By on March 10, 2009

That’s including the delivery charge, kids. And despite the fact that it’s priced only $2K and some change over a base Prius (which boasts a significantly better EPA rating) Honda is reporting 18K orders as of Monday, says the WSJ. Whether the Insight ever approaches the Prius’s 240+K sales remains to be seen. For the moment though, economy seems to make a stronger argument than environmentalism.

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56 Comments on “Honda Insight Base Price: $20,470...”


  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    What happened to all the predictions and announcements that Insight would be priced a couple of grand below Prius?

  • avatar
    Kevin

    What happened to all the predictions and announcements that Insight would be priced a couple of grand below Prius?

    It is, as the article says. The Insight is priced LESS than a base Prius, not more. Which BTW, Toyota’s made a terrific strategic blunder in making the 2010 Prius revision too expensive, and they will get hurt for that. I bet Prius sales fall by half, with this Insight cleaning up.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Yeah, that was supposed to say under. Oops.

    And yes, “under $20k” was bandied about a lot over the last year. I even recall $18,500 being thrown out there.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    It is priced below the Prius. I think Mr. Niedermeyer confused his overs and unders. Pricing for the third-generation Prius has not been released yet, but it’s unlikely to be below that of the current model.

    The fuel consumption of the Insight isn’t terribly much more than that of the Prius (about a half a gallon per 100 miles). City mileage of the new Prius is 51mpg, compared to 40 of the new Insight. The difference in fuel consumption is less than the difference between a car that gets 20mpg and one that gets 23mpg. At this rate, it would take 100,000 miles to pay off a $2000 difference in sticker price.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Well, technically… if you don’t count the destination fees, it is under 20k.

    Though why you wouldn’t pick up the 21300 trim with cruise control n stuff is beyond me.

  • avatar
    TexN

    How do these idiots at Honda ever think they are going to be able to compete with the $40k Volt! No wonder they’ve been losing money hand over fist for the past 5 years, have hocked all of their corporate assets, and are still in business only by the grace of the U.S. taxpayer! Oh. Wait. Nevermind. I lost my train of thought.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Kevin wrote:
    It is, as the article says. The Insight is priced LESS than a base Prius, not more

    You read the already corrected article. ;)

  • avatar
    buzzliteyear

    I, too, am surprised that the price is that high. Published reports led us to believe the base price would be about $18.5k (perhaps $19.2k with destination).

    I guess with sales of Pilots, MDXs, RLs, etc. so low, Honda has to make a bigger profit on the Insight to compensate.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Jeez, navigation with a 6.5 inch screen is $1,800. And to think, I just paid $150 to get my parents the same thing (even the same screen size) from Costco.

    Still, the base LX Insight isn’t a horrible deal. With destination a similarly sized, similarly equipped automatic transmission Civic LX is $18,925, or only $1,545 less (I hate automatics, but unfortunately most people are going to like that an automatic comes standard on the Insight).

    So basically moving from a Civic to a similarly sized, similarly equipped dedicated hybrid costs less than adding a navigation system to that hybrid (to you, definitely not to Honda).

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    buzzliteyear:

    I think it’s probably going to be a smaller loss, not a bigger profit, at least unless you get the optional navigation system.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    The original Insight is still the way to go. It’s light as hell with a bespoke aluminum frame, it came with stickshift, and when the hybrid system dies you can insert _______ Integra/Si engine that I don’t know the code for.

  • avatar
    jberger

    The Honda dealer near my house is advertising “hybrids” for $129/mo. And they have a LINE of them parked out front. I don’t have any more specifics on the deal since they don’t mention it on the website and the idea of talking to another sleazeball on the lot is not all that appealing.

    Heck of a price point, and sure makes that 40K volt look silly. Still don’t understand why they don’t offer a Hybrid Ridgeline or Ody. Seems like an easy way to green up the rest of the line and make a real impact in MPG for those models.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    The original Insight is still the way to go. It’s light as hell with a bespoke aluminum frame, it came with stickshift, and when the hybrid system dies you can insert _______ Integra/Si engine that I don’t know the code for.

    B-18C5, Integra Type R engine. That sucker would haul some serious ass… if the thing would fit right. I’m sure some Honda guy out there’s either done it or at least tried though.

  • avatar

    Adjust for equipment differences, figure in the rebate on the Prius, and the price difference ends up under a grand. And that’s before also factoring in Toyota dealers’ wider margins and greater willingness to deal.

