By on April 12, 2009

Less than a generation ago, speed was the name of the game. Hands-on automotive enthusiasts would swap their car’s two-barrel carb for a four, replace the manifold, straighten the exhaust, anything and everything to make their ride go faster (at least in a straight line). Even the mechanically ignorant knew that power equaled status, whether under-hood or at their fingertips (windows!). These days, consumption is no longer a disease—it’s an addiction. Where once we laughed watching my buddy Artie’s ’69 Camaro’s fuel needle fall, the new Honda Insight has a needle showing me how much fuel I’m saving. It’s not a very clever insight, but the Insight is a very clever car.

At first glance, the Insight reveals itself as the Prius’ fraternal twin. The flattering imitation separates the Insight from its dopey looking predecessor, and places the new car squarely on the Toyotagas – electric coattails. The Insight’s shape is pleasing, like a large juicer. It’s just not stirring. The Insight gets a bonus star for being a five-door, the practicality of which seems lost on my native country. It won’t be lost on the Insightful.

Who cares? The car’s raison d’être lies underneath the skin. Thin skin. While the Insight’s not as tinny as I’d expected, a word to the wise: don’t crouch behind the car when the shooting starts. What insulation I saw—looking around the spare tire—felt too light to exist. Of course, it’s all part of the mission: do less with less.

To that end, the Insight comes with a bigger version of the powerplant than the one powering the original, two-seat Insight. Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system is an 88 horsepower 1.3-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a 13 hp electric sidekick, served by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The electric motor powers the Insight up to 30 mph without any help. The engine turns off sometimes (e.g., when you’re looking for a parking spot, obeying the school zone speed limit or stuck at a light), but the engine’s shaft doesn’t cease so it’s not as disconcerting as it sounds.

The IMA’s performance is remarkable not for traditional thrills—the ’83 Civic was more fun to drive—but the ho-humness of the whole thing. The 2010 Honda Insight EX’s power comes on slowly and smoothly like an economy car. It’s not dangerously slow; there’s just no entertainment value. It’s not like you can downshift, spool up and goose the little bastard.

The Insight’s continuously variable transmission bars you from any thrill search. I’m pretty sure they sourced it from a dentist drill supplier. The sound alone dissuades you from hard acceleration. The Formula 1 style “gear-changers” on the EX’s steering wheel don’t help. How could they? It’s a CVT. I’m still trying to figure that part out. Anyway, the gear-changers are like flippers on a runway model. Like paddles on a submarine. I can’t . . . never mind. They’re only on the EX. Pretend they’re decorations.

The Insight’s ride was firm but not harsh and actually kind of tight. Up and down a few ramps I started wondering what the car would be like if we popped off the low rolling resistant tires and put some decent skins on the puppy. The response and roll hinted that the chassis was capable of much more than the rest of the car would ever allow.

Like the brakes for instance: antilock with electronic force distribution. The regenerative system stops the car well enough sending energy back to your batteries where it can do some good. But the system creates an odd drag and crusty feel that, again, dispirits the Transporter within. For regular old driving, though, no one’s going to complain.

Because they’re going to be paying attention to other things. You can see the 2010 Honda Insight EX’s owners paradise by  dashboard lights. A digital speedometer sits center, in a halo, the shade of which tells you whether you’re driving like an Earth-loving angel or the speed-demon you’ve always been. The Insight provides its namesake in the form of graphs and charts you can scroll through to see your average miles per gallon, battery power, time until oil change, life, hit points and number of sparkly gems you’ve picked up on your journey.

It’s not a video game and I don’t mean to reduce the effect which is optimization of your car’s performance, something my buddies and I used to spend a lot of time doing. The measure’s just different. MPG over quarter mile time. An arguably more noble pursuit. Safer, too, the way Honda does it. The colors give you feedback without distraction. Brilliant.

Combined with the Insight’s Eco button—a kind of anti-Nitrous switch that puts the car into super conserve mode—the gauges and lights serve as new substitutes for a gear shift and tons of torque. It helps make you a more controlled, responsive driver . . . in terms of economy. I averaged 37 mpg. I know I can do better. It’s a different game and the Insight is pretty damn good at it. Toyota’s a playa. And, now, so is Honda.

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80 Comments on “Review: 2010 Honda Insight EX...”


  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    I actually found the paddle shifters to be a nice add. I didn’t get to play with them a lot, but it is nice having some control over the car. Plus, they give you 7 “gears” to choose from.

    Something you might want to look into, which the Honda salesman informed me of, you have to pay for the floor mats. Yeah, not included in the price of the car.

  • avatar

    The shape is actually not an imitation of the Prius. Both copy the aerodynamics invented by a German engineer in the 1930s. The Audi A2 also has this shape and the version with the smaller engine (a 1.2 liter (I think) 3cyl diesel) is reported to get 78 mpg.

  • avatar
    mattb

    I hope that was 37 city because I get 34 hwy consistently on my 08 Civic Si without really trying and it’s at least a bajillion more times fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    “The Insight gets a bonus star for being a five-door, the practicality of which seems lost on my native country.”

    Hatchbacks in general, and the 5-door variety in particular, haven’t been well-received by Americans in the past. They were regarded as basic econo-boxes by most.

    All it took to change that perception was to market them as “upscale” or sporty models. The Mazda3 5-door is a perfect example…it looks better than it’s sedan counterpart and is only sold in “s” trim level.

    Back to the Insight, though…

    I think it qualifies as the most unattractive car Honda has ever sold here. And the plastic wheel covers on the entry-level model make it look very cheap!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My 05 xB gets 31 city, and carries 5 real adults inside. I’ll pass on the Honda techno-twin and stick with cheap low-tech.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    That’s a 4 star review? Huh. Reads pretty mediocre to me.

    Also, I’m shocked (not) to hear about another Honda chassis let down by the tires. That one’s been going on for about 20 years now.

    What exactly is the point of this car? The Prius is better…and something tells me most Prius/Insight buyers aren’t so concerned about the money or they’d just get a Corolla or Civic. And The Civic Hybrid gets better mileage than this thing and doesn’t look even half as dorky.

    Guess the world changes. I used to love my Hondas 10-15 years ago. These new ones do NOTHING for me.

  • avatar
    cliveh

    Will cars that have been traditionally lusted after as “fun to drive”–with large V6s and V8s, with even more HP–become memories of a fondly remembered nostalgic era, like we picture the 1950s or 1960s today?

    Sadly though, the process of buying cars likely won’t evolve. You will still have to go through a franchised retail dealer outlet to acquire your prized possession–haggling over every dollar of dealer mark up, PDI, freight, dealer prep, ridiculous markup on silly accessories like floor mats, and so forth. Many writers try to defend this system, saying nonsense like your car is the second largest purchase you’ll ever make, like a house. Except that houses aren’t mass produced in millions of units. That’s a topic for another set of articles I’d love to see on TTAC.

