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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 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.


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