    Price comparison to Prius here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/comparisons101/Insight-vs-Prius-price-comparison.php

  • avatar
    kansei

    Actually it’s the K20 that they swap in to the first gen insights. They haul ass, still have A/C and functional gauge clusters and such, and get 45+ mpg in that lightweight car while being ludicrously fast. Oh and that 45mpg was before they did any ECU tuning at all from what I recall. Google for “k-sight” or click here: http://www.tamparacing.com/forums/lht-performance/425659-k20a-insight-lht.html

  • avatar
    George B

    Still don’t understand why they don’t offer a Hybrid Ridgeline or Ody.

    Because Honda has learned that keeping up appearances of being green is more important to hybrid sales than actually using less gasoline. The Prius is successful in part because everyone can identify it as an environmentally friendly vehicle from a mile away while the Hybrid Civic looks like any other Civic. The Insight potentially earns green cred in a way that a hybrid Honda Ridgeline or Odyssey would not.

  • avatar

    This CVT only nonsense really disappoints me. There is no reason that Honda cannot offer a manual transmission in the new Insight. The previous Insight and Civic hybrid both had available sticks. I thought the Insight was supposed to be the “sporty” hybrid.

  • avatar
    BDB

    They certainly have the Prius beat in the fugly department.

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    There is no reason that Honda cannot offer a manual transmission in the new Insight.

    Mileage?

  • avatar
    Demetri

    “I thought the Insight was supposed to be the “sporty” hybrid.”

    That’s what the CR-Z is supposed to be.

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    Yawn. Still not impressed by ugly hybrids that are nothing special compared to European diesels.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    In the interests of truth, it should be noted that those 18k orders are in Japan.

    “Part of the reason for the strong demand for Honda’s new fuel-efficient hybrid is that its sticker price ranges between 1.89 million yen and 2.21 million yen ($19,120 and $22,360) including tax, which is cheaper than rival Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid vehicle. The Prius retails for between 2.3 million yen and 3.4 million yen.”

  • avatar
    CarShark

    @carguy622:

    Sure, there is. No normal person wants them. Just a few hypermiling enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    hazard

    Well, I want one. And it ain’t ugly, to the contrary.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Honda is the new Toyota.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    @CarShark.

    I am not a hyper miler and I want a manual. I think Belt CVTs are unreliable, soul sapping, heaps of junk.

    If this car had a manual, it would be near top of my list for my next car. With the CVT, it isn’t on my list.

    It would also be on my list if they sold it without the Hybrid components + manual transmission (with proper highway gearing).

    Hybrid I can take or leave. CVT I just leave.

    If your next question is “why not the Honda fit?”, the answer is, aerodynamics of a brick, and way too short gearing that makes it buzzy, and deliver relatively low MPG on the highway.

    I seriously love the K20A insight, but putting something like that together probably cost more than a new car. That was not a simple drop in replacement. Not to mention regulatory agencies that would probably give you a hard time in many jurisdictions for de-hybriding.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    I saw the Insight last week at the Geneva show. As I wrote, it looks every penny they saved in making it cheaper than the Prius. Really cheesy switchgear and whatnot. From the inside, the new Prius is worlds ahead.

    Also, the Insight is not only tight in the back, you really have to hunker down to get through the low rear doors. I’m not sure this one is a winner.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    CarShark:

    Ah, no wonder the Corvette ZR1 is only available with a 6 speed manual. The hypermiling enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    ajla

    From the looks of these comments, Honda should offer a manual for the Insight.

    But I think to offset the loss on the CVT Insights, the stick should only be available in a bundled $4500 “Track Pack” that includes a sunroof, navigation system, xenon headlights, matte black fiberglass hood, special “hybrid” striping/decals, a rear spoiler, white letter tires, and hemp sport seats.

  • avatar
    BDB

    “But I think to offset the loss on the CVT Insights, the stick should only be available in a bundled $4500 “Track Pack” that includes a sunroof, navigation system, xenon headlights, matte black fiberglass hood, special “hybrid” striping/decals, a rear spoiler, white letter tires, and hemp sport seats.”

    A boy racer’s wet dream with a dash of hybrid smug.

    The horror!

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Martin, did you check the telescopic steering wheel? Does it have enough movement to be useful? That’s my biggest beef with the Prius – no telescoping steering wheel makes it unusable for my long legs.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    @no_slushbox:

    I meant manual Insights, not manuals in general. But to go to manuals in general, I find it hilarious that enthusiast class still whines about the lack of manuals in cars when they know damn well that the average American doesn’t care or feels negatively about them, especially if they have to deal with traffic. Move on!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    no_slushbox :
    March 10th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    CarShark:

    Ah, no wonder the Corvette ZR1 is only available with a 6 speed manual. The hypermiling enthusiasts.

    ROFL

  • avatar
    dwford

    Couldn’t care less about this. It is ugly and cheap looking – like all new Hondas. NEXT!

