Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - September 10, 2020

The Toyota Prius is considered to be the grandfather to all hybrids. One of the first mass-market hybrids on the market, the Prius is what comes to mind when the word hybrid comes up. Offering consumers an efficient powertrain since 2001, the Prius has long been the benchmark in the segment.

While the Prius has always been seen as the archetypal hybrid, a little-known fact is that the Honda Insight actually beat the Prius to the U.S. market, officially going on sale in 2000. The Insight may have never received the same acclaim or admiration, but it’s always been a versatile, usable, and efficient vehicle.

Nearly two decades later, both vehicles have morphed into hyper-efficient hatchbacks with all of the latest technology. The Insight has taken the less-is-more approach, while the Prius has gone futuristic with its design. The two vehicles may share the same goal and have a rivalry that goes back for roughly 20 years, but there are major differences that could have you leaning toward one option over the other.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Toyota Prius & Honda Insight »

What the Prius Gets Right

The Toyota Prius remains the king of fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 56 miles per gallon combined in the L Eco trim. That’s better than the Insight’s 52 mpg combined. If you’re looking to save money at the gas pump, the Prius is the better option.

In addition to beating the Insight when it comes to fuel economy, Toyota offers an all-wheel-drive variant of the Prius, which should help consumers that live in areas that get inclement weather.

With the Prius’ higher price tag, consumers get more standard features. Over the Insight’s base 5-inch LCD screen, the Prius comes with a 7-inch touchscreen as standard. More importantly, the Prius comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa as standard. You won’t find these features as standard on the Insight.

Both vehicles are hatchbacks, but the Prius is the one that comes with a more spacious cargo area. With the rear seats in place, the Pirus has 27.4 cubic feet of cargo space and can hold up to 65.5 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat folded. Honda claims the Insight can hold up to 15.1 cubic feet of cargo and doesn’t provide a figure for when the rear seat is folded.

What the Insight Gets Right

The Insight gets an immediate edge over the Prius with a more affordable price tag. Pricing for the Insight starts at $23,885 including destination, while the Prius costs $25,155. The extra $1,270 can go a long way.

On the inside, the Insight offers more passenger space than the Prius. The Insight has 97.6 cubic feet of passenger space, which is 4.5 cubic feet more than what you’ll find in the Prius. That means the Insight will have a slightly more spacious cabin, especially when it comes to the back seats where the Insight offers 4 more inches of rear leg room.

Neither of these vehicles are known for their punchy performance, but the Insight comes with a more powerful powertrain than the Prius. The Insight comes with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a combined output of 151 horsepower. The Prius comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for 121 hp.

Still One Fuel Economy King

The most recent Honda Insight is better than ever and when compared to the Toyota Prius, the two hybrids are closer than ever before. Unfortunately, the Insight loses out in a few important areas, like fuel economy, standard features, available all-wheel drive, and cargo capacity, giving Prius the edge.

If there’s one area where the Insight is leaps and bounds ahead of the Prius, it’s when it comes to design. The Prius has a unique, futuristic design, while the Insight has a more understated look.

Our Verdict: Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius gets better fuel economy, comes with more standard features, and is offered with all-wheel drive. Those three things give it the win over the Honda Insight in this comparison. It may not be the prettiest vehicle on the market, but if you’re looking to save money on fuel, the Prius is a top choice.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Prius »

Take a closer look at the Honda Insight »

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

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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