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I had the chance to take a test drive in the 2019 Honda Insight yesterday. Third vehicle of three listed on the dealership Internet page, and the first two had already sold (both EX's).

I knew more about the car than the Salesman, and in return for no "let's go talk to my manager", I schooled him on the product as we drove.

Here are my first impressions:



  • The Insight is dialed-in for what it is: a conservatively styled car that happens to be a hybrid.
  • Honda targeted Prius styling issues and killed them dead. And not just Hollywood dead, but dead dead.
  • The steering was nicely weighted and the steering wheel is the perfect size.
  • Handling felt better than the Clarity: the Insight felt more pinned to the road.
  • Acceleration is pretty good for a hybrid. The car will make noise as you pass that 18-wheeler, but you will pass that 18-wheeler.
  • Operating the Insight was super-intuitive, and every control fell nicely to hand. No drama at all. Top notch ergonomics: you're familiar with this car very quickly.
  • The cabin was quiet inside, unless you accelerate hard. I can verify that Sport mode "enhances" the exhaust note audibly, even if the car doesn't go much faster.
  • Most importantly for me, however, was that rearward visibility was good, with no horizontal third brake light bar interrupting your view: the rear-view mirror is filled up with exactly what can be seen through the back glass.
  • Apple Car Play was a breeze to set up, and Apple maps looked great. I should have tried Waze, but I forgot.
  • The radio has a volume knob.
  • The seats don't have lumbar support, but it didn't bother me, as the lumbar support the seats have is a little aggressive. Overall, seats were comfortable.
  • The one negative I saw was that the middle seat belt is anchored to the floor, and can't be removed if you put the rear seats down. Your cargo will have to go around this seat belt.
  • The EX is definitely going to be the sweet spot here. I just didn't see anything in the Touring trim that justified a loss of 4 mpg and a higher price. YMMV on that.


Hope that helps. If you have any questions, just reply and I'll see if I can give an answer.
 

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Agree with your assessment. I test drove the Clarity and Accord Hybrid before ultimately deciding on the Insight. The Clarity felt sloppy and van like to me. Coming from a non-hybrid vehicle the disconnect between the engine revs and actual speed under higher load (going up step slopes or high acceleration) are confusing to my brain. I guess it's something I'll get used to in time. Lane watch is also strange to me. I'd like to have seen it applied on the driver side as well or at least add a blind spot assist light to the mirror.

I opted for the Touring model as cloth seats are a deal killer for me plus the dealer worked with me on a good deal. I'd be willing to trade my 17" Touring wheels for some 16" LX/EX wheels for the enhanced gas mileage though.
 

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Jaybird and Seanlaw, thank you for your impressions. Agree with all the positives that you both wrote in your messages. I test drove the Insight twice at this point and have one MONSTER negative about the car that may - or may not - be a dealbreaker. For the LX and EX, the cloth seating is absolutely terrible. Terrible enough on comfort and lack of lumbar that I would normally consider it a dealbreaker. As such, I have taken the extraordinary step of special ordering two of the world's most ergonomic (and extravagant) cushions from Canada. One is a wedge seat cushion, the other is a lumbar cushion. They won't be arriving until the latter part of next week (July 12-13) and then I will test drive the car one more time with the cushions beneath and behind me. I would not pay some $3,500-$4,000 for the Touring just for the leather package (maybe those seats are more comfortable). However, spending $200+ for each of these two cushions will be worth it if they work out. And if they don't work out, I can always use them at work for 8 hours a day.



Would be nice to see some threads on this forum on what people have paid for their new Insight, as there is basically nothing to go on so far. I know it's only been a week, but would love to see how much below MSRP people can get it for.
 

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Different reaction to leather vs. cloth

I couldn't have had a different reaction to the cloth vs. leather seats. I test drove a Touring Insight about a week ago and today spent about a half hour sitting in and getting acclimated to the interior of an EX. I should mention that I have lower back issues and use a lumbar cushion in all cars, so that was with me both times.


With the small lumbar cushion, I found the cloth driver's seat in the EX far more comfortable. It had just a small amount of "give" at first and then firmed right up. The leather seat in the Touring was firm, period. Oddly, the tilt of the base (not the seat back) of the passenger's seat in the Touring was too flat and not as comfortable as the more canted one in the EX -- at least that was the case in the Touring Insight I drove.

