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Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Hybrid v. Honda Insight v. ?



  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Actually the logic behind the HSD is very simple in terms of a software program, a basic process control system with a couple of inputs and a couple of outputs. I am sure it was tested ad infinitum. In addition, I would imagine there are some fail-safe overrides. If I were a Prius owner, this would be the least of my worries.

    However, any system will fail if there are electric gremlins such as complete loss of power , look at what VW has been fighting for years or look at an older car when the wiring harness deteriorates. More attention has been paid to making longer lasting wiring harnessess and better connectors and connector interfaces to mitigate this problem. Much more complcated is TCD, ABB, fuel metering, even the electronics on the radio. Modern cars have many multiprocessors, some like the Lexus LS430 have more than 23 separate microprocessors. Electronics are very reliable and I think you would be suprised at the simplicity of the actual software programming in cars. It is not nearly as complicated as the current one million lines of code Windows XP operating system.

    Good Luck,

  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    not a statistically accurate sample set = unscientific

    Aren't we saying the same thing?

    Okay I agree :)

    Yes, the Prius deserves some credit!
    (6-speed, manual shift) .NE. Prius


  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Midcow: Have you seen the software? How do you know it is simple?

    I suspect there is a lot more than you realize. The system has to analyze a lot of data in real time in order to distribute the power to the various components both driving and charging, and the infinite combinations between.

    Interesting you should mention cars dying on the road. I started the "software" discussion because several people have had the Prius just die dead on the road, and the only thing that fixed it was for the dealer to re-program the memory. That tells me Toyota isn't fixing the problems...
  • zitlowzitlow Posts: 10
    Yesterday I test drove a 2005 Toyota Prius that I was going to purchase. We found seats uncomfortable, the speedometer hard to see, and the touch-screen controls distracting. The car felt tinny and cheap. Now considering 2006 Honda hybrid civic. Tell me: is the gas motor connected to the electric motor in the Civic so that the Civic could be driven with battery/electric motor disabled? What advantages do YOU see of the Civic Hybrid over the Prius? Which gas/electric motor combinations--Prius or Civic--are most dependable and less subject to catrastropic failure? :confuse:
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I can speak with knowledge about the HCH, and with "hearsay" about the Prius... :)

    The Honda IMA system allows cars to drive without battery assist at all.....for example, I drive a 2004 Civic Hybrid and I ran my battery all the way down to the last bar this week, and the car drove fine...I lost "battery assisted power" so that it if I had been racing someone I might have been in trouble, but the car drove just fine and did not fail in any fashion. :D

    I have only once recently even HEARD of a Civic Hybrid "dying" on the road, and it was because of some POSSIBLY battery related problem that is yet undiagnosed, since the owner could not duplicate the problem at the dealer (of course.)

    I have heard far more reports of Prius cars "dying" but remember - the Prius owners SWEAR by their cars, to the tune of 94% in a recent owner poll said they would buy it again. So if they "die" it's in a very small percentage.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Civic is more conventional, if you like that. It looks, feels, and drives more like a conventional car.

    C&D felt it was more fun that the Prius, too.

    I like the Prius a lot more than you do, though. Try the HCH out and let us know how you think it compares.

  • PRIUS:
    There are a lot of "quirks" with this car. I don't call them problems, but the car is kinda picky. For example, if you use the wrong oil (like 10W-30), it will turn on the "check engine" light. Also if the battery dies, you WILL be stuck.

    This is virtually identical to a normal car. Just with a battery added. And if the battery fails, you can still drive using the "backup" battery. You won't be stuck.

    Also, it's more fun to drive. You can "burn rubber" and rev to redline.

    Not as nice as the Civic, but it gets 70mpg, which is why I ultimately bought it.

  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    "Not as nice as the Civic"
    Are you sure about this?
    From one point of view the Insight is primarily a commuter car, the same as HCH but less utility (seats and cargo space).

    I haven't ever driven an Insight but looked it over pretty good a few months back when the dealer had them in stock.
    Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems that as you drive it the tiny size wouldn't be noticed, unless you look behind you. (Thus being "as nice" as another car ?)

    Please keep in mind that I've always had Insight envy but require 5 seats.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Insight doesn't have side airbags or safety features like VSC. No utility but would make a nice commuter car if you don't mind not having those safety features. With all the SUVs out there I want all safety features I can get. I also heard that there is no A/C in the insight. Maybe the older ones ? Can anyone confirm??
  • I'm glad that this thread was recently ressurrected, because I'm rather hoping that some changes in the previously undiscussed '05 and upcoming '06 hybrid options will reveal things that make this decision easier for me.

