By Chris Haak
The first time I saw a 2010 Honda Insight in the flesh, I was underwhelmed. It was as the 2009 NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show), and was the main focus of Honda’s more subdued product introduction plans in light of the poor economy. At the time, I felt that the car was small, had a cheap interior, and worst of all – for a car whose whole raison d’être is fuel economy – had some relatively disappointing numbers on the window sticker: 40 mpg city/43 mpg highway. Toyota made a splash at the same auto show with a 2010 Prius that stole some of the Insight’s thunder with a 50 mpg combined number – far better than the Insight’s approximate 41 mpg combined figure. Also not good: the car looked like a cross between an original two-door Honda Insight and a Toyota Prius, and its only good angle (at least to my eyes) was the front end.
Honda doesn’t necessarily want you to necessarily compare the two cars; they are different sizes (the Prius is larger and heavier) in spite of their likely-not-coincidentally similar shapes. The Prius was engineered from stem to stern as Toyota’s environmental flagship, with maximum fuel economy as its primary mission. The Insight had a similar mission, but with the added wrinkle of bringing the entry price of hybrid ownership further into the range of affordable cars. Continue Reading →