    I’d love to buy an Insight, but refuse to put myself through the Honda dealership experience (or any other current manufacturer’s dealership experience). My last new car was an ’01 Prius when they first came out–bought over the internet at a set price. Toyota didn’t keep that option for long…within a couple of months it was back to the old dealer system. Yeah, I probably overpaid since I was an early adopter but I got to avoid the whole unpleasant dealership experience.

    Was it fun to drive? Well, compared to what? I think our whole notion of what constitutes a great car is changing radically and quickly. Fluctuating gas prices will keep large, heavy, overpowered cars/trucks/SUVs/CUVs/whatevers desirable for a while. North Americans will have to catch up with the reality of world gas prices and smaller cars, unless car technology improves radically to build large but light, safe, and economical vehicles.

    Until then, we will buy Insights and Prius. Those of us old enough will reminisce about the good old days of 270 hp V6 Accords and Camrys, Dodge Caravans with 4.0 liter, 255 hp V6s (that’s 245 cubic inches, almost as much as a 5.0 liter/305 ci V8 from the olden days…)

    Future buyers likely will care less about just HP ratings. I think the perception of “fun to drive” depends on what you grew up with. Like Mr. Martineck says, it’s a different game now.

    If we’re REALLY lucky, the whole GM/Chrysler bankruptcy mess might also force changes to the buying experience. But I’m not betting my gas money on it.

  • avatar
    V6

    it’s just so ugly and ungainly, the new Prius looks so much better.
    i’d take the Fusion over this, although i dont know if i’ll be giving up my diet of 6 cylinder cars any time soon

  • avatar
    RobertSD

    This car makes me wonder once again if Honda has screwed up their hybrid offering. It’s like a truly efficient hybrid is some mysterious thing to them – and yet Ford can make a Fusion get almost the same mileage (41/36 v 40/43) as this thing, and you get room for five adults and the stupid mileage graphics as well with a suspension and tire set up that doesn’t feel like it will give out going around a corner at 10 mph (although I still wouldn’t call it fun – let’s just say one of the more pleasureable hybrids to drive)… and I haven’t even made it to the Prius yet…

    I realize that the Fusion is about $6k more and the Prius about $4k – but you are getting what I perceive as substantially better vehicles for those prices.

    I suppose if you want a low-price-point, small hybrid that says “I’m green too!” then fine, this seems to work. I suppose if you are a Honda loyalist, then that’s fine too. But I’m out of reasons and those first two really weren’t that good.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A lightly-optioned Jetta TDI with the DSG transmission ends up being about $1000 more than the Insight EX I built on Honda’s website.

    I think that would be $1000 well spent.

  • avatar

    I like it better than the Prius or the Fit. In fact, the Fit is rather ugly, and the Prius is a bit ugly, too. In fact, I think if you take all the family sedans out there, and grade them 1-100, this one is in the 80s. True, there is nothing about this car to match the beauty of a ’64 Chevy, or ’64 Buick. But for today’s world, it’s not bad. The only thing I don’t like about it is that damn fish mouth.

  • avatar

    Looks like the review I’ve been working on will be a Take Two. A preview: I found little to like about this car, especially considering the innovation Honda used to be known for. Many cars are simply boring to drive. This one I couldn’t wait to get out of.

    I don’t expect everyone to share my opinion, and Honda appears to be having some luck finding customers. Hopefully we’ll have some real-world fuel economy data at TrueDelta soon. Our real-world gas mileage survey:

    http://www.truedelta.com/fuel_economy.php

    Insight owners are also encouraged to participate in our reliability survey, so we can provide some initial reliability stats ASAP. One early owner recently emailed me about some electical problems with the Insight. He didn’t know about the 2010 Prius when he bought the car, and now wishes he had waited. Hopefully his experience is not typical.

  • avatar
    heaven_on_mars

    Based on early reviews from other sources, it seems like the Prius feels like a higher quality vehicle, but the price gap is what is killing the Prius in most reviews. I have been seeing speculation that Toyota will be dropping the price of the 2010 Prius before it hits dealer lots or very shortly there after. As reported here and other places another cheap hybrid is in the works from TMC. They better get it here quick.

  • avatar
    f8


    This car makes me wonder once again if Honda has screwed up their hybrid offering. It’s like a truly efficient hybrid is some mysterious thing to them

    From Edmunds review:

    “But Honda wants the 2010 Insight to be affordable enough for almost anyone. And it wants the Insight to be the kind of hybrid that provides measureable benefits without introducing day-to-day eccentricities. To these ends, Honda has not developed an all-new hybrid system with dual electric motors and a complex series-parallel arrangement, like a Prius.

    Instead, Honda has stuck to an approach that has worked for its hybrid cars before: Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), a simple system consisting of an efficient gasoline engine, a conventional continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a thin, brushless electric motor sandwiched between the two. The battery pack is of the tried-and-true nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) variety.”

    Honda certainly could develop hybrid technology similar to what Toyota and Ford have. I don’t think they’re suffering from lack of good engineers. They just bet on a different horse – they assume that people would buy a cheaper hybrid over a more expensive one, especially since you won’t ever save enough dough on gas money to justify any hybrid car. It makes sense too – why buy a Ford Fusion hybrid for 6 grand more and get a negligible mpg boost?

  • avatar
    A is A

    The shape is actually not an imitation of the Prius. Both copy the aerodynamics invented by a German engineer in the 1930s

    True. Its name was Wunibald Kamm

    http://images.google.es/images?hl=es&q=%22Wunibald%20Kamm%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

    This is the most efficient shape for a car. If you google “Kammback” you will see that this shape is nothing new:

    http://images.google.es/images?q=Kammback&btnG=Buscar+im%C3%A1genes&hl=es&um=1&sa=2

    In my eyes, this shape it has the incomparable beauty of the functional.

    They just bet on a different horse – they assume that people would buy a cheaper hybrid over a more expensive one

    The Prius is a Macintosh. The Insight is a PC.

    A digital speedometer sits center

    Why they do that?. Ergonomics dictate that instruments should be in front of the driver.

    I averaged 37 mpg

    I average 45 mpg (US) with my Toyota Avensis Diesel. City+Road+Freeway. Real paper and pencil calculations, not the optimistic on board computer.

    It is quite interesting: In some circumstances the way you drive can do more for your mpg than your car.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Honda’s floor mat not included game is so old its crusty. At the end of the buying process after all is said and done, you just say throw in the floor mats or I walk. I don’t know why they think they can catch anybody paying for those things.

  • avatar
    BDB

    The engineering is impressive, but the styling makes the Prius look good by comparison. And the Prius is extremely ugly. But YMMV. Some people like that look.

  • avatar

    A is A:

    Are those US gallons, or UK gallons? Makes a big difference.

