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Redesigned, Bulkier Honda Insight to Challenge Prius

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the identical-cousins dept.

Transportation 638

In what probably amounts to good news for consumers eyeing a hybrid for their next vehicle purchase, Honda is resurrecting the "Insight" name, this time in the form of a five-seat, Prius-like hatchback. The automaker's announcement included the tantalizing statement that the cost would be "significantly below [that of] hybrids available today," but provided no further details on pricing. Although Honda may have some trouble unseating Toyota's dominance of this particular hybrid market, hopefully the Insight's reintroduction will help to make hybrid cars even more affordable to consumers. This is also welcome news to folks like myself who, after the initial flurry of excitement when the now-retired original Insight was introduced in '99, were left scratching their heads at Honda's hybrid strategy as Toyota picked up their dropped ball and ran with it.

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Sometimes you've got to ask yourself... (4, Funny)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883225)

What would manbearpig drive?

Goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883307)

You nerds love it
http://goatse.cz/ [goatse.cz]

Re:Sometimes you've got to ask yourself... (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883609)

Hey, if they can ever make a hybrid that isn't as fugly as a Prius, call me.

Why can't they make more 'green' cars that look svelt like the Tesla? At a reasonable price.

I want looks, style, performance...and if they throw in the mileage, I'm interested.

Re:Sometimes you've got to ask yourself... (5, Interesting)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883853)

Well, my Civic Hybrid looks just like a regular Civic.

Whether or not that's fugly is a matter for debate, though.

What gets me is that for 15 years, I was a light-truck guy (Nissans), and there are no hybrid light trucks. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

I'd love to see a compact truck (smaller than either Nissan's current Frontier or the Tacoma) with a hybrid motor that can handle everyday use. I'd be first in line to buy one when they come out.

Re:Sometimes you've got to ask yourself... (4, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883659)

What would manbearpig drive?

She blinds everybody with her super high beams
She's a squirrel-squashin', deer-smackin' drivin' machine
Canyonero! Canyonero! Canyonero!

The problem is... (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883249)

The problem is with hybrids is that for most you end up paying more than you would your current car:

If you have your car payed off and spend $70 a week for gas, that is a total of $3640 for an entire year.

On the other hand, if you buy a $25000 hybrid, you might only need to buy $30 of gas a week, but unless your car payments are less than $120 a month, you aren't saving any money by buying a hybrid.

Yes, over time a hybrid is going to save you money, but by the time you get it payed off, there will be a more effective hybrid that costs less.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

maino82 (851720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883261)

Yes, and don't buy that new computer now, because in a few months it will be obsolete!

Re:The problem is... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883277)

The difference is, you usually don't have to pay that much for a computer. You pay a one time fee of ~$500 and that lasts you a good year or two. On the other hand, a hybrid costs $25000 and still uses up gas money and will have some expensive repairs before it breaks beyond repair.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

maino82 (851720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883327)

Very true, but you seem to be ignoring the fact that other cars also cost thousands of dollars. Granted, their is a premium for a hybrid, but using your own numbers as an example (and my own experiences with a $17,000 regular civic vs. a $20,000 hybrid civic), your hybrid will pay back that $3000 premium in about 6 years assuming gas stays the same price (which intuition tells me it won't). Considering my last 2 cars have lasted me over a decade each before finally crapping out, that's a pretty good ROI. Granted, past performance of vehicles is no guarantee of future performance, so there's no telling if the hybrid will last me 12 years, but it's not unreasonable to believe that it probably will.

Re:The problem is... (1)

maino82 (851720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883443)

My math is terrible... I can't even tell weeks from months... Please don't listen to anything I just said.

Does this mean my geek card is revoked?

Re:The problem is... (1)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883487)

Does this mean my geek card is revoked?

There's a card for that?

I need to get one of those, I'm getting awfully tired of explaining what the "I grock Spock" on my mustard stained t-shirt means.

Re:The problem is... (1, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883475)

The hidden gotcha with the hybrid (although I'm still considering one for my next car) is that their batteries are expensive and typically have to be replaced not long after the manufacturer's warranty gives out.

I'm not saying you can't still come out ahead of a less efficient car in the long run, but having to spring for a several thousand dollar battery at some point is something to consider.

Re:The problem is... (5, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883785)

Please don't spread FUD:

http://www.hybridcars.com/faq.html#battery [hybridcars.com]

How often do hybrid batteries need replacing? Is replacement expensive and disposal an environmental problem?

The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the carmaker.

Battery toxicity is a concern, although today's hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.

There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.

Re:The problem is... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883855)

The hidden gotcha with the hybrid is that their batteries are expensive and typically have to be replaced not long after the manufacturer's warranty gives out.

From: hybridCARS: FAQ [hybridcars.com]

Q: How often do hybrid batteries need replacing? Is replacement expensive and disposal an environmental problem?

The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the carmaker.

There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.

Battery toxicity is a concern, although today's hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.