    Ultimately, I may not get a hybrid at all. Both the '05 HCH and the '05 Prius are right at the edge of my self-imposed price limit. The Accord Hybrid is too expensive to consider, which is unfortunate since it seems to be a great option as well, ignoring price. I have already discovered something that a lot of people enchanted by hybrids have to learn- that hybrids are not currently going to save money in the long-term regardless of mileage, and that their emissions ratings are amazing- but you can get a gasoline engine car that is still much better than the average, and that the technology is changing quickly enough that it might be worth waiting for the next generation for some large improvements.

    Hybrids, after 5 years, still seem like very young technology, and the fact is that regardless of what data we have on them, the majority of what we need to know about them is still theoretical, because nobody anywhere has owned one for long enough to establish a lot of important trend information. This doesn't concern me as much as it might, because Honda and Toyota both have, on average, very consistent dependability over time, and I would almost accept that the hybrid would as well based on reputation alone.

    I can't think of any other specific questions right now but this one:

    The previous hybrids all had exceptionally low emissions; however, the ratio of greenhouse gases to smog-producing pollutants (notably the HCH) was very unevenly distributed. What about the newer models?

    More to come, I'm sure.

    (Edit: fixed a tiny typo that grossly changed the meaning of a sentence. )
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Insight three ways to buy:

    Insight Manual 5 -speed without AC
    Insight Manual 5 -speed with AC
    Insight Auto- CVT with AC

    I think very few were ever purchased without AC.
  • O.K. .I too have a perspective on the 2 serious contenders(Prius & Honda Civic Hy) I think you wouldn't go wrong with either selection. They're both well received by critics galore. Motor Trend & Car & Driver have seen the light when it comes to hybrids and their application to today's needs. These cars once were considered "TOYS" but no more.
    Since I own a Prius I have become a consciencous hybrid driver simply because something happens just after you become acclamated with the secondary screen. You begin to find ways to much improve your mileage. Seriously ...IT really happens. As to the Civic Hyb. I'm not sure its the same but I'd bet that it's similar.
    Psychologically there's another surprize with a hybrid ....You feel you're contributing to a lifestyle that reenforces your positive attitude and its eco-friendly "better" way of saying screw OPEC. My smarter car says it has arrived and can deliver what it professes.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You begin to find ways to much improve your mileage

    I don't doubt that for a second. Most people even report trying to break their own records.

    Just keep in mind you do that with any vehicle you drive. I've observed a huge variance just from driving styles. As they say, YMMV.

  • I disagree....In conventional cars there's not a computer screen giving you various feed backs on gas consumption. The Prius does exactly that by showing a detailed graph of the system's workings. Thus, you become much more aware of gas consumption and what you can do to improve it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sure there is!

    A lot of cars have trip computers nowadays and read the instant MPG as well as trip averages. Subaru has this standard on the Legacy, Outback, and Tribeca.

    I got mileage between 13 and 30 mpg in the Tribeca depending upon where and how I drove. Drive it like you stole it in the city and you'll get 13 mpg. Drive it smoothly on the highway without going too fast and you can break 30.

    This useful feedback can improve your mileage a lot.

  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017

    You wrote "In conventional cars there's not a computer screen giving you various feed backs on gas consumption". That's not so. I drive a 2004 Accord with a Navigation system. When I press the Info button on the dashboard, then the Trip Computer line on the touch screen, it displays a moving bar indicating instantaneous mpg. I've found it very helpful to experiment with feathering the accelerator pedal while glancing at the display. It makes quite an mpg diffence to know what's happening. The Accord is a very conventional car otherwise.

    Just another reason that we would find it hard to live without my voice-command navigation system if I purchase a 2006 Civic Hybrid for my wife.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    How do you like the Tribeca? I love the interior, can deal with the nose but that rear end needs some work. Great value too! Hope you're liking it!!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Please take that to the Tribeca discussion - thanks!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, let's keep this about hybrids. I do think that feature is an advantage they offer, because most cars don't.

  • kmh3kmh3 Posts: 35
    The main reason I bought a Hybrid is I am starting an 80+ mile per day commute (40 each way) and I estimate that a 50+ mpg car would save me almost $1000 per year (I live in CA where gas prices are steep). And I believe that gas prices will continue to trend upwards. Thus my hybrid purchase acts as a hedge bet against increasing gas prices.

    I also like fully loaded cars (power everything, cruise, ABS) Hybrids are only slightly more expensive than their loaded brethren, you can't compare a Civic Hybrid to a Civic HX for example because the options aren't the same (no air would kill me). But HCH compared to a Civic ES is quite favorable (I don't want a sunroof anyway).

    Given all this, the hybrid cars were my most economical option and the tax break really clinched it. I toyed with waiting until Janary 2006 for the new tax credit but made an emotional decision to buy the car now. 2005 HCH is end of model year so I got it for well under list with no waiting which was another bonus but wasn't really why I chose Civic over Prius.