  • avatar
    capdeblu

    Back in the 1980′s I tired to buy a Honda Accord for sticker price and was told no deal. They had added $2000 worth of paint and fabric protection to the sticker which I refused to fall for.

    Is it just me or do others find Honda owners annoying?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Financially speaking, I don’t see the sense in high-mpg setups like this, or VW’s TDI, unless gas is about twice as much as it is right now, and stays at that level.

    For this reason, hybrids will be a niche product unless a permanent change in fuel prices occurs.

  • avatar
    DeanMTL

    This car is SO ugly it’s sinful. Mileage or not, this insanity has to stop – there’s no reason to ruin a car in the name of squeezing out a few MPG. That’s like accepting a retarded girlfriend for her birthing hips. Just plain stupid.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I think I’d rather have the 69′ Camaro instead. My definition of fun is (and always be) humiliating teenagers stop light to stop light in my Impala SS. Until kids learn that giant spoilers and coffee can sized exhausts don’t make cars fast it’ll be open season year round. If gas cost 10 bucks a gallon it’d still be worth every penny.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Honda upps the ante and they did it without my tax dollars. Good for them. And I bet it doesn’t cost 48K either.

    But it’s worth noting that unlike the original insight the EX model gives customers what they want, two more seats in back. This was done without consulting the Sierra club or eco groups with input from government car czars and task forces on presidential auto makers(or something like that)

    Expect the transplants to make cars we want in the future and the government makers to turn out cars we don’t want.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    “Combined with the Insight’s Eco button—a kind of anti-Nitrous switch that puts the car into super conserve mode—the gauges and lights serve as new substitutes for a gear shift and tons of torque. It helps make you a more controlled, responsive driver . . . in terms of economy.”

    Sounds great…Sigh.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The Formula 1 style “gear-changers” on the EX’s steering wheel don’t help. How could they? It’s a CVT. I’m still trying to figure that part out.

    That’s actually a really good question. A stepped CVT is stupid: you’re giving up the whole point of a CVT (being able to pick an optimum ratio from a range, rather than fixed set of four to eight gears). I’ve driven a few Nissan CVTs recently and I really like the lack of thumping up- and downshifts. Automatic transmissions creep me out; they feel like there’s something wrong with them.

    The Insight’s shape is pleasing, like a large juicer. It’s just not stirring. The Insight gets a bonus star for being a five-door, the practicality of which seems lost on my native country. It won’t be lost on the Insightful.

    There’s two reasons for this:
    * One, it’s a good shape for aerodynamics. Saabs used to be shaped like this for the same reason.

    * Two, if the Prius proved anything, it’s that people who buy hybrids en masse don’t quite fit into the same demographic as Camry/F-150 buyers: they will tolerate, if not outright seek, a different-looking car.**

    * Three is simple packaging: if you want space for four people and a reasonable amount of stuff in as small a footprint as possible, a sedan or tall crossover is not the way to do so.

    Going on and on about how Priuses and Insights are ugly is kind of pointless. The only people who do have serious objections find, say, the Camaro and Challenger attractive, are willing to sacrifice a useful trunk opening for a swoopy profile, don’t care that most people hate two-doors, think GM did a good thing by butch-nosing their minivans and—this is important—wouldn’t buy a hybrid anyway.

    ** Ergo, GM should have been making hybrid Saabs, but that’s a long-time sore point with me and one I won’t pick at here.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    37mpg? That’s it?

    I hope that was 100% city driving, because my old 05 Civic (manual, of course) averaged a healthy 35mpg city and flirted with both sides of the 50mpg high-water mark on long highway runs.

  • avatar
    A is A

    A is A:

    Are those US gallons, or UK gallons? Makes a big difference.

    US gallons. I just converted from my pen-and-paper calculated 5 liters per 100 km.

    My “Made in England” onboard computer says (optimistically) that I am doing 59.6 mpg (Imperial gallons)/ 4.7 liters per 100 km.

    I do not hypermile. I just drive slowly and smoothly.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    A is A: Why they do that?. Ergonomics dictate that instruments should be in front of the driver.

    No, they don’t. Tradition dictates that, much like tradition dictates the QWERTY keyboard layout.

    Ergonomics dictates that instruments should be HUDs, but as that’s not practical, the best position is as far away from the driver without being illegible, and as few degrees from the road focus. This way the driver doesn’t need to glance away from the road and refocus.

    RobertSD: This car makes me wonder once again if Honda has screwed up their hybrid offering. It’s like a truly efficient hybrid is some mysterious thing to them – and yet Ford can make a Fusion get almost the same mileage (41/36 v 40/43) as this thing,

    I’d be interested to know if that holds up in real life. Honda’s hybrid system hasn’t always been up to snuff (it’s a mild-hybrid system, much less sophisticated than Toyota/Ford) but the the Insight is smaller, lighter and sleeker than the Fusion. I’d be surprised if real-world urban-cycle didn’t favour the Honda.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The momment my buddy and I sat in one of these and saw the cheap wheel covers, the laughable mail slot rear window that you litterally can’t see out the back, the nasty cheap carpet that would be better served as a place to wipe your boots when entering the house, the 23k sticker and the garbage cut rate interior had us both running for the Ford dealer to see the far superior Fusion.

  • avatar
    au6553

    My automatic Toyota Echo gets 40mpg in the city without the added expense of any hybrid equipment. And you only returned 37mpg? This sounds like a one star review to me, and if this were a GM product, I’m sure that it would have been set on fire.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    I don’t understand why ‘shifting’ a CVT confuses some people. Basically, a CVT works by selecting from a near continuous spectrum of ‘ratios’ for the gear. By flipping a paddle switch, you’re telling the CVT to hold a specific ratio or kick down to a specific ratio quickly.

    That said, Honda’s CVT reliability has been atrocious. This gets glossed over, but Honda’s hybrids have been only slightly more reliable than Daewoos.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Should have been left missing link in the techno-parade to high efficiency autos. Again, not worth the money.

    As savvy consumers we need to vote “no purchase” until Big Auto vastly improves content and price.

    The future will bring back affordable automobiles that are breathtaking to drive and the ultimate in conservation. This will happen because it is what we all really want and are willing to pay for.

  • avatar
    segfault

    A Jetta TDI? Are you serious? VW’s reliability, even on the TDI models, is not on par with Honda’s.

    This review read more like a two or three star review.

  • avatar
    A is A

    Ergonomics dictates that instruments should be HUDs, but as that’s not practical…

    I have been told that HUDs are distracting, because your brain sees “things moving” in the zone where the road is.

    They are very, very cool, nonetheless:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:E60hud.JPG

    …the best position is as far away from the driver without being illegible, and as few degrees from the road focus. This way the driver doesn’t need to glance away from the road and refocus.

    Uhmmmmm…that seems to be a reason. Thank you.