My gas guzzler is more environmentally friendly (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883467)

Good advice, I won't buy a new computer. Mine works just fine! Just like my non-hybrid car that is fully paid off. Maybe I could donate that $500/mo that I would normally spend on car payments to some coral reef project or some other global warming related thing. Then I'd be way ahead of those hybrid guy. Plus donating to a charity gives me a way bigger tax break.

Re:My gas guzzler is more environmentally friendly (3, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883807)

We bought a brand new Camry hybrid last year (a 2008 model). We received a $2000 tax credit for it, which reduced are total tax bill by $2000. When you donate to a charity, you only get a deduction, which means you don't pay taxes on that $2000 (which ends up saving you around $400 in taxes, not the same as a tax credit). We were going to buy a new vehicle anyway, so getting the hybrid was really at no extra cost than a standard Camry with the tax credit. We also average around 55mpg in it, spending no more than $250/month in gas (and we drive around 2000 miles/month).

Re:The problem is... (2, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883645)

That's not even close to being insightful. In fact, that insightless. After reading it, the reader will have even less insight into the topic.

Re:The problem is... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883769)

"-1 Disinsightful"

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883773)

Insightful? Oh, the mods are really being generous today.

If anything, this is flamebait, or trolling.

Hybrids cost more == you pay more. They are more green, but they frakking cost more than a non-hybrid car so you are going to pay more for it. I don't understand why this is so goddamn complicated.

Re:The problem is... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883325)

my problem is they're ugly as hell. (The exception being that $100,000 electric one from California that might not really exist.) If I could get a hybrid that looked half as good as my corvette, I'd buy it.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883515)

The TESLA is an electric vehicle. It is not a hybrid.

Re:The problem is... (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883661)

Tesla Motors [teslamotors.com] certainly does exist, tho they make electric cars. I pass their shop every day going to work and see the Lotus Elise chassis getting worked on in the bays. It backs up almost to the Caltrain tracks in Menlo Park and is plainly visible from the train. I also got passed by one of These [cars-and-trees.com] on Monday while I was cycling up Kings Mtn Rd to Skyline. Barely heard it coming up from behind, and only the normal electric buzz from the motors as it flew by... it as also blue, bare-frame like the one in the pic, and its license plate was: 170MPG. Saw it again on my way home at the stop sign in Woodside.

Tm

Re:The problem is... (3, Insightful)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883375)

Your math was completely un-understandable: Ignoring all interest payments, let's say you pay cash for the car (a best case scenario): If you save $26 per week on gas, but you paid lets say $5000 more for the car. That means you earn back that money you spent on the car from the gas after about 200 weeks, or almost 4 years.

Thats a pretty long time, but not unrealistic. You should probably be keeping the car for at least 5 and maybe more like 8 or longer years.... So if you kept it for 8 years you'd actually save $5000.

Re:The problem is... (0, Troll)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883561)

You missed the point... People who already have a fully paid car have absolutely no financial incentive to purchase a new hybrid car. You address a difference in price, you simply missed the point. whoosh?

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883607)

It is possible to own a paid off car that must be replaced. I would venture that most people who are looking at buying a car have pretty much committed to buying one, its just a question of which one.

Re:The problem is... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883817)

Mod parent up.

Re:The problem is... (0, Troll)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883747)

You're forgetting the cost of batteries. After ~3 years, your full warranty will have expired and your batteries will be down to like 50% of original capacity if not less. Repair costs could easily get over $10,000 for the battery pack, not talking about the cost to get it installed. No extended warranties, from the dealer or otherwise cover hybrid battery repairs and yes, I've read the fine print.

Re:The problem is... (4, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883831)

Wrong.

http://www.hybridcars.com/faq.html#battery [hybridcars.com]

How often do hybrid batteries need replacing? Is replacement expensive and disposal an environmental problem?

The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the carmaker.

Battery toxicity is a concern, although today's hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.

There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.

Re:The problem is... (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883393)

If you have your car payed off...
On the other hand, if you buy a $25000 hybrid...

Do you work for Microsoft?

Re:The problem is... (3, Informative)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883427)

Very true. I was in the market for a new car 3 months ago. I tabulated vehicles based on gas consumption, monthly cost to own, projected maintenance etc. Hybrids tended to have a minimal savings per month ~80-100 bucks~ but had a massively larger investment upfront were always smaller in size and had weaker engines than the cheaper gas car.(people seem to forget hybrids in addition to higher cost don't have good financing)

Hybrids weren't worth buying even if the price of gas was 8 dollars a gallon. I projected that it would still take a minimum 5 years to break EVEN with a gasoline car. At current gas prices most hybrids averaged out to 11 years before they broke even with gasoline cars.

