Honda Civic vs. Honda Insight

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - January 10, 2019

Honda took a step back into the compact hybrid segment with the release of the 2019 Honda Insight. Gone are the days of the funky, wheel-skirted Insight that struggled to complete and in comes a fresh, Civic-based hybrid that boasts styling cues from the recently redesigned Honda Accord and great fuel economy. Can this rehashed Insight beat its Honda Civic donor car? Keep reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Civic & Insight »

What the Honda Civic Gets Right

Because it lacks the pricey electrical equipment of its hybrid cousin, the Honda Civic starts with a $3,480 price advantage over the Insight. The Civic also rolls with a sportier and more youthful look than the Insight, and its available coupe and hatchback models add to this sporty feel.

While the Honda Insight comes in a single flavor – a 1.5-liter engine and an electric motor that deliver 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque – the Honda Civic has several flavors to pick from. At its base level, the Civic comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 158 hp. In the middle of the pack is a turbocharged 1.5-liter that pushes the output to 174 hp. The Si model bumps the 1.5-liter turbo to 205 hp, and the Type R model boasts a mighty 306-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

What the Honda Insight Gets Right

The Honda Insight, while based on the Civic, boasts more styling cues from the Honda Accord, giving it a more grown-up look that established buyers will appreciate. Inside, its Civic roots show through, but this is far from a bad thing as the Civic-based cabin is stylish and lacks any of the wonky styling found in many other hybrid models. If it weren’t for the gauges informing you of the charge and fuel economy, it’s easy to forget you’re inside a hybrid model.

Honda was also very conscientious about interior space when installing the Insight’s batteries. The Insight only loses 0.2 cubic feet of passenger space, but its measurements are nearly identical to the Civic sedan where it really matters: leg and head room. Its trunk is also identical to the Civic sedan at 15.1 cubic feet.

While it lacks in overall power compared to the Civic, the Honda Insight’s 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain injects 197 pound-feet of torque, giving it a nice jolt off the line. But where the Insight earns its keep is its fuel economy, which sits at an EPA-estimated 55 miles per gallon city, 49 mpg highway, and 52 combined in all trims south of the Touring model. If you opt for the Touring trim, it loses four mpg across the board. The best the Civic can do is 32/42/36 mpg (city/highway/combined) with the 1.5-liter engine and continuously variable transmission.

The Honda Insight is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus thanks to its “Good” ratings in all crash test, “Superior” forward-crash avoidance, and “Good” headlights. The Civic missed the mark with its “Poor” headlights and lack of a passenger-side small-overlap test.

Feel Younger in the Civic

With the Honda Insight delivering the goods in so many categories, it’s hard for the Honda Civic to keep up. But the Civic is great for certain buyers, specifically those looking for its more youthful appearance and performance-oriented models.

Verdict: Honda Insight

The Honda Insight is a great all-around commuter car. It looks fantastic, boasts a smooth ride, delivers stunning fuel economy, and has a little zip off the line. It’s a tough one to beat.

Take a closer look at the Honda Civic »

Take a closer look at the Honda Insight »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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