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Click above for high-res gallery of the 2010 Honda Insight

We recently got the opportunity to drive the new Honda Insight through the gently rolling hills just north of Phoenix, AZ, and managed to score 63.4 mile per gallon on one particular efficiency run. That's impressive, and it's also much higher than the Insight's official EPA rating of 40-city and 43-highway. In fact, even the older Civic Hybrid scores better under the EPA's testing procedure, leading many to wonder what's up. Isn't the IMA drivetrain for the Insight the latest and greatest? As a matter of fact, it is, and Honda believes that real-world mileage will be much better than the official ratings. Still, it uses a less powerful electric motor and a smaller battery pack. Why?

According to Hideharu Takemoto, assistant chief engineer for Honda, the team was after much more than just a high mileage rating, with an emphasis being placed on a low price point (Edmunds says "well under 18K") and an enjoyable driving experience. Indeed, the Insight will be the least expensive hybrid in America when it goes on sale, and our own Sam Abuelsamid found that the car was much more fun to drive than most green vehicles. The question remains, though, is this a good strategy? Real-world mileage statistics and sales figures will soon tell, with the Insight set to invade dealerships on April 22, 2009. Fittingly, that's Earth Day.


[Source: Motor Trend]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 3 Months Ago
      That's quite a variance between the EPA's figures and real world figures, hypermiling or not. I don't think I recall seeing such a difference before. I've seen EPA figures that were optimistic (just about every Prius owner I know averages well under the EPA's rating). I'm curious what will happen with the Volt under the EPA, now.
        graphikzking
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ Red ...

        Just about every prius owner you know averages well under the ratings?

        Maybe under the original 60mpg ratings yes.. but under the new ratings.. NOPE.. My wife and I are well over the 48/46.. and so are so many Prius owners on FuelEconomy.gov as well as Priuschat.

        Looking at the weather in Az at this time this is the ideal time to test a Hybrid there. This is the "optimal conditions", if I were to test my prius in that weather I would also get well over 55mpg out there. (No Air Conditioning or Heating was reported in their test drive).

        But when it gets into the 80's (using air conditioning) or into the 30's (using heat) the mileage goes down. When driving the Prius during the WORST of weather conditions, and well over speed limits on highways, we still manage 42mpg. That should say something. We had a 2005 Sentra and while we "could" get over 34mpg, if we drove in the rain/snow and drove well over speed limits, that rating went down to around 22-24mpg.

        Please don't speak like you know a bunch of Prius owners..
      • 3 Months Ago
      If it really is going to be listed 15k-18k then obviously they won't be able to make them fast enough. So, look for dealer premium prices pushing them to over 20k. Just the way it's going to be with supply/demand.
        • 3 Months Ago
        You don't think the economy in the crapper is going to affect demand at all?
        • 3 Months Ago
        Sure it will. But that price point is at the low end for new vehicles which is where the demand always is, especially in tougher times. People still need cars and if they can afford any, it's at the low end.
      • 3 Months Ago
      While I wouldn't expect to match those with the way we drive, those are impressive numbers. And a (marginally) fun to drive, inexpensive, practical hybrid is certainly on our list for later this year.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Geez, listen to yourselves. You sound like a bunch of 12 year-old girls gossiping how the new girl at school looks, "I don't like her shoes! What an ugly dress! Her hair is a mess!"

      Um, in case you haven't noticed, inexpensive fuel efficient hybrid cars place FUNCTION before FORM. Duh.
      Drag coefficient, heard of it?

      There's more to life than just looks. That would explain why your wife married you. ;-)

        graphikzking
        • 3 Months Ago
        Very good! I agree...so many people talk about "driving feeling" etc or this car looks better, this car is faster. Buy what you want for the reasons you want.

        When was the last time a BASE Civic, Accord, Camry had a good "driving feeling"? The Si.. yes..the base models etc are SLOOOW. and guess what sells more? The v6s or the 4s?

        I have a car for when I feel like driving "enthusiastically" - MR2 spyder. 1 tonne.. and tons of fun! NO traction controls.. no roof.. 5 speed.. and just plain fun.

        Then we have a grocery getter.. the Prius.. efficient.. lots of cargo space.. and the wife's daily commuter. I dont need to feel "connected" 100% of the time!