So yeah, get a hybrid if you're A) planning owning the same car for a minimum of 11 years or B) want to feel that you're helping the environment (a questionable assumption in its own right but a topic for another conversation!), otherwise stick to gasoline. As an aside that 11 year calculation doesn't take into account what happens when you need a new several thousand dollar battery - they supposedly have an 8 year life-cycle; chances are you'll have to replace it and that pushes the break-even point out to 15 years! - OUCH

What it really came down to was equivalent of giving the bank around 10,000 dollars and having the bank pay it back over a 10 year period without interest. Take the difference between hybrid and gas car and put it into a bank at 4% savings the. At the end of 10 years with the same initial investment both individuals own their respective cars, one has now broken even on it while the other has an extra 2000 sitting in the bank (remember the gas-owner was using the interest to subsidize the difference in ownership.)

Hybrids right now only really offer peace of mind, but most people think they save money but never actually bother to do any calculations.

Re:The problem is... (1)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883631)

I stopped at the point where you said they don't have good financing. No dealerships have good financing. You buy the car and refinance with your bank, at least I do. The last car I bought, the dealership gave me a 7.9% APR with an 800 credit score. I refinanced with my bank for 5.5% APR.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883429)

Yes, but what if you ditch the hybrid and go to an old Honda CRX for $1250 that saves that same $70/week. In 18 weeks the savings buys the car. If you can squeeze out 3 years of use from a 20-year old vehicle, you'd end up with enough money saved to buy a new Yaris.

Say that car saved $50/week instead of $70. When it wears out 8 years down the line, you would have saved $20,800 in fuel costs. Now a $25,000 hybrid doesn't seem unreasonable does it?

I've driven a 1991 4-speed Civic and achieved 53mpg. Current hybrids weigh too much partly due to newer safety and pollution control regulations.

Where's a US version of the Audi A2?
That car is rated for 78 miles per US gallon [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The problem is... (3, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883461)

Why is it that people never use this argument when talking about BMWs? I don't get it. Pay $20k extra for a BMW, and no one says anything. Pay $5000 more for a Prius and you can't go a week without people telling that you aren't saving money. Are you saying that we should all by buying Hyundais?

I didn't buy mine to save money. I bought it because it is a damn reliable car that puts less crap in the atmosphere than the average.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883569)

Because nobody is trying to push BMW's as a cost saving measure?

Re:The problem is... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883861)

Most people don't buy hybrids to save money. They buy hybrids to use less gasoline (either for political or environmental reasons). Saving money on gas is just a side effect.

Something funny. I bought my 2008 Camry Hybrid new from Carmax in Kenosha, WI for $28K in August of last year. With almost 15K miles on it, I had offers for almost $30-33K back in Q1/Q2 of this year when gas had spiked to $4/gal.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883623)

Because people aren't buying a BMW to save money.

Re:The problem is... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883697)

I take offense Hyundai makes a damn good car. Most of the folks who drive Bimmers don't even know what BMW is an acronym for (Bavarian Motor Works) that's the English version for those who don't speak German.

In the U.S. BMW is a status symbol a mark wealth like any luxury vehicle, you don't buy them to save the environment, you buy one to show you can. The Prius enjoyed that status, when saving the environment seemed chic and Hollywood vogue (Brad Pitt I know you're out there)...

But the truth is, if gas was back below 3 bucks a gallon most folks in the U.S. wouldn't even entertain the notion of a non-SUV.

I know it's sad but before folks flame, you know it's true. If you garner extravagance you don't have to explain much other than the simple "Because I can..."

However, purchases based on economy, be it fuel consumption, or price and "Lucy, you've got some s-plainin to do..." I applaud Honda because Toyota has gotten too fat a premium for too long. Let the price wars begin.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883483)

The problem is with hybrids is that for most you end up paying more than you would your current car:

Yes, but a new hybrid isn't competing with old cars. Its competing with new cars. Your argument could be made of ANY new car. Better logic would be to subtract the gas savings from the cost of a new hybrid and compare that number to the cost of other new cars.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883531)

Yes, over time a hybrid is going to save you money, but by the time you get it payed off, there will be a more effective hybrid that costs less.

In the mean time, you *will* have emitted less CO2 than a non-hybrid, and you *will* have given less money to oil companies and wahabi prosyletizers.

Re:The problem is... (4, Insightful)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883589)

It's not as simple as just gas mileage. The other major factor is resale value. The Prius is currently (and for several years) the leader in value-retention. I could sell my 8-month old Prius right now for sticker price. You simply cannot do that with a Chevy Malibu or a Ford Taurus.

So the calculus for the cost of owning the car depends entirely on what you plan to do with it afterwards. In my case, I'm financing my Prius and will sell it after 2-3 years and recover something like 1/2 to 2/3 of the sticker price. The total cost of ownership per month therefore ends up being lower than any other car of comparable quality/size/features.

