Comparison
Comparison

2021 Honda Insight vs. 2021 Hyundai Ioniq

2021 Honda Insight vs Hyundai Ioniq

As more and more people are looking to save money on gas, as well as drive an environmentally friendly vehicle, hybrids are shooting up the charts in popularity. Combining electric power with a fuel-efficient gasoline engine, hybrid cars are an enticing alternative for consumers who want the benefits of an electric vehicle (EV) without the “range anxiety” that’s commonly associated with EVs.

Two noteworthy hybrids in this category are the 2021 Honda Insight and the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq. Honda entered the hybrid market more than 20 years ago, and the 2021 Insight represents the pinnacle of Honda’s technical mastery, becoming the first Honda car to utilize the automaker’s groundbreaking Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system.

The Hyundai Ioniq, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer, debuting in 2016. That alone doesn’t necessarily make the Ioniq worse than the Insight; but there are several reasons why the new Insight is a better hybrid car. Let’s see how the 2021 Honda Insight LX compares to the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Blue.

2021 Insight - Styling

Styling

Honda and Hyundai take two different design approaches to their competing hybrid vehicles. By design, the 2021 Insight LX looks just like a stylish and sophisticated Honda Accord, only a bit smaller in terms of overall dimensions. If you think that the refined Accord is a great-looking four-door, then the Insight’s handsome silhouette won’t disappoint.

The 2021 Hyundai Ioniq looks more like a quirky mashup between a Toyota Prius hatchback and a Hyundai Elantra. The Ioniq hatchback even features a similar, Prius-like split rear window that’s been faulted for obscuring rearward visibility.

2021 Insight - Interior

Interior Comfort & Passenger Volume

Both the Accord and the Civic have gotten high marks for their spacious, quiet, and ergonomically designed interiors. The Insight’s well-crafted interior is difficult to tell apart from either the Accord or the Civic -- and that’s a good thing.

The Insight sits right between the Civic and the Accord in both exterior and interior dimensions. Based on the Civic’s platform, the Insight nonetheless shares many of the same refined features seen in its larger Accord sibling.

With regards to the Insight’s cabin, Aaron Cole, Managing Editor of TheCarConnection.com, says: “We like the supportive front seats that are comfortable… The tilt and telescoping steering wheel adjusts to a wide range of body types.”

Compared to the Ioniq, Insight has the edge in passenger volume, front headroom, front legroom, and front shoulder room. Hyundai Insight earns multiple demerits for its cramped cabin and lackluster interior, as well.

As Martin Padgett, Editorial Director of TheCarConnection.com points out: “The Ioniq cockpit is functional but plain; no radical re-imagined future happens here. In the back, two medium-sized adults will fit, but headroom will be a concern [because] the Ioniq has a low-cut roofline that dives into the rear seat space.”

2021 Honda Insight LX 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Blue
Front Headroom 39.3 in. 39.1 in.
Front Legroom 42.3 in. 42.2 in
Front Shoulder Room 56.9 in. 56.1 in.
Passenger Volume 97.6 cu. ft. 96.2 cu. ft.
2021 Insight - Performance

Performance & Handling

By definition, hybrid vehicles in general are not designed for sports-car-like acceleration and handling. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that both the Insight and Ioniq aren’t going to burn rubber and tear up a quarter-mile in blazing speed.

However, it’s certainly true that some hybrids are peppier and more fun to drive than others. When comparing the Insight’s and Ioniq’s powerplants, the Insight pulls ahead with its exclusive Integrated Motor Assist system, consisting of a 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, 16-valve, i-VTEC® four-cylinder engine and AC Synchronous electric motor that deliver a combined total system horsepower* of 151.5 hp.

By comparison, the 2021 Ioniq Blue is powered by a 16-valve four-cylinder that, when paired with its electric motor, delivers just 139 total system horsepower.

With regards to how it drives, Autodrader.com has this to say about the Insight’s impressiveness on pavement:

“We found the 2021 Honda Insight to be an easy car to drive, and its continuously variable transmission is a model of smoothness. Though this compact Honda hybrid isn't especially powerful or quick, it gets up to freeway speeds with ease, and its brakes work well. In many hybrids, the pedal feel can be muddied by the blending of conventional hydraulic braking with electrical regeneration. Not so in the Insight -- the brake action feels totally natural.”

While the Ioniq’s fuel economy numbers do edge out the Insight’s, that better fuel economy comes with a cost: Poorer performance and handling. Ioniq fails to impress in both departments. Per Edmunds.com:

“The Ioniq feels sluggish in accelerating unless you switch to the car's Sport mode, but that can reduce your efficiency. Then there's the car's uncomfortable front seats and overly floaty suspension tuning, which allows the car to make excessive up-and-down movements when you're driving over lumpy road sections. As such, the Ioniq comes across as insubstantial and unrefined. We prefer the Insight overall…”

Standard Safety Features

Honda has always been a leader when it comes to advanced safety features, and the 2021 Insight LX is right in step with that reputation. With an impressive array of standard Honda Sensing safety technologies, Insight protects riders better than most hybrid cars. These pieces of tech include Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Road Departure Mitigation System™, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane-Keeping Assist, and Traffic Sign Recognition. Additionally, the new Insight also provides outstanding occupant and pedestrian collision protection, thanks to an updated version of Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure.

TheCarConnection.com’s Aaron Cole lauds the Insight’s stellar safety scores, saying: “The Insight has a report card we wish we had in school. The 2021 Insight is among the safest cars on the road.”

Ioniq’s list of active driver-assist features isn’t as comprehensive as the Insight’s, nor is its array of standard safety features.

2021 Honda Insight LX 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Blue
Collision Mitigation Braking Standard Not Available
Road Departure Mitigation Standard Not Available
Traffic Sign Recognition Standard Not Available
ACE Body Structure Standard Not Available

The Insightful Choice. The Better Value.

By just about any measure, the 2021 Honda Insight Hybrid LX beats out the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Blue. Best of all, with a starting MSRP* of $23,130, the Insight LX is less expensive than the 2021 Ioniq Blue, meaning you get more car for the money. Now that’s what we call an insightful choice.

Disclaimers:

Total system horsepower as measured by the peak, concurrent output of the two electric motors and gasoline engine.

MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995 destination charge, and accessories. Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include a $395 charge for select premium colors. $395 charge applies to 2021 and newer models.