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    $16,500 base car with cruise… me and about 240,000 others would buy.

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    Man, Honda truly hates product overlap.

    I can’t have an Accord or Civic wagon because there’s the Pilot and CR-V.

    I can’t have a Civic hatch because there’s the Fit.

    I can’t have a properly geared Fit manual or 6-speed, because the mileage would be too close to the Insight.

    It all amounts to a long, disappointing list of “can’t have it in the US” – which also includes no Honda diesels, no manual in the CR-V, and (this year) no more FWD manual Element.

  • avatar
    BDB

    “That’s my biggest beef with the Prius – no telescoping steering wheel makes it unusable for my long legs.”

    My ex-girlfriend had a Prius, and my biggest issue with the Prius is it was a snoozefest to drive. I suppose if I was a die-hard environmentalist and merely wanted a car as an appliance it would be perfect. As a pistonhead? Yeah, not so much.

    Just as soul-sucking as the Camry, with worse handling.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    italianstallion wrote:
    I can’t have a properly geared Fit manual or 6-speed, because the mileage would be too close to the Insight.

    Good point. A 6-speed Fit would match my needs better. As is, it gets surprisingly poor gas mileage for such a small car and modern technology.

    BDB wrote:
    [Prius] Just as soul-sucking as the Camry, with worse handling

    No way it has worse handling than Camry. I don’t think that’s possible. I drove both, and Camry reminds me of the worst days of American wallowy sedans. At least Prius has a stiffer suspension.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    What ever happened to the North American market Honda diesel’s?

    I have read several good reviews for the oil burning Euro Civic and the Fit too.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    I don’t get the hatred for the automatics. Average Americans buy them most exclusively. Europeans can’t seem to fathom the process.

    My (Portugese) wife can’t drive my Corvette (automatic). She tries but just can’t overcome 15 years of slaming the clutch.

    I don’t care if you are the reincarnation of Ayrton Senna, no one can shift as fast as an automatic. Also, you can better control when it shifts to you can appease the hypermilers.

    There. Covered both ends of the spectrum. In the middle? I don’t have to have cup holders to hold my beer while I shift.

    <>

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    There was a comparison test between the current Prius and the new Insight in Autocar and the current Prius still won. Which should be a bit of a worry for Honda.

    Not that most of the potential customers read car reviews, more that it seems it hit a mark one rung too low – the new Prius should have it soundly beaten in pretty much all areas for an insiginficantly higher price, which will be partly compensated by discounting.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Kurt you certainly don’t get it. “Europeans can’t fathom the process”?? Of what blindly stabbing the go pedal? I guess you think pushing the gas pedal and having car make all the decisions is a “skill”? That like stating why would paint a picture when you can use a disposable camera?

    To me this strikes me as yet more sad evidence of the lazy sloth of Americans, who must have the lowest rate of manual transmission uptake on the planet. Unfortunately this great mass of disconnected drivers affects my choices for getting the transmission I want.

    This isn’t necessarily about sporting or hyper miling. This is about the joy exercising a well worn skill. I am not claiming it is any great skill, but simple mechanical enjoyment like sliding the bolt home on a rifle. It is about feel and doing, not numb disengagement.

    Slushboxes fall behind on performance and economy (unless the manual ratio is compromised) and joy of driving. CVTs like this Honda one also have reliability issues.

    DSGs OTOH will deliver all the performance and economy of a true manual, but they still lack that simple sliding the bolt home “feeling and doing” component, that will keep those of us who really get manuals, using them as long as they are available

    It is sad that so many don’t get the simple pleasure of driving a standard.

    But back on topic. I think even euro drivers don’t get a manual this time. I guess Honda figured they might get 1 more MPG with the soul less, unreliable CVT and save a few more bucks by removing choice. It also gives them a bit more control during engine braking, where an uniformed driver might push the clutch and rob the regen. Besides they were in Prius wannabe mode here and the Prius can’t offer a manual. But in this case you are much better off with the original than the wannabe.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Why don’t Toyota or Honda offer hybrid mini vans in the US? I know several Prius-owning soccer moms who would love to have one. (Yes, Toyota has a hybrid Sienna but for the Japanese market only, and yes Toyota makes a Highlander hybrid but that’s not a van.)

  • avatar
    DPerkins

    Hopefully the white Honda Insight on display at the Toronto Auto Show was a pre-production car because the fit and finish was horrible and the quality of the plastics and other materials was sub-par.

