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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 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
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
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.

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.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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