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



  • robertsmxrobertsmx 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 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).
  • 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 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.
  • ... 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.
  • 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...

  • It'll also be interesting to see how it fares in the Mojave Desert when those Berthold rays hit it.
  • 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 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).
  • 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 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.
  • 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?
  • The official launch date was Nov. 1, 1999. Three days ago. It sure was a very quiet launch!

  • wenyuewenyue 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. :)
  • 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?)

  • 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 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 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
  • 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 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 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.
  • $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...
  • ... 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 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).
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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 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 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 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...

This discussion has been closed.