The new Insight enters a segment of the new-car market long dominated by the Toyota Prius, and only the Prius.
To a lesser degree, the Honda Civic Hybrid has competed with the Prius; unlike the Prius and the new Insight, the Civic Hybrid has essentially the same outward appearance as the mainstream Civic sedan models, but with Honda's IMA hybrid system to yield fuel economy ratings of 40 mpg city, 45 mpg highway.
The 2010 Honda Insight has a similar hybrid system, but the rest of the package is unique, with a versatile hatchback arrangement and a more memorable look that screams "hybrid." Backseat headroom is a bit short in the Insight.
Another alternative is Honda's own Fit, which returns fuel economy in the 30s in normal driving and has an amazingly vast and versatile interior, thanks to the so-called Magic Seat arrangement, along with very crisp, responsive handling.
Those who plan to do a lot of highway driving will also be happy with the Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which gets similar mileage on the highway, in a big, roomy vehicle, albeit with lower numbers in the city.
It only fits two, parking is a snap, and fuel economy approaches 40 mpg; however, the ride is very choppy, the seats are skimpy, and it's twitchy on the highway.
But stop the presses! The Prius will be completely redesigned for the 2010 model year, adding interior space, safety and luxury features, and improvements to the hybrid system, resulting in even better fuel economy and a more responsive powertrain.
|2010 Honda InsightBrowse Used Listings||2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportwagenBrowse Used Listings||2008 Honda Civic HybridBrowse Used Listings||2008 Honda FitBrowse Used Listings||2008 Toyota PriusBrowse Used Listings||2008 Smart fortwoBrowse Used Listings|
|40 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy||40 MPG City / 45 MPG Hwy||27 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||48 MPG City / 45 MPG Hwy||33 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy|
|Gas/Electric I4||Gas I5||Gas/Electric I4||Gas I4||Gas/Electric I4||Gas I3|
|Sub-compact||Wagon||Compact||Small Station Wagon||Mid-size||Minicompact|
|5-Door CVT LX PZEV||4-Door Manual S PZEV||Hybrid 4-Door Sedan||5-Door HB Manual||5-Door HB Base (SE)||2-Door Coupe Pure|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|5 Door Sedan||4 Door||4 Door Sedan||5-Door Hatchback||5 Door Liftback||2 Door Coupe|