Toyota Prius and Honda Hybrid: Will anyone buy Hybrids??



  • no1trust1no1trust1 Member Posts: 17
    I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the hybrids, and it's a shame they are not hear now as I am looking for a very near future car replacement. I also think the cost may be reasonable; they are still being snapped up at $17,500 appx, aren't they? I don't necessarily need the 66 mpg that Prius offers. I would settle for the "lowered" mpg for a sedan like post 50 suggested. Barich also hinted about some creative financing for the Prius. I have faith in Toyota that their think tank (like their creation of successful Lexus) will have an angle for the popular hybrids. Maybe they'll swathe it in leather and additional comfort features and make it a mini-Lexus. Competition from Honda and looks like Ford is also on its way. At its present "cost" I'd even look close at the Prius.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Member Posts: 535
    Hybrids have been around for a long time .Even with HUGE factory subsidies The beautiful people still wont touch them .You are only considering..... wait till after you buy then you can say " I stood up at the plate " Talk is cheap lets do it for Mother Earth
  • no1trust1no1trust1 Member Posts: 17
    By the time they come on the market in the US (maybe next year at the earliest; there are NONE in my region AT ALL) I will already have replaced one of my aging vehicles. I don't need to buy TWO in the next year. I'm not picking an argument here; I plan to acquire another luxury ride in the immediate future, which is why I check out the luxury vehicles posts, among MANY MORE sources outside of Edmunds. A quiet, earth-friendly, comfortable hybrid would be nice but I don't plan to wait that long. Peace.:) P.S. Any suggestions you can recommend? I'm already in the other Edmunds' rooms considering (but you should know that by now).
  • no1trust1no1trust1 Member Posts: 17
    Does doing a significant amount of commuting in a Ford Festiva count as earth-friendly for now? (43 mpg).
  • dweickdweick Member Posts: 3
    I assume you're in Phoenix, your comments about
    the clueless Honda dealer sure rings a Bell.

    On my visit the "salesman" said they didn't have
    any brochures because they were always running

    How tough can it be to keep literature in stock?

    Heck, with the $15K premium they were asking on
    the pair of S2000's I figure they could have
    had a couple of boxes on brochures hand carried
    from Japan.

    Asked about the Honda GX. Huh? says the salesman.
    Figured it wouldn't do me any good to ask about
    the Insight cause the dealer was severly lacking
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    If it were an engine option for a Crwon Vic. While there are some people who drive Geos et al for the gas mileage, I think they have too many trade-offs. They are for some people, but not me. I think with the Prius, Toyota is wantng bragging rights for phenominal gas mileage more than anything else. Once they start selling hybrid Camrys and Avalons, then we'll talk sales. No1, the luxury twist with the hybrids might actually be a good idea. While someone with the wherewithall to buy a Lexus won't care about fuel bills, there's always the "Snob-Factor" to appeal to. Self serve gas stations are on the decline and the Caddilac crowd is not likely to enjoy pumping gas. Give them a car that will keep them out of the "lowly" gas stations, and that may be the deciding factor between buying a Lexus compared to an Infiniti or a Lincoln.
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Member Posts: 535
    #56 I have a Cadillac Eldorado Touring coupe and I always pump my own gas .So take that LOL. Electric vehicles have been around for a while now .... solectron a massachusetts company markets them but no one steps up to the plate to buy one ?? What are we waiting for ? so what if they are a little inconvenient to use ?
  • no1trust1no1trust1 Member Posts: 17
    Electric cars and hybrids are not identical. Electric cars have too many disadvantages, unlike the hybrids. (From the hype anyway) Hybrids combine the best of both worlds; the advantages of the gas engines and the electrics. Put the technology in something tempting like for example a Lexus, and soft-butted Americans like me would go for it.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    Should reach dealership by December. It will cost under $20K (and is supposedly loaded with "performance" gear). It is also the most aerodynamic car in production today (Cd is only 0.25). Only 5000 to be produced per year (not sure if that is just of US/N.A. market), if so, they will go just as quickly as they come. a reason, it is rebirth of Honda CRX, a lightweight, small engine two seater, with good handling (Honda seems to have focused on handling aspects of this car, aiming at younger buyers, than buyers who think Lexus like car is fun). The car is nice looking (just like the concept), and weighs 1887 lb. According to Honda, the 1.0 liter VTEC delivers about the same power as 1.5 liter engine, so even if the car delivers about 90-95 hp, it will be reasonably fast.
    At low rpm, electricity generated and stored onboard takes on (electric motors have low end torque characteristic, with near flat high torque curve in under 2000 rpm). Once past the flat output of electric motor, the VTEC takes the task of acceleration. Overall, I think, the car will have a near flat curve from about 1500 rpm to 6500 rpm. Hopefully we will get to see a test drive soon enough.
  • mavenessmaveness Member Posts: 4
    ... in the Honda Insight. I do light commuting, am single, and would be thrilled to have a fun-to-drive eco-friendly car. I don't need 250 horsepower to enjoy driving -- I'm more interested in quick response and nimble handling. From the pictures I've seen of the Insight, it has an intriguing look, and as a designer in the computer field, I'm always interested in the bleeding edge of technology. I'm probably the perfect target demographic for this car!