    If it debuts as displayed the Prius will kick its butt, despite the higher price.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    If the Insight’s interior is worse than the Prius then it must be pretty bad indeed. To the goofy hard to read centrally located dash to the wobbly loose fitting center console to the paint wearing off glove box actuator and the tonka toy see through plastics, the Prius is hardly what I would call best in class. Oh wait the 2010 version has been revamped. I could hardly tell. Maybe it’s interior is better than the current models. The well over 20K base price goes contrary to what Honda promised and the lack of stick is ludicrous. Honda and Toyota are quickly becoming General Motors with there “nobody wants sticks anymore” and “bigger is better” approach. Add ugly plain generic styling to the mix and it will primarily be there names that sell the product, not the product itself.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    Because Honda has learned that keeping up appearances of being green is more important to hybrid sales than actually using less gasoline. The Prius is successful in part because everyone can identify it as an environmentally friendly vehicle from a mile away while the Hybrid Civic looks like any other Civic. The Insight potentially earns green cred in a way that a hybrid Honda Ridgeline or Odyssey would not.

    Sure. Compared to the Civic Hybrid, the Prius has much better leg room in the back seat; much more cargo space that’s much more useful (seat actually folds); and gets better mileage to boot.

    But it must be because of how it looks, because nobody cares about that other stuff, right?

    Do you guys EVER get tired of the FUDding?

  • avatar
    jaje

    Wow, several posts simply judging a car by its looks. What is this Autoblog?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Bytor :
    March 11th, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Kurt you certainly don’t get it. “Europeans can’t fathom the process”?? Of what blindly stabbing the go pedal? I guess you think pushing the gas pedal and having car make all the decisions is a “skill”?

    It’s a skill. But is that skill needed?

    Hunting was an essential skill for mankind for thousands of years. But it was no longer needed. Men found alternative food supplies. Hunting became just a hobby; I don’t have any friend that’s really into hunting.

    So is manual transmission. It was needed because human mechanical technology was severely lacking back then. And now, automatic transmission is starting to outperform even skilled manual drivers.

    You can whine all you want, but your skill is not that useful now, and will be completely obsolete in the next 10 years. Just like hunting did.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    @Bytor (and others who feel the same way),

    Five of my six cars are manual so when I posted, it’s not like I don’t know what I’m saying.

    I live in Europe and for awhile sold cars. I could always double my money with automatics because many of the Americans who come here couldn’t drive a stick. Conversley, I could buy the automatics cheaper from the Europeans. I was quite comfortable with the process until the increased inspection process drove the profit out of the low budget cars.

    Comparing manual/automatic to paintings or digital photography isn’t accurate. I’d compare it to film and digital photography. And your analogy of the satisfaction of “sliding the bolt home” is quite fitting to my argument. Bolt action rifles are just as antiquated as manual transmissions. Most firearms replaced the bolt action with auto and semi auto a hundred years ago. Of course you can still get them for specialized applications…

    I will give you the engine braking and the “fun factor” of slaming the clutch/gear lever in rapid succession but I wouldn’t call it a well honed skill. The majority of drivers do it every day and can do it in their sleep (witness the drunk drivers still being able to hit the road!).

    It has nothing to do with being lazy. It has everything to do with being safer (as you can focus on the road rather than the rpm, gear selection, pedal location – I know…streaching it a bit). It is also better for the vehicle’s drivetrain producing less stress. Check out the transmissions in the 700hp trophy trucks in Baja. You won’t find any manuals there (of couse now I say it, someone will change and prove me wrong). F1 and Indy cars would have automatics but the rules are set against it (Indy even has to have gear levers per the rules – not paddle shifts).

    Oh and there was a comment between the that didn’t get posted saying I was joking about “holding my beer while I shift”.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I’ll take the more simplistic technology of a manual transmission and clutch thank you.

    No rebuilds at 120K miles. My 170K CR-V has the original 5-speed and clutch in it. No problems. No 180K mile VW van has the same tranny, no rebuilds but new clutch along the way.

    I see the comfort value of automatics in heavy traffic but for me, that is the only place an automatic wins.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    I don’t slam the gears (hard on the drive train), and I never claimed it was something that was hard to learn nor did I claim it was an important skill. It is just one of the simple joys in life. You either get that or you don’t. There are even many people who drive manuals who don’t get that either.

    The perfect example of why this isn’t about numbers is a DSG which is technically better in just about every way. If you are looking for the winner on paper this is it. This is also a good litmus test if you are after the advantages of a manual over a slush box, in which case a DSG give you all that, or if you are in it for the simple joy/feel of driving a manual. I acknowledge that a DSG will shift faster, better, never make a mistake etc… but I would much rather have a manual because it is more enjoyable than pushing a button.

