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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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I get 55-63mpg in mine
By Deathtwinkie on 12/1/2010 7:05:51 PM , Rating: 2
I got the 2010 Insight instead of the Prius as it was cheaper. I never read any horrible reviews on the Insight, but the negative things I hear about aren't valid unless you want to nit pick.

So the interior is flimsier than other cars. It doesn't LOOK it, just feels a LITTLE bit like that. Do you go around punching the insides of your car? This is nit picking.

It might not have as good mileage as Prius, but I still get 55-63mpg depending on road elevation. All depends in how you drive. And no, I'm not driving like a grandma or a hypermiler.

Road noise? Dunno what they're talking about. Mine is as quiet as any of the Civics I've ever had.

It's lighter. Ok, and this is a bad thing? So it's lighter. You need to feel a heavier car and be more planted? Big deal, it's not flying around all over the road in wind, so what's the big deal. Again, nit picking.

It looks good, unlike the first Insight. It's a good car and it's the less expensive option out there if you won't want to pay for a Prius. Also, on the looks...the Insight looks better than the 1st and 2nd gen Prius. 3rd gen Prius looks awesome though. Prius is a great car, just saying, people that whine about the Insight are biased, nit picking, and/or just being dumb

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