I should mention that the quality of the cloth material used in the EX seats was excellent, much better than on competing cars (say, Mazda) with cloth seats.


Overall, I think the seats in the Insight are very good, and that's an important consideration for me in choosing a car.
 

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As such, I have taken the extraordinary step of special ordering two of the world's most ergonomic (and extravagant) cushions from Canada. One is a wedge seat cushion, the other is a lumbar cushion.
Do tell - website/brand please.
 

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Did anyone who tested the clarity find the steering controls less intuitive? The thing that sold me on the insight was the fact I could figure everything out with the steering controls and tech within ten minutes even though this was my first highs tech car. The clarity also seemed like it was still a work in progress like the USB ports being hard to reach and the steering controls being weird while the insight seemed refined and completed probably due to being based on the Civic platform. Just my two cents.
 

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You mention the Insight is quiet... but that's only half the story. The Insight is quiet until you get onto the highway. Then it's noisy as heck. The Insight beats my Accord at noise while driving around the city but my 2013 Accord is much quieter on the highway as the car actually has noise insulation and the engine tone is less piercing.

My Model 3 beats our 2 Honda's at any speed in the noise department 😃
 

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Is it still noisy once you get to cruising speed? Do you drive on a hilly highway?

I hear the engine noise when I accelerate and merge onto the highway but once I’m cruising I hear road noise from the tires more than wind or engine noise. The road noise is gone once I’m driving on asphalt(blacktop) portion of the highway. This is when I can hear the engine noise but it doesn’t sound loud to me with my music volume set at only 9.
 

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You mention the Insight is quiet... but that's only half the story. The Insight is quiet until you get onto the highway. Then it's noisy as heck. The Insight beats my Accord at noise while driving around the city but my 2013 Accord is much quieter on the highway as the car actually has noise insulation and the engine tone is less piercing.

My Model 3 beats our 2 Honda's at any speed in the noise department 😃
The insight is definitely noisy on the highway. The tire noise seems to be the main culprit. Of course if you happen to be lucky enough to be near a new stretch of blacktop highway then it's quiet, otherwise the tire noise is quite intrusive. If you take the door panels off you'll find a small Honda diaper and then nothing between you and the door panels. Even putting dynamat on the doors doesn't help much. I'm not sure if it's suppose to, but I was hoping it would dampen a little.
 

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Is it still noisy once you get to cruising speed? Do you drive on a hilly highway?

I hear the engine noise when I accelerate and merge onto the highway but once I’m cruising I hear road noise from the tires more than wind or engine noise. The road noise is gone once I’m driving on asphalt(blacktop) portion of the highway. This is when I can hear the engine noise but it doesn’t sound loud to me with my music volume set at only 9.
At highway speeds the tires are loud on non blacktop highways to the point of interfering with radio quality. And I listen at 30 or above. Looking forward to installing amps to override this.
 

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You mention the Insight is quiet... but that's only half the story. The Insight is quiet until you get onto the highway. Then it's noisy as heck. The Insight beats my Accord at noise while driving around the city but my 2013 Accord is much quieter on the highway as the car actually has noise insulation and the engine tone is less piercing.

My Model 3 beats our 2 Honda's at any speed in the noise department 😃
Were you able to observe where the high voltage battery level was at during your drive? If the battery level was low (<3-4 bars) the gas engine would be working to recharge the battery AND power the car, leading to more-than-average noise, on top of any road/tire noise. Sport mode could help the battery recharging at highway speeds, as its algorithm keeps HV battery level as high as possible/feasible.
 

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Were you able to observe where the high voltage battery level was at during your drive? If the battery level was low (<3-4 bars) the gas engine would be working to recharge the battery AND power the car, leading to more-than-average noise, on top of any road/tire noise. Sport mode could help the battery recharging at highway speeds, as its algorithm keeps HV battery level as high as possible/feasible.
It's the road noise and engine noise coming through the cabin and not matter of the engine charging the HV battery. When a semi truck is next to you, the diesel turbine sound just comes right through the car into the cabin. It's really unnerving.

The car does come with Michelin energy saver A/S which are not quiet tires... But I would say this is not the main culprit. The suspension on our Insight is quite fresh and soaks up the highway cracks, expansion joints and bumps much better than my tired 2013 Accord with 136k miles, so there is a lot less jarring highway crack jolts transmitted to the cabin, even though the Accord has quiet Michelin Premier A/S tires.