If it was just about gas mileage, you'd be right. But it's more complicated than that. So you're wrong. Sorry! :P

Re:The problem is... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883875)

Not only the Prius, but any Toyota hybrid gets this benefit. My Toyota dealer offered me $2000 over sticker for my Camry Hybrid on trade in a couple months ago, and it had around 15K miles on it. I'm glad it's holding it's value, as I'll want to trade it in for a plug in Prius next year (Toyota has moved their plug-in timeframes up. W00t!)

Re:The problem is... (2, Informative)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883603)

If you have your car payed off and spend $70 a week for gas, that is a total of $3640 for an entire year.

On the other hand, if you buy a $25000 hybrid, you might only need to buy $30 of gas a week, but unless your car payments are less than $120 a month, you aren't saving any money by buying a hybrid.

Or you just drive your old car more sensibly and spend less than $25 week on gas. Going from driving the way I used to, I got 28 mpg per tank. Slowing down and applying a few mileage enhancing techniques, I have been getting 36 mpg per tank. That didn't cost me a dime, and I paid off my car 4 years ago.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883627)

I used to rent an Insight in LA at Budget.
Driving to/from Westlake, El Segundo, Topanga Canyons.... I never got less than 63 mpg. Even beat the Budget managers mpg.

I didn't drive one then to save money - gas was 88 cents/gallon or so but I would now.
In addition .. I think that if I can save a gallon today when I don't really need it , it might be there in 5 years when we do .

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883791)

The resale value is also significantly higher on hybrids than non-hybrids, so most of the cost is recovered when you sell. This is at least the case with the current generation of Prius and other larger models like the HCH and Camry Hybrid. The Insight's gone back up in price to pretty crazy levels, but was quite low until gas hit $4/gallon recently.

Even the Prius is not terribly expensive for what it is and how well it's equipped. The gas price difference might make up for it alone, and you're not accounting for the resale value or the possible increase in gas prices in the future.

good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883253)

By the time they jump through the various hoops and vault the numerous hurdles of the USA market, their design will be outmoded and surpassed by Toyota or the petroleum crisis will have abated and folks will return to driving their SUVs with impunity because after eight years of Bush politics $2.50/gallon isn't that bad.

Screw this (4, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883259)

We need Diesel first. Then maybe double clutched diesel hybrid manuals, I don't know; using a torque converter is a horrible, horrible idea (coupling: 10% efficient. Acceleration: hahahahahahahahaha).

Re:Screw this (2, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883265)

Coupling is 90% efficient, not 10%. Oops. I don't think we'd much care about acceleration being less after that.

Re:Screw this (4, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883413)

Well, VW has double-clutched diesels in the American market right now. (For those who aren't familiar, the double-clutch design essentially allows a car to be driven as an automatic while preserving the superior characteristics of a manual, also allowing for millisecond shift-times.)

Diesel fuel economy is arguably good enough that it don't need any sort of hybrid system. They're also decently fun to drive, which you certainly can't say about the current crop of hybrids.

Unfortunately, VW probably has the double-clutch design patented to hell and back, and has no hybrid technology of its own. Seeing the two together therefore seems fairly unlikely. On the other hand, a diesel Golf/Rabbit should be making its way to American markets in a year or two.

Re:Screw this (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883455)

Diesels have the same pay-back problem as hybrids in the US. In Europe the diesel is taxed lower than gasoline.

Re:Screw this (2, Interesting)

warsql (878659) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883639)

True, but I still got an 06 jetta tdi because a) I drive 20k miles per year and b) the 650-700 miles per tank keeps me away from the pumps for a couple extra days and c) diesel is proven technology compared with hybrid.

Re:Screw this (1)

PKFC (580410) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883579)

What is this "fun to drive" metric? Well it's not a metric :P You have to buy a hybrid with the mindset that you will not drag race or street race. Theory goes you should also buy a regular vehicle under that same premise. Driving within the laws of the road better be fun under that metric.

Re:Screw this (2, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883779)

I'm not necessarily talking about top-speed. I've never been particularly impressed with a hybrid's ability to accelerate, and the handling of a Prius leaves a bit to be desired. The Jetta Diesel I test-drove was responsive, and fun to drive (this is entirely subjective).

None of this necessarily amounts to dangerous or illegal driving.

VW's current TDI models also pack a ridiculous amount of torque for cars of their size, which is great if you're hauling heavy loads, have a car full of passengers, or are pulling a trailer. This makes a huge difference on hills. It's powerful and efficient.

...and no AWD (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883877)

Well, VW has double-clutched diesels in the American market right now.

Aside from the unfortunate fact that the TDI's don't pay for themselves for at least a couple years (they cost several grand more than the 2.0T's)...

The last piece to fall into place is all wheel drive, but it won't happen, because that would be stepping on VW's richer brother's toes. I own a very powerful, older AWD Audi, and I can't stand driving FWD or RWD cars with any kind of power...especially in New England winters.

Unfortunately, Audi in its infinite wisdom has been dragging feet on bringing in TDI models, despite a big PR campaign and racing in Le Mans and American Le Mans with the TDI R10. I remember when the R10 started racing ALMS- there were dozens of videos up on Youtube and tons of buzz in the online car enthusiast community.

