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



  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    To keep the discussion in the proper place.

    My question is with the changes to the 2006 HCH will it get better mileage than the Prius. Early reports say an honest 50 MPG combined. If the design is better it should surpass the Prius. Will that affect sales to the Prius? There seems to be a lot of eager buyers waiting for the 2006 Civic to arrive. I'm not a big Honda fan. I would like to see the pendulum swing the other direction for a while. If the two cars get the same mileage, the $5k to $8k premium on the Prius should help the wise shoppers decide on the HCH. What affect will the Prius production moving to China create?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    Not sure where you get a $5-8k premium for the Prius but the price difference between the '06 HCH (which by the way isn't even available yet, so we don't have any mpg data except from a few road tests) and the Prius isn't that high. Also I expect some buyers will navigate to the Prius because they like the versatility offered by the hatchback design, along with the greater legroom in the rear seat. And some will like the fact that the Prius looks different than anything else on the road, so they can make a statement as they drive down the road, "Look at me, I'm green!"
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Not sure where you get a $5-8k premium for the Prius but the price difference between the '06 HCH

    I was going by advertised prices on the Prius. I believe the dealer had a #4 for $28k and a #6 for $30k. Assuming the 2006 HCH does not top $23k you get the figures I stated. Buyers seem to be content to pay MSRP for the Prius, which makes it easy to tack on a few extras. In CA you add $2500 for taxes and license. If you take a quick peek at the TMV here on Edmund's you will see that the going rate for a #6 Prius is a bit over $29k. The HCH is a little over $20k. So I guess my estimates were a little on the low side. If you are buying a car to be green and use less gas. The two are comparable in those to areas. If you want to look green or need the hatchback, you are going to pay a minimum of $4500 more for the Prius. The days of a $20k Prius are long gone. In CA don't expect to get out the door for less than $27k.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    Your original post was about the '06 HCH vs. the '06 Prius. There are no TMV figures or advertised prices available for these cars yet.

    Also, why compare a fully loaded Prius to a HCH that doesn't have as much equipment? All that does is bias the comparison in favor of the smaller, lesser-equipped HCH. How about comparing the base models of both? The TMV in my area for the '05 Prius is $24k--although I know at least one dealer where I can get it for MSRP (maybe less), which is $21,815. If you follow the Prius discussions here or elsewhere you'll see that many people are picking up a Prius for MSRP or less. Maybe not in San Diego, but not everyone lives in San Diego. The TMV for the base HCH with CVT (Prius has a CVT also) is $20,903. The TMV for the '06 will undoubtedly be higher because it's a new design and a much more desirable car. As it is, there's currently less than $1000 difference and for that extra money you get a much roomier car with hatchback versatility.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    When was the last time you saw a stripped Prius on a dealer's lot for $21k? There have been a couple of people on the Prius thread trying to track down an entry level Prius. They have not been having any success. If what you are saying is correct a $1000 would be a reasonable amount to pay for the difference in the Prius over the Civic. I don't think you will see that for a while. If we had a good way of tracking I would say more Prius go out the door closer to $30k than even $25k. This is not Spring of 2005 when one Toyota dealer in San Diego had 11 on his lot at once.
  • sr45sr45 Posts: 144
    Lets forget the Prius, and the HCH for goodness sakes... Lets just all get a bicycle, and be done with it and those that charge MSRP.. :shades: We will show them not to mess with the masses... ;)
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    I have seen new no-option Priuses advertised on eBay by dealers, so I know they exist. My nearest dealer has sold a lot of the package 1 cars, with side airbags and curtains as the only option. That would probably be a good comparo to the '06 HCH, since both cars would have comparable safety equipment.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Seek and you shall find. If you are anxious, you're going to get ripped off. There are plenty on the market and if someone wants a used one, there are plenty to be had.
  • Been away for awhile but looks like some interesting comments being shared here so here's mine. Midnight...Your right, I have been critical in some ways about the Rr window...But....I wish to point out there has been some getting use to it that now can be shared with everyone. The 'ol saying ..."you can't have it all" should apply here in my estimation. The Prius, being a hatchback (which I like very much), has a Rr window that takes some time to adapt to. The bar across the lower area is obviously necessary for structural integrity. I have come to accept the "window" and would also point out that the "bar" has been quite usefull when blocking out SUV's headlights. This I really like!
    My biggest complaint about my Prius is the Rr View Mirror ... It takes some care to double check to the right @ intersections for other cars that I occasionally miss due to the mirror. Yes I've made adjustments but still miss some cars. I'm 6 ft.
    Railroadjames(Free-us Prius) :)

    P.S. Midnight....I agree about manual tranny except that once I got use to the Prius CVT I now wonder why I ever thought that way.....Try it You'll See!
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    First Place
    Honda Civic Hybrid (91 points)
    It's a Honda. It has the familial "connectedness" gene, i.e., no fuzzy logic in the controls. Driving is always fun in Hondas.

