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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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RE: They'll be lined up to buy!
By Souka on 11/30/2010 7:22:11 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder what percentage Prius owners have an iPhone? about a Chevy Malibu?


RE: They'll be lined up to buy!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 7:35:46 AM , Rating: 1
I am a Prius owner, and I hate Apple. Also, I don't own a Chevy Malibu, either. Why would I have an iPhone versus a Chevy Malibu?


BTW, I used to own a 1966 327 Impala SS (back when Chevy could make a decent car), so don't lump me in with your preconceptions.

RE: They'll be lined up to buy!
By goku on 12/1/2010 9:51:55 AM , Rating: 2
For those who don't know, he's equating the Prius with being tendy and having little substance, much like apple. I used to bash the Prius for its "abysmal fuel economy" despite being a toted as a high fuel economy vehicle. However, after doing research and discovering that electrics aren't any better and sometimes worse if charged with coal power, learning of some Prius nuances and reasons for its fuel economy, then finally having the opportunity to drive one, I no longer bash them and in fact like an extent. Drove an '09 Prius and while I wasn't fond of the lack of a gauge cluster, the seats, and boring handling, I was extremely impressed that I could eek out 70-84mpg out of this vehicle in just two days of driving it over 150 miles of mixed city and highway driving. They really gave you a system that in the hands of the motivated, would allow for you to achieve spectacular fuel economy. Driving the Prius was the first time I had ever doubled the average fuel economy of a vehicle over its EPA MPG rating. I hope to test drive a '10 Prius to see how they've improved on it as they're suppose to have made some significant improvements to it.

I always used to think the Prius was a lot of hype when compared to economy vehicles like the Geo Metro and various Honda Civics but after driving one, I realized that it's not hype and there is some actual substance to this vehicle, whilst not sacrificing 0-60 performance, safety or emissions. Sure the Prius "feels" slow due to not throwing you back in your seat when you first step on the Pedal, but it'll definitely get you on the highway in a hurry if you so desire.

RE: They'll be lined up to buy!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/1/2010 1:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
Try the '10. I get 55mpg with no effort. They are also mid-size, where the '09 was compact. They also have the Sport mode, which, while not "fast" is certainly amazingly faster than Eco or standard mode. Also, they are not throw-aways, like the big 3 used to design economy cars, but they do cost mid-20's for decent amenities.

RE: They'll be lined up to buy!
By Spuke on 12/1/2010 10:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
Also, they are not throw-aways, like the big 3 used to design economy cars, but they do cost mid-20's for decent amenities.
For what it's worth, the Prius is an excellent car. It does what it's intended to do and does it well. I like my cars to be fun, period, so it's not for me but there's no denying their appeal.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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