    I hope it has a sunroof option, and that they'll move include a CD player rather than just casette.

    If it's true that there will only be 5000, I hope I'm one of the first in line for a test drive.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    I do think that Insight will be nimble, if not a very quick car, but I doubt it will have moonroof since it adds 25-30 lb to add moonroof, and Insight was made to be light car as well. However, I think the car will come with a good CD player (standard), perhaps with 6-speakers. I know for sure that it has four wheel discs with abs, power everything, and perhaps leather trimmed recaro seats.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    5000 is a small number, but there is one possibility that will make it even more rare. Honda's fleet sale is generally limited to cars like Honda EV, Civic GX etc, and Insight looks like a good candidate to join the group. It could mean even lesser number of cars reaching dealership. Insight is nice looking car, exactly what I would imagine CRX would have grown to. Besides the hybrid motor, Honda should also consider using the CVT from Civic HX (1.6 liter SOHC VTEC-E/115 HP). This should also yield city gas mileage in excess of 45 mpg, while being LEV or even ULEV, even better, SULEV (like some California 2000 Accord EX).
  • no1trust1no1trust1 Member Posts: 17
    I might postpone my next car purchase till then if it's that soon. I don't need another Lexus since my spouse has one (though I wouldn't mind a 2nd one for me). Will the insight have leather power seats available? How about a/c?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    from the pictures on Honda site, Insight seems to have two-tone "Recaro" seats (probably leather), and perhaps power seat as well (I'd say that the seats should be identical to those in NSX and S2000, since Insight shares the production line). Not sure about a/c.
  • mavenessmaveness Member Posts: 4
    ... would potentially be a dealbreaker for me. (I know, I know, a/c is distinctly ungreen.) I live in DC, where summers are brutal. My current old bluemobile (ancient Taurus s/w, don't ask) has dead a/c and I suffered miserably this last summer.

    I do wonder how power-hungry a/c would sap the performance of the car, though.
  • ryandoughertyryandougherty Member Posts: 11
    I was reading the October issue of Automotive Engineering (A trade journal) and it had some interesting tidbits of info.

    1- The gas engine shuts off when the car is stopped. However, when the A/C (which is standard auto ac, I believe...) is turned on, the gas engine will not automatically turn off.

    2- The mag. said that it will be offered with a 5-spd and the CVT transmission (from the Civic HX)

    3- Also, I gathered that the A/C would not sap alot of power away because most of the power does not come from the engine. Most all the power comes from the electric motor when going 0-30 (or full throttle) because it has tons more available torque. The gas engine is actually intended to supplement the electric motor.

    4- The mag had a picture of the battery pack and it was pretty substantial looking. (Not like the Honda EV's though...) My main worry would be how much that battery pack costs to replace and how long is it good for...

  • no1trust1no1trust1 Member Posts: 17
    It'll also be interesting to see how it fares in the Mojave Desert when those Berthold rays hit it.
  • scapegoatscapegoat Member Posts: 1
    1. These cars were developed for the Japanese market where gas is very expensive. Currently, the Prius is only sold in japan and half of the Insights will be sold in japan.
    2. Costs. (I wouldn't be surprised if those Prius cost numbers quoted previously included fixed development costs.) These cars are really experiments for the companies to build a knowledge base. They don't mind loosing money to gain experience that can be used in future models and possibly put you ahead of the competition. And don't forget the PR value of clean, efficient high-tech cars.
    3. The Insight is NOT based on any exisiting honda chassis. It's constructed of Aluminum with some plastic body panels. (a big selling point to people like me in the rust belt) It's a unique chassis in the honda linueup. I doubt if it shares anything (dash, seats, suspension, etc.etc.) with the civic model.