    I expect the 2006 HCH should really give the Prius a run for the money....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    C/D will undoubtedly rank the HCH above the Civic if for nothing else other than handling. They always favor handling above everything else. OTOH, C/D did name the '04 Prius one of its 10Best.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    This is very true. I value safety above handing at 9/10ths. The HCH will not have stability control or a hatch. It's back seat remains small. It is tons better than the previous version and the interior is very nice and modern. I also don't like the space the column shifter takes up. The Prius is brilliant with the space saving joystick. It should be very interesting how the new HCH does in the market. I do hope it gives the Prius a good run for the money. It's better for the market to have some good old fashioned competition.
  • I too am impressed w/ the 06 Honda Civic Hybrid. It definitly shows an example of better (exciting) styling and the always usual Honda quality and leadership and competitive drive. I've owned many Hondas and my 04 Prius is my first Toyota. As to your opinion about competition, I see quite abit in this "world market." Count the number of car models andmakes....It's endless.
    Railroadjames ;)
  • What I can't quite understand about Honda is the Insight and it's lack of change and/or improvements. Styling sure could be addressed and the many complaints that I've heard from some owners. The one style Insight sure could use a make over......Anyone agree? It could improve the sales of it.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I read somewhere that the Insight costs Honda around $30k to build. Loaded with exotic metals etc. They have a hard time selling them at $20k. They may keep them for bragging rights. I know the manual model is harder to find than the CVT.

    They did sell more in August than for quite a while. I think it is the ideal commuter car.

    I don't think they can justify spending money on changes selling 55 units per month.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > It could improve the sales of it.

    Honda only built 150 of the 2005 for the United States.

    They clearly aren't interested in greater sales. It's basically just a collector's item in the making... which actually isn't too bad of a thing. Automotive history is loaded with extremely limited quantity vehicles that are now prized items by the few that own them.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the Honda just might be more efficient in the real world. The current 5 speed matches the CVT Prius, but the auto gives up a couple of mpg.

    But the new one gains some efficiency, and Honda is closer to the EPA numbers than Toyota has been. So it'll be very close.

  • stevedebi said:

    "The HSD doesn't have gears, so there is no way to put in a manual transmission without completely redesigning the system. "

    Well, actually it does have gears: sun, ring, and planetary gears.

    But the design of the system does eliminate the need for a conventional; automatic or manual transmission. so in effect you answer is correct "...The HSD doesn't have gears, so there is no way to put in a manual transmission without completely redesigning the system. " but sadly I already knew that and was lamenting that fact.

    YMMV 6-speed,

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > actually it does have gears

    Those are just power carriers, not gears, serving the same purpose as the connectors in a differential. It is not a transmission, since nothing ever disengages or even shifts. They just spin.

    What would having gears accomplish?

    You already have the ability to "downshift", kicking in a boost from the motor and/or gas engine (determined by what was powering the tires in the first place) when you step harder on the pedal.

  • John,

    As a seasoned Prius owner i thougth you knew how the CVT planetary gear system worked. Here is a technical slide presentation that in session 2 shows the details of the Prius HSD system.

    Look at slide 28 in particular. It shows a picture of the actual Prius gears: sun ,planetary and ring.

    Here is the URL :

    The gear system acts as a transmission by combining the outputs of two Motor /Generators MG1 and MG2 with the drive to the wheels.

    The "power carrier" is just a name Toyota coined to try to explain the system to the non-engineering background, general public.

    I will state correctly again the HSD system uses gears!


  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    A differential operates in the very same manner as the Planetary-CVT.

    How come that isn't called a transmission?

    How come the components inside it aren't called gears?

    How come nothing ever engages & disengages?

    What is the point giving the same name for a device that is completely unlike any other?

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    By the way, notice that the proper name isn't actually "CVT".

    It is "PSD", which stands for Power Split Device.

  • PSD is just the marketing name that Toyota coined to avoid confusion with belt and cone CVT systems.

