Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Honda Insight

This car was the top selling model in Japan for April of 2009....considering that Honda started selling the Insight in Japan in February that is quite extraordinary. This if the first time that a gasoline electric hybrid or any type of hybrid has taken the top selling honor in Japan. The Insight went on sale in the US in April.

The EPA fuel-economy ratings are 40 mpg city and 43 highway—versus the Prius which gets 48 city and 45 highway, respectively. The Honda Insight operates differently than the Toyota Prius, this explains the fuel economy differences. When you turn on the key in the Insight the motor turns on, most of the time when the vehicle is operating the motor will be running. When you turn on the Prius the electric motor will operate and propel the vehicle on electric power below 35 mph. The Toyota Prius is a complex system, which costs more to build but results in higher fuel economy.

The Insight is equipped with a 88 hp, 1.3 liter four cylinder engine along with a 13-hp electric motor. Honda has Integrated Motor Assist (IMA)....IMA is an engineering feature where the electric motor is placed between the engine and the transmission. The electric motor assists the motor as needed.
A CVT transmission is the only transmission offered. The Insight has an interesting ECON button, that cuts down air-conditioning cycles and moderates acceleration to improve the fuel economy.

Honda estimates that it should sell approximately 90,000 Insights per year in the U.S.
Pricing for the Insight starts at $19,800 USD, and £15,490 in the UK plus options. Pricing for a Prius starts at $22,000 USD plus options.


My take on the Insight is that Honda manufactured the Insight to compete on price. It is the cheapest hybrid available.....but as with most hybrids you sacrifice performance and handling. The most fun to drive hybrid that I have driven is the Ford Fusion Hybrid.


  1. Hi Pete .. I thought I'd seen the Insight here in the UK .. & I see there are reviews .. so Honda are pushing the boundaries to get their car out ..

    the market is in turmoil here .. after the debacle of the tax breaks .. there seems to be a miscommunication as to who should pay for what .. with the trade in for old vehicles and the £2,000 break ..

    We are in a mess over here .. parliamentary life is interesting .. history will tell ..

    Thanks for this information Insight v Toyota Prius v Ford Fusion Hybrid ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

  2. Hi Hilary,

    The Insight should be popular around the world! With the economy down many people are purchasing inexpensive cars....so if it is cheaper and gets good gas mileage at the same time it will sell well.

    Sorry to hear about all the problems in England! I have read that it is pretty bad with Europe not far behind!

    Looks like politics are the same around the world!

    Thanks for your great comment!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online

  3. Peter you come up with the best stuff. Nice looking car, good on the mileage, not bad on the pocket book what more can you ask for. Nice job on this one. Governments sure can make a mess of things everywhere. They try to get their hand into everything and mess it all up for everyone.Take care and keep up the good work.
    Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

  4. Hello Dan & Deanna,

    The Insight has nice progressive appeal to the styling! I think they will sell a lot of them. When the price of oil goes up they will be selling like hot cakes.

    Currently, Japan imports all their oil since they have few natural resources....so it makes sense why they have always had small cars. So, I can understand why the Japanese chose this car as their number one model.

    Thank you for your comments!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online

  5. Pete,
    I dont think i could live with a car that only has 88hp. But then again i dont ever see myself driving a hybrid. A hybrid for only 20,000 dollars seem like a good deal. Great post.

    Dr. Moulas

  6. Dear Dr. Bob,

    Currently, most hybrids are not exciting to drive. The Insight is a great looking car...but slow. I brought up the Insight since I thought it was a milestone on the hybrid highway. They will improve materially over the next five years.

    The price is great for a hybrid....but at this price point a Jetta TDI might be a good solution. You do have to enjoy the car your driving!

    Thanks for yor great comment!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online