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The Honda Insight, boasting the highest fuel economy of any new vehicle under $20,000, gets a mid-life model update for 2012.
Exterior wise, the Insight receives a more distinctive grill design with a thin, blue accent bar to highlight its high-tech identity. Aerodynamic enhancements include a smother underbody cover and an addition of air diffusers beneath the rear bumper to better channel airflow. The reshaped front and rear bumpers also provide a 2 percent decrease of aero drag and wraps around a slightly wider set of wheels, 185/60/15 tires from the prior 175/65/15, which helps to improve the Insight’s handling.
The Insight’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system continues the use of a 1.3-liter i-VTEC gasoline inline-4 engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. The system produces 98-hp and 123 lb-ft of torque. Friction-reduction treated parts and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) work to bump the Insight’s EPA from the old rating of 40/43/41 to a slightly higher 41/44/42 city/highway/combined.
Honda’s latest Satellite-Linked Navigation System features voice recognition, a system storing more than 7 million points of interest within the continental United States, a 16-GB flash hard drive, subscription free FM traffic, and a rearview camera.
The insight will be available in three model trims. The base model will have a 160-watt, two-speaker audio system, automatic climate control, power windows, and remote entry for $18,350. An Insight LX will feature a four-speaker audio system, USB audio interface, an armrest console, floor mats, and a security system. Finally, the Insight EX will get alloy wheels, paddle shifters, heated side mirrors, six speaker audio, Bluetooth capability, and satellite navigation available. EX begins at $21,815.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Insight
Honda may be a little low key for this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but the Japanese automaker has announced a refreshed version of its Insight hybrid will make its debut. For the newly updated model Honda has fine-tuned the aerodynamics of the car, reduced engine friction, made improvements to the Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) and incorporated a better air conditioning system.
All of these changes are combined for better fuel mileage, with Honda claiming that the 2012 Insight will produce 96 g/km of CO2 or about 57-mpg in the European cycle. Typically speaking, the European cycle yields around 10- to 20-percent higher than the U.S. cycle, so don’t look for numbers quite that impressive when it comes here. Currently the Insight is rated at 40/43-mpg.
Regardless, we hope the exterior improvements do make their way here, with a more aggressive front end and a slimmed tail spoiler. In addition, tweaks have been made to the engine and the suspension for overall improvement to the ride quality and stability. Lastly, Honda claims the interior has been enhanced for “a superior quality.”