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Honda Insight
Honda Insight to be priced from $18,200

For years, it seemed as though the Toyota was the darling of the "green" automotive movement with its popular Prius (currently in its third generation). The hybrid in its current form has an EPA combined fuel economy rating of around 50 mpg and has a price tag that starts in the low 20s and explodes from there.

Honda has tried to mirror the success of the Prius with its second generation Insight, but hasn't had much luck. The Prius continues to crush it in sales despite the fact that the Prius is priced higher across the board. Even with this evidence clearly presented to Honda, the company is moving forward with an even cheaper version of its Insight.

A new model, called simply the "Insight", will join the Insight LX and range-topping Insight EX. The base Insight is priced at $18,200 compared to $22,800 for the base Prius. While you get keyless entry and a USB port for your audio player/smartphone at that price, don't expect features like cruise control or even something as basic as floor mats -- you'll have to step up to the higher trim levels to get such features.

And while the base Insight includes the aforementioned USB port for your MP3 player, you'll be blasting music through just two speakers instead of four that you would get on the LX and EX.

What hasn't changed, however, is the performance and fuel economy seen on the higher trim models. The Insight will still be rated at 40 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway (41 mpg combined). The combined figure still puts it at about 9 mpg less than the popular Prius.

But it's not just the Prius that Honda has to worry about these days -- there is competition coming from both hybrid/electric vehicles priced much higher and more conventional gasoline-engined vehicles that are priced lower. Nissan and General Motors are coming to the market with the Leaf EV and Chevrolet Volt -- the vehicles are priced at $32,780 and $41,000 respectively before a $7,500 federal tax credit.

On the lower end of the pricing spectrum, new compact vehicles like the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, 2011 Hyundai Elantra, and upcoming 2012 Ford Focus are putting up impressive EPA figures without the use of a hybrid system.



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By sweatshopking on 11/30/2010 5:48:12 PM , Rating: 5
anndddd.... there's teh problem.




By dubldwn on 11/30/2010 6:08:56 PM , Rating: 4
Obviously, anyone who’s in the market for a “green” car that doesn’t mind these aesthetics would just buy a Prius. Lowering the price a little doesn’t change that. The fact that this doesn’t even best the Civic Hybrid is bad, too. Honda needs to make the Insight a Prius beater.


By mcnabney on 12/1/2010 9:08:50 AM , Rating: 4
Apparently nobody remembers the terrible reviews of the Insight two years ago.

Inferior mileage.
Poor cabin design
Ultra-cheap and flimsy interior parts
Poor hybrid integration (noisy)
Bad transmission

The reason it didn't sell wasn't because of price, it was because it was the Chevy Chevette of hybrids. Unwanted at any price.


By Dr of crap on 12/1/2010 10:29:40 AM , Rating: 2
And it looks like a Prius!
And with the draw bakc and reduced mpg's even at a lower cost why buy it. The Prius is better.

Gee, I think I'll buy one of them Volts, because it costs more than the Prius, so it must be better!
/sarcasm


By marvdmartian on 12/1/2010 4:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
I always thought, too, that if Honda would have changed the name, they might have sold more of these cars. Big part of the problem with the Insight is that since they had another model with the same name, back in the early 2000's, that the consumers who might buy the new model are limited as to the number of government sponsored rebates available.

A simple name change would have reset that number, and allowed more people to enjoy the rebate.


By Solandri on 12/1/2010 2:21:31 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
anndddd.... there's teh problem.

And there's MPG as the inverse of fuel consumption making us jump to the wrong conclusions again. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, here's how much gas would be consumed by:

16 MPG SUV = 937.5 gal
30 MPG sedan = 500 gal
40 MPG Insight = 375
49 MPG Prius = 306 gal

The 69 gal/year difference between the Insight and Prius pales compared to the 125-194 gal/year savings you'd get switching from a sedan to either of these cars. Either car is a tremendous improvement over the sedan. But because MPG is the inverse of fuel consumption, people see the MPG and think 40->49 MPG is nearly as big a jump as 30->40 MPG, when in fact it's only about half the jump.

You'll also notice that getting 1 person to switch from the SUV to a sedan makes a bigger difference (437.5 gal) than getting 2 people to switch from sedans to Priuses (194 gal each, or 388 gal total). That's what we should be focusing on if we really want to cut fossil fuel consumption - encouraging people not to buy low-MPG vehicles unless they really need them. But because our country uses MPG instead of gal per 100 miles like every other country on earth, we focus on the solutions which generate the smallest return.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 7:51:18 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, 21 mpg is the national average for sedans in the US. And 15 mpg is the average for a Pickup.