    Do you have any source for this issue?. I would be very interested. I am fascinated by ergonomics.

  • avatar

    Michael, great and funny review. You averaged 37mpg? My 2008 manual Corolla does almost the same with a 126 HP, 1.8l engine.
    In the city it drinks 7L/100km (33mpg) and on the highway 6L/100km (39mpg).
    You could buy almost two of those for one hybrid…
    Besides, all small cars are hybrids – you can push them and get a great gas milage.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I am following the progression of alt-fuel cars like this. It seems to me that car manufacturers beleive that people who will buy hybrid cars are not at all interested in fun driving.

    I beleive that they are mistaken. I, for instance, am very intertested in spirited controlled driving that uses as little fuel as possible. So I own a Golf. I also live in Philadelphia, so I really could use an electric assist downtown, where speeds of 2 mph are not uncommon.

    For instance, a Mustang hybrid. A 4cyl turbo 300 hp ala Mazda. An electric engine for the city, a gas one for the highway. And Mustang good looks. A rag top, please.

    I cannot imagine this will come to pass. You see, people who want good milage dont really wanna have fun, right?

  • avatar
    tedward

    So it’s a Fit with a crap transmission and a novel drivetrain. Or you could call it a Fit that is $3-4k more expensive than it’s better-driving mechanical relations. I thought Honda was going to be making the “sporty hybrid”, and from a few initial reviews I was preparing myself for a pleasant suprise. Then I heard about the CVT (total dealbreaker, Honda’s conventional 4-speed autos are awful and this is the replacement tech nology? That’s a firing offense.), the lack of manual transmission option, and the more honest impressions (such as this one) start to filter through. I should have known better, but I probably shouldn’t full on hate until I drive it.

    The new Prius is getting the open eyes/open mouth treatment from journalists right now as well. Again, I was preparing myself for a pleasant suprise, but I should probably take a chill pill on that. The same exact people who’ve been touting the new Prius have been singing the Inight’s virtues from every rooftop.

  • avatar
    Michael.Martineck

    With regard to my 37 mpg average, I should add that I really got on this beast. I mixed my driving evenly, but I became interested driving it hard to see what would happen. Like listening to transmission I would have figured was busted on most other cars. Or jamming on jelly breaks. Fascinating.

    Looked at in terms of a practical, economical commuter car, it gets four stars.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Hmmmmmmm. We had a 2002 Civic EX sedan that regularly provided 27 to 32mpg in town and between 35 to 41mpg on road trips and it had the nice zippy 1.7L 117hp engine/automatic combo.

    Nice to see Honda provide newer generations of this technology but wouldn’t it be smart for them to simply provide cool hatchback or wagon versions of their Civic and Accord instead???

    I just don’t get Honda the past few years. They’ve lost focus on their core product lines and some of the leadership they used to have.

  • avatar
    buzzliteyear

    RE: 37 mpg

    Other journalists who have driven the Insight have achieved substantially better mileage.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/uptospeed/2009/04/back-to-back-hybrid-smack-prius-vs-insight.html

    http://www.automobilemag.com/green/reviews/0903_2010_honda_insight/sport_setting.html

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Do you have any source for this issue?. I would be very interested. I am fascinated by ergonomics.

    There was a lot of discussion about this when the Echo (and Ion, and X-Trail) were released. The statistics were most particular in the Echo’s case, measuring degrees of look-away and eye-focus changes. I’ll try to dig them up.

    I have been told that HUDs are distracting, because your brain sees “things moving” in the zone where the road is.

    You’re right: a “Minority Report” HUD is asking for trouble.

    A good HUD ought not to provide too much information. The speedo and perhaps a few idiot lights (say, a blue blinking dot to shift and a red one for a general problem) that indicate the driver should look down and view a more detailed status of the problem. The edge-of-windscreen guages in the Insight, Prius and pre-refresh Suzuki Aerio are a kind of compromise in this respect, not bad, but not great, either.

    I’ve heard arguments about moving climate and audio control feedback to a HUD as well, though not as universally: doing so with secondary controls splits your focus, perhaps with even worse results than simply requiring a look-away.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Do you have any source for this issue?. I would be very interested. I am fascinated by ergonomics.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/TE-Fighter-Cockpits.html

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    …the lack of manual transmission option…

    When the original Insight was around, it was noted that the CVT got better real-world mileage in the hands of all but the most deranged hypermilers. Hybrids do their best work when they can manage the powertrain to it’s highest efficiency. A CVT allows that, a manual transmission very much does not.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    One reason to put the instruments in the center of the ip is so that they don’t have to design and build mirror-image ip’s for left- and right-drive countries.

    I would suspect that the main reason hybrids don’t come with manual transmissions is the cost of building them and getting them through all the hoops necessary for sale in the US market, balanced against the likelihood that about two percent of hybrid buyers would want a stick; the same reason, that is, that we in the United States have a lesser choice of engine/transmission combinations in general than do car buyers in other countries. Just our government tryin’ to look out for us….

  • avatar
    wsn

    A is A :
    April 13th, 2009 at 4:56 am

    I average 45 mpg (US) with my Toyota Avensis Diesel. City+Road+Freeway. Real paper and pencil calculations, not the optimistic on board computer.

    ———————————————

    Diesel is 18% denser than gasoline (more hydro-carbon per unit size). So, for fair comparison, 1 mpg diesel = 0.847 mpg gas.

    Your 45 mpg diesel car is as energy efficient as a 38 mpg gas car.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Another hybrid review and another slew of comments about how their diesel gets the same or better MPG’s, again showing absolute ignorance oil refining.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Hey looks like a Honda!

    Is that a Honda?

    The car that everyone drives in America next to Toyota.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Good car, considering that Honda didn’t receive $10k bailout for every car they produce.

  • avatar
    70 Chevelle SS454

    Wait, so my SLK55 gets like 24-25 mpg, and this thing gets like 37?

    So, for 13 mpg, I would have to be SEEN in that piece of garbage? AND IT COSTS MORE THAN A DECENT USED AMG WITH LESS THAN 15,000?! That works out to like a tank of gas every couple months for the average driver.

    Whoever buys this is predisposed to this sort of decision. The economics make no sense.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    70 Chevelle SS454 wrote:
    Wait, so my SLK55 gets like 24-25 mpg

    Only when standing very still in your garage.

  • avatar
    wsn

    70 Chevelle SS454 :
    April 13th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Wait, so my SLK55 gets like 24-25 mpg, and this thing gets like 37?

    So, for 13 mpg, I would have to be SEEN in that piece of garbage? AND IT COSTS MORE THAN A DECENT USED AMG WITH LESS THAN 15,000?! That works out to like a tank of gas every couple months for the average driver.

    ——————————————–

    1) You must be driving like a grandma.

