Last post on Mar 26, 2013 at 4:35 AM
You are in the Honda Insight
What is this discussion about?
Honda Insight, Hybrid Cars, Hatchback
#228 of 237 2010/2011 Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight
Apr 29, 2011 (8:28 am)
I've been involved with cars as a hobby for some 50+ years, and most of that time was spent owning, racing or restoring mostly British sports cars, new & old, with a few notable exceptions. These include a string of Saabs, the occasional VW, Alfa, and more recently Land Rovers (certainly British but in no-one's mind "sports cars"), both old & new. Up until now, my concerns centered around performance, design & fun to drive issues. However with gas now hitting $5 a gallon (still cheaper than European prices but considering how much we drive in the States a big increase!) I finally had to admit defeat & take a look at the latest & greatest...meaning hybrids, all of which get several times the mileage nearly all the rest of my cars can deliver (my '66 Mini Cooper S being an exception, but then again I rarely drive it). So finally, after talking to a LOT of owners and reading a LOT of reviews, I chose a 2010 Prius. The day after we bought it- it already had over 22K on the clock- we drove to the Mojave Desert for a week, a nearly 1000 mile round trip for us. I love it! Frankly after reading the reviews of the Prius that somewhat criticize the (to them) less than sporty handling and lack of feedback from the electric assist steering, I have no idea what they're talking about! Speaking of steering the very small turn radius is amazing...it can nearly turn around in a narrow alley, much less a normal street, without backing up (try that in your Land Rover...good luck!) Maybe the reviewers only have experience with small, cheap cars they consider "tossable", I don't know... to me the driving experience, whether to the grocery store or 500 miles away, has been a most pleasant one, and I've owned (as I mentioned before) a LOT of cars, ranging from Lotuses and Jaguars to Minis, VW's, and more. The car is far more quiet on the road than I thought a fairly small car could ever be...the only real "noise" is that of the tires, because there's nothing else to drown it out! In regards to comfort... The seats fit me fine, and I'm 6' 5" and very large overall. Lots of leg room (important to me as I have degenerative arthritis in both knees) and enough room on the side to not feel cramped. We have a grown daughter that will be home from college shortly, and so rear seat room will be important to her, too...my wife is 5' 8" tall, and my daughter is 5' 9". Mileage? just as advertised; maximum city/highway (over 100 miles +) is 51 MPG; minimum (over 1000 miles combined driving) is around 48+ MPG. So far. And, to get such numbers on the highway I don't have to crawl along at 55, as I do in my Land Rover Discovery to get slightly better mileage (18 MPG vs. 15) either! Just set the cruise control at (usually) 65, where safety allows. I haven't really tried cruising at a less average speed on the open highway yet but if I do I'm sure mileage would be even better.
Now on to the 2011 Honda Insight. After reading about it... a supposed "Prius-Killer"... I went to the local dealer & tried one on, especially after reading such positive reviews about it, and the lower price compared to a Prius. After getting into one, I immediately realized where they saved $$$ to build it: it's made for SHORT people, not to mention either kids only or else double leg-amputees in the rear seat! This is a SMALL car, inside & out (but not as externally space saving as a new Mini, of course!) Frankly I didn't drive it. as there simply isn't enough room inside for me to feel anything but stuffed inside a sardine can! Better than the antedeluvian Honda 600 of many years ago (but then again, nearly EVERYTHING is) but not by a whole lot! However even reading a description of the Insight's "hybrid" system is enough to convince me... unlike the Prius, the Honda has the electric motor & anemic 1300 cc gas engine working together all the time, or not at all, apparently. Of course the thing shuts off at stops, along with the AC, apparently, until you move out again. Good Job, Honda! With the Prius, it starts off in electric only, very quietly. VERY quietly, so much so that pedestrians may not hear you coming! As soon as either more power is needed, or else the batteries (twice the battery power of the Honda, I might add) need recharging, the 1800 cc gas engine kicks in. Also pretty quiet, not unlike the Honda, which as are nearly all such teeny motors, anything but quiet, since they need to rev a lot more to produce any noticeable power, as compared to larger engines.
And, not that it matters particularly, but I found the Honda layout of controls a bit busy, especially as compared to the Toyota. That in itself wouldn't deter me from buying an Insight, but one wonders about who was in charge at Honda, when it came time to design the beastie... cramped, noisy, and less fuel efficient ( somewhere between 12% and 15% less, in fact) than the Prius, even though it's a smaller, lighter car with less frontal area. Ought to be the other way around, but it isn't! BTW at $4 a gallon, if you drive 15,000 miles a year, the Honda will cost you something like $200 a year more than a Prius, so in 5 years that's $1000. And at higher prices ($5? $6?) that much more. So unless you don't drive much, or else gas prices fall a lot, where are the true savings???
So what's my take? If the most important thing to you is the least possible purchase price for a hybrid, with decent mileage (for a hybrid) even if not the very best, and you're not very tall (this means maybe even short!) and you could care less about any adult ever sitting in the back, or trunk space, and you don't mind a noisy drivetrain, then the Honda Insight is certainly worth a look. On the other hand, if bottom line price isn't quite so important, but a well designed, comfortable interior, the best currently available gas mileage for a 4+ seater, and a quiet, comfortable ride are the highest things on your list, then a Prius is a far better option, especially the "gen 3"- meaning 2010/2011 model. In my opinion.