The real kicker is that there are people out there who need their trucks for work, and the guys who want to play truck are driving up fuel costs for them. I see tons of SUVs and Pickups driven to white collar jobs around DC with one person inside, that have never seen a bag of mulch in the bed. THOSE are the idiots that need to stop driving trucks and SUVs. Oooh, one guy drives a 500 bhp truck to work in DC that I see every day. I bet he attracts tons of little boys, since those are the only ones impressed with a pick-em-up truck.


By ebakke on 12/1/2010 8:55:11 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
THOSE are the idiots that need to stop driving trucks and SUVs.
Oh here we go again. "I don't value that, so I feel the need for force my opinions on everyone else." Just because you don't want/need to drive a truck or SUV doesn't mean you have any right whatsoever to tell anyone else what they need to drive.


By mcnabney on 12/1/2010 9:27:40 AM , Rating: 2
Well, we have a free market.

So when demand goes up, so do the prices.

Bill Gates could buy half the milk production of the west coast if he wanted to. He doesn't need it, but maybe he wants to swim in a lake of milk. The market result of that overconsumption would be $10/gallon milk for everybody else. If you knew that you were getting stuck with a much higher bill for a product you need just because some jackass is buying something they don't really need you might get pissed too.

About 80% of truck/SUV purchases are for status and not a real need. (Need = use the bed, third row, or tow on a consistant basis, if you just use it once or twice a year it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to rent the Home Depot truck for $20 on those occasions)

If those owners had purchased a Fusion instead there would be a lot less gas needed - and naturally there would be lower prices for everyone.


By Spuke on 12/1/2010 10:06:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
(Need = use the bed, third row, or tow on a consistant basis, if you just use it once or twice a year it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to rent the Home Depot truck for $20 on those occasions)
The Home Depot trucks don't have trailer brakes so your limited on how much weight you can tow. In CA it's 1500 lbs. You could put more than that in the bed not to mention it's pricey of you want to take it out of town. It's tough to rent a truck in my area. My wife tried for two months straight to get a truck for our trip last week (our truck was towing our RV and we wanted another truck to tow the horse trailer). Found one place with a truck with trailer brakes but they could not reserve it or guarantee it's availability. Sure enough, when we called a week and a half before to rent it, they had rented it and all of their pickups to the local power company. Fortunately for us, one of our neighbors came to the rescue and let us borrow their truck. Very nice of them!!!!

quote:
About 80% of truck/SUV purchases are for status and not a real need.
Post a link to where you got that info. Thanks.

quote:
If those owners had purchased a Fusion instead there would be a lot less gas needed - and naturally there would be lower prices for everyone.
But they didn't, they bought a truck or SUV instead. BTW, large SUV sales are totally niche. They are on par with sports car sales. You should focus on pickup trucks instead as the two best selling vehicles in the US are pickups. If you cut those sales, you would reduce overall fuel usage. Good luck with that.


By adiposity on 12/1/2010 11:57:58 AM , Rating: 3
Where I work there are quite a few women in the office. Most of them drive suburbans or SUVs. They use them as commuter vehicles. So five days out of the week, they are driving a 5-7 passenger vehicle with one person in it. Maybe these people qualify as "not needing it."

I'm guessing they like the vehicles because

a). They have kids and like having room to pick them up
or
b). They go shopping on weekends and need room to put stuff in the back.

But the bottom line is they really don't "need" the vehicle they use, for what they mostly use it for. Maybe that's what the original poster was talking about.

I owned a Jeep Cherokee for several years because I used the tow package enough that it was worth it. I didn't really "need" it, I suppose, because I could have just rented a truck when it was necessary. But it was more convenient to own.

If you are somebody that regularly has to tow more than 1500lbs, I doubt anyone is questioning your use/need of your vehicle. The complaint is against people who consume needlessly (although the 80% figure is obviously just made up).

Personally I feel you should be able to have whatever vehicle you want. But people are still entitled to be annoyed that you are increasing the cost of gas by consuming so much of it.


By ebakke on 12/1/2010 1:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But the bottom line is they really don't "need" the vehicle they use, for what they mostly use it for. Maybe that's what the original poster was talking about.
Well Jesus folks. By that logic we could say they don't really "need" a vehicle at all, right? I mean, she could've bought her kids each a bike. Or they could just walk.

