2014 Honda Insight Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality

The 2014 Honda Insight has never lived up to the company's sales expectations, and its life got a lot tougher with the launch of the 2012 Toyota Prius C, a similar subcompact hybrid hatchback with higher fuel-efficiency ratings, more interior space, and a much deeper load bay (due to locating its battery under the rear seat, rather than below the cargo floor as Honda does).

Up front, the Insight is comfortable, though long-legged drivers may find the lower seat cushions somewhat short. Headroom is generous. But the dropping roofline means rear passengers lack headroom, despite Honda reshaping the rear seats in 2012 and carving out a bit more headroom from "sculpted" recess in the headliner. Three adults simply won't fit in the rear, and even threw kids will be tightly packed.

The 2014 Honda Insight is noisy when driven hard, and more spacious up front than in the rear seats.

While the Insight has 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up, the load floor is higher than you'd expect. And the 60/40 split rear seats don't fold fully flat. It's all brought into sharp relief by the uber-flexible "Magic Seat" in the Honda Fit, still the most adaptable and versatile subcompact on the market.

Interior materials in the Insight are about average. The seat cloth is grippy, and there are some soft-touch surfaces, though the recent Honda trademark of vast swathes of textured hard plastic remains. The graining looks good on them, however, and build quality is very high. But elements of the interior feel flimsy, a result of minimizing weight wherever possible: the headliner is notably thin, and the doors close with a tinny sound.

On the road, the ride quality is good and the Insight is mostly quiet. The exception is when the driver needs acceleration: Demanding maximum engine power causes the sound level to rise to a raucous, nightclub-like howl. Mash the throttle, and you may not be able to hear either your audio system or the person next to you.

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