Honda Insight (2009 – 2014) Review

Honda Insight (2009 – 2014) At A Glance


+Easy to drive in town. Frugal on fuel. Plenty of space for the family.

-CVT gearbox is noisy under hard acceleration. Some of the interior quality isn't up to the usual Honda standard. Toyota Prius is better.

Insurance Groups are between 15–17
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

It might not be as smooth or as comfortable as a Toyota Prius but the Honda Insight is certainly a frugal and easy-to-drive family car. It’s a good choice for those who need more space than you find in a small hatchback, but who still want a town-friendly, smooth and fuel-efficient car. Those who travel on the motorway or on country roads may want to look elsewhere, though.

Despite being a capable hybrid, the Insight is in a tricky position – on paper it lags behind its chief rival, the Toyota Prius, in terms of fuel economy and emissions. However in real world driving, particularly around town, there is little to separate them. 

All versions of the Insight are powered by the same hybrid powertrain, made up of a 1.3-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. Official economy varies depending on trim level, with the best variants managing 68.9mpg and 96g/km, which means free VED. Unfortunately there is no plug-in version, meaning no congestion charge exemption.

The space-age cabin looks the part but suffers when it comes to materials, which aren’t as plush or as well-finished as you might expect from Honda. Thankfully there is plenty of space in the back, with sufficient leg and headroom for adults, provided they aren’t too tall. Boot space is respectable too, at 408 litres, but there is a high load deck which can be tricky when loading heavy objects.

The CVT transmission and hybrid powertrain give good, smooth performance in town but things get raucous when you want to press on quickly. The Insight feels at its best in town, where the light steering and smooth power delivery make things effortless, but the suspension could be smoother over rough surfaces.

Real MPG average for a Honda Insight (2009 – 2014)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

39–63 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Should I buy a used Honda Insight?

"I am looking at buying a used Honda Insight for around £9,000. Just wondered if I should be worried about the battery for this hybrid. I have heard reports of warning lights appearing on the dashboard. Should I be concerned? Are there any other hybrid cars I should consider?"
Generally the Honda Insight is pretty reliable and we've not had many issues reported: That said, the Insight was pretty underwhelming when it was new and time hasn't helped. A Toyota Prius is a better all-rounder and, as it sold in bigger numbers, there'll be more to choose from on the used market. They're popular with taxi drivers, though, so look out for signs that it's been used for private hire.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the most economical automatic for £7k?

"Can you recommend a five-door, five-seat automatic that gives 45mpg + and is quite cheap to tax? Small to medium size car. Budget is £7000"
How about a Honda Insight? It's a hybrid capable of returning more than 50mpg in the real world ( while tax will be £10 a year. Your budget will get you a good example from 2011. The Toyota Prius will do a similar job for similar money. Alternatively, if you'd prefer something more conventional, consider a Suzuki Swift or, if you cover lots of miles, a diesel Kia Cee'd.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Should I get another Honda Jazz or a hybrid/electric car?

"My lovely 2010 Honda Jazz 1.4 has just been written off by a young lad who had only had his own car for 20 minutes. It was a second car and I was totally happy with it, but should I buy another or get something different? Its only used for local shopping trips and golf. Should I be considering electric/hybrid? I am hoping £10,000 will get something reasonable."
The three potential hybrids are a Toyota Yaris hybrid, a Honda Insight hybrid or a Honda Jazz hybrid. Worth considering. But £10,000 will get you a newer Jazz 1.4 i-VTEC CVT-7.
Answered by Honest John

Which second hand hybrid should I buy for £7000?

"I want to buy a small second hand hybrid, budget £7000. What would you recommend? "
If you can find a Toyota Yaris hybrid or a Honda Jazz hybrid for £7,000 they are probably best. You are more likely to find a 2009/2010 Honda Insight hybrid for £7,000. Next up, a Toyota Auris hybrid.
Answered by Honest John
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