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Old 01-12-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
JC
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Default First Drive: 2010 Honda Insight, 63.4 mpg!

It's a long article but some snippets. It sounds like a pretty good car actually.



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While no one can argue with the remarkable efficiency of the Prius, the iconic hybrid - like most of its Toyota siblings - is definitely lacking in vehicle dynamics. The steering feels like it has no connection to the wheels, and body roll around corners is excessive. When I drove the Civic Hybrid last summer, I noticed it had many of these same characteristics.

The Honda engineering team wanted something different from the Insight. They wanted a hybrid that was appealing to drive. Fortunately they already had a small car that met that criteria: the Fit. So, naturally, the important dynamic bits of the Fit form the basis of the Insight. The entire front structure of the Insight is in fact common to the Fit. Compared to the Fit, the rear axle has been moved back two inches and the roof has dropped 3.8 inches. Inside, the roof sits two inches closer to the front seat and three inches closer to the rear.

That means that occupants in the Insight sit lower to the ground and have a cozier feeling than in the Fit, but the new Insight actually ends up feeling sportier than either the Fit or Prius. The Insight's front seats contribute to the feeling of sportiness thanks to the supportive side bolsters. The seats proved very comfortable during our drive time. Further to that sporting feel, the up-level EX trim adds paddle shifters behind the steering wheel just like the Fit Sport. Paddles may seem an odd addition to a car with a CVT, but Honda has programmed 7 ratios that are selectable via the paddles.
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In the Insight Honda has created a compact car with outstanding fuel efficiency and all the best dynamic traits of the Fit. What it loses is some of the incredible packaging of its sibling. The lower profile means less passenger volume and the loss of the Fit's rear magic seats. Nonetheless, the Insight has ample room for four adults and some cargo in the back. Honda expects the Insight to score a 40/43 mpg city/highway rating for the EPA when the final numbers are in. Based on the experience I had driving in Arizona, that shouldn't be hard to achieve in ideal conditions. We'll be looking forward to see how it performs in colder and hotter weather.

Honda has not announced pricing yet, indicating they will wait until closer to the on-sale date of April 22. Honda spokesman Sage Marie indicated that the volatility of commodity prices like steel would make it unwise to lock down a price yet. Previously, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui has alluded to a base price as low as $18,500 which is about the same as a loaded Fit Sport. Honda will likely try to keep the starting price under 20 grand. Regardless, Honda intends for the Insight to be the most affordable hybrid on the market and is planning on 200,000 world-wide sales annually, with half of those in North America. We can't wait to spend more time with one.
http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/01...ight-63-4-mpg/
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:33 PM   #2
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EPA rating of 40/43 is less than the current Prius's 48/45, let alone the new one. after having driven a Civic Hybrid, with a similar powertrain (actually better than the Insight's per the article: bigger battery, stronger electric motor) i'm underwhelmed by Honda's offering. i much prefer my parents' Prius.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:48 PM   #3
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Why is the styling of this car so derivative?
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:10 PM   #4
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63.4mpg is awesome! im sure the epa numbers will be discouraging, though.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bryan T View Post
Why is the styling of this car so derivative?
because the prius is the kleenex of hybrids.
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:40 PM   #6
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Why is the styling of this car so derivative?
Do a wikipedia search for "aerodynamics."
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:56 PM   #7
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Do a wikipedia search for "aerodynamics."
so cars HAVE TO look like that to have good aerodynamics?... you are a genius
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JuggernautTCW View Post
so cars HAVE TO look like that to have good aerodynamics?... you are a genius
LOL! He must have went to the GM "lets blame how ugly the Volt got on the windtunnel" school of aero dynamics!

Japanese cars have always ripped each other off in terms of design. When stealing a popular vehicles looks, it really is a safe choice. It looks like a Prius because they meant it to. In a recent study, buyers wanted hybrid vehicles to look different than regular cars.

