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2012 Honda Insight Comfort & Quality

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On Comfort & Quality

For better aerodynamics, the 2012 Honda Insight is lower and tighter than other subcompacts, but its comfort is decent except for a cramped rear seat with very little headroom, a consequence of the drooping roofline. For 2012, Honda has reshaped the rear seat cushions and "sculpted" the headliner to increase rear headroom by 0.6 inch.

The front seat cushions are a touch short, but the grippy mesh covering holds well, and headroom for front-seat occupants is generous. While two adults or potentially three small kids can fit into the rear seat, the adults will be happier if they're short and the kids had better be friendly. Open the hatchback, and you'll find 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space--a generous amount, but one that's compromised by a high load floor and 60/40 split rear seatbacks that don't fold flat, meaning the load floor isn't flat either.

The 2012 Honda Insight is fine up front, but the rear is cramped; its comfort and refinement are on a par with other small cars until you floor it, when it gets remarkably loud and raucous.

Honda's interior appointments have slipped on other models in recent years, but the Insight is about average for the make. There are few soft-touch surfaces, but the expanses of hard plastics are nicely grained and everything seems to be bolted together well. The doors feel a bit tinny when closed hard, and it's obvious that Honda has made absolutely every effort to cut weight, resulting in flimsy materials for things like the headliner (which is, granted, out of sight most of the time).

The 2012 Insight's ride quality is good despite its short 100-inch wheelbase, and the car is quiet under most circumstances. The exception is spirited driving when maximum power is demanded from the engine--which becomes raucous and howls loudly when the throttle is mashed.

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