2010 Honda Insight EX
If you're a potential hybrid car buyer--or a fan of celebrity smackdowns--the battle between the 2010 Honda Insight and the 2010 Toyota Prius is worth ringside seats.
We'll have more to say on Prius v Insight in a few days. Meanwhile, score one point for the Insight: It just became the first hybrid car ever to top the sales charts in Japan.
The Japanese home market is unlike any other, with more than a third of all sales going to kei-class cars, tiny cars whose dimensions, engine size, and power are severely restricted.
Honda has aggressively marketed the Insight in Japan as an affordable hybrid, and it sold 10,481 there in April, according to data released this morning by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.
Its base price is 1.89 million yen ($19,000) in Japan, where it went on sale in February. Here in the US, it starts at $20,400 including a mandatory delivery charge, and it started to arrive at dealers last month.
Determined to keep its third generation 2010 Prius at the top of the hybrid heap, Toyota announced that it would offer a base model Prius in the US for just $21,750--though fully loaded versions reach as high as $35,000.
It's worth pointing out that while the two cars are similarly shaped, and each is a dedicated hybrid (no gasoline-only version), the Prius is a full car class larger and offers better fuel economy (50 mpg average) along with much more optional equipment.
Stay tuned. This one should get very interesting.
2010 Toyota Prius rolls onto the Detroit stage at its global debut in January 2009
[SOURCE: Associated Press]