    1. As new any technology, expect changes. I don't expect 5 year production runs of the Insight or Prius without at least major design changes.
    2. Looking at all Insight with it's light body, low drag, skinny tires, etc.etc. They could put a civic HF motor in it and still get 60MPG.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    - Automatic Climate Control is optional equipment. (i.e. you can get a/c).
    - The dash looks good (there is a small picture in 2000 Honda lineup brochure). Looks like Honda used some aluminium there as well. The "meter" cluster is a mix of S2000, EV-plus and any other Honda.

    I doubt if it is based directly off any existing Honda. The engine is from Honda JV-X concept that Honda showcased few years ago, but Insight looks lot more like the CRX than the JV-X. (I'll try to post those pictures if I can find them).
  • occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    I wish they could make the Insight $12K instead of $18K so I could afford it. What I want to see is if they'll make an economy version of the new Mini. If the Cooper S is $25K, I would think a basic 1200cc model would run $12K. Until then my 1995 Geo Metro and 1992 Dodge Dynasty will have to do.
  • barich1barich1 Member Posts: 143
    Considering that Honda is losing about 20k when they sell it for 18k, you are getting a pretty darn good deal at 18.
  • mavenessmaveness Member Posts: 4
    When do we get to see some decent pictures of this car??

    There a few lame ones on Honda's site:

    and various bits that look as if they've been pulled from a brochure on some dealers' sites. But SURELY by now, there must be pictures of the production vehicle available.

    Does anybody know when the official launch date is?
    When I might be able to get behind a wheel?
  • ryandoughertyryandougherty Member Posts: 11
    The official launch date was Nov. 1, 1999. Three days ago. It sure was a very quiet launch!

  • wenyuewenyue Member Posts: 558
    I'm not suprised that Honda isn't doing a hyped launch. After all, they lose $20,000 for each one of them sold, so probably good idea to keep the sale down to a minimum. :)
  • agtabbyagtabby Member Posts: 28
    If Honda loses 20k per car, they don't want to make many.

    On the other hand I would expect demand to be limitted, as gas is cheap and small efficient cars are out of fashion.

    So I don't know how much dealer markup will be. I can see if some well-to-do eco wants a second car to salve his concience for using a spute for his daily driver, he might be willing to pay quite a premium.

    Interesting technology, but for most people not worth it. Sometimes innovation is accepted (radial tires) sometimes not (remember the miracle of Honda and Nissan 4 wheel steering?)

  • occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    If they are losing 20K apiece why not lose 26K apiece and make it a 1@K car? Those people who want to save the planet probably buy Tercels and Metros and don't want to spend an extra $6K to gain 10mpg. The car can't even hold four people, not like a Metro holds 4 in comfort, but hey, some of us have friends to carry around. I wonder if I did get an Insight, how much courier cargo will it hold with that strange body shape and all the batteries?
  • wenyuewenyue Member Posts: 558
    Then you probably want to buy a Toyota Prius. It's a true sedan, and seats 4 in comfort. It's selling well in Japan. Problem is, at $20k, why would people buy a Prius when they can buy a Camry?
  • wwhite2wwhite2 Member Posts: 535
    Whats an extra $6000.... think about the enviroment !!!!! Just add a year or 2 to the loan to keep your loan payment down .....Save mother earth
  • autoknologistautoknologist Member Posts: 16
    Both Toyota and Honda will sell a few of these, if for no other reason than the brand name alone. Now, who will these people be? People who are passionate about their stance on the environment! This passion will remain until several things happen 1) Their Insurance company figures out how expensive one is to repair after an accident and raises there rates through the roof. 2) They have to pay the first bill for a repair when the warranty expires or 3) have to pay the difference btw what the Insurance co. will pay and the cost of the repair after an accident. So, until Gas prices go through the roof and/or the technology gets to be cost competitive with conventional cars in terms of repair and insurance, it will be a tough road to plow for the manufacturers. Especially since Gas cars are getting cleaner & cleaner!
  • wenyuewenyue Member Posts: 558
    will be the offical cars of the Green Peace movement. I bet you will see it on the evening news sometimes showing some greenpeace fanatic trying to stop a 20 ton semi loaded with industrial waste with their Honda Insights and Toyota Prius. And then tragity strikes..... :)
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    Honda's fleet sales have been more common to California state government agencies who buy Civic GX, Honda EV etc. in bulk. I'm pretty sure, most of the Insights will also head that way. Honda EV owners get a income tax rebate too! (remember, EV is $53K vehicle!! and is leased) Probably Insight could into the same ballpark. 5000/year is not a big number (I don't know if this is a "worldwide number"), but if it is a fun car to drive, it will sell. Launch is supposed to be in December.
  • occupant1occupant1 Member Posts: 412
    $18K, $20K, neither will work.

