PR Log - The Honda Insight in Miami Beats the Toyota Prius by sparkunder19

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                                The Honda Insight in Miami Beats the Toyota Prius

       By Brickell Honda
       Dated: Jul 29, 2009

       The differences between these two hybrids is more than skin deep

       By Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor Email | Blog

        Psychologists have said that consumers have a three-week memory of fuel prices. If prices stay constant
       for more than three weeks, the buying public's decision-making ability becomes myopic and they act as
       though prices have never been different from what they are in the here and now.
        And at this very moment, fuel prices have been below two bucks a gallon for about six weeks. Fuel is so
       cheap that we're considering igniting 55-gallon drums of the stuff in our front yards just for kicks.
        That's where the all-new 2010 Honda Insight and 2009 Toyota Prius fit in. By shopping for fuel misers like
       these while gasoline is still cheaper than designer-bottled sugar water, savvy shoppers will dodge long
       dealership queues in the future and avoid forking out a premium for such cars — like they did in the
       summer of 2008.
        Follow the Follower
        You might remember the original Honda Insight. When introduced in 1999, it was the first hybrid vehicle
       sold in the U.S.A., an affordable technical tour de force that achieved spectacular fuel economy by adding a
       battery-assisted electric motor to the powertrain. But as a diminutive two-seater, it certainly wasn't a car for
       the masses.
        It took Toyota's introduction of the Prius to stamp the word "hybrid" into the public consciousness and
       swell the ranks of hypermiling wonks. Boasting an extra pair of doors and a rear seat compared to the early
       Insight, the Prius was a real car suitable for families. That it looked the part of a hybrid sealed the deal
       among the socially conscious, and Toyota has ridden this wave of success to new heights, selling 181,221
       examples of the Prius in 2007 alone.
        In response, Honda has retooled the Insight formula for 2010 into a four-door package that paints a target
       dead smack on the Prius' nerdy forehead. The Insight's sheet metal is said to be shaped by the wind tunnel,
       but the general proportions and detailing are far too Prius-like to be coincidental. Honda's intentions with
       the Insight appear obvious — scale the heights of hybrid sales success by following in the Prius' footsteps.
        The Cars
        Often found clogging up the passing lanes of freeways all over the country, the Prius is now a common
       sight on public roads. The 2009 Toyota Prius we tested will blend right in, as it is largely unchanged from
       earlier models, right down to its 110-horsepower powertrain with its 1.5-liter engine and sophisticated
       hybrid system comprised of two electric motors and planetary gearsets. (A revised Prius is on the horizon
       for 2010, but it remains under wraps.)
        Our Prius boasted its fuel economy of 48 mpg city/45 mpg highway on its price sticker and it was equipped
       with the $3,280 Package #5 option, including a navigation system, premium audio, satellite radio
       capability, Bluetooth, a back-up camera, stability control, cruise control and a few other items. This car is
       well-equipped but not the most fully loaded Prius variant available and checks in at $27,643.
        The all-new 2010 Honda Insight merges an updated version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA)
       hybrid system with a 1.3-liter, eight-valve inline-4, and the powertrain produces a combined output of 98
       hp and 123 pound-feet of torque. The IMA system slots a 13-hp electric motor between the engine and
       continuously variable transmission (CVT) and it is juiced by a nickel-metal hydride battery pack behind the
       rear seats. Lithium-ion batteries would have cut the space requirement in half, chief engineer Yasunari Seki
       says, but were quickly rejected on the basis of cost.
        And cost is the Insight's trump card. Honda's hybrid system is more basic than the Prius' NASA-grade
       hardware, yet its more affordable cost is the key to delivering the Insight's dirt-cheap sticker price. At least,


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we think it's dirt cheap. Pricing hasn't been formally announced, so we're going on whispers and hints from
the Honda brass. But you can count on the Insight's official EPA fuel-economy rating of 40 mpg city/43
mpg highway, plus the fact that the car will be formally released on Earth Day, April 22, 2009.
 Our scrutiny of Honda's marketing data makes us pretty confident that the model we drove — a fully
optioned Insight EX with navigation — will sticker for very close to $22,170 with destination. If we're
wrong, then we only request that you wait at least three weeks before composing your hate mail.
 Nothing's Shocking
 Economy with speed is as common as gravy-flavored ice cream, and these cars proved no exception once
we placed our testing equipment on them. The Prius' 110-hp combined output propels it from a standstill to
60 mph in 10.4 seconds (10.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip), followed by the Insight in
10.9 seconds (10.5 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). Off the line, however, neither of
these hybrids feels as glacial as these numbers suggest thanks to the boost in low-end torque provided by
the electric motors.
 It's not just in acceleration that the Prius pips the Insight. The Prius also brakes shorter, coming to a halt
from 60 mph in 120 feet, 5 feet fewer than the Insight. It also produces a quicker slalom speed, 61.8 mph
compared to the Insight's 59.3 mph. Despite the numbers, the Prius' brake pedal feels like a lumpy mattress
underfoot as the transition from regenerative braking to pure mechanical braking is clumsy, while the
electric-assist steering responds with all the enthusiasm of warm tapioca.
 Ride quality is an area where the Prius gets the nod, as it glides over pavement compared to the choppy
springiness of the Honda. The flip side of the Honda's firmer suspenders comes in routine handling
maneuvers, where it is more alert than the Prius. Likewise, the Insight's quicker and more naturally
weighted steering imparts lots of confidence even in everyday driving. This transparency in the feel of the
controls paired with the more user-friendly driving position help give the Insight a thin edge in our scoring
evaluation.
 When Being Green Reduces Your Green
 Some of us will make a choice between these two cars based solely on superior fuel economy. But if you're
really interested only in the contents of your wallet, some careful assessment of the cost/benefit equation
will be illuminating.
 It turns out the additional $5,473 required for the privilege of owning a Prius instead of an Insight can buy
a lot of fuel. At today's fuel prices, the actual monetary savings earned by the Prius' edge in fuel economy is
miniscule, working out to a paltry $70 per year. Paying off the Prius' extra tariff in sticker price with the
savings in fuel purchases would require more than 75 years.
 Even if fuel prices were to leap to $5 per gallon, a Prius owner would have to drive his car for nearly
413,000 miles just to break even. These calculations use the EPA combined fuel economy numbers — plug
in the higher fuel-economy results we measured and the payoff period is measured in lifetimes.
 This simple math exercise demonstrates how deceptive a 5-mpg difference can be. Among fuel-sippers like
these, this is one occasion where it doesn't pay to be green. It turns out that the 2010 Honda Insight's
emphasis on affordability as well as fuel economy puts more dollars in your pocket than the 2009 Toyota
Prius.
 There's a certain irony in the Insight's victory. In its desire to create a car that wears its hybrid-ness on its
sleeve, Honda examined its rival to such a degree that the Insight and the Prius are nearly indistinguishable
at a glance. Yet Honda's final product is no Prius clone, and its lack of hybrid-style compromises in the way
it drives works to its advantage in this comparison.
 Consider the Prius outsmarted. For now.

 For more information on how you can purchase the 2010 Honda Insight, visit Brickell Honda online at
http://www.brickellhonda.com

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Brickell Honda, the Honda dealership in Miami, Florida presents amazing online offers like New vehicle
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Category           Vehicle, Honda, Miami
Tags               insight, honda, miami, south florida, kendall, south miami, hybrid, Green, fuel economy, pinecrest,
hialeah
Email              Click to email author
Phone              (888)407-9334
Address            665 SW 8 Street
State/Province     Florida
Zip                33130
Country            United States




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