The Honda Insight is perfect for individuals looking for a hybrid that’s fun to drive and comfortable.
Asides getting great gas mileage, the Insight models offer responsive handling and a luxurious cabin.
Does it handle well in winter? Let’s find out!
Here is the short answer to whether the Honda Insight is good for snow and winter driving:
Equipped with the right tires, the Honda Insight drives well in winter, thanks to its low center of gravity. The presence of Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Traction Control on the Insight makes the vehicle ideal for winter trips.
Is a Honda Insight Good in the Snow?
Despite its small size, the Honda Insight handles snowy weather conditions quite easily. You don’t have to worry about poor handling in snow, which is a problem facing many drivers.
The Honda Insight retains its sharp handling on snowy roads—some owners even say it handles “like a dream” in such conditions.
The Insight’s great handling in snow results from its lightweight design.
Compared to a truck or crossover, the Insight is lighter and easier to maneuver on snow-covered roads. This improves its handling and ensures you don’t lose control while driving in snow.
Another reason for saying the Insight is good in snow is its resistance to rollover. Rollover occurs when a vehicle loses stability while driving and somersaults.
Typically, vehicles have a higher risk of rollover in snowy conditions. This is mostly because the ground is slippery and chances of stability loss are higher.
The Insight, being a small vehicle, has less likelihood of losing stability in snow and is unlikely to get caught in a rollover crash.
We must warn you against driving your Insight in heavy snow. This low riding vehicle is barely some inches off the ground. It has higher chances of getting stuck in deep snow.
If you need to drive frequently in deep snow, get yourself a truck or a SUV. These vehicles have higher ground clearance and can traverse deep snow without losing mobility.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
Despite being nimble, the Insight sports a plethora of driver assistance technologies that make it suitable for wintry weather. The following features are proof of the Insight’s winter driving ability:
Vehicle Stability Assist
Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist system is designed to stabilize a vehicle while driving in unideal conditions.
Especially in winter, when roads are wet and slick, the VSA system ensures your vehicle remains stable and keeps to its original course.
The VSA operates via a bunch of sensors, which include:
- Steering wheel sensors
- Wheel speed sensors
- Yaw sensors
Each of these sensors monitors an aspect of the vehicle’s stability. For example, the wheel speed sensors measure how fast your wheels are moving in relation to the vehicle.
If wheel speed is higher than vehicle speed, the wheels are likely slipping. And when your wheels slip, your car will lose stability.
If VSA judges your vehicle unstable, it will either suppress torque in the wheels or apply brake pressure to them.
Either action will force wheel speed, and ultimately, vehicle speed to reduce. This will prevent loss of stability and make winter driving safer.
The Traction Control feature is part of the Honda Vehicle Assist System. Traction Control, when active, helps subdue unrestrained wheelspin on your Insight. If you’re familiar with winter driving, you’ll know how problematic wheelspin can be, especially on snow/ice.
To execute its function, Traction Control observes the rotation of wheels through its sensors while you drive. If a wheel rotates at higher than normal pace, i.e., spinning, the sensors will notice and transmit the information to Traction Control.
In response, Traction Control will throttle the engine to reduce the power supplied to your wheels. It will also apply the brakes on select wheels to reduce the spinning.
With wheelspin reduced, your car will be able to maintain proper traction in slippery conditions.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
With the Electronic Brake Force Distribution system, winter driving is less risky because you’ll find it easier to brake.
Usually, you would have to pay attention while braking so you don’t lock up your wheels. EBD eliminates the need to brake slowly by ensuring wheels don’t lock up from brake pressure under any circumstances.
To curb wheel lockup, the EBD system facilitates application of brake pressure based on each wheel’s performance.
Therefore, if EBD recognizes a wheel that may lock, it will ensure that wheel gets minimal brake pressure. This keeps it from locking up and prevents any mishap that could result from such a problem.
Antilock Brake System
The Antilock Brake System is another feature designed to curtail wheel lockup, especially on wet surfaces. However, don’t think it’s the same thing as Electronic Brake Force Distribution—the two are different.
The ABS can detect when a wheel stops rolling under hard braking. In that situation, the ABS will release the brakes to allow the wheel to roll again, preventing it from locking up.
Road Departure Mitigation System
The Insight’s Road Departure Mitigation System is an ingenious feature dedicated to keeping your vehicle from deviating from its course. Winter roads can be very slippery, increasing your car’s prospects of sliding off the road.
The RDMS prevents such incidents by sending you a visual alert if it senses your car leaving the roadway. It will also apply torque to the steering to correct your car’s course after it loses direction.
Note: The RDMS can stall the engine and force your car to a stop. However, it only does that if you’ve lost control of your steering and cannot prevent the vehicle from leaving its path.
Please also read our article about driving the Honda Clarity in snow and winter.
Does an Insight Have Snow Mode?
The Insight doesn’t have a Snow Mode feature like some of its counterparts. Typically, the Snow Mode mitigates wheel slip in snow and encourages greater traction in snow.
Even without Snow Mode, the Insight can still handle driving in snow. After all, it has Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Assist for increased traction and stability in snow.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Insight?
Snow gear can help increase traction available to your car in snowy conditions. If you need it, you can install the products on your Honda Insight. Recommended snow gear include:
- Snow chains
- Snow tires
- Snow tires
As part of your pre-purchase activities, ensure you check your vehicle’s sizes. This allows you to buy the perfect snow gear for your vehicle.
Checking local guidelines on snow gear is also important. Ensure the snow gear you want to purchase is legal to use in your town.
How Much Snow Can an Insight Handle?
The Insight is a low riding vehicle with about 5.1 inches of ground clearance. Thus, you cannot expect it to navigate deep snow without becoming immobile.
Based on the Insight’s ground clearance, we advise driving it in moderate snow of about four inches. Taking your car through snow deeper than this can damage its components and force it to stall.
Make sure to also read our article about driving the Honda Civic in snow and winter.
How Does Honda Insight Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
The Honda Insight is a hybrid that uses electronic fuel injection. As a result, it can work anytime, regardless of weather situations. Even when temperatures drop beyond the subzero range, you can trust your Insight to operate properly.
Can a Honda Insight Drive on Ice?
Yes, your Honda Insight can drive on icy surfaces. With traction control and stability assist your car won’t lose its grip or stability on ice. More so, the ABS and EBD jointly prevent wheel lock in such situations.
The low ground clearance, which limits the Insight in snow, is actually beneficial on ice. It means your car is less likely to roll over and crash. This is helpful in icy conditions, where cars landing on their side are a common sight.
Does the Insight Have 4WD?
No, the Insight doesn’t have 4WD. All Insight models are standard with two-wheel drive. This doesn’t make the Insight poorer at handling snow. In fact, the Insight has several traction-enhancing features, which make up the lack of 4WD.
What About Older Insight Models And Winter Driving?
The first Insight models released in the early 2000s all had Antilock Braking System as standard. However, Vehicle Stability Assist (Stability Control) only became standard in 2011.
An older Insight’s winter driving ability will depend on whether it comes with ABS and Vehicle Stability Assist as equipment.
If you are looking to buy a new car, please check out our article about whether Japanese cars last longer than American cars.
Do Insight Need Snow Tires?
Your Insight sedan will require snow tires if it is to handle driving in winter optimally. Snow tires are better than all-season tires and offer the following benefits:
- Maximum traction in snow and ice
- Safer driving in slick conditions.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow on a Honda Insight?
You cannot mount a snowplow on an Insight considering its size, ground clearance, and engine output. If you need to plow snow with your vehicle, you are better off with a sturdy pickup or SUV.