The original Insight had its fans – and indeed now achieves a cult status – partly thanks to its radical sleek aerodynamic body, but those hoping for similar daring and innovation from the Honda design department this time around will be disappointed.

Indeed, for the mass-market appeal and, in turn, sales, Honda opted to play it safe this time and offer a much less controversial design, which does away with flourishes such as the partly covered rear wheels of the original.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The Insight's slippery shape helps it deliver very low aerodynamic drag

Honda gave the Insight an initial dynamic makeover in 2010 after customer and media feedback, but the mid-life facelift wasn’t seen until the Frankfurt motor show in 2011. So the model now sports the front end similar to the one seen on the latest-generation Civic rather than the look of Honda’s fuel-cell FCX Clarity model that it sported before the changes.

With aerodynamics dictating a steeply sloped windscreen and A-pillars, the Insight’s small windows ahead of the wing mirror help with visibility. 

Key to achieving the Insight’s aerodynamic shape is the gradual, almost imperceptible transition from roofline to rear window. It’s a carefully judged balancing act, though, to ensure sufficient rear passenger headroom. View the Insight in profile and you can just see the slightest kink. The top half of the body tapers in towards the rear of the car, which helps the air pass more smoothly over the top.

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Like the Prius, the Insight’s slippery shape demands a high-reaching and near-vertical tail. Although the top portion of the tailgate is glass, the joining bar that links the tops of the rear light units restricts rear visibility.

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