Honda has been battling the Toyota Prius popularity pretty much since its introduction and that battle has been an up hill struggle with the Honda Hybrids not gaining much traction in the market. The theory was that was all going to change with the introduction of the all-new Honda Insight for 2010. The car was marketed as a hybrid that everyone could afford, seemingly taking a jab at the price of the popular and newly redesigned Toyota Prius. In theory it was good positioning and for Honda enthusiasts it was a automotive debut they had been waiting for.
The problems started to crop up as reviewers began driving and experiencing the 2010 Honda Insight. The observations from the media was that the car wasn’t as fuel efficient as the 2010 Toyota Prius and the price differential wasn’t enough to offset to make the Prius a poor buy. Then the EPA came out with their official fuel efficiency rating of 40 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. For the 2010 base model, the Insight LX, the $20,510 sticker made it the least expensive hybrid on the market, especially considering the standard navigation and Bluetooth capabilities. However, for 2011 Honda announced changes to its base model configuration and price.
The 2011 Honda Insight base model (now not the LX) will be reduced in price by $1,560 for a final sticker price of $18,950 including the destination charge. Cuts include less expensive seat fabric and a downgraded stereo. The base model will still include all the same safety features and will get cruise control, USB audio interface, remote unlocking, automatic climate control, power windows and tilt-and-telescoping steering column.
Bottom line—the Honda Insight is a good vehicle that gets decent fuel efficiency and comes with the reliability from Honda. The question is, will $1,500 less make more people choose the Honda over the Toyota or will the long-term running costs still cause people to purchase the Prius due to the 50 mpg EPA rating.
[Source: Autoweek] [Editors note: Corrections made to 2010 Base model information]