2012 Honda Insight: What's New

2012 Honda Insight LX
For the 2012 model year, Honda has made improvements to its aging dedicated hybrid, the Insight, to compete better with the refreshed Toyota Prius and other hybrids. Critical updates include better fuel efficiency, increased sound-deadening materials and improved rearward visibility.

Reduced friction in the engine and transmission in addition to improved aerodynamics boost gas mileage by 1 mpg over the 2011 model. The 2012 is rated at 41/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined. The combined rating is only 2 mpg less than the substantially more expensive 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid.

The Insight will also be quieter with the addition of thicker sound-deadening material. We thought the Insight had admirable noise dampening compared with other compacts, but not against the midsize Prius. A thinner rear spoiler and a more compactly mounted rear wiper motor improve rearward visibility.

2012 Honda Insight LX - interiorThe exterior has been refreshed slightly, too. New bumpers and a new grille better associate the Insight with the redesigned Honda Civic; the original look alluded more to the Honda FCX Clarity.

In the cabin, a redesigned rear headliner shape adds more headroom for backseat passengers. The rear seat has been redesigned to improve comfort. There’s a new gauge cluster and larger front-passenger cupholders for large drinks. The armrest (when equipped) has been redesigned for improved support.

In terms of features, the LX trim now gets map lights, steering-wheel-mounted controls and a more premium fabric upholstery. The EX gets Bluetooth connectivity, automatic headlights and a new synthetic leather and premium fabric upholstery. The EX with navigation now has a rearview camera and a 16-gigabyte flash card system to improve routing and FM traffic updates.

All of these updates are small potatoes, but with its 2012 introductory price of $18,350 (up just $150 from 2011) the entry Insight costs $5,170 less than an entry retail-available 2011 Prius, which is likely to see a price increase when Toyota announces pricing for the 2012 model year. Even a loaded EX Insight with navigation is just about as expensive as an entry-level 2011 Prius. With improved gas mileage, the Insight’s value proposition just got a little more enticing.

Continue reading below for more pricing details:

2012 Insight pricing (2011 pricing)

  • Insight: $18,350 ($18,200)
  • Insight LX: $20,125 ($19,900)
  • Insight EX: $21,815 ($21,490)
  • Insight EX with Navigation: $23,540 ($23,265)
  • Destination: $770 (same)



LOL the Insight isnt "aging". it was introduced for 2010. it was just never a competitive or even decent vehicle to begin with.


Will the handling get any improvement? I'd read emergency handling was a problem in Consumer Reports.

Backseat headroom tweak is an important one. I'm 6'2" and sitting the back was a no-go. I really liked the original Insight, I'd like to see more of that cleverness at Honda, the CR-Z and current Insight seem a bit off.


The Prius costs more, but there is a night-and-day differece in almost every aspect.

Even with these upgrades and the cheaper price than the Prius I'm still not convinced it will really be able to compete in the hybrid market.


Remember Honda has .9% financing for their new cars. Toyota offers NO such advantage for their Prius models. Saving you an additional $1,000 in finance cost over the already over priced Prius !!

Insight Lover

I bought the re-introduced Insight in 2010 and though these improvements for 2012 will be nice, I think the 2010 model is just fine. I never get as low MPG as the EPA estimates. I average about 48-52 even here in Colorado. And as far as rear comfort, since I'm the driver, I never have to worry about that. My daughter does fine, but someone 6'2" might have a problem. All the same, I have had no problems with this car and always tell people to remember it IS a hybrid. So the power is not going to be like a gas car. Honda has a winner, they just don't market it well.

I just love going 500 miles on 10 gallons of gas. It's all good, buy one!

Gill Gagne

I love my Honda Insight!

I have had my Insight for over a year and a half and I still love it! I live in Winnipeg (Winterpeg) and the car runs and handles great in the cold and winter roads. For the small engine it has all the power you need! Don't hesitate to take one for a test drive it's fun and economical to drive!