Keep in mind road noise is a combination of things... Noise from the rolling, engine, vibration, noise other vehicles around you and all the jolts/shocks being transmitted into the cabin.

I don't think that jolt transmission is one of them. The Insight does a much better job than my tired 2013 Accord with 136k miles in soaking up jolts. It even better than my Tesla Model 3 (19 inch wheels, 40 section tires) as well.

I feel I do have perhaps a slightly different perspective as I also own a Tesla Model 3 (full electric) with 19inch rims and own an Accord (full ICE). I have the Insight this morning and I'm going to drive it around on the interstate to see what else I can pin point.
 

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I feel I do have perhaps a slightly different perspective as I also own a Tesla Model 3 (full electric) with 19inch rims and own an Accord (full ICE). I have the Insight this morning and I'm going to drive it around on the interstate to see what else I can pin point.
Looking forward to your additional observations... and hearing any thoughts/comparisons you may have on this youtube video andrew28 shared on the sound level in a [url="https://www.gen3insight.com/forum/17690-post15.html]Tesla Model 3 vs Civic[/url]. The measurements in the video led me to believe cars are now so quiet that it's tire and other road noise that are the remaining differentiating factors.
 

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It's the road noise and engine noise coming through the cabin and not matter of the engine charging the HV battery. When a semi truck is next to you, the diesel turbine sound just comes right through the car into the cabin. It's really unnerving.

The car does come with Michelin energy saver A/S which are not quiet tires... But I would say this is not the main culprit. The suspension on our Insight is quite fresh and soaks up the highway cracks, expansion joints and bumps much better than my tired 2013 Accord with 136k miles, so there is a lot less jarring highway crack jolts transmitted to the cabin, even though the Accord has quiet Michelin Premier A/S tires.

Keep in mind road noise is a combination of things... Noise from the rolling, engine, vibration, noise other vehicles around you and all the jolts/shocks being transmitted into the cabin.

I don't think that jolt transmission is one of them. The Insight does a much better job than my tired 2013 Accord with 136k miles in soaking up jolts. It even better than my Tesla Model 3 (19 inch wheels, 40 section tires) as well.

I feel I do have perhaps a slightly different perspective as I also own a Tesla Model 3 (full electric) with 19inch rims and own an Accord (full ICE). I have the Insight this morning and I'm going to drive it around on the interstate to see what else I can pin point.
^Maybe this will help mitigate some of your road noise since they might have not been adjusted properly at the factory?
 

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Did anyone who tested the clarity find the steering controls less intuitive? The thing that sold me on the insight was the fact I could figure everything out with the steering controls and tech within ten minutes even though this was my first highs tech car. The clarity also seemed like it was still a work in progress like the USB ports being hard to reach and the steering controls being weird while the insight seemed refined and completed probably due to being based on the Civic platform. Just my two cents.
We got the new 10th gen Accord steering wheel. :grin: CRV, Civic, Clarity, Passport, Pilot, Odyssey use the same steering wheel. The Fit, HRV, and Ridgeline share a different steering wheel.


I really like how the Insight is really the best parts of the 10th gen Civic and 10th gen Accord combined into one fuel efficient vehicle with it's own unique styling. Now that you brought up the steering wheel, I'm kind of glad they named this the Insight instead of the Civic hybrid, otherwise we would had been stuck with the Civic steering wheel along with the dated display audio software, instead of what the 10th gen Accord got. The Civic is probably not going to get a new steering wheel and display audio software design until the next gen since the mid-gen refresh 2019 model only got a volume knob added...
 

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Jaybird, good write-up and bullet points!

Had a different take on one of them, though.

“Most importantly for me, however, was that rearward visibility was good, with no horizontal third brake light bar interrupting your view: the rear-view mirror is filled up with exactly what can be seen through the back glass.”

I've found the rear visibility to be fair, at best. The back headrests filled up a portion of the rear mirror and what you see is much less than what is seen in, say, an older Honda Accord. The newer accord have that same sloping back rear and higher rear that limits visibility such as they do on the Insight.

Visibility over the shoulder is also limited. Wish they would redesign that while maintaining crash safety. I'd willingly give up some mpgs for better views!
 
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