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Honda Bumps Up Mileage Hoping to Salvage Slow-Selling Insight Hybrid

Highway fuel economy now at 44 mpg – but is that enough?

by on Oct.17, 2011

Honda has updated the interior and exterior of the 2012 Insight - but the big selling point may be the hatchbacks improved mileage.

Honda is hoping to pump some life into its slow-selling Insight hybrid for 2012 by adding more features, giving it a more high-tech appearance – and bumping up its mileage.

There’s no question the Insight needs some help.  Sales have lagged significantly below expectations for a vehicle Honda had once hoped might pose a real challenge to the gas-electric segment’s king-of-the-hill the Toyota Prius.

The question is whether the newly-updated 2012 Honda Insight – with its revised styling and 44 mpg highway rating – can lure buyers in at a time when fuel prices have retreated and conventionally powered products, such as the comparably sized Hyundai Accent, are also delivering highway numbers in excess of 40 mpg.

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Changes to the 2012 Honda Insight’s exterior include a more distinctive grille with a thin, blue accent bar to underscore its identity as one of the maker’s hybrid models.  The ’12 also features restyled front and rear bumpers and updated head and taillamps, as well as restyled wheels. Meanwhile, changes meant to improve airflow under the vehicle yield a 2% improvement in overall aerodynamics.