        If you looked at a lot of cars lately.. not many are actually GOOD looking. The GTR has many critics, the New Camry, New Accord, New Malibu, Taurus there are sooo many critics that claim they dont like so many things. The "spaceship like interiors" of Hondas... None are perfect.. pick your poison..and enjoy it..
        That is why there are sooo many options.. because of difference preferences..
      • 3 Months Ago
      I wish they would give prices already. If it's well under 18k, I am buying it without a doubt. If it's 18-19k it's a toss up with the Fit Sport, and if it's over that I am getting the Fit. I'd like to make the decision now, but we are left waiting even longer. This is not the only site/magazine that managed over 6ompg on those runs, and the winner of them got above 70, but I can't remember what site that was. Those numbers are amazing...
      • 3 Months Ago
      risky strategy to go for the cost advantage over Toyota when they were designing it, but now that the floor fell out from underneath the economy, it could pay off well IF gas prices spike again this upcoming summer.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Re, EPA mileage: It's kind of cute when I hear people complaining about how of course the EPA mileage overestimates, or of course it underestimates; I hear about equal numbers of both. When you check out real-world reporting, they tend to be about in the middle. For example, someone earlier mentioned the Prius:

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm

      For the 2008 Prius:

      New EPA mileage: 48 city, 45 hwy, 46 combined.
      Average of 101 real-world running-average mpg reports: 46.1 mpg
      Low: 32mpg
      High: 62mpg

      Only a 0.1mpg difference!

      The Civic hybrid was mentioned earlier. Let's check it out, too:

      Combined: 42mpg
      Real-world average of 49 reports: 45.9mpg
      Low: 35mpg
      High: 70mpg

      So, 4mpg over the EPA mileage figure on average, but not some huge difference. If you go over a wide range of vehicles, you'll find that the real-world reports are about as likely to be under as over.
      • 3 Months Ago
      Why ABG mileage numbers are pointless.

      ABG is developing a history of hypermiling cars and reporting inflated numbers that are out of touch with both the EPA and other independent testers.

      I will also note that there was nothing in this article than really says why EPA is so low and while real world will be higher unless we are to believe ABG hypermiling is "real world".

      All the article explains is why the ratings are lower (less power IMA and battery), there is no reason to believe this loss will translate into higher real world numbers.
        • 3 Months Ago
        "Not to be argumentative, but have you physically driven the car yourself to know whether or not 65mpg was achieved with or without hypermiling?"

        The article in question pretty much outright claimed it was.
        • 3 Months Ago
        Not to be argumentative, but have you physically driven the car yourself to know whether or not 65mpg was achieved with or without hypermiling? If not, would it not behoove you to wait until you can back up your claim with something substantiated, like actual seat time. It wouldn't be the first time the EPA rating was lower than the actual mileage achievable First. gen. Insight owners consistently saw 70mpg, despite the number on the window sticker dropping after a few years and "new" EPA test methods.

        All I'm saying is...is it not possible?
        • 3 Months Ago
        The original Insight is an extreme vehicle made for mileage first with price and practicality taking the back seat, they tend to end up in the hands of hyper-milers. People will to put up with a small 2 seat economy car with no cruise control or many other amenities to get more MPG.

        For gas mileage comparisons, my preferred numbers come from:

        1: Consumer Reports. They do real independent testing on a set loop of highway and city. They tend to have a tougher city loop and easier highway loop than the EPA. But every vehicle is tested independently. EPA testing is often done by the manufacturer themselves and is not as good as EPA.

        2: Edmunds long term tests. You only get a combined number but a whole group of people flogging a car for a year give a very "real world" number.

        3: EPA: While they have flaws they get you in the ballpark and there is no normal vs hypermiler issues.

        4: Head to Head comparisons done by an assumed unbiased group. Good for comparing cars involved, useless otherwise.

        The anecdotal antics of various hypermilers (ABG or otherwise) out there doesn't translate into the real world in any meaningful way.

        Now as for the original Insight revised EPA numbers and the "Real world" results. Edmunds tested one for about a year and a half over 33000 miles. It doesn't get more real world than that.

        Edmunds combined MPG: 52.6mpg.

        Revised EPA combined: 53MPG.

        I would say EPA is bang on here. Anyone have the consumer reports numbers?
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