    2) The SLK has 2 fewer seats and costs more than twice.

    3) By your reasoning, the SLK must be a piece of shit, as compared to a second hand [insert your favorite exotic car here, e.g. Ferrari something].

  • avatar
    ajla

    segfault:

    A Jetta TDI? Are you serious? VW’s reliability, even on the TDI models, is not on par with Honda’s.

    It is not like a Jetta is a Trabant. I know VW’s reputation compared to Honda, but I’d still take the gamble and deal with the results.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    “A Jetta TDI? Are you serious? VW’s reliability, even on the TDI models, is not on par with Honda’s.”

    Both the Insight and the TDI are too new to rate reliability. The Honda civic and Jetta are both rated by Consumer reports as Average in reliability, but these are the gasoline versions.

    The old Jetta TDI engine has provided many owners with 200,000 and 300,000 reasonably reliable miles of service. I expect that long before that Insight owners will have to spend an awful lot on replacement batteries.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    Financially speaking, I don’t see the sense in high-mpg setups like this, or VW’s TDI, unless gas is about twice as much as it is right now, and stays at that level.

    For this reason, hybrids will be a niche product unless a permanent change in fuel prices occurs.

    I agree, but there are other reasons for buying high mileage cars. Some are concerned with conservation and the environment and some (like me) want to help the USA achieve energy independence. That is the primary reason I bought the TDI>

  • avatar
    wsn

    fgbrault :
    April 13th, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    The old Jetta TDI engine has provided many owners with 200,000 and 300,000 reasonably reliable miles of service. I expect that long before that Insight owners will have to spend an awful lot on replacement batteries.

    —————————————-

    Any hard data to back that up? Or is it your imagination only?

    Toyota Prius was far more reliable than anything from VW (and yes Prius was introduced 10 years ago). The “battery replacement” argument, so far, is pure bullshxt.

    Honda, as a brand, performs better than Toyota on Consumer Report. It’s not a far stretch to expect the Insight to last as long as the Prius.

  • avatar
    yaesumofo

    The VW TDI is proving to be very reliable. There really have NOT been any major ongoing issues with the car…SO FAR.
    The real fly in the TDI’s ointment is the dealership and the quality of the service. Not the car.
    TDI is very much a car which is built with high quality components and engineering. The Technology involved in VW’s clean Diesel system is ground breaking and amazing. The Current crop of Jettas are also VERY Safe.
    As a prior Honda owner…The VW Fit and Finish when combined with the quality engineering build and design COMPLETLY BLOW AWAY the Honda product.
    Personally I doubt I will ever buy another Honda.
    Want to know for sure?
    Go to a dealership. Both VW and Honda. Ak them to show you the car from BELOW. That’s right, have them put the car up on the rack. Have a look at the quality of the car and it’s components from the business end of things. You will notice a whole lot from this point of view…. German engineering is designed to LAST.
    Yaesumofo

  • avatar
    tedward

    psarhjinian

    My problem with the CVT is that I think it’s the worst transmission option on the market. I don’t care that it helps them get that 1 mpg they need for CAFE…cut the fat elsewhere, I won’t buy it. I make sure that no one shopping for cars around me buys one either (with a 100% success rate so far). I feel exactly the same way about low resistance tires, but at least I can change those.

    I will grant that a new CVT is slightly better than a really old 4-speed auto. That is such faint praise that even I can barely read the words I’m typing.

    If Honda had invested in an actually modern tc auto they’d have a far better unit than they do now, if they’d chosen DSG they’d have the best possible auto trans. They didn’t. They picked the transmission design that the aspirational brands rejected due to excessive crappiness (Audi’s the recent ex. I believe). I literally do not understand praise I find for the CVT’s…Edmunds likes them for instance. Maybe I’d sing a different tune if I drove one in a real luxury car application, something too big to have any positive dynamic expectations, but I doubt it.

    CVT aside, as I’d never buy an auto anyway, my problem is that its the only choice. I don’t know how much it costs to develop a manual transmission, but I do know lots of people that simply will not buy anything else. Unfortunately for Toyota/Honda they are almost all they type of people who like the idea of hybrids, and who are used to paying a price premium for their Saabs, VWs and BMWs. The overpriced Prius would likely be on their radar with a stick, and they would even consider it a bargain.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Three quick points

    i. psarhjinian, the stepped manual override is absolutely essential to me. When the road is snowpacked, I rely on the tachometer to tell me if the wheels are slipping;. The CVT in a loaner Sentra scared the hell out of me because I could not tell if the wheels were slippmg, or the cvt was doing its smooth sweeping rpm increase on slick roads when accelerating.

    2. Honda’s hybrid system to my mind is far more elegant that Toyota’s. The integrated electric motor does all the things Toyota’s three electric motors do.

    3. When the price was rumored to start at $18,500 that was aruably the “affordable” price Honda promised. Honestly about $2000 above the base Fit would have been more like it. However $19,800? Crap! I was hoping they were going to make the Insight actually be the first economically advantageous hybrid in terms of it’s extra efficiency paying for itself at the pump.

    The car is clearly disappointing on the price front.

  • avatar
    tedward

    wsn

    the battery cost thing is definitely overblown a bit, but it is a 2-4k of cost (each time) on top of anything you might invest to keep the ICE running. If the Japanese have invented the magical engine that never needs a rebuild AND put a battery pack in there then of course there is no hybrid maintenance downside. It’s a little silly to go after the hybrids on that front (and I’ve done it before to be honest) as the buyers pay a premium new and used and aren’t really getting an economy car anymore. Non-economy cars have extra maintenance cost period.

    The diesel VW’s do have engine’s that run forever (I own one). My landlord loves them for rebuild projects and I’ve been in some really really old examples as a result. The rest of the car…not so much. The new ones are fantastic though (I’ve only driven the DSG).

  • avatar
    tedward

    ttacgreg

    “I rely on the tachometer to tell me if the wheels are slipping;. The CVT in a loaner Sentra scared the hell out of me because I could not tell if the wheels were slippmg, or the cvt was doing its smooth sweeping rpm increase on slick roads when accelerating.”

    As if I needed another reason to hate the technology. I haven’t driven a CVT in the snow, but some of them do definitely have faked gears…did you get to try one of those?

  • avatar
    Quentin

    fincar1 : One reason to put the instruments in the center of the ip is so that they don’t have to design and build mirror-image ip’s for left- and right-drive countries.

    This is not true.

    Prius dash: http://z.about.com/d/alternativefuels/1/0/F/F/-/-/08_Prius_cockpit.jpg Notice that the center stack is shifted to the passenger side compared to the center tunnel. There are also enough differences (like the recess in the driver side near the stack) in the dash top that they can’t just use the same part.