I prefer the original Insights styling, but buyers did not...
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:44 PM   #9
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because the prius is the kleenex of hybrids.
Best qoute and explains everything. Auto industry has completely lacking in originality for a long time.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
EPA rating of 40/43 is less than the current Prius's 48/45, let alone the new one. after having driven a Civic Hybrid, with a similar powertrain (actually better than the Insight's per the article: bigger battery, stronger electric motor) i'm underwhelmed by Honda's offering. i much prefer my parents' Prius.
Well the Insight is a good $5,000 less than a Prius. So you might give up some fuel economy but you save a lot of money. Also the Insight is ~2 seconds faster to 60 than the Civic Hybrid and supposedly a much better driving car, so your comparison is moot. Honestly for less than $20k it's a practical car, good mpg, reliable, and reasonably fun to drive. Sounds like a winner to me.

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Originally Posted by Bryan T View Post
Why is the styling of this car so derivative?
It was designed by the same designer as the CRX. I'm sure he's fond of the shape.

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Old 01-12-2009, 06:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
EPA rating of 40/43 is less than the current Prius's 48/45, let alone the new one. after having driven a Civic Hybrid, with a similar powertrain (actually better than the Insight's per the article: bigger battery, stronger electric motor) i'm underwhelmed by Honda's offering. i much prefer my parents' Prius.
You have to consider the price. The difference between 41 mpg and 46 mpg is just 35 gallons per 10k miles, so it'll take ages to make up for the price difference between this and the Prius. Even with $4/gal gas it'd take 250k miles.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:42 PM   #12
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Please, the volt is elevenitybillion times better looking that this S-box.... and none are lookers... heck, should Subarus owners even be allowed to judge a cars aesthetics??
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:03 PM   #13
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no hatch....no want
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 2000wrx View Post
Please, the volt is elevenitybillion times better looking that this S-box.... and none are lookers... heck, should Subarus owners even be allowed to judge a cars aesthetics??
Yeah, fake window drops to make it look somewhat like the concept are the tits!

I'd like to see the Insight w/ some different wheels and in some other colors. If it really undercuts the Prius in price, it will definitely win the battle, especially since it comes pretty close to the Prius mpg. I guess it all comes down to how the cars are optioned compared to one another.

~~Quentin
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:26 PM   #15
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You have to consider the price. The difference between 41 mpg and 46 mpg is just 35 gallons per 10k miles, so it'll take ages to make up for the price difference between this and the Prius. Even with $4/gal gas it'd take 250k miles.
I totally, 100%, absolutely agree with you.

But I have to point out that the average American car buyer is too stupid to know that. And I know you're going to say "No, they aren't..." but yes, they really are.

You average American is gonna go to the dealership of the one that's more financially reachable (or in a pinch, the more expensive one... gotta floss these days ), ask a idiot car salesman, and get enamored with the sound of all the "thousands they'll save on gas", "cool green image", and "only if you buy today" price deals and impulse buy.

That's off topic though, so I'll just say: I'd take the Honda!
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:03 PM   #16
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I totally, 100%, absolutely agree with you.

But I have to point out that the average American car buyer is too stupid to know that. And I know you're going to say "No, they aren't..." but yes, they really are.
I think measuring fuel consumption in mpg has a lot to do with it, because it's very counter-intuitive.

Assuming you drive 10k miles a year, the difference between 50 mpg and 60mpg is just 33 gallons per year. The difference between 20 mpg and 23 mpg is 65 gallons.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:11 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bal00 View Post
I think measuring fuel consumption in mpg has a lot to do with it, because it's very counter-intuitive.

Assuming you drive 10k miles a year, the difference between 50 mpg and 60mpg is just 33 gallons per year. The difference between 20 mpg and 23 mpg is 65 gallons.
Yup, we need to go to the gallons/100mi. If you plot it out, it is very clear that there isn't much of a fuel consumption difference once you get over 30mpg. GM has the right idea of improving the fuel economy of SUVs but they marketed it completely wrong. Putting it into their CUVs first would have been much smarter.

