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The EPA has announced that the average mpg rating for model year 2012 vehicles was 23.6, marking an improvement of 1.2 miles per gallon over the previous year..
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
The population of hybrids is on the rise globally, and Toyota/Lexus seems to be leading the pack. While it might not be the only company that manufactures and sells hybrids, their models are by far the most popular.
According to Toyota/Lexus, they have sold just over 3.03-million hybrid vehicles as of February 28, 2011. Since nearly all Toyota and Lexus vehicles have a hybrid version, it’s not hard to see why, although the Prius is the stand-alone segment leader.
Now it seems that the number of hybrids will grow even further, with the introduction of a new version of the Prius coming later this year, along with the new Lexus CT200h.
So have you caught the hybrid bug yet? Let us know in the comments below.
Press release after the jump:
Despite a slew of new hybrids joining the market this past year, the Toyota Prius retains the top spot as the most fuel efficient vehicle in the U.S. There is a catch, however, with no electric vehicles (like the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt) being included in this year’s round of testing – yet.
With a rating of 51/48-mpg (city/highway) the Prius easily out-paces the second-place Fusion Hybrid, as well as the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid at 41/36-mpg. In third spot are the Honda Civic Hybrid and Insight at 40/43-mpg.
The new Honda CR-Z places 4th with the CVT transmission (but 10th with the manual). Hyundai’s new Sonata Hybrid has not yet been tested either, although it should out-rank the Fusion Hybrid to fit into second place.
For a full breakdown of the top-10most fuel-efficient vehicles, see after the jump: