2002 Honda Insight

  • 2002 Honda Insight Base Hatchback

    Base Hatchback

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.0L I3
    • MSRP
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2002 Honda Insight Review

Leaves the driver with a smile every time.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 Honda Insight made the environmentalists happy when it introduced itself as the first electric hybrid vehicle to the U.S. market. The two-passenger hatchback has an aluminum body and novel powertrain and can travel for 68 miles on a single gallon of gas. With its 10.6-gallon tank, consumers could drive from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles with some gas left over. It needs no power supply in recharging metal hydride batteries, and constant braking with ABS provides power to the system.

The 2002 Honda Insight swiftly accelerates; however, it lacks passing power. The manual five-speed transmission has somewhat short gears for fine driving in the city, and the high gear with overdrive maximizes fuel economy. This year a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available and does not require gear swapping. It requires less power to drive at expressway speeds, thanks to aerodynamic bodywork, lightweight materials, and flat underbody. Saving weight costs a little in the handling area. The driver has to compensate continually for crosswinds and pavement grooves.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 1.0-liter three-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, two-speed CVT
Models: Honda Insight

What's New

The 2002 Honda Insight doesn't make any changes.


The 2002 Honda Insight mimics the Civics’ appearance when looking at the front, but the rear is distinctively unique. The hatchback body has a rounded teardrop, smooth shape, and some say it looks futuristic because of the sleek design. The measurements of the Insight’s exterior are 66.7 inches wide and 53.3 inches high, while the curb weight is 1847 pounds. The wheelbase is 94.5 inches, and it measures 155.1 inches long with 14-inch alloy wheels. Other standard exterior features include a rear defogger, all-season tires, intermittent wipers, one rear window wiper, and a spare tire mounted inside. Three exterior body paint colors are available.


The 2002 Honda Insight offers cloth bucket seats that provide ample space for two adult passengers. Dual bucket seats provide good lumbar and lateral support. The unusual styling results in a tunnel-like view that some owners say hinders the blind spot. The cargo area is behind the seats sharing area with the battery pack and offers 16.3 cubic feet of space. The middle glove box is roomy, but there’s very little storage space besides that in the small hatchback. The dashboard feels a little crowded with a large, dominate digital speedometer. Warning lights display fuel economy as well as electric motor operation. Air-conditioning is optional but standard features include power locks, electric power steering, power windows, a cargo net, front reading lights, front cup holders, driver vanity mirror, and an AM/FM stereo with two speakers.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Honda Insight's drivetrain has a one-liter three-cylinder that produces 67 horsepower. When incorporating with the CVT, the horses decrease to 65. The gas engine primarily powers the Insight with an electric motor kicking in for faster acceleration. Highway passing is another opportunity for the electric motor’s assistance. The battery pack is 48 pounds and mounts behind the seats. The two available transmission options are CVT and a manual five-speed gearbox. The gasoline-powered engine performs battery recharging as the Insight cruises along, which makes the necessity for plugging into a charger non-existent. The sporty manual shifting is fun to drive and easy to manipulate through passes and merges.


The 2002 Honda Insight features an engine immobilizer, electronic brake force distribution, front seat belt pretensioners, rear drum brakes, ventilated front disc brakes, and four-wheel ABS, which all come standard. It receives four stars in front side-impact, passenger protection, and driver protection during crashes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Honda Insight Base: 48/59 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Astonishing fuel economy
  • Amazing technology
  • Standard equipment is more than ample

You Won't Like

  • Batteries drain faster
  • Vulnerable to crosswinds
  • Lacks power on tap

Sum Up

Leaves the driver with a smile every time.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Escape

See the New 2014 Insight.

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