2019 Toyota Prius vs. 2019 Honda Insight — Hybrid Comparison Battle

When you think of long-standing car rivalries, you might not consider the 2019 Toyota Prius and the 2019 Honda Insight. You should. These two fuel-sipping cars were the vanguard of affordable hybrid technology in the late '90s. And today, they're still at it.

In this video, we take a close look at each car's strengths and weaknesses. There's a lot we like about the current generation of the Toyota Prius, from the excellent fuel economy to the availability of all-wheel drive. It even gets more attractive for 2020 since it now offers Apple CarPlay support. On the other hand, its centrally located instrument display, wonky brake pedal feel and poor shifter design knock it down in our rankings.

There's a lot to like about the Honda Insight, which is currently our top-ranked standard hybrid. It features a large and highly functional interior, smooth driving dynamics and excellent phone integration. Unfortunately, it has a somewhat noisy engine and no USB ports for rear passengers.

2019 Toyota Prius

More and more hybrid vehicles are coming out every year, yet the Toyota Prius, the granddaddy of them all, remains at the forefront. It provides high fuel economy (more than 50 mpg), a comfortable ride and a versatile cargo area. There's also the argument for peace of mind since Toyota certainly has a long history of making reliable hybrid vehicles.

For 2019, car shoppers have another reason to consider the Prius: available all-wheel drive. The new Prius AWD-e adds an electric motor to drive the rear wheels for better initial traction between 0 and 6 mph, and it re-engages when front tire slippage is detected at speeds up to 43 mph.

The Prius is neither quick nor engaging to drive. Additionally, its infotainment system isn't the easiest to use and lacks Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration. But for shoppers seeking the most return per gallon, that's easily forgivable.

Fuel efficiency is the name of the game with the Prius, and the raw performance numbers reflect this. On its own, though, the Prius is a competent and efficient hatchback with solid handling and an easy-to-drive nature.

The interior of the car is, unsurprisingly, both practical and spacious. The cargo area is roomy, and the large windows let in plenty of light. The Prius is comfortable and quiet around town, especially in EV mode. The seats aren't class-leading, but they're a step up from those in the previous model.

Overall, the Prius' tech interface is functional but unattractive. There's one front USB port, but the available Qi pad keeps phones charged up front, and the grippy surface does a good job of holding a phone in place. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered, and Toyota's Entune is a poor substitute.

2019 Toyota Prius: https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/prius/2019/

2019 Honda Insight

The Honda Insight no longer looks like the last-generation Insight or Prius. It's now a sedan and can easily be mistaken for the new Accord. The new Insight also exorcises some of the odd hybrid driving quirks that irked us before. It now drives much like a conventional car, with a lot more punch and responsiveness when accelerating from a stop.

This new Insight isn't quite as miserly with fuel as the Hyundai Ioniq, but it's close enough to keep it competitive, as is its long list of standard advanced safety features. Its many strengths — which include a spacious cabin, quick acceleration and excellent value for money — lead us to recommend it heartily against any other hybrid on the market.

The Honda Insight drives more like a regular car than a hybrid, which is a compliment. It delivers average acceleration that is aided by a bump of electric assistance when taking off from a stop. It's also a better handler than other affordable hybrids.

Larger on the inside than the exterior suggests, the cabin typifies Honda's mastery of space utilization. It's smart and functionally well-designed, with obvious and well-labeled controls. There's fundamental comfort among the seats and the ride quality, both of which exhibit a well-judged balance between support and compliance.

The Insight is a surprisingly useful sedan from a utility standpoint. Its well-thought-out center console is the centerpiece of the in-cabin storage, and the trunk has solid swallowing capacity and a wide opening. The hybrid batteries are situated under the back seat and do not impede on cargo volume.

Honda's new infotainment screen is quick, sharp and easy to use. It represents a big jump forward from the previous-generation system present in some Honda vehicles. However, the driver aids, which are rather conservative, continue to lag behind those offered by the competition.

2019 Honda Insight: https://www.edmunds.com/honda/insight/2019/

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