    Do you think this formula could be applied to say, an older Civic? The 1988-1991 sedan is a nice car, wonder if the 1.0L engine and DC motors would fit...hmm...
  • mavenessmaveness Member Posts: 4
    ... last Tuesday I was in accident (other driver's fault, needless to say), and my Taurus S/W was totalled. I dread to think what my current state of health would look like if I'd been in a light-weight car. Fortunately both I and the occupants of the other vehicle (a minivan) walked away. I do have some technicolor bruises and some very sore neck muscles and a lump on my head.

    Needless to say, I'm now re-ordering my priorities for what I want in a new car (and my car buying agenda has just been put in the fast lane!). Safety has taken on a new lustre. I want some weight around me (I'm sure the aluminum frame on the Insight is marvelously strong, but momentum counts too).
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    I'm not going to take you away from your inclination towards a heavier vehicle, but momentum does count, and it has to be dissipated somewhere. Think of two tanks colliding at 40 mph each. And the number of tanks is increasing on the road, so chances are getting worse. Yes, tank will destroy the light weight champion, but what are the chances that you can steer out a tank or a lightweight car can also be a deciding factor. That is why I believe, controllability is the best armor, except if someone has made up the mind to ram-in, in that case, PERHAPS 18 wheeler the safest bet (unfortunately, even a pickup turned deadly ib a 18-wheeler driver in Dallas area, last week).
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    Well I suppose the 18-20k price will certainly be made up for in the gas savings: 61 city/ 70 mpg highway. Btw, here's an article about the insight from the autochannel: Honda Insight Hybrid Priced Less Than $19,000. Doesn't sound too bad... if you don't mind a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine.


    Community Leader/Coupes, Convertibles, and Sports Cars Confererence
  • agtabbyagtabby Member Posts: 28
    Will the Honda Insight make up for the greater purchase price with gasoline savings? Not necessarily, gas is cheap.

    Compare a civic and insight, insight costs 5K more. The civic will average about 30 mpg, the insight about twice this. If you drive 12,000 per year and pay 1.40 for gas, you will pay 560 dollars for the civic gas, 280 for the insight gas. You save 280 bucks per year - it takes you about 20 years to break even. Not a great deal. Also consider you pay extra interest on the greater purchase cost, and that you pay about 400 extra in taxes when you buy. Overall a terrible deal.

    Hondas are reliable, but the civic uses proven technology and is less complex - has gas motor only, no electric.

    Also, the civic is roomier, much more practical. The insight is a small car optimized for fuel efficiency only.

    Finally, this comparison makes the insight look unfairly good, because it is being heavily subsidized by Honda. If you put this kind of money and exotic materials in a convential IC car it would be fairly efficient - not as efficient as the insight, but closer.

  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    Very good point, especially if you only travel 12k per year. One other thing is that the Insight is a two seater. Cost wise, the civic would be just as gas efficient in providing transportation for a family of four.

    Talk to everyone later. ;-)

    Community Leader/Coupe, Convertibles, and Sports Cars Conference
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    Honda's Insight may be a boost for their alternative fuel vehicle line but just bring back the CRX for the driving excitement. The mileage I get on my 91 is still at 40mpg on my daily 100 mile commute with over 105000 on the odometer.

    I drive an Electric Ford Ranger at work for N.Y. State (part of the Governors iniciative to have 10% of fleet as an alternative fuel vehicle) it rides heavy and only has 50 mile range(until you turn the heater, headlights, defrost on, then you see the range drop dramatically) requires a special charger for recharging purposes, and cost $57k MSRP $47k states cost.
    I don't see the bargain in the EV line.