    Here is my list of considerations that led me to choose Civic over Prius:

    I wanted a manual + for HCH
    I wanted a hatchback + for Prius (I ended up settling for a sedan)
    I wanted the best price + for HCH
    I wanted best handling + for HCH
    Was more concerned about highway mileage than city + for HCH
    I like smaller cars for commuting + for HCH
    I like normal styling + for HCH (this was only a minor consideration)

    Both Prius and Civic are great cars, I settled for a sedan (no hatchback), but I got my manual tranny and a smaller car that I can zip around in and park anywhere.

    If I was more concerned about city driving, or had to have a hatchback, or wanted a bigger car, and could live with the CVT, then the Prius would have been a clear winner.

    The insight was never really in the running, it would save me a bit more, but the high wind areas I must drive through and the lack of utility (2 seater, 300+ pound payload) really removed it from consideration by me.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,417
    You made the right choice if you drive in areas of high wind. The Prius is not known for it's handling of cross winds. Part of the problem is the tires on the Prius. To change those on a new car is another hit. You should have no problem averaging 50+ MPG on your long commute.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    That's funny..I've never had any problem driving in cross winds and in truck wakes. Must be the great after market tires I put on. I also heard some people modified the alignment with good results. I never had to do that. I've driven in fierce snowstorms, rainstorms and the car is pretty solid. Definitely better than my Liberty. but that goes without saying. Anything handles better than an SUV.
  • kmh3 said" I toyed with waiting until Janary 2006 for the new tax credit but made an emotional decision to buy the car now"

    I have not been able to find any information on the "new" tax break other than that it is going from $2000 in 2005 to $500 in 2006 to $0 after 2006 (on the IRS page,,id=107766,00.html ).

    Can you site a source for the new tax break.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Take a look at the Hybrid Tax Credit forum. I posted the link to the new legislation. Looks like around $1600 for the HCH and maybe as much as $2400 for the Prius. Tax credit, not a deduction. Starts 1 Jan 2006.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,417
    Must be the great after market tires I put on.

    I think you missed the previous poster's point. He felt the price difference between the HCH and the Prius was too much. The poor handling characteristics of the Prius with stock tires is well documented. You should not have to spend another $500 for tires on a new car for it to be safe on the highway. That would have made the price break between the HCH and Prius even higher. I still think he made the best choice for a commuter vehicle.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I looked at the HCH but it was too boring. I usually always changeout my rubber too. The OEM tires on most cars are horrible. I had terrible problems with my Audi with their OEM tires (hyroplaned like crazy!). Most auto enthusiasts always upgrade their rubber. I intend to do the same when I get my Prius. I can't wait!! Oh... I took a Prius a while back on an extended test drive up in PA. Handled great and it was kinda windy that day too (15-20 MPG gusts). Worked for me! I also checked out some of the forums and most folks like the handling. Check it out for yourself.
  • Sometimes ya just can't take the threads here and Gary yours is over the top. Yes the handling is not as good as a few other cars. Its not going to beat a Vette on a road coarse. Its not even as good as a 300 ZX but wait ...Its not suppose to be as good or even on a par with many other cars. It is a good all around handler but it would be better if Toyota had given the Prius the appropriate tires that would remedy some of the handling quirks. Cost wise, I see my next set of tires costing $248.00 after I get a full 34,000 miles out of the original set of rubber. I'm @ 24 K miles and other than windy days when cross-winds tend to be a bit annoying the car is more than respectable and reliable as I see it. So lighten up Gary. The Prius may not hold the rails but it does quite well in most respects.
    Railroadjames(Remember....Want World Peace...Use Your Turn-Signal)
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,417
    So lighten up Gary.

    I think you need to reread my posts. I said the same thing you just repeated. Obsession with things, in this case the Prius is not healthy. No car is perfect, just as no man is perfect. All I was doing was agreeing with another poster that had purchased an HCH instead of the Prius. If you cannot handle that you should not visit a thread that pits one against the other. Now that you have forced me to respond I will say it again. The Prius is a POOR handling car as delivered from the dealers.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    The PRIUS is NOT a poor handling car at all. Have you even driven one? I have driven and owned very expensive cars and I am acutally going to buy a Prius after having a great deal of seat time in one. It is certainly no Bimmer but it holds its own and is really a fun car to drive. I'd like to see the steering firmed up a bit, but overall not a bad handling car at all. If we have to talk handling, let's address the issue of poor handling SUVs that rollover and have poor brakes. That's another thread. Please... get over your Prius envy already.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,175
    Let's stop the personal interaction and stick to the vehicles here please.

    There's a definite history here, and we've been through this before. So everyone should understand the kind of comments that you need to avoid.

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