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Driven: 2010 Honda Insight Page 2


2008 Paris auto show

2008 Paris auto show

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In theory, I frowned upon the 2010 Honda Insight; it uses just an updated version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system from 1999 whose electric motor is not stout enough to pull the car from a dead stop under electric power alone. They say all-electric cruising at 30 mph is possible, but in a few days of driving I never witnessed such operation. With city mileage a full 8 mpg below the 2009 Prius' rating, I figured the new Insight would offer typically depressing hybrid driving dynamics with less economy to boot.

But then I got behind the wheel and came away grinning. Take your pick: creep around in green mode and consistently get mileage around 40 mpg, or squirt around town like a hooligan and still get respectable figures (I rarely saw anything below an indicated 25 mpg). The 2010 Honda Insight is a hybrid suitable for the aggressive driver; perhaps it will lure a whole new flock of car buyers into the hybrid fold.


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Comments (7)
  1. "Crap Driver Magnet"

    I understand all of these additional functions assist the driver to maximize mileage. You were not distracted by the green/blue screen, but your job is to drive and write. Lesser drivers will be distracted, the same way a cell phone or PDA turns marginal drivers into hazardous drivers. Unfortunately, I live in the real world where these retards abound. These are the people who will buy this car, hit the ECO button and park in the fast lane. Creep through intersections in electric mode so they don't have to start the engine. Hypermile their way through the commute, all the while babbling on and on about how they are saving the planet, while simultaneously turning their poor passenger into a pillar of salt and pissing off surrounding drivers. If everyone is driving 70 and you're driving 50, yes, you ARE a hazard.
     
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  2. "how better?"

    How is 25-40 mpg, the odd driving dynamics, and added complexity of the Honda Insight better than my Gen 1 Scion xB which gets 30 mpg in town and 35+ on the highway?
     
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  3. "Hybrids on the road"

    I see a ton of Priuses everywhere and not a single one has ever been a problem, even on roadtrips. Why would it be different with Honda? I can't say the same about the stereotypical (but unfortunately so true) full size American trucks down here. That's one scary W/Dick 2004 stickered bunch.
     
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  4. "is it really better?"

    the mileage figures aren't that great and I've heard that the car generally feels cheap and is not that great of a drive. I think Honda has us all fooled on this one
     
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  5. "Competition is good..."

    It's nice for the consumer to have more choices and I'll wait for the final pricing. You can buy a Corolla for a lot less than a Prius so the economics aren't there for me....
    These need to built in the US and exported round the world from here, not from Japan, if we want to get our industry going.
     
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  6. "Great!"

    I think it's great too, more competition, improved construction, lower price than Prius; gives us more options. When gas goes up, people will be lining up like crazy, otherwise it will still sell ok. For some reason I really like the new Fit out of the entire lot...
     
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  7. "Gas prices drive interest on hybrids"

    When gas was at its peak, consumers were trading in their SUV leases at huge losses and buying more fuel efficient cars, which over the short term could never justify the $5,000-$7,000 losses they were taking on their decision to end a lease early.
    With gas prices back down, interest in fuel efficiency and hybrid technology has died down a bit. Example, a MINI dealer I know could not keep them in stock when gas was high and now that have 30 on the lot with little interest.
    People are focused on just paying their bills.
    The Honda Insight Hybrid looks to be priced well to attract people who are on the fence and want to try their first Hybrid. That and the Honda brand should make this a popular car.
    On the other side, people can get good MPG on traditional cars that may be price better since I doubt that Insight will have any promotional rates on first release.
     
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