    Ray T.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    I agree with you. Honda has this light weight two-seater chassis, that is 200 lb lighter than the old CRX! and just put Civic Si's 160 HP engine in it, tune the suspension a little (and widen the rear track a little).

    Insight priced under $19K! I'm pretty sure Honda will find enough buyers. Atleast it is not a slow car, looks different than anything on the road, and has a different attitude. Accerelation too is okay (0-60 in 10.5 seconds is just enough for around town driving and merging with 65 mph traffic).
  • beanboybeanboy Member Posts: 442
    Now that would be something! If VW can get 42/49 EPA rating out of a 2600-2800 pound car(Jetta/Golf/Beetle), wonder what could be done if they could dump 800 pounds, update the engine for pure efficiency, throw on an electric motor and put skinny little tires on it like the Prius/Insight.

    Then again, why? Getting near 50mpg in a REAL car beats out 70mpg in ultra-lightweight, poor handling 2-seater anyday...

  • ajvdhajvdh Member Posts: 223
    VW currently sells a minicar named "Lupo" in Europe. The most economical version gets 95 mpg on the European driving cycle. It's 4 seater, that meets Euro crash standards, and comes with airbags and anti-lock brakes. It's also supposedly very "clean" from an emissions standpoint.
  • agtabbyagtabby Member Posts: 28
    Hydrids do offer better fuel economy. But they also cost more. The question is, are they worth it?

    Consider the Honda and Toyota entries. They offer great mileage, but they cost more than conventional cars. Also consider -

    1. The prices are heavily subsidized, these are being sold at losses of ~20k/vehicle, they are sold in limitted quantities. So the price performance equation is worse than it looks.

    2. These cars use a lot of very advanced weight saving materials, and have their design heavily compromised towards fuel economy - they sacrifice handling, room, etc. If you put an IC engine in them you could also get great mileage. Not as good as the hybrid, but it would close the gap farther.

    3. These cars are very clean, I think they both meat california ulev standards. But a number of conventional ic cars do also.

    Which brings me back to the Cadillac V8-6-4, and engine that would actually cut out cylinders when it did not need them. Back in the 80's we thought this was cool, it provided better efficiency and better power. But there were other ways (fuel injection, multivalve) that provided even better performance for less money. The motto of this story is that "cool" technology does not always succeed - especially when it is more expensive and complicated.
  • alibabbaalibabba Member Posts: 1
    I have been toying with the idea of selling my 91 Acura Legend that has been the most stable vehicle and getting one of the new hybrids. I have driven the Prius in Japan (a pretty nice car with some cool electronics internally) and seen both of the cars in Los Angeles (it helps to go to the Toyota headquarters in Torrance if you want to see the new cars).

    I drive over to Goudy Honda in Alhambra on Sunday
    morning hoping to maybe test drive one of the Insights. There must have been at least 20 salespeople milling about and about 5 customers shopping. None of the salespeople had heard that Honda is making a hybrid let alone that it was supposed to be at dealer lots by now. I finally find someone who says that they do not have any in, they may get some next month and that I can leave a deposit for one today if I would like! Then he walks away because I am probably not going to buy anything TODAY.


    Why would I, site unseen, shell out a few thousand for a deposit on a car that they do not know when it will arrive? This seems to be the typical response at all of the local dealers (pasadena, goudy, santa monica, etc.). None of them know anything about it and always refer me to the honda web site for help. I ran into similar problems when the EV was available. One dealer (downtown LA) told me that Honda did not make an EV and I had seen one on the lot! I eventually found out that I had to go to a dealer in Van Nuys (about twenty miles away) for info. Hopefully Honda has extended their sales information to all of the dealers so that people like me, who honestly want an eco friendly car, can get the info we need and maybe buy one of these things.

    And while their at it, why doesn't Toyota run the ECO commercials her in the states? They were a big hit with all of my friends in Japan. I have seen them on the web:

    But I am sure that they would be a hit in LA with all the teeny boppers.

    Enough ranting for now.

  • wenyuewenyue Member Posts: 558
    I think is not in the hybrid technology.

    Hybrids are inherently more expensive (you got 2 engines instead of 1), complex and still uses gas. You can rise the gas milage by using lowering body weight, stop the engine when idling, ect, but that's really just a stop gap measure and won't allow you to give good performance and gas milage over 100 mpg.

