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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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RE: How about...
By omnicronx on 1/25/2010 2:10:01 PM , Rating: 2
The S2000 was not in the same market as a mustang, it was comparable with vehicles such as the Audi TT and Porsche Boxter. It was inferior to pretty much every vehicle in its class, and while the pricetag was marginally cheaper, it definitely lagged behind other vehicles of the time.

Heck the first S2000 had a CARPET middle section on all models, it was the ugliest interior I have ever seen in any car let alone a sports car.

Now of course it was hands down one of the best cars to mod and upgrade, but I would not be caught dead driving a stock S2000 over an Audi TT Quattro or a Porsche Boxter S..


RE: How about...
By steven975 on 1/25/2010 2:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
it was more than marginally cheaper than any of those 2. It was at least $10K less than either of them, and at the time, performed virtually identical to the Boxster S.

The TT Quattro really wasn't a sports car with the front-biased "AWD" and the Boxster S, had, gasp, a plastic window.
For the time of its release, it was just as well equipped as the competion was.

When I had my 2001 S2000, a leather console was $100. It diched the carpet and plastic window in 2002 anyway.


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