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2010 Honda Insight

Honda CR-Z

2010 Toyota Prius
Honda still can't find the magic recipe to beat the Prius

When it comes to hybrid vehicles, it appears that Honda just can't catch a break. Its first generation Insight hybrid was the first such vehicle to hit American soil a decade ago, however, the vehicle was a sales failure. Honda went on to develop a Civic Hybrid which hasn't exactly been a Prius competitor in terms of sales and the company's Accord Hybrid, like the Insight before it, failed in the marketplace.

Honda looked to go after Toyota's Prius again with a larger, second generation Insight. However, Honda again ran into a brick wall. Honda managed to undercut the Prius by a few thousand dollars, but also did so with a much smaller vehicle that was not as fast, not as tech-laden, and not nearly as fuel efficient as the third-generation Prius. When it comes to actual vehicle sales, the numbers don't lie. Honda sold roughly 20,500 Insights during 2009 in the U.S. -- Toyota, on the other hand, sold nearly 140,000 Prius hybrids.

"Are we happy with how sales are going? No, we're not happy," said American Honda executive VP John Mendel.

Faced with the prospect of another dud in the hybrid marketplace, Honda chief Takanobu Ito is calling on his engineers to develop a vehicle that will "Out Prius" the Prius according to Automotive News. Ito wants a hybrid that will be able to exceed the stellar fuel economy ratings of Toyota's crown jewel. Toyota's Prius is rated at 50 mpg (city/highway combined) while the smaller Insight is rated at just 41 mpg (city/highway combined).

"We want to develop and expand our hybrids," said Ito earlier this month in Detroit. "We made some major sacrifices to shift people and resources to do that."

While Honda looks like it will have its hands full developing a vehicle to topple the Prius, it has also just launched a new "sporty" hybrid aimed at enthusiasts. The CR-Z can be had with a manual transmission, but fuel economy junkies should be warned -- choosing to the manual will result in a serious hit to city fuel economy. A CR-Z equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) will be rated at 36/38 mpg (city/highway). Opting for the six-speed manual transmission, however, will cut those numbers to 31/37 mpg.

For comparison, a Mini Cooper (six-speed manual) gets 28/37 mpg without the need for hybrid components.



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Yum
By Spivonious on 1/25/2010 9:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
I'm liking how the CR-Z looks. Let's hope it performs.




RE: Yum
By eddieroolz on 1/25/2010 2:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of a CR-X. Guess that's the intention?


RE: Yum
By walk2k on 1/25/2010 2:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
Guess you didn't see the stats posted a couple weeks ago..

122 total hp, nearly 2900 lbs, torsion beam rear axle...

Such a shame.


RE: Yum
By Spivonious on 1/25/2010 4:03:53 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know enough about cars to know what a torsion beam rear axle means, but those numbers are pretty weak for such a small car. Where does all of the weight come from?

Although, my 03 Focus ZX3 has 130hp, and probably weighs almost as much, and is a total blast to drive, so you can judge a book by its spec sheet.


RE: Yum
By Keeir on 1/25/2010 6:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
1. Curb Wieght a ZX3 was around 2600 lbs.

2.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torsion_beam_axle

Highlights

"Oversteer"
"Not very easy to adjust roll stiffness"

Torsion beams are ... okay ... but for handling purposes are inferior to Double Wishbones or MacPherson Strut type suspensions

3.

If a 2003 ZX3 is your comparison point, the CRZ might satisfy. (Remember though the CRZ is 2 seat only, not a 2+2)

The JDM reports a 0-62 mph time in the 9.7 second range. The choice of suspension/wheels/etc don't really promise much more than a standard handling experience.


RE: Yum
By Spuke on 1/29/2010 1:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
torsion beam rear axle...
It has a torsen beam axle too? Guess it was a cost cutting move but, seriously, a good IRS doesn't cost much. GM did a really good one on the Solstice/Sky and the intro price on those cars was $19k.


RE: Yum
By Spuke on 1/29/2010 1:17:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
torsion beam rear axle...
It has a torsen beam axle too? Guess it was a cost cutting move but, seriously, a good IRS doesn't cost much. GM did a really good one on the Solstice/Sky and the intro price on those cars was $19k.


RE: Yum
By Spuke on 1/29/2010 1:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
torsion beam rear axle...
It has a torsen beam axle too? Guess it was a cost cutting move but, seriously, a good IRS doesn't cost much. GM did a really good one on the Solstice/Sky and the intro price on those cars was $19k.


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