Ecogeek not happy with Insight II's MPG's

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by ALS, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Honda has released a smattering of new details on it's all-new Insight. The car will be the cheapest hybrid vehicle available when it goes on sale in the spring of 2009, but it won't be the most efficient.

    I was truly hoping that the new Insight would take after its father. And while, obviously, it couldn't have hit the ridiculous numbers (beyond 70 mpg) of the original, tiny, two-seater Insight, I was at least hoping it would beat the Prius. But alas, the Insight will come in right around Honda's current hybrid offering, the hybrid Civic, about 42 mpg.

    So what makes this car so great then, if it has the same mileage as a hybrid Civic and worse than the Prius?

    Well, a few things, actually.

    It's cheaper than either the Prius ($22k) or the Civic Hybrid ($23.5k). So despite being less efficient, it might be more green just because more people will buy them. Honda is banking on selling 200,000 of them per year ... a lofty goal.

    It's a dedicated hybrid, the only one besides the Prius (and the old Insight, if you want to count it.) Which isn't important at all for the environment, but it's important for people's desire to want to buy them. It's like having the whole car be a bumper sticker that says "I'm on the cutting edge of green technology!"

    It's pretty. Again, not important for the environment, but important when you're trying to sell 200,000 of them a year.
    Going from 40 to 50 mpg doesn't actually save all that much gas. Don't believe me, see our article on why MPG is a stupid measurement.

    So yes, we want one. We'd actually rather have a Volt, or some other car that doesn't burn any gas at all under normal circumstances. But I predict broad consumer appeal for the Insight

  2. Pierce

    Pierce Well-Known Member

    True, true.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi ALS:

    ___I think Hank was simply stirring the netizens reading his blog for a response because he let alone any of the rest of us mere minions do not know what Honda will be allowing wrt the Insight-II’s FE. It will not match the original Insight given the weight, size, amenities and standard construction (HS steels w/ little aluminum other than the ICE including the HCH-II’s 1.3L …) but I suspect it will do better than the HCH-II given the loss of maybe 150 + pounds of weight, sleeker Cd and smaller Frontal area. I also doubt he has much experience pulling big numbers from an Insight or anything else he has owned in the recent past leaving me to believe he was simply stirring the pot?

    ___The only way we are going to see Insight like FE again is a BEV/PHEV or a move away from the gasoline ICE while placing a small CI-ICE (or something else altogether?) in a vastly lighter weight 4-door sedan or 5-door hatch. The closest thing we have seen to Insight like FE from a 4 or 5-door sedan is the European Civic with the 2.2L iCDTi. If that CI-ICE was downsized to a 1.5L and instead of being placed in an almost 3,000 pound Civic, placed inside the Insight-II or Fit, than you would have Insight like FE from a 5-door.

    ___Good Luck

  4. Elixer

    Elixer Well-Known Member

    The new insight is not a car merely for people looking to get insane FE anymore. The new insight is for your average Joe. A mid-sized sedan under $20,000 that can get over 40 mpg with normal driving is an extremely good deal. I expect Honda to sell a ton of these things as it costs $4000 less than Prius and gets close to its fuel economy.

    We also need to remember that the 40 expected mpg is on the new EPA. The 61/70 rating of the Insight was on the old EPA. A 40mpg rating on the new EPA translates to about 50mpg on the old EPA.

    It's like buying a Civic hybrid for $5000 less.
  5. iamian

    iamian Well-Known Member

    I agree


    The Insight-I was designed around what 90% of the masses actually need 90% of the time... the Insight-II is designed around what the masses think they need... so yes it is designed to be higher volume... quantity over quality is the choice being made with the Insight-II.

    I would have been much happier as well if the Insight-II had stayed in the same path as its predecessor... to keep the Insight as the peek or top of the high MPG food chain... even if lower numbers are sold...