The first model in the US to see a TDI engine will be the Q7, the huge SUV. It'll be a V10 (yes, V10), similar to what the Toureg was available with for a bit. There's a slight rumor floating around that the A3 will be offered with a 1.8 TDI, but that's at least a year off, and it reportedly won't get very good mileage anyway; even now, the A3 2.0 turbo struggles to get high 20's, pathetic for a car its size.

If they offered the A4 with a TDI and either DSG or a 6-speed manual, they'd probably sell well...

Re:Screw this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883885)

They did have diesel Golfs here for awhile, and they were doing well. Then California changed their emissions standards so that certain kinds of particulate matter counted more than they used to, and it happened to be the major component of diesel exhaust pollution. VW pulled their diesel lines for a couple years until they'd upgraded their exhaust systems to catch more of the particulates, and they're just now bringing them back. (I don't have documentation, but I did spend a good 1/2 hour with the VW reps at the Houston Auto Show this year asking them specifically about their diesel lines, and why I wasn't seeing them. I think they were happy to have someone asking why their car wasn't there for me to buy instead of "why should I buy this little pussy car instead of the Ford Megascursion they gots on deesplay over thar?")

We've got diesel - what we need is plug-in hybrids (1)

davros-too (987732) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883435)

Great highly efficient turbo-diesels are currently widely available. Think Peugot, VW, etc, even ford. What we need is to go to plug-in hybrids (or full electric) to get the effective consumption below 2 litres/100km. Until then I am sticking with my 5l/100km diesel.

Better mileage than the Prius (4, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883269)

The original Insight got slightly better gas mileage than the Prius-- for people who don't need the room of the 4-door, it was a nice car. I wonder if the new one will also blow away the Prius mileage?

Re:Better mileage than the Prius (2, Interesting)

geeknado (1117395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883377)

Given that they're claiming that it's going to be "significantly less expensive than current Hybrids", even matching the Prius in that regard might make this a winner.

Re:Better mileage than the Prius (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883835)

I wonder if the new one will also blow away the Prius mileage? Probably not. Their current Civic Hybrid doesn't do any better than the Prius.

EEEEEVIL (5, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883297)

In 2005 just 666 Insights were sold.

Good to know Honda's merger with Satan Corp. is working out for them.

Re:EEEEEVIL (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883839)

In 2005 just 666 Insights were sold.

Good to know Honda's merger with Satan Corp. is working out for them.

When did Sony buy Honda?

Almost bought one. (2, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883321)

I almost bought one when it first came out but the test-drive was horrible. The rear-view mirror was unusable due to the design of the rear window/hatch. The main support cross-member completely blocked the view splitting the mirror in half. That left you with trying to look over the top of it (and seeing mostly sky) or under it through a darkly tinted 'lower window' which only left a view of the bumper of the car 5 feet behind you.

I am 5'10" tall so completely 'average' by North American standards, but perhaps this car was designed to 'fit' an average Asian.

Re:Almost bought one. (2, Informative)

davros-too (987732) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883381)

I assume you're referring to the Prius. I agree. The font visibility is awful too. My Peugot 307 gets exactly the same mileage under my typical driving conditions as a Prius I hired for 3 weeks (5.5 to 6.0 l/100km) and is a million times nicer to drive.

Or maybe turnabout? (4, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883361)

Honda should pick up Toyota's all-electric "dropped ball" and run with it. If memory serves, Toyota used to have a 100% electric car and stopped making it. Since ALL of my weekday driving is well within about 50 kilometres of home, I'd kill for one.

Re:Or maybe turnabout? (2, Interesting)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883485)

The problem with current all-electric vehicles is that the battery technology that is most affordable (lead acid) doesn't last long, the most efficient battery (lithium ion) is too expensive, and the in-between (NiMH) is patented by Ceveron-Texaco and therefore will never be seen in an electric vehicle*.

*Yes, the patents will expire in 20 years, but by then lithium ion should be much cheaper, making NiMH batteries pointless.

Re:Or maybe turnabout? (2, Insightful)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883823)

NiMH batteries are going to be used in the 08 Chevy Malibu Hybrid. In fact, Cobasys has a large contract with GM*.

*Energy companies want to make money, they don't give two shits how. You don't make money selling expensive large format batteries one at a time, you make money selling in bulk.

Re:Or maybe turnabout? (2, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883543)

Chevy did that and is running with it. Go to gm-volt.com some time. Warning, fan boy site, but it's useful.

Uhhh (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883373)

Why not just buy a Civic or a Fit?

They're both pretty nice compact cars that get fantastic mileage (~34mpg) without any fancy hybrid stuff.

For a good bit less than a Prius (which you couldn't even buy at the moment if you wanted to), you can get a car that gets better mileage, drives better, and is likely to be considerably more reliable.