    Echo dash: http://www.familycar.com/roadtests/toyotaecho/Images/Echo-Dash-Med.jpg Notice the lack of an airbag on the upper dash on the driver side where it exists on the passenger side.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    The over-excited meth-heads (I wish…) at MotorWeek got 50mpg in mixed driving without trying (their claim.) Most of their tests take place in the DC sprawl (their offices are in Maryland but I recognize many NoVa landmarks in their clips) so for obvious reasons, a hybrid would return that kind of mileage there.

    My .02 on the TDI issue since I have friends with different years of TDIs. Love the way it drives…especially love the torque, BUT I swear those Check Engine lights like flashing like Christmas lights. After a reset, the diagnosis comes back as a glitch. Combine that with the VW/Audi habit of chewing up lightbulbs and one must wonder the long term life of the electrical system. I was recently behind a newer Jetta (judging by the taillights, I’m guessing around a 2007-08 with the smoke black tinting light cover), and it already had three dead lights. It could be a minor issue for owners until the brake lights burn out and someone slams into you.

    Last thing – I think Honda had to drop another $1000 or so off of the Insight price. The price leap between an Insight and base Prius isn’t that large…and the Prius is the 800lb gorilla. I’d compare it to the Zune (Honda) against the iPod (Toyota) in the hybrid hatch market. Once you calculate yet another round of Toyota discounting (and the terrible six months of ads on TV that go with that), the prices might equal out.

    We shall see…

  • avatar
    don1967

    What impresses me more than the gadgetry is the attention to weight reduction. But the new Insight is still 691 pounds heavier than my first new car, a 1988 Civic DX Hatchback.

    That fine little chariot did an honest-to-goodness 45 mpg (US) on the highway. It did this without regenerative braking, redundant electric motors, and expensive battery packs. And its dashboard did not resemble that of the Battlestar Galactica. It was just a simple little 2039 pound car with a 92 horsepower engine, and I like to think that somewhere out there it is still running some kid to school for pennies a day.

    I loved that car, and the company that built it. The modern-day Insight might be a smarter, safer vehicle, but to me there isn’t an ounce of common sense in it.

  • avatar
    IGB

    Reading the review, I expected 2 stars. Are the 4 stars relative to other hybrids as opposed to other cars?

    I wanted this car to be good. I’m disappointed. Honda seems to be getting soft. Acura has gone awry. The Accord is a bit off. The Pilot has fallen to mediocrity. CRV is mid-pack. There’s work to be done.

  • avatar
    dzwax

    My wife wanted a Honda something fierce. Every other car company was offering huge discounts, and the Hondas all had an extra few thousand tacked on full sticker price for rubber mats, undercoat, mud flaps (two little molded plastic pieces that probably cost $0.25 to produce), fabric protector, and whatever other dealer added cons they could come up with. We did not buy a Honda.
    A 97 Dodge Neon gets 42 MPG on the highway, and it will suck the headlights off the Insight as it goes by.

  • avatar
    fgbrault

    The old Jetta TDI engine has provided many owners with 200,000 and 300,000 reasonably reliable miles of service. I expect that long before that Insight owners will have to spend an awful lot on replacement batteries.

    —————————————-

    Any hard data to back that up? Or is it your imagination only?

    I withdraw my comment on the batteries as my new research indicates that the cost of replacement is substantially less than for my DSG transmission. :)

    Here are a couple of links to reviews of the 2009 TDI where the author states that the previous TDI’s often went hundreds of thousands of miles. I have no reason to believe that they are wrong.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/09/in-the-autobloggreen-garage-2009-volkswagen-jetta-tdi/

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2008/11/02/214387.html

  • avatar
    noreserve

    mikeolan :
    …That said, Honda’s CVT reliability has been atrocious. This gets glossed over, but Honda’s hybrids have been only slightly more reliable than Daewoos.

    Where are you getting your information? The Honda Civic Hybrid has been “Much better than average” since 04, according to Consumer Reports (and many owners, I’m certain). Even the 03 was rated “Better than average”. You are way off base.

    yaesumofo :

    TDI is very much a car which is built with high quality components and engineering….The Current crop of Jettas are also VERY Safe.
    As a prior Honda owner…The VW Fit and Finish when combined with the quality engineering build and design COMPLETLY BLOW AWAY the Honda product.

    Quality German components do not equate with trouble-free ownership. Ask many former owners of VW Passats. Or A4s. Or fill-in-the-blank. Reliability of the VW/Audi models has only recently improved (on some models). While I appreciate German engineering as much as the next geek, I chose an Accord over the VW/Audi as a daily driver, simply because I didn’t want to worry about the reliability of at least one of my vehicles. Don’t ask about the others.

    The Honda range is also very safe. Of course, as the recent IIHS demonstration shows, just make sure you don’t compare different weights. I wouldn’t want to be in the Insight and get hit by even an Accord.

    Go to a dealership. Both VW and Honda. Ak them to show you the car from BELOW. That’s right, have them put the car up on the rack. …

    I’m betting that most VW owners have plenty of opportunities to check out their cars on the dealer racks, unfortunately. The diesel engines may last quite a bit longer than most of the electrical parts on the VWs. Someone should have lost their head several years ago at VW/Audi for their atrocious lack of quality control on those – go figure – quality German components.

    As for the Insight, I’m not sure I can deal with any more road noise than my 08 Accord. Honda also deserves someone’s head on a platter for their across-the-board road noise. If you’re going to use hard, noisy tires, thin sheet metal and such, you need to shore it up with more insulation. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. At the flyweight this thing checks in at, I imagine it’s got a lot to say over course pavement.

    I can see the 4 out of 5 stars on the review. It’s a boring hybrid, but it has likely been executed as well as you can at that level. CVT, unfortunately, goes with the territory. Flimsy sheet metal? Typical Honda. Shape that looks like a retarded jellybean? Check.

    Prices are probably marked up like any other new Honda intro. They will come down. Until then, Honda dealers will continue to find any way they can to mark it up. And what’s with the pin stripes on nearly every Honda you can find? I thought those went out of style in 89, but I find them still rampant in 2009.

    Gas prices would have to be up in the $4+ gallon range to consider living with this level of awkward/ugly. At least it’s practical with a hatch. Can’t say that for the Civic Hybrid. Honda quotes mileage that looks to be several above what was seen in the review.

    I enjoyed the review Michael. Love the “It’s not like you can downshift, spool up and goose the little bastard.” How true.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It was just a simple little 2039 pound car with a 92 horsepower engine, and I like to think that somewhere out there it is still running some kid to school for pennies a day.

    You’d also die in a crash with a bicycle, it could probably get to sixty in about ten seconds, had ass-on-the-floor seating that no one really likes, in retrospect, and was smaller in every sense than Fit, let alone the Insight.

    A fair comparison would have been the Accord of the same day. In that light, the Insight is a much better car.

