2012 Honda Insight vs. Its Competition

2012 Honda Insight EX with Navigation
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

Look at the Insight, and you may think Toyota Prius.

That iconic hybrid is larger and delivers better gas mileage, not to mention an emphasis on in-car technology--and for 2012, the Prius offers several new models.

But the Insight also faces competition within Honda showrooms.

The Fit subcompact offers crisp, responsive handling, more space inside, gas mileage of 30 mpg or better, and an amazingly versatile interior, thanks to the so-called Magic Seat arrangement.

And it's more than $3,000 cheaper.

The Honda Civic Hybrid, all new for 2012, now delivers 44 mpg and is larger and more luxurious, though pricier.

Buyers planning to do most of their miles at highway speeds should consider the clean-diesel VW Jetta TDI--in sedan or Sportwagen models--which gets similar highway mileage, though lower city ratings.

The only other hybrid hatchback in the market is the new Lexus CT 200h, which returns 40 mpg in mixed driving and adds many luxury features.

Its starting price is $11,000 higher, however.

2012 Honda Insight EX with Navigation2012 Honda InsightBrowse Used Listings2012 Honda Civic Hybrid 4-door Sedan L4 CVT Angular Front Exterior View2012 Honda Civic HybridBrowse Used Listings2012 Honda Fit 5dr HB Auto Angular Front Exterior View2012 Honda FitBrowse Used Listings2012 Lexus CT 200h2012 Lexus CT 200hBrowse Used ListingsThe 2012 Toyota Prius. Image: Toyota2012 Toyota PriusBrowse Used Listings2012 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive2012 Smart fortwoBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
7.0
The 2012 Honda Insight has been updated for 2012, but it has less space than other subcompacts and lower mileage than several other hybrids.
6.8
8.0
The 2012 Honda Fit is peppy and fun to drive, and its interior is incredibly space-efficient; but some might be turned off by its rather utilitarian look.
7.8
The 2012 Lexus CT 200h is a surprisingly stylish, fun, and unexpected car, blending Lexus levels of refinement with superb hybrid gas mileage. It's the sole compact luxury hybrid hatch, but it offers good value and a new way of driving green.
7.6
The 2012 Toyota Prius remains the highest-mileage car offered in the U.S., and it's a practical and capacious mid-size hatchback with room for five
6.0
Still stylish and quirky, the 2012 Smart Fortwo can be a fun and useful car for tight urban spaces where its size and maneuverability is an asset; but for even occasional highway driving, nearly any other small car would be a better pick.
MSRP From     
$18,500$24,200$15,325$29,120$23,015$12,490
Gas Mileage     
41 MPG City / 44 MPG Hwy44 MPG City / 44 MPG Hwy27 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy43 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy51 MPG City / 48 MPG Hwy34 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy
Engine     
Gas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I4Gas I4Gas/Electric I4Gas/Electric I4Gas I3
EPA Class     
Compact CarsCompact CarsSmall Station WagonCompactMidsize CarsMinicompact
Style Name     
5-Door CVT PZEVHybrid 4-Door Sedan L4 CVT PZEV5-Door HB ManualFWD 4-Door Hybrid5-Door HB One (SE)2-Door Coupe Pure
Drivetrain     
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
555552
Passenger Doors     
N/AN/AN/A4N/AN/A
Body Style     
HatchbackSedan5 Door Hatchback4 Door HatchbackHatchback2 Door Coupe
Transmission     
Continuously Variable TransmissionContinuously Variable RatioManualContinuously Variable RatioContinuously Variable RatioAutomatic w/Manual Shift