Lastly...if you must have a Honda, for whatever reason, why not opt for a different, standard gas-engined model, with less compromises in design for the money, simply to produce a competitor to the Prius? They all get fairly good mileage, though not quite 40+ MPG. Of course you'll have to smog anything except a hybrid or electric car, but that's only one consideration.
Honda can make pretty good cars, when they want to. Sorry to say, though, the latest Insight is not much more than a cheap, cramped, underdesigned copy of a Prius, external appearances aside. Try harder, next time, Honda!
(And, I might add, I hope you do, as Toyota is then sure to come up with an even better Prius, as they have in the past!)
Cheers to all,
#229 of 237 Re: 2010/2011 Toyota Prius vs. Honda Insight [richinmonterey]
Jan 02, 2012 (10:53 am)
Thank you for a great post!
#230 of 237 Rear Window washer fluid
Jun 05, 2012 (1:54 am)
I looked in the booklet but I haven't found where to refill the rear window washer fluid. Is it shared with the windshield tank in the engine?
#232 of 237 Re: Rear Window washer fluid [dnatech]
Sep 01, 2012 (2:35 am)
I got my first oil change after the alert notice at 8012 miles.
I drive in the ECO mode at all times and follow the speed limit (YES!).
The real mpg is 52.4 since I got the car, and I learned during the service (oil change) that the rear window washer fluid is pumped from the tank in the engine compartment.
I love the car so far!
#233 of 237 Re: New (2009/2010) Honda Insight 5-passenger Hatchback [larsb]
Mar 20, 2013 (5:57 pm)
I have a 2010 Insight with 99950 miles with full kit (Nav the works) and extended warranty and all service records and no scratches. I went to Pompano Honda to trade in against an Accord last night.... and Guess what? I discovered the error of my ways.
Its worth maybe $7,000 after paying $24,500 for it new.
Had I not listened to the Honda Sales Pitch I would have bought a Toyota Prius which with the same mileage would have been worth a LOT more. Perhaps Consumer reports might like to take a look at depreciation between the two?
I no longer drive the car in case the battery dies and BTW the fuel consumption has been between 35 and 37.5 MPG. Is it true Honda have been sued in a class action law suite for lies about fuel consumption claims?? Have I a case?
Better they be sued for a pretend Hybrid system that has a massive loss in value as a result. Any Lawyers reading? - Look at my records if you wish!
As we say in Ireland it has not got the power to "Pull the socks off of a dead man" and the only redeeming quality is I can drive it in the HOV lane!!!
Reliability was excellent but for a full assembly replacement of GPS - CD-Radio at 41,000 miles. Service department at Pompano Honda puts my Lexus Department to shame - They are excellent in all ways.
Silly me for buying one - All you happy owners .... Your time will come! - The car was rushed to the market and "Under Engineered" (Never saw so much painted metal since an Alfa in the 60's!) and you will pay the price in resale value.
#234 of 237 Re: New (2009/2010) Honda Insight 5-passenger Hatchback [twarted]
Mar 26, 2013 (3:34 am)
Is it a case of the car not retaining its resale value, or a case of an un-savvy negotiator getting taken by a car dealer on his trade-in? It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. Or was it a high mileage vehicle or in poor shape (with exception of not having scratches)? I wonder...
Your comments about resale value are not supported by Consumer Reports and other publications. So I don't know what to tell you.
You were only getting 37.5 MPG!!!? I also have a 2010 and I'm getting mid 50's -- the same as my Prius friends. I've never had a single tank anywhere near as low as the 43 MPG that Honda claims. I'm wondering about your driving habits -- what are you towing a boat?. It seems to me that Honda's "lies" about fuel economy have been that they are underselling the fuel savings.
And what was that about being afraid the battery dies? The hybrid batteries are warrantied for 10 years. What are you talking about? Nothing about your post makes any sense.
#235 of 237 Re: New (2009/2010) Honda Insight 5-passenger Hatchback [spunjorno]
Mar 26, 2013 (3:39 am)
Woops -- just reread your post and noticed you did tell us the mileage was almost 100,000. Okay that explains the low trade in. Nuff-said.
#236 of 237 My experience was similar
Mar 26, 2013 (3:56 am)
I traded in my almost new Honda Insight and was offered a low trade-in from a Honda dealer I'd dealt with before. I like Hondas and have owned two Fits. When I asked why so low an offer they said, "Because no-body wants one". I could understand why - not great mileage, poor ride, worse handling, the car actually shook at red lights and stop signs, uncomfortable, shall I go on? I bought a Ford C-Max in November (my first American car in something like 40 or 50 years!) and comparing the Honda Insight to the Ford C-Max is like comparing the worst hybrid in the world to one of the best.
Sorry Honda, you failed.
#237 of 237 My 2010 Honda Insight
Mar 26, 2013 (4:35 am)
I was one of the first in Minnesota to get a 2010 Honda Insight. I wanted to try a Hybrid. My experience with it is:
I have 55,000 miles on it since June 4, 2009 when in first came out. Mileage has been consistently 44-46 during my normal driving. I have gotten 50 twice. I put over 4,000 miles on it last October to a trip to Florida and back. City and highway "total" combined was 42. It likes 55-60 mph. That is when I got 50 mpg. At 70-75 mph, I get around 40. Ride was fine on highway. (Not a Lexus). Handled "OK" on "Tail of the Dragon" in North Carolina. (Not a Corvette). With heater off, car shuts off at lights, so no shaking. (Can't understand that statement). CVT is noisy on acceleration. Great city car. Ford C-Max supposedly getting high 30's in mileage. My wife loves her Insight. We will keep it for at least another 5 years.