On the other end of things, diesels are beginning to make a very big comeback, as virtually all of the traditional downsides to diesel engines have been taken care of. The fact that they get 40+ MPG makes them pretty attractive.

Also, now that the natural gas industry has woken up to the fact that there is a metric shit-ton of money waiting to be made by packaging and selling their product as automotive fuel, I imagine that we'll be seeing quite a few CNV vehicles in the upcoming years.

There's not enough natural gas for cars (1, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883419)

The problem with natural gas is that there's not enough of it. The biggest reason for the rise in electric tariffs in the early part of the 2000's was largely because everyone built natural gas power plants, and, they more or less used up all the natural gas. Now you want to go and build natural gas cars... good luck getting natural gas. Proposed terminals for importing LNG all along the east coast have been killed left and right, there's not enough domestic supply in the lower 48 and the uber pipeline from Alaska faces a storm of environmental protests.

Re:Uhhh (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883517)

And is that 34 MPG city or highway?

The fact that they get 40+ MPG makes them pretty attractive.

And the fact that diesel fuel costs even more than regular unleaded gasoline seems to cancel it out.

Re:Uhhh (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883739)

Going by the EPA's current nationwide estimate of $3.74/gallon Unleaded, and $4.21/gallon Diesel, a 25/36 MPG Honda Civic will cost you $3.22 to drive 25 miles.

The EPA numbers, however, are a huge point of contention [edmunds.com] , as previous-generation diesels achieved on average 18% better fuel efficiency in real-world tests than the EPA's synthetic test. Even the EPA admit that their test tends to overestimate the real-world efficiency of hybrids, and underestimate the efficiency of diesels.

An independent agency (ok, they were paid by VW) tested the 2009 TDI to get 38/44 MPG (city/highway) as opposed to the EPA's 29/40 rating. With those numbers in mind, one could expect 25 miles to cost $2.57. Real-world reports put this as a fairly accurate estimate, with others claiming to be able to do 50+mpg on highways.

Prius is still cheaper at $2.03/25mi, although there seem to be wildly divergent reports of what sort of efficiency those vehicles get in the real world (the trip computer is widely recognized to overestimate)

Re:Uhhh (1)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883789)

And is that 34 MPG city or highway?

I just bought a Fit this year, and for the first few months I diligently tracked the mileage. Noting that my normal commute is 90% on open highway at 70+ mph, it consistently got 36 mpg. During that time I attended a 2 week course in the city over the course of which I used about one tank of gas and still came out at 36 mpg. I was surprised not to see a significant drop, but I didn't.

I'm very happy with my Fit, even if it is one of the stupidest names for a car I've ever heard.

Re:Uhhh (2, Informative)

Gryphia (947956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883541)

you can get a car that gets better mileage

Gets better mileage?

You need to look into that. The prius gets ~45mpg in the city (fueleconomy.gov has it rated as 48mpg city and 45mpg highway). I won't dispute your other claims, since I haven't driven a civic or a fit (or a prius for that matter), but the mileage certainly favors the prius (and insights get even better mileage than Priuses. My little insight gets 50-55mpg around town) . . .

Re:Uhhh (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883545)

Why not just buy a 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cierra?

I bought a used one back in 2002. The gas mileage was 33mpg on the highway, and since 95% of my driving is highway, it worked out very well (until some jackass slammed into the side of it, anyways). Powerful engine, smooth ride, the most reliable vehicle I ever owned, and I was surrounded by metal instead of a plastic bubble.

I don't understand these car producers that brag about gas mileage that was accomplished over a decade ago. You'd think that we would have progressed a bit since then.

Re:Uhhh (1)

hparker (41819) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883619)

How is 34 mpg fantastic? My 8 year old VW Passat seats 5 comfortably and gets 34 mpg on long trips at 70+ mph and about 30 mpg around town.

  The secret(s)? Manual transmission & a turbo & a light touch on the petals.

I'm just trying to make it last until the plugin hybrids are available.

Re:Uhhh (1)

obeymydog (1243568) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883775)

It's pretty fantastic when it's the average combined mpg for your city and highway driving. In my '07 civic, I managed ~42mpg on my last road trip (90% highway, 65-75mph) without excessive attention to my accelerating habits. Although I'm still pulling about 30 mpg in the city, the improvement is enough to recommend it to new car buyers who'd balk at paying more than $17.5k.

Re:Uhhh (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883699)

34 MPG? I got 39 MPG out of a 5 seater with a car load full of stuff from my parents house. ...
TOWING a trailer full of stuff.
http://vw.exstatic.org/pictures/39MPG/080827-191907.jpg [exstatic.org]

A 'compact' car should be getting 60+ MPG. Before this 1998 I had a 1986 (yes. 1986). It got 48-50 MPG without a problem. This was back when diesel and gas were $1.00/gallon. I could drive that thing 4 hours to college and back again on a single tank.

And "making a come back" you mean "Americans pulled their head out of their asses and noticed other technology". Diesel never went away.

