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2010 Honda Insight EX - Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda's Insight hybrid is failing to live up to sales expectations here in the important U.S. market. While Honda claims the Insight was never meant to be a direct competitor to the Toyota Prius, the truth is that the two cars are very much rivals in the eyes of many new car shoppers (and some Honda dealers). With that in mind, the 2,079 Insights that Honda managed to sell in June pales in comparison to the 12,998 Prius hybrids Toyota sold in the same month. Further, Honda is on track to sell less than one-third of its stated goal of 90,000 units in its first year on the market.

According to The Los Angeles Times, some dealerships are hoping Honda can rebound with a revised marketing campaign highlighting the Insight's price advantage over the Prius, which currently sits at a few thousand dollars at the base end. There are surely any number of reasons why the Insight may be losing ground in the hybrid race, and you can probably pick out some of them by clicking here to read our review of the 2010 Honda Insight and then clicking here for our take on the 2010 Toyota Prius.



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  • 55 Comments
      • 2 Months Ago
      I was going to buy an Insight when I heard about it, but as soon as I saw the production looks/specs I decided to get a Fit Sport. I recently drove from NC to Michigan and averaged 39 MPG there and back. This was real MPG, not what the display showed (which is higher than reality). I drive pretty lead-footed and we had the AC on the whole way. We spent most of the trip going 75 mph. It was me, my wife, 2 kids and luggage. I never calculate my average during the work week, but if I got 39 on that trip, I would bet I get over 40 normally with just me in the car and no AC on. If I hypermiled it, I bet I would get even better.

      Not to mention I love the look of my car. I got the Sport model loaded with Navi, etc for less than the base Insight. It has WAY more headroom. It has WAAAYY more cargo room (check out the contest Honda is having for who can fit the most in the Fit). It drives nicely (I haven't driven the Insight but everyone says it drives bad).

      I would have paid a little extra to get a hybrid Fit assuming it would get at least 10 MG more. No way would I pay for the Insight. Glad I got the Fit instead.
      • 5 Years Ago
      man,
      it's so ugly. not an ounce of sex appeal. and it's a piece of crap, too?
      the new accord coupe is such a good looking car. what is wrong with these people?

      maybe they are making shitty hybrids to advance their hydrogen agenda.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Maybe this can finally put to rest the stupid myth that all a hybrid has to do to sell well is look like a hybrid. So they made this look like a last generation Prius and it still has crappy sales.

      Here is a better theory. The Prius sells well, because it is the BEST hybrid. It gets the best MPG, has a short range EV mode, has the best hybrid driving experience (I read current review that described it as Lexus like).

      I would pay a couple of grand more for a quiet, refined Lexus experience, rather than save a few bucks and spend the next several years riding around in a crashy, noisy piece of crap made out of tin cans to save weight.

      Honda has a lot of failing efforts on the hybrid front, because they just seem to keep believing the myths(needs to look like a hybrid) or trying things that don't make sense (V6 performance hybrid).

      If you want to compete with Prius you need;
      High MPG (High 40's)
      Decent performance. (At least equal to 4cyl gas car 0-60 in 10 seconds).
      Quiet refined ride, solid quality feel.
      Practicality (5 door hatch or wagon with lots of cargo room, folding seats).
      EV mode in stop and go.

      Notice I didn't mention looks. You don't need to look like a Prius. Prius wins because it continues to hit all the marks while other miss key elements.

      Prius may sell on name to some uninformed people because they know from other people/reviews that it is the best hybrid.

      Is there a hybrid that gets 55MPG EPA, delivers a Lexus like ride, has more cargo space than a Prius and does 0-60 in 8 seconds?? No? Well that is why the Prius continues to win. It leads in almost every category. Not because it looks like a hybrid.

      /rant off.

      FWIW I don't own a Prius and won't buy one because I still want to drive a manual transmission. But you have to give credit where credit is due.
        • 2 Months Ago
        "If you want to compete with Prius you need;
        High MPG (High 40's)
        Decent performance. (At least equal to 4cyl gas car 0-60 in 10 seconds).
        Quiet refined ride, solid quality feel.
        Practicality (5 door hatch or wagon with lots of cargo room, folding seats).
        EV mode in stop and go."

        Looks are a plus. This is why the Jetta TDI Sportwagen is selling well. It has all of this but EV stop and go mode.
        • 2 Months Ago
        It really doesn't make the MPG I mentioned. TDI EPA is like 30/40 or about 33 combined.

        And before you rant about EPA. Pop mechanics did a head to head test where they got (from memory).

        Old Prius: 44/44
        New Jetta TDI: 31/44

        So EPA is not far off the mark at all.

        But otherwise I agree. Jetta is a good car and worth of consideration. I would definitely get a TDI before the Insight.
      • 2 Months Ago
      The fit does actually get better mileage than the Civic hybrid. I took one out and got 52.5 mpg half city half hwy. Course I drive it like a hyper miler should... BTW I own a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, it has trouble getting 40 mpg.