    Look at this URL on the bottom of page101 and top of page 102: "In a series/parallel hybrid (such as the Prius), a power splitting device divides the power from the engine, so the ratio of power going directly to the wheels and to the generator is continuously variable. Since the motor can be run on the electricity as it is generated, the motor is used more than in a parallel system. "

    ALL series/parallel hybrid systems, example Prius, need a power splitting device, hence the coined name:

    Have a Good Day,

  • repost of #245 without link to other forum, sorry 'bout that :blush:

    Early you were referring to the transmission as CVT se one of your earlier
    posts: #54 john1701a, "Hybrids: Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Hybrid v. Honda Insight v. ?" #54, 3 Dec 2003 12:31 am

    1. some people call it a transmission there was a lot of debate about that.
    2. they are called gears, just by their specifc name for their specific
    3. That is true in one sense the gear cogs engage/disengage but the gear
    realtionship is fixed.
    4. Marketing _ remember the "turbo-hydramatic transmission"

    John, if you will stop an think about the engine rotates and wheels rotate.
    There are only a handful of ways to connect two rotating devices:

    (1) directly connect via a shaft or cable
    (2) use wheels/pulleys and connect by a belt
    (3) use wheels pulleys and connect by friction pressure
    (4) use gears and connect by a gear chain.
    (5) use gears and directly engage the gear cogs.

    The HSD sytem uses a CVT planetary gear set which is a version of (5). It is
    actaully a pretty innovative system by using two Motor Generators sun gear and
    palnatary ring to drive the wheels and achieve the same effect as a conventional
    CVT transmission. CVT stand for continuously varialble can almost infitiley vary
    the final drive ratio between a lower and upper limit. think of a very low first
    gear ratio ( around 13.5 to 1) up to a very high highway gear ratio (around 2.5
    to 1) and basically an infinite number of ration in between.

    I am sorry you are having trouble understanding the concept. There is a very
    simplified, animated version of how the gears work at this URL:

    Here is another diagram of the Prius gears:

    The HSD is a innovative transmission ,but it uses GEARS and is a planetray -CVT
    type transmission.

    Good luck in your further understanding of the Prius HSD system.

    Cruis'n 6-speed manual,

  • Found this article on a comparision:

    He points out the two superior points of the Prius:
    Larger trunk space and the Civic does not offer ESC (Electronic Stability Control).
    Additionally, the Civic does not even offer traction control!
    I'd rather have that stuff then 20 speakers!
    Sounds like they forgot to put in the safety features when they did the redesign!
    Funny that the Accord has it though!
  • coffmlucoffmlu Posts: 20
    This is the toughest decision I'm trying to make right now. Honda will probably lose quite a few buyers since they don't offer ESC with traction control on their civic. They should have at least made it an option.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Hopefully they will next year. I only buy cars that have VSC/TRAC.
  • I think the lack of folding rear seats is a HUGE drawback for the HCH. Neither the 2003 HCH and Prius models had folding rear seats. I drove both and wouldn't buy either for that ONE reason. Toyota wised up with the 2004 Prius, I bought one and I love it.

    I was hoping Honda would wise up with the HAH but they did not. Again I was hoping they would wise up for the 2006 HCH, they did not. I HOPE Toyota STAYS wise when they put out the Hybrid Camry about a year from now.

    It clearly isn't a hatchback vs sedan issue, the non hybrid Civic has folding rear seats, my '86 Mazda 626 sedan had folding rear seats, so do most other sedans so what gives? I can't believe Toyota has some patent on the 'truck' deck at the level of the top of the battery pack and a storage tray behind the battery and under the deck such that no one else can have a similar design. Even if Honda left it as is, who cares? The back (now top) of the folded rear seats would still be at or above the level of the battery compartment. So what if you have an 8" drop to the rest of the trunk area? It is sad such a little thing makes such a big difference in functionality.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A few sedans have dropped that feature to get increased rigidity. That's not an excuse for hybrids, though. Maybe to save weight?

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "A few sedans have dropped that feature to get increased rigidity. That's not an excuse for hybrids, though. Maybe to save weight?"

    I think it is for design reasons. They put the batteries in that space behind the seats, and don't have to engineer a space for battery packs. Thus Honda can use their conventional design vehicles without major modifications.

    It's not such an issue with SUVs; they have more space inside. Same with the GMC hybrid pickup.
This discussion has been closed.