Jon Wyatt,
The Prius is not overpriced. It's a much larger car than the Insight, yet gets better mileage. That's a formula for success. More than 2 million people have purchased the Prius including a million in the United States. How many of the more reasonably priced Insights has Honda sold?

David Brown

I have had my new 2012 Insight EX for a little over a week. I have put 1200 miles on the car so far at over 45 MPG. It is typical Honda being built well and each necessity is in easy reach and works well. My Parents bought a Prius 1.5 weeks ago and I've driven both and love both vehicles. This is my 3rd Honda and for sure by choice won't be my last.

Geoff Herbert


I first noticed two little orange spots on the hood of my white 2010 Honda Insight about 6 months ago. They stayed orange even after washing and scraping with a fingernail. I didn't know what to do and put them in the back of my mind until about a month ago (18 months into ownership of my Insight), I took a close look at the roof. There are at least 200 of these little spots. There are also a handful of spots on the front and back side fenders. Both sides. There are also about 30 rust spots on the top of the rear bumper.

I called the dealer (Honda of Santa Monica) and they said to go talk to their official body shop as they didn't do any paint work at the dealer itself. I took it to Anthony's Paint and Repair. The guy there said it was caused by "fallout." This, he explained, is when a car driving in front of you has a bad catalytic converter and spits out bits of hot metal that lands on your car and damages the paint enough that, over time, allows this rusting to develop. In my mind when I heard this I thought to myself, "OK, so the paint is so weak it can't handle being driven behind an older car?"

I didn't say anything and instead called corporate customer service. A guy named John handled my issue. He said I needed to go back to the dealer and have an official claim made. Also, the dealer needed to actually look at the paint. That seemed fair and logical, so I arranged to go back to the dealer at the time the regional rep was on site. I took some time off from work and skipped lunch to have Diane, the rep, look at it. I got there and she right away called the same body shop. They sent over a different guy. This time he said I had unknowingly driven by some kind of overspray that had damaged my paint and, over time, allowed these rust spots to develop. So, again, I got some kind of made up BS excuse. Diane also managed to squeeze in a little blame on all the environmental rules that make paints weaker nowadays.

Diane declared that the rust was due to "environmental factors." Which means that it wasn't a fault of the paint, paint mixture, or anything to do with how the paint was applied at the factory. Therefore, in her mind, it was not Honda's fault nor responsibility. However, in the goodness of Honda's heart, they would offer to pay for a free buff to remove the spots.

It's likely the buff will temporarily clear out the spots. But I have declined this as I believe they are only offering it as a way to buy time. A year later the spots will start returning and at that point Honda will just say "too bad, the car is out of warranty."

I've now owned two Hondas since 2002. My incredibly reliable 2000 Civic was the tipping point in me choosing the Insight over the Prius. Their thanks for this is to blame me for doing nothing other than driving a new car on the road! I pointed out to them that my Civic had the same exact driving habits for the past 9 years and never had one rust spot. It all fell on deaf ears.

I will never buy another Honda now. I had been holding out and hoping Honda would produce the electric Fit by the time I'm ready to go all electric. They can forget it now. And I will make it a point to search out any Honda related blog out there and tell them my story.


Very strange Geoff. You must be one the unlucky ones that got a Honda Insight with a bumper made from a material that rusts.

Also, its terrible that automakers would have us buy cars painted with materials that can't stand up to molten metal.

Very unfortunate. Keep up the good fight.

Fix it again

No need for sarcasm, belly. It's not the bumper that rusted, but the tiny bits of iron that embedded themselves in the paint of the bumper and the rest of the car. This was possibly caused if the car was shipped by rail or stored near a rail yard or iron ore processing facility. Small particles of iron from the train wheels and rails get stirred up and land on the car being transported and then rust, causing the discoloration. IF that was the cause, maybe Honda would be willing to help out. Oxalic acid is often used to remove rail dust.

Berry obama

I thought the bumper was made of plastic, first time I heard of plastic rusting. I think you should report Honda to the EPA for producing plastic rusting bumpers that can effect the environment!

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