~~Quentin
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:13 PM   #18
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You have to consider the price. The difference between 41 mpg and 46 mpg is just 35 gallons per 10k miles, so it'll take ages to make up for the price difference between this and the Prius. Even with $4/gal gas it'd take 250k miles.
these comparisons are widely misused. here are a few reasons why:

1) the Prius, being a more expensive car, will likely be worth more at the end of 5 years or whenever the typical buyer trades it in. thus its true price isn't $3.5k higher as $18.5k vs. $22k base would suggest.
2) the Prius is larger both inside and out
3) the 2010 Prius gets 50 mpg combined
4) nothing will ultimately be as cheap as getting the absolutely cheapest gasoline econobox. everything above that is making a choice to spend more money for _something_. for people in this market achieving a higher mpg has an appeal in and of itself.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:16 PM   #19
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Remember, this is a mild hybrid (Honda's IMA cannot run on pure electric) so the true greenies should lean toward the Prius. The Prius is a bigger car (2010 Prius is bigger yet) and will certainly ride smoother and quieter. Personally I'm not nearly as excited with the finished product as I was with the concept of a Prius fighter from Honda... this car just seems like a wannabe out of the box.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:21 PM   #20
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Nice...it's a Honda Prius


just kidding
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:31 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
these comparisons are widely misused. here are a few reasons why:

1) the Prius, being a more expensive car, will likely be worth more at the end of 5 years or whenever the typical buyer trades it in. thus its true price isn't $3.5k higher as $18.5k vs. $22k base would suggest.
2) the Prius is larger both inside and out
3) the 2010 Prius gets 50 mpg combined
4) nothing will ultimately be as cheap as getting the absolutely cheapest gasoline econobox. everything above that is making a choice to spend more money for _something_. for people in this market achieving a higher mpg has an appeal in and of itself.
1. It may be worth more because it cost more to begin with, but that point is irrelevant. Hondas have outstanding resale value, there's no reason to believe this one won't. It's a nonissue IMO.

2. So what? Far more people will buy this car because it's cheaper than choose the Prius because it's larger.

3. Again, so what? This car is cheaper to operate in the long run.

4. Agreed. Hence why my Civic won't be going anywhere, anytime soon.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:32 PM   #22
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the true greenies should lean toward the Prius..
That just hurts to think about.

TRUE 'greenies' know better than to fall in the hybrid trap. Prius owners are 'smuggies' not 'greenies'.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:56 PM   #23
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That just hurts to think about.

TRUE 'greenies' know better than to fall in the hybrid trap. Prius owners are 'smuggies' not 'greenies'.
Well, since I can't recall the last time I saw a hitchin post outside my office I'm betting that the Greenies have to drive something to work (even Ed Begley drives a Toyota).
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:14 PM   #24
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Hmm makes me want a VW TDi even more...
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
these comparisons are widely misused. here are a few reasons why:

1) the Prius, being a more expensive car, will likely be worth more at the end of 5 years or whenever the typical buyer trades it in. thus its true price isn't $3.5k higher as $18.5k vs. $22k base would suggest.
2) the Prius is larger both inside and out
3) the 2010 Prius gets 50 mpg combined
4) nothing will ultimately be as cheap as getting the absolutely cheapest gasoline econobox. everything above that is making a choice to spend more money for _something_. for people in this market achieving a higher mpg has an appeal in and of itself.
The resale argument doesn't really work because in the end the savings and extra cost will be split among the different owners. If the thing doesn't make financial sense over its whole lifetime, chances are it wont make sense for a fraction of it, either. And if it does, it's only because some fool along the line paid too much. I'll give you that it's larger, though.

The point is, the purchase price is just as important as the running costs. It's trivial to go past the point of diminishing returns and lower the running costs by making a car more expensive to build, but if the initial outlay is bigger than the savings, it's no longer desirable for rational buyers.

There may be fuel economy geeks who are willing to pay an extra $200 to lower their fuel costs by $100, but that's not a market segment a mainstream product should aim for.
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