Performance » 9
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PERFORMANCE | 9 out of 10
Acceleration is merely good
Driving, for the most part, does feel quite natural
Braking was above average at 177 feet from 70 mph, with no surprises during a panic stop
Car and Driver
For a hybrid vehicle, the 2010 Honda Insight doesn't offer exceptional fuel economy, though it's still pretty good. Instead, for 2010 Honda decides to focus on the fun-to-drive factor and the low base price. Based on reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, it appears that Honda is successful on both counts.
The hybrid powertrain that propels the 2010 Honda Insight is the same on both trim levels. Car and Driver reports that "all  Insights have the same 88-hp, 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine supplemented by a 13-hp electric motor that is sandwiched between the engine and the transmission." In this instance, the combination works quite well, and Automobile Magazine notices "little of the surging and hiccupping that sometimes afflict hybrids." One unique aspect of the Honda Insight's hybrid setup is that "the crankshaft and pistons are always moving, even if the fuel injectors aren't squirting gas," which Cars.com says "means [that] the Insight doesn't give the silent electric-only experience that most hybrids do." In terms of driving response, Car and Driver claims that the 2010 Honda Insight is "reasonably energetic around town if you keep in mind the fuel-saving goal," with a 0-60 mph time of "10.6 seconds, a bit behind the 10.1-second mark of the...Prius."
Like most hybrids, the 2010 Insight offers "a CVT [as] the only available transmission," according to Car and Driver. For those who dislike the operation of standard CVTs, Automobile Magazine says this 2010 Honda in EX trim "at least has a sport setting and available paddle shifting." The usual downsides remain, however, as USA Today reviewers report the transmission "has the unpleasant slipping-clutch sound and feel found in most hybrids."
Anyone expecting the 2010 Honda Insight to live up to the previous Insight's stellar fuel economy will be disappointed; unlike the first-generation Insight's 60-mpg-plus ratings, this 2010 Honda gets an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city and 43 mpg on the highway. Cars.com points out the rating "isn't particularly impressive" for a hybrid vehicle, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that real-world fuel economy will likely be higher than the estimates. Automobile Magazine reviewers "achieved an indicated average of 57 mpg with the Econ mode engaged and while making a mild effort to keep the digital speedometer's background lighting green." Speaking of Econ mode, Jalopnik says the new Honda Insight features an "Econ button [that] is capable of making the Insight about 10 percent more efficient on its own" by smoothing out the throttle inputs.
Hybrid vehicles like the Honda Insight have long enjoyed a green reputation, but they've also been known as rather boring to drive. Honda is hoping to change that with the 2010 Honda Insight, which TheCarConnection.com finds to be a rather entertaining four-door. Reviewers tend to agree, with Car and Driver reporting that the Honda Insight features "tight suspension motions, a firm ride, well-connected steering, and a no-fat musculature." Automobile Magazine adds that "the brake and accelerator pedals have been tuned for conventional-feeling responses, with none of the mushiness that mars the Prius," while Jalopnik calls the new Honda Insight "actually somewhat fun to drive." In terms of the engine transition, Cars.com remarks that it is "pretty seamless as far as hybrids go," while also noting that the 2010 Honda Insight has "good steering feel and the handling is crisp." Edmunds effectively summarizes the reviewer sentiment by declaring the 2010 Honda Insight "by far the most enjoyable hybrid hatchback to drive."
Though it’s not overtly sporty, the 2010 Honda Insight is far more engaging than anything else with a true two-mode hybrid powerplant.