also, I’ve noticed the wheels on the EX model are the same as Fit Sport wheels, which as many have found out the hard way, fit 2005 and earlier Civics – might want to get some wheel locks if you have one!

  • avatar

    They got to make room at the stealership for the new Civic i-Vtec Turbo.

  • avatar

    The end is…. in… sight…?
    Is the wild blue honda headed for the um… wild blue yonder?

    Never mind. I’ll see myself out.

  • avatar

    The original, 1st gen Insight seems to have become something of a hipster-mobile, sort of a latter-day, high-tech version of the old, early sixties’ Ford Falcon that those guys seem to like.

    As to the current Insight, it always seemed to get a bad rap in the reviews because it was usually compared with cars like the much more expensive, standard Prius hatchback and/or the Chevy Volt, both of which ‘are’ better than the Insight, but also much more expensive. Even the Civic Hybrid seemed unfair because it was also much more expensive and was strictly a sedan.

    Compared with something much closer to the relatively low MSRP of the Insight (for a hybrid), like the Prius c, it didn’t seem like the Insight was all that bad, and have to agree that with the accompanying low resale value, a used, off-lease Insight could be a good deal for someone seeking a vehicle with the best fuel economy at the lowest price of admission.

  • avatar

    Can’t give these things away, retail or wholesale.

  • avatar

    And good riddance. Possibly the ugliest and least inspired car designs of the last 30 years.

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