Friday, January 30, 2009

Honda Insight specs underwhelming

The Seattle Times ran a
piece today comparing the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid to the Toyota Prius. I've been following the Insight for a while, but hadn't seen the specs before today. The official specs are now available here.

It's tough to make a full comparison yet because Honda has not yet announced its price point for the Insight, and Toyota has not released the specs or price for the 2010 Prius. It seems likely though that the 2010 Prius will get better gas mileage, and that Honda will have to price significantly lower to compete.

The EPA combined mileage for the Insight is 41 MPG, compared to 45 for the 2009 Prius. One reason for the difference may be that the electric motor of the Insight is rated at only 13 HP, compared to 67 HP for the 2009 Prius. That seems underpowered, barely a hybrid at all. On the other hand, the Times article says the Insight will run on the electric motor up to 30 MPH. I doubt that it could get up the hills around Seattle without kicking in the gas engine.

Clearly Honda is trying to carve out space between the full-featured Prius and the smaller gasoline cars like the Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit. The price will determine if they can pull that off.

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