Honda Insight Adds Cheaper Base Model, Starting at $18,200

Honda announced today that it is going to offer a new, 2011 “value-oriented base model” of the Honda Insight hybrid starting at $18,200, plus destination charge of $750. That’s $1,600 less than the current lowest-priced 2010 Insight, the LX.

The new value base Insight model, which goes on sale today, is rated with the same mileage as the other Insight models: 40 miles per gallon in city and 43 mpg on the highway.

When the Honda Insight was introduced in early 2009, it was intended to compete as a more affordable alternative to Toyota Prius. But the final sales price of the Insight, typically in the low $20,000s, is not that much cheaper than a Prius—and the fuel economy is considerably lower. As a result, the Prius outsells the Insight by a ration of about 5 to 1. Nonetheless, in recent months, the Insight has become the second best selling hybrid in the United States behind the Prius—beating out the larger more expensive Ford Fusion Hybrid.

In April, Takanobu Ito, Honda’s president, said he was not satisfied with Honda’s hybrid technology, and charged engineers with producing the next Honda hybrids with fuel economy that beats the Prius’s combined 50-mpg rating. At the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this month, Honda unveiled a new two-motor full hybrid system capable of achieving that goal. Coming at the heels of the L.A., the announcement of the lower priced Insight base model indicates Honda’s seriousness about hybrids—and its diligent efforts to simultaneously lower the cost of its hybrid models while significantly increasing fuel efficiency.

Honda said that all three 2011 Insight models will offer vehicle stability systems as standard equipment. The new base Insight comes standard with anti-lock braking, automatic climate control, power windows and remote entry, Honda’s continuously variable transmission, a tilt and telescoping steering column, 60/40 fold-down rear seats, Honda’s Eco Assist driving behavior feedback system, 2-speaker audio system with CD player and an auxiliary audio input and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags.

The LX trim level, which will be priced at $19,900, adds cruise control, a four-speaker audio system, an armrest console, floor mats and a security system. And the top-level EX, which starts at $22,240, includes alloy wheels, steering-wheel paddle shifters, six-speaker audio system and heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals.

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  • Yegor

    Great news! I think it should increase sales significantly!
    The base Fit with automatic transmission is $15,900 so Insight is only $2,300 more.

    Still I wish they sell Honda Fit Hybrid in USA at this price instead of Insight – it is a little bit bigger and it is very important for American customers.

  • Max Reid

    Good news.

    A 5-door 5-seater hybrid for 18,200 and this is a better vehicle than Civic. Look into the details. Insight has 16 cu. ft. cargo capacity and 41 MPG. It will get the return on investment compared to Civic.

    Also the base model Prius @ 21K is much better. I believe we are at a point where Hybrids will start eating into Gasolene only vehicles.

  • Dom

    Hey, why not offer the slick six-speed manual transmission from the CR-Z in the Insight? Then you could knock another $1000 or so off the price!

  • Sean Solo

    I agree with Yegor – I would also like a Fit Hybrid. I tried sitting in the backseat of an Insight and my head hits the roof (I’m 6 feet tall). I also can’t sit all the way back in the backseat where my head can touch the headrest. I guess I could just keep the back seats folded forward and treat it like a large 2-seater hatchback.

    Or Honda could give us the Fit Hybrid!

  • Anonymous

    I’d like for automakers to go back to the days when hybrids/electrics LOOKED different instead of looking like every other car on the road. The EV1 looked like it was straight out of EPCOT’s World of Motion. The original Insight was streamlined.

    The new Volt and Insight look like any other 4-door you’d see on the road nowadays.

    At least the Aptera still looks like something from the future…

  • Matt Chatham

    Wow… So the new LX is what the EX was before at a much cheaper price. Makes me wish I’d waited to buy mine. Still, glad to hear this news. Hopefully this will show more people that buying hybrids doesn’t have to break the bank.

  • Yegor

    Subcompact market in US is very small – Yaris, Fiesta and Aveo – each sell about 3,000 per month only.
    When compact sales are huge Corolla/Matrix, Civic and Focus each 15,000 – 20,000 per month.
    No wonder that Prius (compact car) out-sales Insight (subcompact car) 5 to 1.
    Lower price of Insight will help increase sales but unfortunately there is no much market to dig into. 🙁
    Honda should bring Fit Hybrid to US or make Insight bigger.

  • Shines

    Sorry to dis Honda – not really their fault but the deluxe model comes with paddle shifters – for the cvt transmission… Isn’t that charging more for less?

  • Anonymous

    still have reservations about insight based on their tainted record on civic hybrids.

  • Tony Hardy

    Honda pick up your game, we need Prius beating fuel economy…..

  • Anonymous

    The actual miles-per-gallon of a Honda Insight is way higher than the official EPA rating. I have a 2010 Insight and am getting in the 48-50 mpg range simply by paying attention to the graphics on the dashboard that help drivers learn how to drive more efficiently.

  • Indigo

    I don’t know how the EPA tests, but I get 45 MPG when not giving a damn and I get 56 MPG when really trying to hypermile.

    I was pretty happy about the $17,588 price I paid for the Insight LX. I don’t get the whole “paddle shifters on a CVT” idea. The EX had nothing I really needed.

  • izek

    The problem that the Insight faces is not the Prius, but the FIT. I average 37 mpg city and 40 mpg highway on my FIT, and I paid $1,500 less for a sport model, than if I had gone with the Insight LX. I got a better car and a better deal. They most important thing is that MPG ratings are too close (in my opinion) and the FIT is just a better car than the Insight.

    I had my heart set on the insight, but after doing the math, it just didn’t make sense. Maybe once they upgrade from I.M.A. I’ll consider an Insight, and hopefully by then The FIT hybrid will be in the U.S.

  • Jimash

    “Home / News / Honda Insight Adds Cheaper Base Model, Starting at $18,200 /

    1 year ago

    I don’t know how the EPA tests, but I get 45 MPG when not giving a damn and I get 56 MPG when really trying to hypermile.

    I was pretty happy about the $17,588 price I paid for the Insight LX. I don’t get the whole “paddle shifters on a CVT” idea. The EX had nothing I really needed.”

    My mileage is similar.
    The paddle shifters on the CVT are very useful, for times when it is sluggish on a hill or when passing. They work well, except for if you are in Sport mode and use the shifters you either have to keep shifting or rev it really high to get an automatic shift. In normal mode, if you downshift on a hill it holds that for a few seconds and then upshifts again.