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Honda Insight 2010 Hybrid: Is It a Toyota Prius Killer?

By • Mar 13th, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts

Honda Insight LX in Atomic Blue MetallicUpdated 03-14-09. Honda has always been at the head of the pack when it comes to developing new green technologies. The company is constantly developing exciting products and for the 2010 models, Honda is adding the Honda Insight to the hybrid competition mix. In more ways than one, it may be the Prius killer .

The Insight, set for release in spring 2009, is designed to combine functionality with style. Honda is not known for producing stylish cars, but the new Honda Insight looks pretty sharp. Most people who are looking at hybrid cars are not necessarily too concerned with looks, but rather, gas mileage. High mpg (miles per gallon) is the name of the game for hybrids, and the Honda Insight checks in with an EPA estimated 40 mpg in town, and 43 mpg on the highway. No one knows exactly how well this car will perform, but looking at the statistics, it looks as if the other hybrid models out there, such as the Prius, may achieve somewhat better overall gas mileage.

Honda has two Insight models, the LX and the EX. The two are fairly similar, and the only real differences are the transmission, and the EX has a better traction control system. In addition, available as an add-on equipment, the EX can come installed with the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition. Both models get the same gas mileage, so the only real difference is the amount of extra features, and I’m sure, the price tag.

It looks like Honda is upping the ante, as everything about the Honda Insight is set to trump the Toyota Prius, including sales. Honda has promised “affordable prices” on both the LX and the EX models, though no official price has been released and just announced that the Insight LX goes on sale March 24 with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $19,800 (Insight press release). Honda was generous enough to offer an estimate of around $19,000 for the base model, which I’m sure is the low end of the price range. The 2009 Prius model starts at $22,000, and you can end up spending much more than that for extra features. Most other hybrids start at $20,000, and you can easily end up spending $25,000, $30,000, or even more.

Most of the world has high hopes for this car. Honda has always made a quality machine, and their prices are reasonable. I have owned Hondas myself, as many of you, and we’re all familiar with Honda’s reputation for performance and reliability. Many people believe that the Insight will pass up all the competition, including the current industry leader, Toyota. The gas mileage is certainly tempting, and it is rumored that the car has been getting up to 60 mpg on the freeway.

Here’s Edmunds’ video comparing the Insight and Prius.

Honda Insight with Eco Assist SystemOne very cool feature of the Honda Insight that is not included in any other hybrid is Honda’s Eco Assist System. This Eco Assist System is meant to improve your gas mileage by informing you if you are driving well. The gas mileage you achieve is highly dependent on how you are driving. If you are accelerating quickly and stopping often, you will not get good gas mileage. Also, if you are driving too fast, gas mileage will also suffer. This system tells you when you are driving too fast by lighting up your speedometer in blue. If you speedometer is green, that means you are driving well and you should see very good gas mileage. It’s sort of a driving coach to help you squeeze every last mile out of your fuel source. From Honda’s own press release:

The Insight introduces Eco Assist to help drivers achieve improved real-world fuel economy. Eco Assist is a feature designed to help drivers optimize fuel efficiency for their given set of driving conditions. Pressing the ECON button can further enhance the efficiency of multiple vehicle systems: throttle control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and cruise-control operation (EX only). Eco Assist also provides feedback about driving style via a 3D-appearing background within the speedometer. The background changes colors from green to blue to reflect how efficiently or inefficiently the driver is accelerating or braking (green = efficient). The driver’s results are continuously tracked as fuel-economy ratings are shown per drive cycle and on a lifetime basis in the form of plant-leaf graphics that appear in the Multi-Information Display (MID). Up to five leaves can be ‘earned’ as the driver demonstrates a fuel-efficient driving style. A real-time score is shown in the Eco Guide MID screen.

For a closer look at the Honda Insight, head on over to the Honda Insight Official Website to check out more detailed specifications.

Like many other auto manufacturers, Honda is encouraging the “go green” approach to future cars. Of course, green driving comes with extra green dollars needed to buy the products (at least for the foreseeable future), but automakers are taking a stand against pollution and global warming. I’m glad to see Honda taking a more serious push with a very nice looking package.

Can’t wait to see them on the roads.

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is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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