Re:Uhhh (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883865)

And "making a come back" you mean "Americans pulled their head out of their asses and noticed other technology". Diesel never went away.

Actually, due to emissions standards, there were a few years during which no consumer-level diesel vehicles were sold. So in that regard, it did indeed "go away." There were also numerous lingering issues due to inconsistent emissions standards between states.

VW and Mercedes are officially "re-entering" the US markets with their diesels this year, now that their engines consistently satisfy particulate emissions standards in all 50 states.

Re:Uhhh (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883711)

The civic and the fit are not nearly the size of a Prius, and the Prius is a higher-end car. Plus it gets better gas mileage. The reason you buy a Civic or a Fit instead of a Prius is because they are cheaper. But they definitely aren't better cars.

As for reliability - my research found that the Prius is a very reliable car, and has lower maintenance than a traditional gas car.

Re:Uhhh (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883759)

Why not just buy a Civic or a Fit?

For the same reason why you can't only sell cars with black paint. Some people show up to buy a car and have wads of cash. Therefore they will purchase anything as long as it has the highest MPG because it is either perceived to be green or perceived to be a good investment. Consumers are rarely logical creatures.

Even the civic is losing it's "economy" status and gaining more of a nicer compact. The price points for civics are higher than most other compacts and even honda's own fit. Meanwhile the fit is targeted at the old hatchback market that wants a functional car at lowest cost. You see similar things in toyota/scion. Toyota's Corolla is still a small car but has grown larger over the years. Now they have a Yaris which is starting to sell really well too. Scion is all cheaper small cars of varying sizes/features just for this younger/cheaper market.

Basically each customer will come to the store with his own unique set of requirements. Based on that, he'll choose one car over another similar car because it fits him better. The trick is to provide the right number of products to ensure the customer buys something he wants and the business still makes a profit. Have too many variations and your manufacturing costs go up. Have to few, your manufacturing costs will be cheap, but your revenues and market share won't be as high as they could be because you'll have fewer customers.

Re:Uhhh (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883793)

Doing that doesn't tell anyone that you care about the environment, but buying a Prius does. According to the New York Times [nytimes.com] , 57% of Prius buyers cited "Makes a statement about me" as the reason they purchased the car.

5 Seaters (2, Funny)

nickswitzer (1352967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883417)

Honda is resurrecting the "Insight" name, this time in the form of a five-seat, Prius-like hatchback.

So changing in to a 5-seaters allow more people to get out of the car and help when there's a big hill right?

What we need is a wind powered car! (2, Funny)

gschwim (413230) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883431)

Beans for dinner anyone?

WHY OH WHY????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883453)

are all of these hybrids so ugly? I mean really, can we make a fuel efficient car that a person might look good driving? Let's hope the Volt turns that around!

Ugly! (2, Insightful)

aaronfaby (741318) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883481)

Is there a rule somewhere that says hybrid cars have to be fugly? This one looks much better than the previous insight. But the Prius get zero points for style.

2001 Civic gets 40 mpg (2, Informative)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883493)

Thanks, but I'll stick with my car that doesn't use 20 pounds of cadmium and which cost only $6000 used.

Also, I'll walk and bike when possible.

And I'm never, ever going to buy a hybrid unless it has a manual transmission.

This is so discouraging (4, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883519)

The 1989 civic got 50mpg highway, [fueleconomy.gov] better than the Prius.

Yes, we need extra safety items. Yes, those add weight. But all the advances made in improving efficiency have been burned away on power and sportiness and cup holders.

50 Mpg TWENTY years ago.

And no mention of a plug-in aspect.

Very discouraging.

The standards changed for 2008 (at least) (5, Informative)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883613)

The EPA changed its fuel economy standards in 2008, and perhaps other times between 1989 and then. The 2007 Prius is rated at 60 mpg city, 51 highway; the 2008, which is really the same car, is rated at 48/45. So you definitely can't compare the 1989 numbers with the 2008.

Re:This is so discouraging (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883737)

I had one. It was not even half the size of a Prius. That's like saying that a Prius's gas mileage is disturbing because my motorcycle gets 90mpg.

50 mpg is easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883795)

Who needs a hybrid?! Just learn to drive properly [hypermiling.com] . I'm getting 50+ mpg overall in a 1996 Toyota Tercel.

And it didn't take Barack Obama to solve this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883521)

Anyone really think whichever candidate wins this November in the US will have any effect in how 50 years from now energy is produced and consumed throughout the world?

The US is only a small percentage of the world population, and because other countries are becoming more and more industrialized and using more energy, the impact of how the US uses energy is going to be getting smaller and smaller in the future, never mind what the policies of the US government happen to be.

Because the market decisions of the 7 or 8 billion people in the world will just overwhelm whatever US government policy is - if the decisions of 300+ million US residents don't do it first.

