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2014 Mazda CX-5, Soul Red Metallic, 8 mi., $27,445
Review of the 2012 Honda Insight
IntroductionThe 2012 Honda Insight is aerodynamically styled, five-passenger, five-door dedicated hybrid vehicle receives extensive changes inside and out for 2012. The all-new Insight is packed with the latest hybrid technology and is affordably priced. New standard features and a new value-oriented entry model which offers enhanced value and exclusive content are the highlights of the 2012 Insight. The Insight Base, Insight LX and Insight EX are available.
Exterior Design and Special FeaturesThe 2012 Honda Insight receives extensive changes inside and out for 2012. Exterior changes include a more distinctive grille design that introduces a thin, blue accent bar representative of the Insight's high-tech hybrid identity. Restyled front and rear bumpers, along with changes under the vehicle, contribute to a 2-percent increase in aerodynamic performance. New designs for the headlight and brake light internal reflectors further complete the refreshed look. Insight and Insight LX models run on new 15-inch wheel covers while the Insight EX has newly styled 15-inch alloy wheels. The Insight's interior refinements for 2012 include a reconfigured rear seat area for better leg and head room; a redesigned gauge cluster background with a more technically sophisticated appearance; reshaped center-console beverage holders that accommodate larger drinks; and a more supportive front armrest (Insight LX and EX). The Insight LX has new, more premium seat fabric, while the Insight EX is upholstered with a combination of synthetic leather (new) and premium fabric. Rear-seat headroom improves by 0.6 inches with changes to the rear headliner shape and deeper sculpting of the rear seat cushion to improve rear passenger comfort. Rearward visibility improves with a more compactly mounted rear-wiper motor housing and a thinner rear spoiler that creates a larger viewing area out the lower back window. The Insight becomes quieter for 2012 with increased thickness to the vehicle's existing noise-insulation materials and additional insulation panels in the cargo area. Available on Insight EX models, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition2 receives several notable upgrades including the addition of a rearview camera. The system provides routing and guidance to individual addresses and more than 7-million points of interest within the continental United States. A 16-GB flash memory system replaces the 4.7-GB DVD-based system used on the prior model. The new system offers faster route calculation and includes FM traffic, a subscription-free service that alerts drivers to traffic conditions. The Insight features the Eco Assist System, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation while providing feedback related to individual driving styles. The value-oriented base model, simply designated as "Insight," is well equipped with a 160-watt, two-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, power windows, remote entry and more. The Insight LX adds a four-speaker audio system, USB audio interface, armrest console, floor mats and a security system. New for 2012, the LX has map lights and steering wheel audio controls. The Insight EX adds alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, an audio system with six speakers, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and much more. For 2012, the EX gains Bluetooth HandsFreeLink3, automatic headlights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The Insight EX is available with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition and rearview camera.
EngineThe Insight is powered by an Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system comprised of a 1.3-liter i VTEC gasoline 4-cylinder engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. The combination develops 98 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 123 lb-ft. of torque at 1000-1700 rpm. For 2012, friction-reducing measures in the engine and the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) contribute to the new model's increased fuel economy. A 10.6-gallon fuel tank provides an estimated maximum driving range exceeding 400 miles. *The 2012 Honda Insight returns with a mileage of 41 city/44 hwy/42 combined mpg.
SafetyStandard safety features on all Insight models include dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side-curtain airbag system; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD); driver's and front-passenger's active head restraints; and a front body structure designed to mitigate pedestrian injuries. The Insight also features Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which provides improved occupant protection and crash compatibility between vehicles of different sizes and ride heights in frontal crashes.