      The wife she drives a 3rd gen 2010 Toyota Prius. It is getting 50 mpg no prob.
        • 2 Months Ago
        whoops edit.... The Honda Insight gets better mileage than the Honda Civic Hybrid...
      • 2 Months Ago
      I'm curious what people think about the Insight mpg numbers posted by users on fueleconomy.gov of 49.1 mpg for the Auto(AV-S7) and 51.4 mpg for the Automatic (variable gear ratios)? Is this due to a small sample size of 2 and 4 vehicles respectively? Any thoughts?

      My wife has a 2005 Prius and commutes from the Milpitas / Fremont Border to San Francisco and back 5 days a week, usually about 100 + miles a day and her fuel economy numbers run from 44.x to 49.x mpg which is right in line with the fueleconomy.gov user posted mpg for the 2005 Prius average of 47.7 mpg.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe it's not selling because consumers are smart enough to read the crappy reviews on it.
        • 2 Months Ago
        There was a review in the UK that tore this car a new one. Then, the US writers got hold of it. Not much help there, either.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem with this car has NOTHING to do with the look, but everything to do with it's MPG. Seriously... 40/43? Who in their right mind would choose this over a Civic Hybrid that gets BETTER MPG let alone a Prius which has been around the last 9 years and has 50 MPG? The prius blows this out of the water because it has an impressive MPG, if the Fusion Hybrid got 55/52 and was 25,000, no one would buy a Prius either.

      I do not understand Honda on this one, why make the car look like this and underperform the competitors and your own hybrid models, and still price it relatively in the same range.

      If the Insight was 17,000, i can see these things flying off the lot, but for just a hair above 20,000, why bother. It really is a shame... but seriously... why did they ever even build this???? I am still stunned at why this vehicle exists.

      It could have at LEAST topped the Civic Hybrid. I am beginning to lose ALOT of faith in the Japanese Auto Makers and their meh cars lately. I am one more Toyota comment away from trading in my 2009 Toyota Prius for a 2010 Fusion Hybrid.

      I am still shocked about this... seriously honda? Is this a joke?
        • 2 Months Ago
        I agree, I'm a huge Honda fan and have driven every new one that have out right now. All are very impressive except for the Insight. This thing was so hyped up and then it came out and became the biggest disappointment of the year.

        But back to what you said, yes the Prius is probably a better car in every way possible except for the price. I do want people to keep in mind that article that was on here the other day about cost savings as cars get more efficient. Going from a 41 mpg to a 50 will only save you $200/year.. and thats at $4.00/gallon year round! It just doesn't make sense to buy most hybrids simply because of the MPG number anymore. The Prius right now is at a pretty good sweet spot at 50 mpg combined.. getting much more than that and the cost savings are pretty negligible.. for example at $4.00/gallon going from 50 to 100 mpg car only saves $450/year.. its significant alone but not when considering the premium cost of hybrids and their repairs costs.

        Personally I like what Ford is doing.. turbocharging to get impressive HP along with MPG. They're focusing on making excellent engines which are just as easy to use for large vehicles where mpg gains have a much better impact both on the wallet and environment. A 4 mpg gain from 18 to 22 mpg saves as much gas as going from 50 to 100 mpg. I say enough with these huge battery packs people are trying to stuff into cars.. the cost, energy/environmental effects of making them out weigh all benefits of putting them in a car.

        But I guess this is what has to happen before.. someday.. we can make batteries extremely cheap in an energy efficient and environmentally friend way. Right now I'll stick to my 2009 Honda Fit where I average 37 mpg.. it might not be 50 mpg but I'll deal with the $200/year (maybe) extra in gas that I'll spend and live with a car that's several thousand dollars cheaper to buy and finance.
      rrajame
      • 5 Years Ago
      HONDA HAS MISSED THE BOAT. Hybrids and electrics may be the future, BUT, I they had brought over the Accord diesel from Europe making over 50 MPG on the road, it would have been the best seller. Check out the Tourer (Accord Sportwagon). Sized betwwn USA Civic and Accord making absolutly MPG in diesel form!!!!

      Looks like VW will take over the affordable diesel market.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bottom line, Honda tried to take a cheap car, bolt on a hybrid drive, and sell it as a high margin product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bravo guys, I agree with pretty much EVERY post here! I love this site, it's like talking with friends. Basically, half-assed effort, half-assed sales. And ya, while Toyota finally made the Prius look half decent, the Insight looks BRUTAL. Sorry Honda, how's that hydrogen coming along?! LOL
      • 2 Months Ago
      I believe CR because I have trusted them since their perfect car was a base Chevrolet sedan. I believe Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear because he is almost as old and rigid as I am. I have no butt anymore and need a pillowy ride. I don't ever remember having been young enough to corner fast enough to hear my tires squeal. To feel anything in the steering wheel, the gear box, road surface is just disturbing. I can no longer bend enough to get in the back seat of even a four door compact sedan. I have never understood that new fangled design stuff and have no idea why the Insight is new and interesting while the Prius is graceless and clumsy or if they are significantly different than my Buick except for the hatchback. I don't like hatchbacks.

      The geriatric set has spoken.
      • 2 Months Ago
      I don't doubt the Prius is impacting Insight sales. However, I think the bigger impact is the Honda Fit. I have one freind who test drove a Insight but bought the Fit instead. The reason, she felt she got a better deal (4K difference in price) and the additional mpg was not worth the additional upfront cost.
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