Report: Honda Discontinues Insight

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Say goodbye to the Honda Insight. Its claim to fame was its low starting price and distinction as the least-expensive hybrid among 2014 model-year hybrids. That nod will soon go to the Toyota Prius c as Bloomberg News is reporting that Honda will discontinue the Insight by the end of this month.

Best Hybrids for the Money 2013

The 2000 Honda Insight was the first gasoline-electric hybrid for sale in the U.S. The then-two-seater production ran until the 2006 model year, where it vanished until a redesigned 2010 debuted in its more traditional four-door hatchback form, with seating for five. However, being inexpensive wasn’t enough to compete with the modern Toyota Prius brigade.

Even at just $19,515 (including destination), the 2014's lack of a standard USB input or Bluetooth in its entry-level trim level isn't much a value statement considering the Toyota Prius c, which at $19,890 offers all of those features plus an 8-mpg advantage in combined EPA ratings. The Insight is rated at 41/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined compared to the Prius c's 53/46/50 mpg.

Sales numbers show Honda's struggle in selling the Insight. Sales dropped 17.8 percent to 4,802 sales in 2013 from 5,846 units in 2012. To add some perspective, Toyota sold more units of the original Toyota Prius (not the v or c trims) in January (7,205 units) than all of the Insights that Honda sold in 2013.

There's no word of an Insight replacement at the moment, though Honda's green collection now includes a 2014 Accord Hybrid, Accord Plug-In Hybrid, a more-efficient 2014 Civic Hybrid as well as an all-electric Honda Fit.

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Comments 

J

Not surprising when considering that came out right at the end of the financial melt down.

carma

Toyota's Prius was the first hybrid on the market, introduced in Japan before the inferior two seat Insight . By the time Toyota brought the Prius to America the superiority of hybrid synergy drive over Honda's Integrated motor assist was clear, yet honda used the same system on this Prius wannabe in 2010. It was clear from the start it couldn't compete, yet a number of automotive "journalists" actually rated the Insight as better than Prius in comparison tests at the time. Unbelievable, but the public was not fooled.

JM

@carma, the article is correct in stating the Insight was the first hybrid sold IN THE US. the first generation Insight (2-seater) is an entirely different animal compared to the first prius (4-door) so it is not an apples to apples comparison. not to take anything away from the Prius, a great vehicle. the gen 1 Insight is very good at what it does. i recently purchased a used 2000 Insight and average 50-60 mpg, still competitive and often times outperforming newer hybrids. it also has a stick-shift and is very fun to drive. if you're traveling light it is a great daily driver and efficient way to get around. i agree the gen 2 Insight introduced in 2010 probably struggles to stack up to the prius according to reviews i've read (never driven the gen 2 Insight) but if you're going to talk about the first gen hybrids, they were two very different cars with different design goals.

n

2000 Honda Insight 49 mpg city/61 mpg highway.

2001 Toyota Prius 42 mpg city/41 mph highway.

Honda's IMA certainly has it's place.

carma

You guys make good points - in terms of mileage, the original Insight rocks, like the non-hybrid Honda CRX that used to get super mileage on the highway. I can see where some people might consider it better for the reasons you stated. But the market selected it for extinction, because most people wanted more than two seats and three cylinders at the time. The real blow was the introduction of the second generation Prius, a mid size car that bested the original tiny insight by 11 mpg in the city. JM, I wasn't contesting the fact that Insight was first to the US market, but I think you have to acknowledge that Toyota is a conservative company and waited several years to bring the prius here to make sure it would be reliable. I think prius beat insight to the Japanese market by a couple years. Sorry, I'm not throwing Honda a bone for being first, but facts are facts.

JM

@carma your first comment sounded like you were refuting the statement in the original article so that's the only reason i brought it up. but yes prius came first. and believe me i'm a big toyota fan too. in fact both companies are very innovative. sales numbers drive profit of course but why only base success on sales winners? both toyota & honda know how to build big sellers like camry/accord & corolla/civic...but how unfun would that be if they only focused on making vanilla cars? you gotta give them both credit for taking risks a la celica/fr-s/S2000/aluminum-bodied 2-door Insights and creating some excitement! maybe they are not sales number homeruns, but they give hope to the consumers out there who do not just purchase a vehicle to get from point A to point B in the most drama-free way possible. we should applaud them for trying to put a little soul back into driving.

MikeS / CTMechE

I really wanted to like the Insight, as it was almost... *almost*... like a Civic wagon for a low sticker price. But the money savings showed, as it was cheap inside, loud, and the seating space, access, and visibility just wasn't quite on par. Combined with the poor handling and poor connectivity (and the base 2010 LX version lacking stability control) means it just came up short in too many categories across the board.

One thing people forget about the original Insight coupe was that it had extremely tall gearing for highway MPG along with low weight and great aerodynamics. The actual hybrid system in that version was very mild. Too bad they didn't at least put a tall top gear in this Insight version to at least help highway MPG.

The only Honda I've ever owned is my AP1 S2000, so it pains me to see other Honda vehicles that were as poorly done as this Insight. I know darn well they can do better.


xsolara

Sorry
It's a turd with a big battery

Glenn

If they bring in the Fit hybrid next year, that would kill what little sales the Insight had.

Judy

I was surprised that the Insight had lower mpg rating than my Civic Hybrid. What I'd like is a plug-in Prius C or similar - a smaller car, not a 4 door sedan. Really would like an all electric but no affordable option with long enough range exists at present. Fit Hybrid would be OK except the Fit format isn't doing so well in safety tests...

Others

Goodbye Insight. We all hoped that Insight would be a Prius fighter.
Some people who drove this vehicle said that the ride is rough. That could be the fact why it did not sell well in any of its major 3 markets (US, EU & Japan).

Honda never makes such vehicles, but the company is never fully interested in any of the alternative fuelled vehicles.

That's why they priced the
Civic-CNG at $8,000 more than regular Civic.
Accord-Hybrid at $8,000 more than regular Accord.
Never interested in bring the more successful Fit-Hybrid to USA.

Why would they do this when they have cash-cows like Pilot, Odyssey & Accord.
Next time they talk about Hybrid, think cautiously.

MarkInSF

They forgot the CR-Z. It doesn't seem like a smash hit, either, but was reviewed better than the Insight. If you only need two seats this looks like a reasonable commuter car.

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