    It bugs me when people drag late 80s/early 90s economy cars as valid competitors to something like the Insight. You may as well consider motorcycles and the Tata Nano, because they’re about as valid in terms of crash safety, emissions and content.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    @tedward: My problem with the CVT is that I think it’s the worst transmission option on the market.

    Why? I mean really, why? Other than the fact that it sounds funny, it does a better job of getting the power to the road than any other option. It doesn’t slip or grind, waste power stirring fluid or have a monstrously complex set of gears, valves and solenoids.

    Compared to the ticking financial time bomb that is a DSG (have you looked inside one of those things?) or a 6+AT, it’s a model of simplicity. The problem, near as I can tell, is that it doesn’t “thump” and give a rush of acceleration on shifting, which enthusiasts find disconcerting and gearheads associate with a slipping AT.

    @ttacgreg: the stepped manual override is absolutely essential to me. When the road is snowpacked, I rely on the tachometer to tell me if the wheels are slipping;. The CVT in a loaner Sentra scared the hell out of me because I could not tell if the wheels were slippmg, or the cvt was doing its smooth sweeping rpm increase on slick roads when accelerating.

    One, that’s what traction control is for. The Insight comes with both traction and stability control.

    Two, I’ve had similar behaviour from an AT, especially in a car that does have TC and/or doesn’t have particularly sensitive steering. I was never sure when my Saab was slipping, and I really can’t tell if my Sienna is, either. I can feel it instantly in my Fit, as I could in my old Protege.

    I can usually feel a certain “lightness” or “floatiness” in the steering of your average front-driver when it starts to slip and I’m surprised it wasn’t evident in the Sentra. I did feel it in the Altima, but it’s possible the Sentra might have a suckier steering rack. I can’t (or don’t) clue into the RPM for this purpose, but that’s just me.

  • avatar
    tedward

    psarhjinian

    My criticism of the CVT is based entirely on personal preference. I actually like the lack of thumping (hence the nod over an older 4 speed auto), but there’s something about the initial application of power that I find incredibly distasteful. Not so much the steady state power application, highway driving feels pretty much the same in 5th gear or infinite gear, but on tight roads where throttle off/on happens every couple dozen feet (opinion based off of MINI, Altima and Prius, the other CVT’s I drove were SUVs and not really on back roads). I probably wouldn’t be bothered by this in a truck sized ride, but in the 3 mentioned above it was enough to ruin the cars for me. Ruined as in demanding my money back and/or creating a stink in the dealership if it was my money.

    I absolutely share your reservations about the DSG’s complexity but seeing as I share those reservations about all non-manuals it’s not too significant to me. Too many crap Dodge and Ford truck autos in my family growing up I guess. On the other hand VW does go endurance racing with what I believe is the same DSG that they sell on Monday, so possible high cost aside the DSG may not be crap.

    I didn’t bring this up before but the CVT’s are the ones with truly awful histories (some Japanese guy in some article I saw claimed they solved that, not clear to me if that was BS or not). That same MINI I drove needed a new transmission (at I believe well over $6k, not sure) not even a year later.

  • avatar
    wsn

    yaesumofo :
    April 13th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Go to a dealership. Both VW and Honda. Ak them to show you the car from BELOW. That’s right, have them put the car up on the rack. Have a look at the quality of the car and it’s components from the business end of things. You will notice a whole lot from this point of view…. German engineering is designed to LAST.

    ——————————————–
    I think you got the wrong conclusion.

    From the evidence you provided, I can only see that German engineering is designed to look good from underbelly.

    If you want to know what is designed to LAST, go read a Consumer Report.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Not so much the steady state power application, highway driving feels pretty much the same in 5th gear or infinite gear, but on tight roads where throttle off/on happens every couple dozen feet.

    I think I know the sensation you’re talking about, and it is bizzare. I haven’t tried a CVT Mini (and didn’t the Cooper S come with a ‘normal’ AT?), and the Prius isn’t a CVT in the classical sense, but I do remember a distinct difference between the way the Versa handled quick throttle inputs versus the Altima: the latter had less of that slipping-in-gear feeling. I’ve heard the Maxima is better still.

    From what I recall, what happens is that the CVT instantly cranks up the ratio, but doesn’t change the engine RPM to match. You end up with this weird RPM pegging sensation where the engine note doesn’t even remotely agree with the wheel speed, and it’s disconcerting. The Altima 3.5 had enough shove to kind of make this a non-issue, but in the Versa the engine is so gutless that what acceleration there is gets offset by the weirdness. The Insight is probably going to be similar.

    I really enjoyed the Altima 3.5 CVT, for what it’s worth. The power was just seamless.

    On the other hand VW does go endurance racing with what I believe is the same DSG that they sell on Monday, so possible high cost aside the DSG may not be crap.

    Reliability with regards to racing is hard to extrapolate into “real life”. A racing transmission just has to last the length of the race, not years of normal driving. Think about the rotary engine: it’s really well-suited to endurance racing, too, but in the hands of mere mortals is a time bomb.

    I didn’t bring this up before but the CVT’s are the ones with truly awful histories (some Japanese guy in some article I saw claimed they solved that…)

    That would be Nissan’s units. Most CVTs were pretty torque-limited and suffered from heat and stress. Nissan’s unit doesn’t suffer from this, or at least doesn’t suffer any more than a conventional AT might, if you keep an eye on the fluid.

    I would worry about Honda’s CVT. The Civic Hybrid hasn’t held up well in this respect. I was schooled on this recently by a fellow TTAC’er, and confirmed the same in Consumer Reports.

  • avatar
    artmaltman

    THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS

    Do the math.

    Suppose you drive 15,000 miles per year.

    10mpg = 1500 gallons
    20mpg = 750 gallons
    30mpg = 500 gallons
    40mpg = 375 gallons
    50mpg = 300 gallons

    The savings for each of these increments are:

    750 (1500 – 750)
    250 (750 – 500)
    125 (500 – 375
    75 (375 – 300)

    So roughly by order of magnitude:
    A. Ditching an SUV for a Camry saves 750 gallons / year.
    B. But the difference between Insight/Fusion versus Prius is 75 gallons / year.

    Bottom Line:
    Once you get to the range of 40mpg, you need a huge improvement in mpg to save serious fuel and carbon Even a doubling of mileage to 80mpg only saves around 188 gallons annually.

    Art

  • avatar
    tedward

    psarhjinian
    “You end up with this weird RPM pegging sensation where the engine note doesn’t even remotely agree with the wheel speed, and it’s disconcerting”

    You hit the nail right on the head I think…that sounds just like it. It’s possible that if I grew up driving these I might not object so strongly to the trait. Then again, I never enjoyed the old Ford/Dodge 4-speed autos so… I agree that the Altima wasn’t as awful, but a lot of that I would have just attributed to the goodness of the 3.5.