    I think the ture future for automotive will be with the fuel cell system. Some how they must find a way to store hydrogen and oxgen safely first though.
  • gisellegiselle Member Posts: 3
    VW has two highly efficient offerings in Europe: the first is the Lupo previously discussed,which can be equipped with a 1.7 E SDI 60 bhp engine (47.9 mpg city, 78.5 mpg highway), and the Polo, positioned in between the Lupo and the Golf, which achieves 68.9 mpg highway with the 1.9 CL SDI 64 bhp engine. I wish these cars were available in the US. I'd like the Polo Station Wagon: utility, cuteness, high efficiency, low cost, and probably very fun to drive.
  • wenyuewenyue Member Posts: 558
    It's true that fantasitc gas milage could be achieved by lowering the engine displacement, but at some point that's just not an viable option any more.

    For example, making only 60 hp is just not enough to be useful as a mainstream car. The insight make a tiny amount of power, which even with the ultra light body and 2 seater interior, gives a lousy 0-60 time of 12 seconds with a fully charged battery and a MANUAL transmission. Imagine the horror if you had to drive an automatic (which I don't think is available). Toyota Prius is the same thing, while making more power, it has a normal car size and weight, which means the 0-60 time is also 12 seconds with a fully charge battery (but with automatic transmission this time).

    I'm sorry, but 12 second 0-60 time is just not acceptable. The performance only suffers more when the battery is not fully charged. Imagine a 0-60 of 14 seconds or more when you try to get on the highway. That's going to be a death ride.

    Saving fuel by lowering engine size can only go so far. Both Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius are already at the minimal performance level. What we need is a hybrid that can offer acceptable performance for everyday driving. Engines that make 60 or so hp is just not going to do it.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Have you seen our feature article on hybrid vehicles? Please, take a look and then return here to share your views on the future of these very special cars.

  • wenyuewenyue Member Posts: 558
    I disagree in the aspect that I don't see the near horizon belong to hybrid vehicles.

    Both Honda and Toyota are losing tons of money making the hybrid cars. It cost twice as much to make than the price listed on the sticker.

    $20,000 for a 2 seater(Honda Insight), and $22,000 for a 4 seater (Toyota Prius) is already unacceptably pricey for these subcompact/compact cars (not to mention their almost unacceptable performance). To sell it at a profit (instead of at 1/2 of the cost), these tiny cars would cost more than many of the luxury cars.

    Hybrid will always be much more expensive than a conventional car (since it's really 2 cars under the hood). That's why the price will always prevent it from entering the mainstream.

    The future is a pure alternative fuel vehicle, not a hybrid. I think it's the fuel cell technology. Hydrogen fuel is extremely cheap to make, simply by the electrolysis of water.
  • vickellsvickells Member Posts: 2
    I'm getting cold feet about the Prius and Insight. Does anyone know if I could somehow get a ULEV or SULEV vehicle delivered to me in Georgia? The dealerships I call here don't even know what ULEV means so they are of little help. Thanks.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    Insight and Prius may or may not be practical today, but they are the benchmark automobiles for the new era. Honda showcased the first fuel cell powered car (Honda FCX sedan), and promised to put one in market as early as 2003 (Tokyo Motor Show). Now at NAIAS, Detroit, Honda made a statement about next generation Honda engines, ultra clean, 10-20% more power (and low end torque as well), and 20-25% less fuel consumption in their mass produced cars (starting with 2003 Accord and all Hondas will have these engines by 2005). The concept is a combination of VTEC, IMA (the electric engine used in Insight) and fuel cell technology! And Honda is going to produce more Insights!! (Does that mean they are selling well?).
    Insight was tested doing 0-60 mph (fully charged batteries) at 10.2 seconds, and 12 seconds with drained batteries (which C&D mentioned is tough to do on Insight since it uses gasoline engine for normal driving and electric booster during acceleration unlike Prius that uses electric engine for driving, and gasoline booster for acceleration). Prius achieved 0-60 of about 14 seconds. But these cars are not about pure acceleration (although Insight accelerates faster than a four cylinder Camry with auto transmission!), they are about benchmarking a concept. At $18K, Insight would be a terrific deal for the environment conscious (and I'll need two more seats though, my do isn't small).
    The only SULEV vehicle being sold in the USA is the Accord EX being sold only in California.
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