Nice to see competition (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883553)

Honda's hybrid Civic has the battery panel across the back of the rear seats -- you can't fold the rear seats to put long items through the trunk. It's a great little car, but that crucial lack of utility makes it no-go for the single car owner.

That left the market to the Prius and the Escape/Tribute. The E/T looks like a truck, but check the inside and outside dimensions and you've got a small wagon, just ugly. While the Prius... Is it just me? I don't like this sole Toyota. The interior feels like a 74 Vega. I've been holding off, wanting better options for my next car purchase. Here's hoping Honda's does a fine job with the new Insight.

(Sorry - I tried to work a bad software analogy into this car thread but failed.)

"but provided no further details on pricing..." (2, Informative)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883557)

Yeh, and the first headline when googled [jalopnik.com] is:

New Honda Insight Hybrid Revealed, Expected $18,500 Price Tag To Make It World's Cheapest

Dont know about you, but I would say thats a bit more detail on pricing, $18500, about the price of a standard/econo car these days.

tm

So I bought a hybrid this year.. (1)

PKFC (580410) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883565)

I drove a Prius and a Civic Hybrid (should have tried a Camry Hyrbid, but it was probably too expensive) and the result?

The Prius felt like a different kind of car. I test drove a Civic EX-L the day before I did a Hybrid and they were pretty similar.. You know except for the 158 V battery behind the back seat.

I LOVE that the Civic Hybrid looks like a normal freaking Civic.. aka a normal car. For some reason, the Prius felt weird and looked weird :P Maybe it's just not to my tastes, but having a car that is normal, but secretly is a hybrid (unless you read the emblem on the rear of the car) is nice. Toyota's have that weird LCD screen too and maybe I'm just not used to that, it was distracting.. It showed where the flow of power came from in the car - gasoline engine or electric motor.. The Civic hybrid has a bar on the right side of the tachometer which makes it more a normal display, but still watchable without too much distraction..

I like the concept of having a hybrid (yeah even though it's "more expensive" or whatever (the damn Honda dealership in South Calgary tried getting me off buying a hyrbid[!])). Government rebates are a pretty good thing to look into.. ecoAuto is the one for Canada, but only applied to 2006-2008 models. It got me $2000 which put the pricing back to an EX-L instead of an Si. Various provinces and states have their own rebates too.. Not Alberta who needs the Oil industry :P

Here's hoping to see the redesign isn't too bad and you can actually see out of the rear view mirror... And don't get me started on a smart car.. I'm too addicted to a normal shaped car body... (Oh yeah since I didn't mention it.. I bought a Civic Hybrid :P)

They're holding out on us! (4, Interesting)

juventasone (517959) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883573)

Honda already has a car that is more fuel efficient than any car they sell in North America, and would easily out-sell the Prius. But they choose not to sell it in North America.. why?

It's called the Civic CTDi. The Civic is already the most popular car in North America. It is less expensive than the Civic Hybrid, offers a heap more power, and has arguably better combined mileage. In fact, this engine was awarded "International Engine of the Year" in 2005.

Hope its priced cheap at $15,000 (2, Insightful)

unseengundam (1358015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883577)

I just hope they are really priced lower than current hybrids. Also, they make enough of them to meet demand. These day you can't get Prius in Dallas without paying thousands over MSRP and being put on a waiting list. One Prius I test drove was price at $31k MSRP and they were asking $33k for it! Most of dealers just load their Prius up with everything. If they priced it right, I would consider buying one in next few years.

Bring back the CRX (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883693)

As a former owner of a 91 Honda CRX Si, I loved it! It was sporty, practical, and had good gas mileage (the HF version was more efficient). The Honda Insight was the closest thing to a CRX, but now that's gone too.

I used to be a huge Honda fanboi back then, now I just think their vehicle selection sucks ass.

Now that Dodge Challenger looks fucking awesome with the specs to match! If I were to buy a new car, that would be it.

The problem was with how the insight worked (3, Interesting)

xutopia (469129) | more than 6 years ago | (#24883803)

I drove both the insight and then the prius. The insight started with gas motor by default so it made noise when you started unless you did more than 3 starts and stops in a short period. The electrical motor only kicked in at higher speeds (most of the time). The Prius did things the other way around. When you start it's electric only unless you push the pedal to the metal. Because of the way the insight started you never could hear the silence that makes driving the Prius so much fun. That and the insight had poor visibility behind.

Re:The problem was with how the insight worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24883881)

I own a 2001 Insight, and the electric motor kicks in every time I step on the gas more than about 20% throttle. Same with my good friend's 2000 model. It's used to assist acceleration and every time you're accelerating, unless the battery pack is depleted, it will use the assist. Once it's warmed up, it shuts off every time you stop or take the car out of gear under 20 MPH.

Also, the Insight's got great visibility -- the rear window is transparent all the way to the bumper. It's one of the easiest cars to parallel park for this reason. Are you sure you're not talking about a first generation Prius or something?

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