First Drive

FIVE REA­SONS HONDA’S EN­TRY-LEVEL HY­BRID MAKES A WEE BIT OF SENSE

Super Street - - Contents -

1. PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY. If you own or are in the process of build­ing a badass project car, it’s safe to say you’ve thought about an eco­nom­i­cal com­muter that isn’t a pain in the ass to drive ev­ery day. It’s never fun stress­ing about where to park, whether you can get up a cer­tain drive­way, or if that cop who just passed you is turn­ing around to give you shit. I’ve been there… There are plenty of op­tions when it comes to pick­ing a solid daily, but if you’re think­ing of some­thing that’ll re­main stock and rack up a lot of miles, a hy­brid is ex­tremely log­i­cal. I know quite a few guys who rock ’em for dailies while keep­ing their project cars safely in the garage, re­served for week­ends and events. The Honda In­sight is a hy­brid that ticks all the right boxes and then some.

LOOKS STILL COUNT. So, you’ve con­vinced your­self you could live a hap­pier life with a hy­brid daily, but you still don’t want it to look like com­plete poop. Most folks de­fault to a Prius, but its styling can be a bit ugly in the eyes of many. There’s also a Hyundai Ioniq avail­able, but that’s not very pleas­ing to the eye, ei­ther. The third-gen­er­a­tion In­sight was de­signed to not look like the stereo­typ­i­cal hy­brid and in­stead re­sem­bles a nor­mal yet taste­ful com­muter car with mod­ern­day tech, like LED light­ing and a hand­some in­te­rior.

GREAT ON GAS (DUH). If your project car is any­thing like mine, you’re lucky to get any­thing around 12 to 20 mpg… The In­sight’s LX and EX trims have an EPA rat­ing of 55/49 mpg (city/high­way), while the Tour­ing trim gets 51/45 mpg. This means you’ll be cut­ting your monthly gas bill ba­si­cally in half or more with this Honda hy­brid.

SUR­PRIS­INGLY, GOT SOME GO! The ’19 In­sight is pow­ered by a 1.5L four-cylin­der hy­brid en­gine mak­ing 151 hp and 197 lb-ft of torque. You read that cor­rectly—nearly 200 lb-ft of torque! After a full af­ter­noon with the In­sight, I’ll ad­mit to driv­ing it like a stolen rental car. Don’t get me wrong…it’s not sporty by any means, but the torque is help­ful for free­way pass­ing and merg­ing. Plus, the In­sight beats its hy­brid com­pe­ti­tion in terms of power and has more torque than the VW Jetta or Mazda 3.

AF­FORD­ABLE? Yes! Start­ing at less than $24K, the car’s pay­ment ba­si­cally equates to a monthly lease of around $300 if you live in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Not too bad, con­sid­er­ing you get a roomy, torquey sedan that’s amaz­ing on gas. Higher trim lev­els throw in bet­ter au­dio equip­ment, a larger head unit, and smart en­try among other things, but don’t worry if you skip on the ex­tras. The point of pick­ing up a hy­brid like the In­sight is to save you some dol­lars and wear and tear on what mat­ters most, that money pit sit­ting in your drive­way.

If you’re won­der­ing if we’ve ever fea­tured an In­sight… We have! Six years ago, this ’10 In­sight EX owned by Sunny Wong was low­ered on air and fit­ted with TE37S, Brembo brakes, and an au­then­tic M’z Speed body kit from Ja­pan. We can’t for­get the widened fen­ders, ei­ther. Any tak­ers on mod­i­fy­ing the ’19 model?!

Re­mem­ber the orig­i­nal In­sight? Yeah, pretty damn ugly. Thank you, Honda, for a much bet­ter de­sign!

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