We drove a $29,000 Honda Insight hybrid that will rival the Toyota Prius. Here are its coolest features.

Honda Insight TouringBenjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • The Honda Insight is all-new for the 2019 model year.
  • The Insight is Honda's answer to the market-leading Toyota Prius hybrid.
  • The 2019 Honda Insight is powered by a 1.5-liter i-VTEC inline-four-cylinder engine mated to a hybrid drive system that produces a total of 151.5 horsepower.
  • The base 2019 Insight LX starts at $22,930 while the mid-grade Insight EX starts at $24,160. Our top-spec Touring trim test car started at $28,190. After a $920 destination fee, our as-tested price came to $29,110.

The Toyota Prius has long been the king of fuel-sipping hybrids. According to sales data compiled by Kelly Blue Book, Toyota sold nearly 88,000 Prii in the US during 2018. That accounted for nearly 51% of all hybrid/alternative energy cars sold last year.

Which means everyone else shared the rest of the pie.

One of those brands is Honda. And for the past two decades, Toyota's arch-rival has fought to supplant the Prius from its throne with limited success.

Honda's latest effort is the new Insight hybrid. The third generation Insight is all-new for the 2019 model year.

Read more: We drove a $49,000 Honda Pilot to see if the new 2019 model is ready to take on Toyota and Ford. Here's the verdict.

In December, Business Insider senior transportation correspondent and long-time Prius owner Matt DeBord praised the Insight for its crisp handling, advanced powertrain, and "mid-premium" cabin.

"I'm a Prius patriot, but there's no question that the 2019 Honda Insight is a better car," DeBord said in his review.

Recently, we got the chance to spend some more time with the new Insight to check out its coolest features. This time, it was a 2019 Honda Insight Touring clad in a subdued Cosmic Blue Metallic paint job.

The base 2019 Insight LX starts at $22,930 while the mid-grade Insight EX starts at $24,160. Our top-spec Touring time test car started at $28,190. After a $920 destination fee, our as-tested price came to $29,110.

Here's a closer look at the 2019 Honda Insight's coolest features:

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1. Styling: the new Insight is a good looking car. Unlike the angular Prius, the Insight doesn't look like a road-going space ship.

1. Styling: the new Insight is a good looking car. Unlike the angular Prius, the Insight doesn't look like a road-going space ship.

In fact, its restrained and somewhat stylish exterior blends in well with the current generation Accord and Civic.

In fact, its restrained and somewhat stylish exterior blends in well with the current generation Accord and Civic.

2. Hybrid power: the Insight is powered by a 107 horsepower 1.5-liter, naturally-aspirated i-VTEC inline-four-cylinder engine paired with a 129 horsepower AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor drawing power from a 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack. Together, they produce 151.5 total system horsepower.

2. Hybrid power: the Insight is powered by a 107 horsepower 1.5-liter, naturally-aspirated i-VTEC inline-four-cylinder engine paired with a 129 horsepower AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor drawing power from a 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack. Together, they produce 151.5 total system horsepower.

The hybrid drive system is hooked up to a continuously variable transmission. Power delivery is strong for a hybrid of its type. While the Insight is hardly a performance vehicle, the drivetrain rarely felt overmatched. The Insight felt smooth and refined in most driving conditions. Only during aggressive high-speed acceleration in Sport mode did it feel less than composed.

3. Fuel economy: the Environmental Protection Agency expects the Insight Touring to return 51 MPG of fuel economy in city driving, 45 MPG on the highway, and 48 MPG combined. We got a little more than 40 MPG during our time with the car. However, a cold New Jersey winter and generous applications of the throttle likely contributed to lower fuel economy readings.

3. Fuel economy: the Environmental Protection Agency expects the Insight Touring to return 51 MPG of fuel economy in city driving, 45 MPG on the highway, and 48 MPG combined. We got a little more than 40 MPG during our time with the car. However, a cold New Jersey winter and generous applications of the throttle likely contributed to lower fuel economy readings.

4. The interior: Honda calls the Insight a premium compact hybrid sedan and the cabin in our Touring trim test car lives up to the billing. Material quality is good and the whole thing feels really well put together. The standard active noise cancellation system delivers a quiet ride, even at high speeds.

4. The interior: Honda calls the Insight a premium compact hybrid sedan and the cabin in our Touring trim test car lives up to the billing. Material quality is good and the whole thing feels really well put together. The standard active noise cancellation system delivers a quiet ride, even at high speeds.

We found the rear cabin to offer adequate room for a compact sedan.

We found the rear cabin to offer adequate room for a compact sedan.

5. Infotainment: Honda's current generation infotainment system is vastly improved over its predecessor. The eight-inch touchscreen delivers crisp image quality while the menu layouts are intuitive and easy to master.

5. Infotainment: Honda's current generation infotainment system is vastly improved over its predecessor. The eight-inch touchscreen delivers crisp image quality while the menu layouts are intuitive and easy to master.

It's equipped with a built-in navigation system, an app suite, ...

It's equipped with a built-in navigation system, an app suite, ...

... Hybrid drive system read outs, and...

... Hybrid drive system read outs, and...

... A host of audio sources. Our biggest complaint is the lack of a tuning knob like the one found in the new Accord.

... A host of audio sources. Our biggest complaint is the lack of a tuning knob like the one found in the new Accord.

6. Multi-angle camera: the Insight is equipped with a multi-angle rear view camera.

6. Multi-angle camera: the Insight is equipped with a multi-angle rear view camera.

It offers three views including a panoramic and...

It offers three views including a panoramic and...

... A straight down view.

... A straight down view.

7. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

7. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

8. 4G LTE wifi capability.

8. 4G LTE wifi capability.

9. Digital instrument cluster: the Insight is equipped with a semi-digital instrument cluster similar to the one found in the larger Accord sedan.

9. Digital instrument cluster: the Insight is equipped with a semi-digital instrument cluster similar to the one found in the larger Accord sedan.

On the right is an analog speedometer. On the left is a configurable seven-inch digital readout.

On the right is an analog speedometer. On the left is a configurable seven-inch digital readout.

10. Safety tech: the Insight comes standard with the Honda Sensing package of driver's assistance tech. The package includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, road departure mitigation, and traffic sign recognition.

10. Safety tech: the Insight comes standard with the Honda Sensing package of driver's assistance tech. The package includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, road departure mitigation, and traffic sign recognition.

11. LaneWatch: higher trims of the Insight come with Honda's LaneWatch system that uses a camera mounted to the passenger side rear view mirror to give the driver an image of the lane to the right of the car.

11. LaneWatch: higher trims of the Insight come with Honda's LaneWatch system that uses a camera mounted to the passenger side rear view mirror to give the driver an image of the lane to the right of the car.

12. Roomy trunk: the insight is equipped with a solid 15.1 cubic foot trunk.

12. Roomy trunk: the insight is equipped with a solid 15.1 cubic foot trunk.

13. Multi-function center console: the Insight is equipped with a multi-function center console that offers reconfigurable storage and cup holders.

13. Multi-function center console: the Insight is equipped with a multi-function center console that offers reconfigurable storage and cup holders.

All of which tucks away neatly under the armrest.

All of which tucks away neatly under the armrest.
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