The hybrid war between the venerated 3rd generation Toyota Prius and the 2nd generation Honda Insight has barely begun, but its increasingly looking like Honda is the loser. Though the Honda was designed to be a low-cost "hybrid for everyone," the Priuses aggressive pricing and strong demand coupled with superior performance has the mild hybrid Insight on the ropes. The knock-out punch may have just been delivered by one of the most important sources for US buyers, Consumer Reports.

The Consumer Reports reviewers found the car achieved 38 mpg average, which is lower that the car's 41 MPG city | 43 MPG highway EPA rating. CR was nonetheless pleased with the fuel economy but praise ended there. It was the reviewers' opinion that the car fell quite short in every other way including the areas of "ride quality, handling, interior noise, acceleration, rear-seat, access and visibility."

"The Insight is the most disappointing Honda Consumer Reports has tested in a long time," said David Champion, senior director of CR's Auto Test Center. "The Insight is a noisy, stiff-riding car with clumsy handling that is nothing like the Fit on which it is based. Also, Electronic Stability Control is only available on the highline EX version."

The car was given a lackluster "good" overall rating, and was ranked 21st out of 22 cars in the small hatchback category.

The Insight EX, with a $21,790 MRSP (as tested), is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with a 13-hp electric motor that combine for 98 hp.

Source (Consumer Reports)