Report: Honda Discontinues Insight

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Say goodbye to the Honda Insight. Its claim to fame was its low starting price and distinction as the least-expensive hybrid among 2014 model-year hybrids. That nod will soon go to the Toyota Prius c as Bloomberg News is reporting that Honda will discontinue the Insight by the end of this month.

Best Hybrids for the Money 2013

The 2000 Honda Insight was the first gasoline-electric hybrid for sale in the U.S. The then-two-seater production ran until the 2006 model year, where it vanished until a redesigned 2010 debuted in its more traditional four-door hatchback form, with seating for five. However, being inexpensive wasn’t enough to compete with the modern Toyota Prius brigade.

By Joe Bruzek | February 26, 2014 | Comments (12)

Best Hybrids for the Money 2013

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Gas prices remain volatile, but even so, no one expects prices below $3 per gallon ever again, and many parts of the country consistently see prices near or above $4. As much as ever, shoppers need to know how effectively hybrids deliver efficiency for your dollar — if they do at all.

To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating to reflect efficiency bang for your overall buck.

It's simply the combined city/highway mpg divided by the base price (MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that number by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 16, 2013 | Comments (21)

Extreme Commuting: Diesel vs. Hybrid

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Diesels and hybrids have drastically different powertrains, but they both help commuters improve their fuel economy compared with a traditional gas-powered car. The 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI with a six-speed manual and the 2012 Honda Insight hybrid achieve optimal mileage at highway speeds, but how do they stack up during miles of stop-and-go commuting?

The Passat's 31 mpg city rating is far off from the Insight's 41 mpg estimate. Game over, right? Not necessarily. During two nearly identical commutes, my observed results were much closer than the ratings suggest. 

By Joe Bruzek | October 5, 2012 | Comments (2)

Cars.com Reviews the 2012 Honda Insight

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A light refresh for 2012 made Honda's Insight hybrid a bit more competitive, but it's not enough to go up against the newbie, the Toyota Prius c, according to Cars.com reviewer Joe Bruzek. Although the Insight’s gas mileage improved for 2012, the Prius c's outstanding fuel economy, good price and high features content are hard to beat, Bruzek says.

2012 Honda Insight Review
By Jennifer Geiger | October 3, 2012 | Comments (2)

2012 Honda Insight: Car Seat Check

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The Honda Insight is the larger of the brand's two dedicated hybrids, and though this five-passenger hatchback is on the smaller side, we were able to fit two child-safety seats comfortably in the back. Aside from a few minor annoyances, the seat installation process was fairly painless.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

By Jennifer Geiger | September 13, 2012 | Comments (5)

Cupholders Take on Starbucks' Trenta Size

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In 2011, after finding some two-thirds of iced-beverage customers already pony up the stomach capacity for a Venti, Starbucks introduced its Trenta size — a 31-ounce tribute to America's appetite for 1,000-watt stereos, quadruple burgers and Cowboys Stadium. More than a year later, Trenta is alive and well, leading us to wonder if car cupholders are up to the job of holding it. After all, the mismatch prompted 7-Eleven to downsize its titanic Double Gulp from 64 ounces to 50. Oh, the toil.

But Starbucks has the bigger footprint, with some 11,000 stores in North America compared with 7-Eleven's 9,375. What's more, cupholders and Starbucks go together like Korean rappers and YouTube. So we bought two Trenta iced teas and a Venti for comparison (pictured), and we took them to our current crop of press cars: a 2013 Infiniti G37 IPL convertible, 2012 Honda Insight and 2013 Volvo S60, plus our two long-term cars, a 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan Leaf.

I'm still working through one of the iced teas. My head hurts a little.

By Kelsey Mays | September 11, 2012 | Comments (3)

Honda Makes Backup Cameras Standard on Most Models

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Starting with the 2013 model year, a backup camera will be standard on the redesigned Honda Accord along with the Crosstour, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline and CR-Z. That means Honda's 12-model lineup goes from having just two models with a standard backup camera — the FCX Clarity hydrogen vehicle and the CR-V crossover — to nine models. A backup camera was already standard on the 2012 Honda CR-V and remains that way for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Honda Fit EV also has a standard backup camera.

That's a drastic change for Honda; previously, backup cameras were an option that had to be coupled with an expensive navigation system. In fact, the update means Honda offers a backup camera on more of its lineup than any other mainstream automaker – other strong contenders include Kia and Hyundai.

By Colin Bird | July 17, 2012 | Comments (9)

Honda To Build Two High-Tech Hybrid Systems, More Fuel-Efficient Standard Engines

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Honda’s powertrain lineup is starting to look stale tech-wise compared to the competition. Despite the fuel-economy increases, the recently redesigned Honda Civic and CR-V essentially have carryover technology underneath their hoods. Under Honda’s just-announced three-year powertrain plan, that landscape is about to change … quickly.

In real-world testing, the Civic has outperformed 40 mpg cars from Ford and Hyundai. Honda’s updates will help reposition it as the most fuel-efficient automaker, overtaking Hyundai, according to the carmaker’s plans.

By Colin Bird | December 1, 2011 | Comments (12)

2011 L.A. Auto Show: What We Know

2012 Honda CR-V ConceptFall should mean only one thing to attentive auto enthusiasts: a new auto show season is upon us.

With the 2011 L.A. Auto Show less than a month away, we have a pretty good understanding of what to expect, though there still looks to be a few surprises. Like in previous years, the show will be a heavy mix of luxury car debuts intertwined with some fuel efficient, green options.

There will be at least 21 all-new releases at the show, and 25 vehicles that will make their North American debuts (about the same as last year). This fresh new clutch of vehicles will be shown to the media, and subsequently to you on KickingTires, Nov. 16 and 17.

The everyday car shopper should keep tabs on the redesigned Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Azera, all of which will debut at the show.

By Colin Bird | October 24, 2011 | Comments (5)

2012 Honda Insight: What's New

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For the 2012 model year, Honda has made improvements to its aging dedicated hybrid, the Insight, to compete better with the refreshed Toyota Prius and other hybrids. Critical updates include better fuel efficiency, increased sound-deadening materials and improved rearward visibility.

Reduced friction in the engine and transmission in addition to improved aerodynamics boost gas mileage by 1 mpg over the 2011 model. The 2012 is rated at 41/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined. The combined rating is only 2 mpg less than the substantially more expensive 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid.

The Insight will also be quieter with the addition of thicker sound-deadening material. We thought the Insight had admirable noise dampening compared with other compacts, but not against the midsize Prius. A thinner rear spoiler and a more compactly mounted rear wiper motor improve rearward visibility.

By Colin Bird | October 17, 2011 | Comments (14)

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