By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
From the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2010 Honda Insight. It competes with the Toyota Prius.
(energetic rock music) Hi, I'm Joe Weisenfelder with cars.com. Had some time to spend with the 2010 Honda insight. It is supposed to be, if they price it the right way, the most affordable hybrid in the United States.
Now the front end, kind of recalls their FCX Clarity, which is their kind of experimental fuel cell vehicle. So it's actually based on the Fit, which is their smallest car. Now, even though it's based on it from about here forward, everything from behind that has been made specifically for this car. And that's important because by putting all of the elements, the gas tank, the battery pack, all that stuff, exactly where they want it, as opposed to fitting it into an existing model, they get to maximize the space on the inside. The interior quality is good. Space-wise, it's comparable to the Fit, and also the Honda Civic, which also comes in a hybrid. The leg room is, by the numbers, is about the same. But what I find is even with the seat jacked all the way up, which is adjustable, it's good to have, I feel like I'm sitting pretty low and my legs are out in front of me. So even though the number's the same, instead of sitting higher with my legs down, I'm sitting a little bit back. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes too, which is good. Helps people at different sizes to fit. This car is actually pretty fun to drive. It drives just like any other car, probably more than any Honda hybrid so far. The brakes feel totally natural. The steering is actually very natural. It's fun to drive kind of has a grounded feel, good handling, definitely more than the current 2009 Prius, which isn't known for its driving quality. The ride is good. I find in the backseat, the ride is actually better than it is in the back seat of the Honda Fit. The Fit tends to ride a little bit more firmly. I wouldn't want to be the guy back there. It's a gasoline electric hybrid. Like all the Honda hybrids have been. No manual transmission. You only get the automatic. It's actually continuously variable transmission. If you get the EX trim level, you can shift it yourself, which is kind of funny because CVTs don't have gears, but you know, just humor the people that like that. Again the EX has the center armrest. The other one doesn't. Again, little things maybe like visor mirrors. You're not going to find them in the LX. It's just a way to keep the price down on that one. So they can say they have the most affordable hybrid on the market. Now it's terms of efficiency. This one is rated 40 city and 43 highway. That's by EPA, it's not great. Actually the Civic is 40, 45. That's a more expensive and a heavier car. For what it's worth though, I was driving this one, drove it in econ mode, which is the default mode, comes on when you start the car, it lets you be really light on the pedal. Makes the pedal a little bit less sensitive. And I was getting figures in the high 40s MPGs. Other people were getting 50 some miles per gallon. So the EPA estimates might be underestimating it. We'll have to see. So even though the EPA estimates of 40, 43 are not great on this car, the reality seems to be better than that. And even though fuel prices were high for awhile and hybrids were hot, the economy has gotten soft and now it seems to be about money. Just the cost of the car. Hybrids tend to cost more than non-hybrids. So the fact that this is aiming to be the most affordable hybrid in the country, it's not a bad place to be. <v Narrator>For additional information on this car or any other go to cars.com and our blog KickingTires.