2001 Honda Insight

  • 2001 Honda Insight Base Hatchback

    Base Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.0L I3
    • MSRP
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2001 Honda Insight Review

The 2001 Honda Insight offers terrific fuel efficiency without taking all the fun out of driving.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2001 Honda Insight manages to offer exemplary fuel efficiency while still offering a fun ride. The aesthetics take some time to get used to, but most of the design choices are based on functionality. The battery, however, doesn't offer quite as much juice as one would hope. Still, this is an excellent choice for someone who wants to try out a hybrid vehicle.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 1.0-liter three-cylinder hybrid
Transmissions: five-speed manual transmission
Models: Honda Insight

What's New

Honda gets rid of the Citrus Yellow paint job, replacing it with Monte Carlo Blue Pearl. The Insight now has a continuously variable transmission available.


The 2001 Honda Insight comes straight from the future. Its aerodynamic look cuts through the wind and helps reduce fuel consumption. It features an aluminum body (only the front fender is made of plastic) that is extremely lightweight. Again, this was obviously chosen to improve fuel efficiency. It's essentially shaped like a bullet that was shot from 20 years in the future, broke the time barrier, and ended up on your dealer's lot.

Despite its pseudo-futurism, the 2001 Insight actually looks kind of cool. Seen from the front, it looks like your typical Honda. Looking from the side though, it's a hatchback like you've never seen before. That will cause some customers to walk away shaking their heads, but it will cause more adventurous buyers to fall in love.


The 2001 Honda Insight only comes in one trim level, so what you see is what you get. Automatic air conditioning is the only optional feature that you can add. That might sound like bad news to some, but the Insight is surprisingly well-equipped. Standard features include high-backed bucket seats with lateral and lumbar support, power windows, an AM/FM stereo with cassette player, dual airbags, and power door locks.

These features help make the 2001 Honda Insight's interior quite comfortable. The big question, however, is whether it looks good. The answer is ""maybe.""

The interior has a similar futuristic aesthetic as the exterior. The functionality of the design, however, is much more apparent when you're sitting behind the wheel. The LCD instrument display is divided into three sections, making it very easy to find buttons and gauges even when you're navigating dense traffic. A cluster on the left shows you the RPM, coolant temperature, and the ever-useful ""check engine"" light (as if the average driver could even pretend to check a hybrid's engine). In the middle you'll find a large digital speedometer, an odometer, and two graphs (one that shows you the vehicle's lifetime fuel economy and one that shows the instant fuel economy). On the right side, you'll find the car's fuel level and battery level.

It's very handy, although the fuel efficiency graphs seem a bit like advertisements after you've already bought the car.

Performance & Handling

The 2001 Honda Insight has a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor (the electric motor is run by 144 volt nickel metal hydride batteries that charge from friction in the ABS system). The electric motor gives the gas engine a boost during acceleration, so you get much more out of the 1.0-liter three-cylinder than you would expect. Still, it doesn't offer the swiftness that you need to quickly pass cars on the highway.

The Insight's lightweight means that you get exceptional mileage on a thimbleful of gas, but it also means that crosswinds can literally push the small car, forcing the driver to either compensate or blow into the next lane. Drivers will also encounter problems when the narrow wheels find grooves in the road. The wheels seem more interested in following the road's instructions than the driver's. That means you have to pay close attention at all times. You never know when you'll find an odd groove in the pavement.


The 2001 Honda Insight has impressive (but not astounding) safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency awards the 2001 Insight with four of five stars fin passenger, driver, and front side impact crash tests. Unfortunately, the NHTSA did not perform rear side impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does not have any results for the 2001 Insight.

Safety features for the 2001 Honda Insight include electronic brakeforce distribution, an engine immobilizer, four-wheel ABS, and ventilated front disc / rear drum brakes. These should make you feel pretty safe on the road, even when you have kids sitting in the backseat.

EPA Fuel Economy

Honda Insight: 48/60 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Saving money on gas
  • Good standard features
  • Innovative technology

You Won't Like

  • Crosswinds are dangerous
  • Batteries can drain quickly
  • Not as powerful and quick as you might want

Sum Up

The 2001 Honda Insight offers terrific fuel efficiency without taking all the fun out of driving.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • GM EV1
  • Acura NSX

See the New 2014 Insight.

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