    There is so much I would have liked to have seen in a current technology / more advanced version of the original design idea... the closed valves enhanced EV-Mode improvement to the Engine on the HHC-II.... lighter weight modern lithium batteries could have put more than 5 times the energy in the same weight as the NiMH of the Gen-I... Carbon fiber to replace the aluminum to further reduce weight... PV shell using the less expensive print method that allows it to be put on any shape.... Plug in charging option of the increased capacity battery... drop the battery and electronics to the space under the car to give that interior space back to the driver as a second row of seats, making it a small 4 seater.... put in a version of the bose electronic suspension system... so you could as a driver decide if you want the more comfy padded suspension, sporty suspension , or a regenerative energy recycling suspension, all with a push of a button .... add thermo-electric radiator system to recycle some of the waste heat energy of the already very efficient ICE... etc...etc...

    but they didn't... so now I am left to make some of these improvements to my Insight-I ... at the snail's pace that a single individual hobbiest can do in his spare time and money.

    sooo many projects... so many plans .... :D

    At least if I take good care of it my Insight-I might actually last me long enough to get around to all of these things .... even if it will be many years yet to go one by one.
  6. flatty

    flatty Member

    Aren't the Ford/Mercury hybrids full hybrids, also?

    Call the thing a "Honda Prius" and be done with it. They designed it years ago to cover the Prius and now the market has changed. Glad to have it.
  7. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger


    Ford and Volvo independently developed a system very similar to Toyota's HSD....Ford and Toyota made an agreement not to sue over this.

    This Nissan Altima uses Toyota's HSD system by licence.
  8. voodoo22

    voodoo22 Cheaper than the bus

    In Canada the Prius is more than the Civic Hybrid, even though Toyota just dropped the price by over $2000!

    Honda Civic Hybrid 26,350
    Toyota Prius 27,400

    The New Honda Hybrid will probably still be too expensive to consider here versus a Yaris (13,210), Fit (14,980) or the like.
  9. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    if people followed that business model, minority over majority, I'm sure they would be thinking in the end (why even go into business at all?)

    I'm for the one glad the hybrid powertrain is cheaper for the masses, convince some of those people to drop those nasty old ass cars.

    Voodoo is right on the money though when it comes to the Canadian buying market.
  10. flatty

    flatty Member

    They would sell many Insight 1s if they were still on the market - it outsmarts the Smart. Shows you how flatfooted the manufacturers are, even the perfect HMC.

    But, it isn't for 'most'. It may suit 90% of the need, but it's the other 10% that gets you.
  11. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Let's not get hung up on the car's name. They shouldn't have recycled the "Insight" name but they did. It's nothing like the original Insight and intended for a completely different (and much bigger) market segment. If you want a replacement for the old Insight, get over the name and wait for the CR-Z, which is also coming soon.

    So what's so great about the new Insight? The biggest one is that it's thousands of dollars less than a Prius or HCH. Those cars competed in the midsize-sedan price range against cars like the Accord and Camry. The Insight II will compete in the compact class, against cars like the Jetta, non-hybrid Civic, Corolla, Mazda3 and Toyota Matrix. There are an awful lot of people in the world -- myself included -- who would never even consider slapping down $23k+ for a car, but might be talked into spending upper teens. The potential market for this car is WAY bigger than the Prius or HCH.

    Next advantage: way more practical than the HCH. Not only is the HCH a utility-challenged sedan, it's even worse than the average sedan because of its tiny trunk and seats that don't fold down. Even though the new Insight will be smaller than the Prius (which actually is a midsize car) it should have similar utility. Who knows -- given Honda's ability to rethink interior packaging as in the Fit, it may even prove more utilitarian than the Prius.

    And while I know Honda's only promised us HCH-level FE for this car, I don't see how it won't be at least a little bit better. It's lighter and more aero! Maybe it will only end up a couple mpg better than the HCH, but that puts it into Prius territory in town, and should beat the Prius on the highway.
  12. Pierce

    Pierce Well-Known Member

    I totally agree, if Honda wants to be known as the world's most effecient motor company it really needs to shove the Insight right back up in the mpg department where it belongs.

    Also is it really true that Insight II could beat the Prius on the highway? If so, how??
  13. iamian

    iamian Well-Known Member

    Just depends on whose driving which car.

    On the Highway... the the factors that dominate are Weight and Aerodynamics... Aerodynamics looks close, I have not read any official Cd numbers on the Insight-II yet... if the Insight-II is even 1% lighter than the Prius, it will have 1% less rolling resistance.

    Also if the Insight-II includes the Highway Lean Burn function of the Insight-I ... that will be a major bonus for it vs the Prius on the highway... although it would take a hit in Emissions if it uses the lean burn function to boost MPG.

    Now in the city & stop and go driving variables are different and the synergy drive system has more of a direct benefit, and the lean burn function ( even if it is there ) can't be effectively used.
  14. Pierce

    Pierce Well-Known Member

    Ahh. So the ultimate solution is to buy a Prius III and use as a town and city driving buddy, and leave the Insight II as your gas sipping pal on the long highways.

