Honda Agrees: Insight Not Good Enough

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Autocar reports that Honda is fast-tracking an upgrade to the its Insight “dedicated hybrid,” which debuted this year to mixed reviews. After much hype, Honda’s derivative hatch is off to a weak start in the US and falling behind in Japan (where it now sells worse than the Fit). But don’t expect the Prius Lite to go from “biblically terrible” to “Clarksonian.” Catching up with 3rd-gen Prius efficiency levels and sorting the low-speed ride quality are said to be the areas of focus. While I’d agree that the latter needs improvement, you know that when even Consumer Reports cries for more power, boosting efficiency alone probably isn’t the answer.

All I ask for in an Insight upgrade is for the thing to leave me feeling something. Anything. Within five minutes of driving one a few months back, I’d forgotten any impressions it may have made on me. People have felt less empty after paying for sex. On behalf of car writers everywhere, I beg you, Honda, give the Insight something worth scribbling about!

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Alfred p. sloan Alfred p. sloan on Jul 24, 2009

    I am so sorry to hear what a piece of crap the insight is. Honda is My favorite brand... owned several of them, and I knew there was something wrong with them in 2001. The 2001 civic debuted without the multi-link suspension. The strut was back... hmm ... It was a sign of things to come. The Accord got bigger and bigger, the civic did too and then the ugly as hell Fit came to "rescue" the sub-compact genre for Honda... damn. No this Insight. Clarkson had it right when he mentioned the FCX Clarity as the real savior. As for an earlier comment, I agree that this website has taken over much of what i loved about Car and Driver. I subscribed from Feb 1991 (age 13) to Sept. 2008. Then my subscription ran out and I haven't been in a hurry to re-new. It is still the best mag out there, but the venom it would once spew at lousy cars has all but dried up. oh, and if BMW built it it HAS to be good, no matter what. As for diesels...meh. Skip the oil burner and move onto the Hydrogen fuel cell. Now if it was only cheaper to get hydrogen... we need a sun harvester, like in Revenge of the Fallen.

  • 50merc 50merc on Jul 24, 2009

    jaje: "If Honda brought over it’s brilliant 2.2 liter diesel from Europe with it’s trick cat converter that doesn’t need to use a separate tank of ammonia to balance Nox emissions - Honda would have a trump card." But California doesn't like diesels, and what Californial dislikes the US can't have.

  • Jeff Puthuff Jeff Puthuff on Jul 24, 2009
    But California doesn’t like diesels Yes, we do. what Californial dislikes the US can’t have Huh? VW, Audi, et al. sell 50-state diesels. (See today's review of the Q7.) If Honda decides not to sell their diesel here, that's not because of CARB. What about the other CARB states? Did CA force them to adopt the CARB standards and thus ruin it for Honda? No.
  • Mtypex Mtypex on Jul 26, 2009

    At this point, if they did go back to building 5th-gen Preludes, they would improve their lineup. Honda thesedays is depressing. Most Accords from the mid-1980s onwards were NOT bad-looking or performing cars. They simply took the model name and made a completely different/larger car, instead of introducing an Avalon or Maxima type large sedan. I expect more from Honda. I suppose an inexpensive hybrid hatchback is what some people want, but so far the Insight is a disappointment. Of course, the FCX Clarity isn't widely available yet. In general, the industry is in a holding pattern/waiting game and Honda is part of it. Still, if you buy a Honda today, you're only somewhat better off than if you picked up a recent Hyundai or Nissan. Compare that to not many years ago, when the Honda was an obvious winning choice.