    I responded to the ridiculous claim that people (or Europeans) who know how to drive standard can’t figure out automatic. What’s to figure out? It just sucks a lot of joy out of driving and most who actually enjoy manuals would prefer not to drive auto.

    Your statement about driving standard in their sleep or while drunk contradicts you next claim about safety being impinged by being distracted dealing with shifting or RPMs. Which is it? Do it in your sleep or dangerous distraction?

    I would say when it comes to most Americans, it is about being lazy. In fact I never heard anyone say safety until your red herring. The #1 reason I hear is they don’t like shifting in traffic. In fact this almost the only reason I here.

    As far as obsolete. The manual might last as long as transmissions last. In 20 years we might all have electric drive. I will probably have one of the last manuals in my garage to drive on weekends until I can’t drive it anymore.

    It is too bad that there will be less cars with manuals, it makes my list of potential cars shorter, but I am not really shedding any tears over not getting the Insight. It’s not like I am missing something spectacular here.

  • avatar
    M1EK

    I responded to the ridiculous claim that people (or Europeans) who know how to drive standard can’t figure out automatic. What’s to figure out?

    In my experience, people who mostly drive manuals have a very poor ability to make fine distinctions with how hard they press the gas pedal – and in some cases are completely ignorant of the idea that they can, in fact, have some impact on when the car actually shifts gears that way.

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Automatics aren’t about fine distinctions.

    More a case of step down to a bag of hurt that doesn’t do proper engine braking has poor response to throttle input, along with annoying rubber band delayed reactions to inputs. I can definitely see manual drivers feel like they are losing a lot of control (because they are) and not liking it.

    As one of those people who seldom drives automatic (like once/year), I find that automatics are MUCH less responsive to throttle inputs as you don’t have the direct response to minute inputs. Step in more and eventually it will gear down. Again what’s to figure out? The threshold for each automatic will be different in where it switches gear so anyone not used that particular model won’t have that sense of where that point is. Hardly a skill, more a case of getting used a particular model. I see bigger differences getting used to different levels of brake grab between models.

    But really there isn’t much to “figure out”. Just getting used to a different response curve. Stick a automatic driver in a manual and there will be some real figuring things out time.

    Anyone who can drive a manual can drive automatic just about as well as the average automatic driver can. The reverse certainly isn’t the case.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    It’s the vi vs. emacs all over again. Haven’t we had enough stick vs. auto wars already? Assertions that either one is a fine skill are laughable. A fine skill takes years to master. A semi-intelligent monkey can learn to heel-and-toe. I know, I have – in a matter of days after learning on an automatic. Big deal. Since then I’ve driven stick for the past 25 years, but I can hardly imagine it as something to brag about to my friends. I don’t know anyone who cannot drive stick, even though I live in an apparently backward USA.

    In fact, if anyone feels the need to brag so much about their ability to perform something so simple, it gives me a pause.

    Going back to the subject at hand, the Insight is auto only. Fine. We get it already. Any other points?

  • avatar
    Bytor

    Not bragging. Never claimed it was hard.

    I Said I enjoy it. I also enjoy walking in the woods. That doesn’t mean I am bragging about my ability to walk.

    But I agree, enough auto vs stick.

    This is a Prius Wannabee and should be judged in that light.

    Compared to the 2010 Prius:

    Price:
    Advantage Insight. Starts a couple of grand less.

    Power:
    Advantage Prius: Both gas and electrics are more powerful.

    Economy:
    Advantage Prius: Enjoys a EPA compbined 9mpg advantage. The Insight will use ~20% more fuel.

    Hybrid systems:
    Advantage Prius: More reliable “transmission” (Toyota Orbital gear power coupler vs Honda Belt CVT). More efficient electric mode (Honda has to rotate the ICE even when it is not supplying power). More powerful electric only operation, more range, higher speed.

    Space:
    Advantage Prius: Bigger, roomier.

    Looks:
    Highly subjective, but I like the 2010 Prius better than the insight.

    Fun to drive:
    Jury is out until there are some head to head comparisons. But neither will be that fun.

    If I had to buy one. It would be the 2010 Prius. The technology appears better, more reliable, more economical and more powerful. The Insight is cheaper.

  • avatar

    Mmmm, let’s compare Insight and Prius:
    1. The Insight EX costs $21,300, about the same as the current base Prius at $22K.
    2. It’s much smaller than the new Prius
    3. It gets lower mileage than the Prius
    4. It’s only a mild hybrid, so you can’t do hypermiling very well.

    If Toyota keeps the price of the base Prius about the same and makes it more appealing with cruise control and VSC, they don’t have much to fear from the Insight.

    The real competition are the Hyundai Elantra and other cheap and frugal cars.

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