    And of course, let's assume an expert hypermiler is operating the hybrid in our hypothetical situations.

    Well, hold on, with lean burn technology on the Insight I, how much better can it do against the Prius II/III on the highway?
  15. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Pierce, if you are asking what the original insight is worth on the highway, 100+mpg at 50mph in decent temps is not unreasonable with some effort. Keep in mind that the AC equipped version of that car is only 1880lbs -- the Insight II will be somewhat heavier so even if it also has lean burn I don't expect it to come close to that. Laurie's HCH-I 5MT with lean burn is worth about 68mpg or so at that speed under similar conditions and comparable weight.
  16. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well all you should have to do is slow down below the 70-80 mph that average Prius owner is doing on the interstate. :rolleyes:

    I get passed all the time by the Hybrid HCH and Priuses.
  17. iamian

    iamian Well-Known Member

    I'd say the ultimate solution is not to have a car at all... If you can locate your home and or your work close enough to each other for a bicycle ... no car will compete.

    If you are going to have two cars... use a pure EV for your commute trips and such that are under 50 Miles round trip... and use the second car for longer road trips...

    I also agree... the Insight-II is not likely to do as well as the Insight-I for many reasons... but it will target a wide / larger population.

    As for your question about the Lean Burn on the Insight-I... It isn't really fair ... for any other vehicle that is... If you take the Insight-I out on a highway road trip for a full tank of gas... it will beat any other car... The Prius- I, II , or III ... Even the Volt starting out with a full battery pack will end up with lower MPG by the end of the 1 full tank of gas road trip than a Insight-I would.... The only vehicle I know of that would have a chance would be the Aptera... and even that would not be guaranteed to beat a Insight-I on a full tank of gas road trip.... these other cars can beat the Insight-I in town with stop and go... or when they can stop for 4 to 6 hours to recharge every 1 hour of driving.... in a straight road trip... the veteran Insight-I is still King.

  18. Pierce

    Pierce Well-Known Member

    Good heavens!! The Insight I really is the best fuel economy car ever!!

    Ian, you are right about the whole bike idea as well, that truely is the best thing to do.

    However, let's modify this situation. What 2 new cars would be best in the town and city, and best only on the highway?
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Pierce:

    ___If you were throwing the stops out, the European and unavailable here Civic iCDTi would be best for both. I am sure the European based 1.6L TDCi equipped Focus and Fiesta would do even better along with a number of other European Diesels we have not got our hands on. Even the new Jetta TDI does not have the capability of the iCDTi as it lacks that super lean burn/SAHM like extreme mileage capability that Honda’s 2.2L iCDTi includes.

    ___Unfortunately, those are not and will not be made available in the US any time soon. At least until the i-DTEC arrives in the TSX. If Honda has left the 2.2L i-DTEC’s FE capability alone while achieving Tier II/Bin5, it will be the best highway cruiser of any soon to be available automobiles. In the city, the TSX is going to be a handful because of its weight. It is the size of a civic and weighs as much as an Accord so you can expect an FE hit to be harsh at any time you have to accelerate the weighty beast.

    ___Which brings us back to what is available today. The Prius-II can best anything other than an Insight-I around town. The HCH-II’s SAHM can best a Prius-II’s SHM out on the highway “if” you can avoid slow downs and re-accelerations.

    ___Tomorrow, the Volt will take on all-comers within its range but at a price we will not be able to afford. Nobody has any idea about the 1.8L powered Prius-IIIa (NiMH equipped) or -IIIb (PHEV-10 Li-Ion equipped). Given the price of the Insight-II, that one is going to be tough to beat! If Honda charges $20K, they are in effect charging $5,500 for IMA to be added to the Fit. If they charge $18K, $3,500 will not be bad premium, Honda still makes a ton of $’s and if Honda allows the HCH-II’s ICE untouched to reside in it, it will receive better FE than the HCH-II. I also think the HCH-II is dead once the Insight-II comes out unless they price it (the Insight-II) stupidly.

    ___Good Luck

  20. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    I'm not so sure the HCH will be dead, but it will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out.

    I'm wondering how much better it will sell once they migrate the lighter IMA to the platform so that you'll finally be able to fold down that rear seat.

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