    I’ve also heard that the Maxima is an improvement on the CVT breed (haven’t driven it yet) but I just can’t wrap my head around the decision to put a tranny that many customers are going to find questionable at best in a “sports sedan.” I suppose the situation’s not too different from the automated manuals audi/bmw/lambo/etc… are offering despite the fact that every upshift feels like a horse just kicked the car into gear (referencing an R8 and a bmw). Both are just taking opposite transmission traits way too far towards an extreme. My bet is they didn’t want to develop a new AT that wasn’t part of the fleet-milage improvement program. I, for one, like Nisaan, but hope this decision costs them a lot of money.

    What’s up with Honda’s transmissions in general? They still sell a ton of truly awful 4-speed autos and I haven’t heard of anything coming down the pipe that will change that (besides the problematic CVT). You’d think that they would be on top of this if anyone would be. Aren’t they supposed to be the Japanese version of the VAG?

  • avatar
    tedward

    Also, yes, you’re right about the DSG racing comment being kind of irrelevant to street reliability. I guess it does prove that they are way more durable than sequential flat-upshift torture boxes that can grenade after a couple hours of continuous use, which isn’t really something you could brag about in a commercial. Still, I think they’ve performed very well at that job, the main attractions being relative reliability (probably acheived mostly by eliminating driver error).

  • avatar
    ivan1

    A lot of trashing the car based on the MPG of one review…there are several reviews out there that achieved MPG in the 60s with conservative driving.
    for example:

    Edward Loh, Motor Trend – 63.7 MPG
    “The A/C is off, and I’ve got the windows sealed tight to maximize my aerodynamic efficiency. I don’t think the radio reduces the output of my Honda Insight’s IMA system, but I have it off just in case. All I can hear is the quiet hum of the tires as I try to keep my speedo green and the gas engine from firing up…I pull in, soaked and elated: My instantaneous average looks to be 63.7 mpg through this mostly city course. That’s over 20 mpg higher than the 43 mpg those ninnies at the EPA got on the highway.”

    Sam Abuelsamid, Autobloggreen – 63.4 MPG
    “The [test drive] loop consisted of mostly stop and go driving over varied terrain (up and down hills) with speed limits ranging from 25-55 mph in and around Carefree, Arizona. I stuck to the speed limits and kept a light foot on the throttle and brake pedals. With the speedometer up above the steering wheel, the colored background [providing efficiency feedback] was easily visible in my peripheral vision. Glancing down to the main efficiency indicator graph helped to optimize my driving style. With all the feedback I was able to achieve 62.2 mpg over the 16-mile loop. A second attempt later in the afternoon yielded an even better 63.4 mpg.”

    Jerry Garrett, New York Times – 65 mpg
    “After failing to get exceptional mileage at the press introduction of the new Honda Insight, I was eager for a retrial. A few weeks later, I drove an Insight for another 1,000 miles with better results. My drive was broken into segments of 40 to 80 miles. Mileage on the early sections was similarly unimpressive. But one of the later segments, of 82 miles, yielded 65 mpg at an average speed of 65 mph.”

    As far as the styling – certainly no worse than a Prius – in fact I prefer the Clarity-like front grille to the Prius front end any day…

  • avatar

    Another hybrid review and another slew of comments about how their diesel gets the same or better MPG’s, again showing absolute ignorance oil refining.

    I’m not ignorant about oil refining, I do it myself out in my barn!

    140,000 trouble-free miles most of which has been run on fuel I make myself for under a buck a gallon.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    jawshoeaw

    Went to local Honda dealer – ugh. Salesman was nice – no pressure but the $20,000 insight was now $22,000 including a $1000 “market adjustment” The real hoot was that the dealership was advertising its new “no haggle, no nonsense” pricing. They offered me $2000 less than KBB wholesale for my Accord, which is in perfect condition. We left without test driving. The dealership model is dead – I hope if anything good comes out of this recession it’s the end of traditional car dealers. Maybe there is a place for used car dealers.

    regarding insight, which I sat in, I cannot sit in the backseat – I’m 6’2″. Way to go Honda. Here’s some advice: put in a slightly bigger battery, bump the rear roofline up an inch, and tell your dealers to leave off the $2000 markup. The car would be better AND cheaper AND get better gas mileage than the current compromise plus dealer inflation.

  • avatar
    Koblog

    Looked at the 2010 Insight in the showroom while my 2005 Acura TL was being serviced.
    With its fold-down rear seats, I’m pretty sure I can carry more and larger stuff in the Insight that I can in the TL. And I rarely have even two people in the car and never four.
    My ’05 TL has all of 28,000 miles on it. Every day I drive to work eight miles one way on city streets. Not exactly high performance driving. My 228 horsepower V-Tech engine’s computer informs me that I average 18 MPG … and 18 MPH.
    I need 228 HP burning premium gas to average 18 MPH?? Yeah, right.
    This Insight golf cart fully loaded for $23K (including navi, MP3 input, HandFreeLink Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB input, cloth seats, 100k mile guarantee on the NiMH battery) looks like the perfect car to get me to and from work day after day in stop-and-go straight-line rush hour traffic on Pacific Coast Highway at 18 MPH.
    I have to admit I enjoy getting into my TL every day since I bought it and it is a very nice car indeed, but the Insight’s reduced cost of ownership (gas, insurance, registration, etc) is looking pretty attractive.

  • avatar
    tarztan

    My daughter who goes to college purchased a used 2010 Honda ex.
    She had been shopping around car dealerships looking for something within her price range with reliability and good gas mileage.
    Never having owned a Honda before, but knows a lot of people who do and questioning them first.
    All of her other vehicles she has had in the past seemed to end up being money pits, weather it be gas guzzlers and or mechanical problems.
    She found the Toyota Prius cost to be much higher, yes affordability comes in to play.
    She did purchase the 2010 Honda EX, and just loves it. She talks about how it teaches you how to be a better/more gas efficient driver, Loves the friendly dash board displays. And ( like most reviews ive read from other owners) , is getting an average of 45 mpg city, and closer to 55 mpg highway. For some student that has had the big engine vehicles to smaller but peppier cars, she still loves this Honda. And even the looks of the car, interior as well as exterior.
    She knew what she was looking for , what price range, and all the other factors upon buying a used vehicle. I’m sure she pissed off a lot to car dealership salesmen by walking away from them day after day. Also she had the Honda checked out by her own mechanic first, everything was ok except the rear tires had dry rot and were cracking, which the dealership agreed to replace and did.
    She has now been enjoying this car for quite some time now. No problems what so ever.
    I guess with reading all the personal reviews here, I just wanted to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And for people who buy any Hybrids, I personally think its great, no matter what company produces them. Personally I don’t have one, but I don’t wish and wouldn’t put down anyone for having one of any make or model.
    As a dad of a college student, I’m proud of her decision and wish her the best.


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