There are two gaping flaws in the OP's logic (and your attempt at explaining it). First, you're making the assumption that you know what/why/how an individual uses their vehicle based on one snapshot of their use. So you see some guy driving to the office in an F-150, but you don't see him hauling construction materials on weekends for his side job. And second, even if some guy's only using a truck to commute, there's only one person who can determine if that meets his needs, and that's the guy driving it. Giving someone else the power to determine what you or I need or don't need is the exact opposite of freedom.

quote:
Personally I feel you should be able to have whatever vehicle you want. But people are still entitled to be annoyed...
Be annoyed, sure. Try to force me into doing anything differently, absolutely not.


By rvd2008 on 12/1/2010 10:13:38 AM , Rating: 1
The problem is not enough penalty for being "jackass".
What we really need - a luxury tax on SUV.
Wanna be a jackass, fine, pay 50% more for that feeling.
Let the market force straight them out. It is much more effective than winning on the blog.


By Kurz on 12/1/2010 11:21:35 AM , Rating: 3
Again... you are forcing your values and opinions on others.
Why not just stop all subsidies to Oil companies.

It'll have the same effect.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 12:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
There is already a jackass tax on these vehicles. It is called a gas guzzler tax. And dealers also charge premiums over bottom sticker (MSRP) on these jackasses, and they pay that, too.

Also, expressing a value or opinion is not the same thing as "forcing." We leave that to the politicians, since this is a democratic republic.


By Kurz on 12/1/2010 1:49:43 PM , Rating: 2
Though you still support the heavy handed government to impede other people's rights.

I don't think the founders of this Republic ever intended for Politicians to force a particular lifestyle or product choice on their people.


By mherlund on 12/1/2010 12:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If those owners had purchased a Fusion instead there would be a lot less gas needed - and naturally there would be lower prices for everyone.


Apparently you didn't pass economics. Less consumption != lower prices. It depends where you are on the curve, less consumption can actually cause an increase in prices. If a supplier is not selling as much, prices may increase to regain the lost revenue.


By ebakke on 12/1/2010 1:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you Herlund! Absolutely right. If the price of oil drops significantly, there's nothing preventing OPEC from decreasing its output to bring the cost back up. (And it's not like the US will counter by increasing its production... we're locking down as much oil as possible.)


By Spuke on 12/1/2010 9:44:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because you don't want/need to drive a truck or SUV doesn't mean you have any right whatsoever to tell anyone else what they need to drive.
I didn't have a problem with his post. It's his opinion and he's not advocating forcing people from their choice of vehicle. If you think about it, the reality is that we buy what we want to buy despite how the next person feels about it. Just look at vehicles sales. That says everything.


By tastyratz on 12/1/2010 11:56:36 AM , Rating: 2
incorrect. If he lives in a free country he has the right to tell whomever he wants however he feels just as they have the right to flip him off and do what they feel like.

The truth is most people drive vehicles they don't need, otherwise every parking lot would be full of silver corollas and pickups would be a commercial jobsite purchase only.

Gas prices are the best way to regulate consumer demand but it then impacts everyone's daily life and affordability if it was universally taxed.

If the government extended the luxury tax on vehicles to an additional tax at the pump for those which fall into that same class we could see more 2 car families that more intelligently use their vehicles based on need. If they only used the truck when necessary due to the increased gas cost they would choose to do so more wisely. Pardoning commercial and industrial use vehicles would restrict the tax burden to end consumers.

Would it be unfair? Sure... but it could potentially lower gas prices for everyone by means of reduced consumption. Either that or we could wait until everyone suffers while prices spike again and drivers scramble for a car. It would be quite controversial though...


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 12:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If he lives in a free country he has the right to tell whomever he wants however he feels just as they have the right to flip him off and do what they feel like.


Well said, and if you are going to express an opinion, you should also be willing to listen to the other person's point of view, no matter how wrong it is =). Although not necessarily do whatever they want. As long as it's legal.

That is the wonderful thing about this country. We can get it on the table and move on.


By ebakke on 12/1/2010 1:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
So you start off by telling me about how America's the land of the free, and how he's got the right to spout off whatever he wants. Ok great, and I agree. But his sentiment wasn't "oh, here's what I would like". It was "this is what needs to happen". Need being the operative word there. As in, some course of action must be implemented to right the wrong. And then that's exactly what you described: a government action to move vehicle purchases more in line with what you believe people should be purchasing. All in the name of being good for everyone.

When the government attempts to influence/regulate/[whatever term you want to use] my choices in an attempt to get me to pick the "right one", it is infringing on my freedom.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 12:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously fuel cost is not a concern for you in your business, otherwise you would care. And this is the USA, so I do have the right of freedom of speech, and can express my opinions - which is NOT the same thing as telling or forcing anyone what to drive. We vote for politicians, and give them the authority to do that.

I would be happy to discuss these issues with the play-truck idiots, since they are harming working truck users, the strategic position of the US in the world economy, the cash available to organizations and governments that hate the US, etc.


By ebakke on 12/1/2010 1:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Obviously fuel cost is not a concern for you in your business, otherwise you would care. And this is the USA, so I do have the right of freedom of speech, and can express my opinions - which is NOT the same thing as telling or forcing anyone what to drive. We vote for politicians, and give them the authority to do that.
Are you honestly trying to tell me that you wouldn't vote for a politician who proposed a $5/gallon tax on any truck owner who couldn't prove it was for work (or that they had what you deemed was a legitimate "need")?


By Kurz on 12/1/2010 2:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
Still you are enabling a culture of politicans to force to meet your particular life style.

Lets say you don't like that Joe spends his gas wastefuly by driving his SUV. So you elect and plead to this official to pass legislation to fit your view on the world.

What happend to leaving people lead their own lives and treating everyone equally under the law?


By Keeir on 12/1/2010 3:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What happend to leaving people lead their own lives and treating everyone equally under the law


Where does the "Law" come from?

Last I checked, the people of the INSERT "DEMOCRATIC" COUNTRY NAME elected politicians to debate and pass most required/most fair/most desired laws. People in the US for example broadly support the US government in forcing Manufacturing Corporations to SELL a certain fuel efficiency in cars. How is that any better or worse than placing taxes on gasoline or certain makes of cars? Ha, I think its even worse... the US people support the US government forcing private companies to design/price a product in such a way that forces the US people to buy certain things.... O.o


By ebakke on 12/1/2010 11:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
There's a sizable portion of the population that believes laws like those you mention are unconstitutional in the US as the federal government was never given the power to regulate such things.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 7:38:36 AM , Rating: 3
The biggest problem with the Insight are the batteries, which die before the warranty period is out. Honda's fix? Reprogram the electrics so the batteries are not used much, thus increasing their life until they are outside of the warranty period and the customer has to pay for replacements, not Honda. The fuel mileage goes down a 1/3 due to the reprogram. So let's drop that figure to about 20 mpg less than the Prius. I get about 55mpg in my Prius.

</sniff>


By SpaceJumper on 12/2/2010 1:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you right there. I own a Honda Civic Hybrid and the latest 2010 software update ruined the gas mileage. The car is now sucks. IMA is now only working half the time and half the power.


By Misty Dingos on 12/1/2010 11:05:30 AM , Rating: 2
OK so I am likely the only person posting here that actually owns and drives an Insight (2010).

Lets clear some things up.

My average MPG is 46.16. My best has been 50.2. I have driven over 30K in the time that I have owned the car. And it is one of the best cars I have ever owned.

Oh I bought it because I am a conservative republican. Not really but the criteria for a commuting car for me is low cost. It is comfortable and gets great MPG. I could honestly not care less if they covered the seats in baby Harp seal fur and the oil in the engine came from the endangered rain forest Gibbons Monkeys.

The average Prius will get better mileage than my car in the city. All bets are off on the highway.

I am not sure how they calculated the MPG ratings for the Insight but from talking to other owners they are not representative of reality.

For those of you that commute to work and want to save a bit of money, you really should look at the Honda Insight.

Trust me the eco-Nazis will not automatically show up at your door looking for donations and the NRA will not revoke your lifetime membership.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 12:56:40 PM , Rating: 2
As a Prius owner I regularly get 55 mpg combined, on a 40-mile per day commute to DC, over a range of 400 ft in elevation between destinations. It is a good mid-size sedan, comfortable, plenty of room, nav, leather, XM, traffic, etc.

I don't care what anyone says about my politics, if the truckies can buy a truck just because they feel like it, then I can buy whatever I want for none of their damn bidness.


By Keeir on 12/1/2010 6:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not sure how they calculated the MPG ratings for the Insight but from talking to other owners they are not representative of reality.


OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH

EPA testing and EPA testing cycles are a matter of public record

I get 20% better mileage lifetime from my car compared to EPA testing. A friend of mine has the -SAME- car and gets exactly EPA.

EPA is for comparison purposes between cars only! It is not ment to predict what you the individual driver will get, despite people's inability to understand this.

EPA estimates that the Insight will has ~20% worse mileage when driven the same as a Prius. Whether your numbers match the EPA is immaterial.


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