Prius II vs. Insight Gen II EX

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by geeter, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. geeter

    geeter Member

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    After hearing all of your responses on my first post about coming out of a sporty car into a hybrid, I have been doing a lot of research.

    I went to check out a Honda Insight to comparison shop against the Prius II. For a bit more than 2K less than the Prius (at current local prices) the Insight seems like a good value. While the Prius is a drop bigger, the Insight seems like it would make a decent DD. I actually could get an EX with Nav and bluetooth for a couple hundred less than the Prius II.......

    So my question is, how many of you cross shopped the Prius II with the Insight, and what were your thoughts? Since money is a huge issue in me possibly trading cars, 2K goes a long way. I think the MPG difference is going to be a couple hundred bucks a year at most, at the EPA ratings. I also best the EPA rating on my GTI by over 20%, so I figure I could do well with the hybrids as well (a trained right foot goes a long way) Thanks in advance for your time.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i'm getting 60 mpg on this tank in my gen II. i'm sure you can as well. havn't driven the honda, it will be interesting to see what you get for replies. i'd be more interested to hear what honda drivers think that also tested the prius. from everything i've read, honda dropped the ball and the prius is worth way more than 2 grand extra.
     
  3. the hosser

    the hosser Lock Monkey

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    I looked at both of them, and for me the fuel economy was a big consideration, so I went for a used Prius rather than the Insight. I also got into the driver's seat of the Insight II and found it way too small for me. The Prius Gen 2 is just larger enough (if that makes sense) for me to be comfortable driving it.

    -Ken
     
  4. energyandair

    energyandair Active Member

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    I looked at both and would have preferred to deal with the local Honda dealership.
    However, I felt that the cars were not even close.
    IIRC, the biggest benefits of the Prius were:
    • rear seat legroom and cargo space
    • driveability
    • power
    • quietness
    • stability control in all models
    • technology
    • great track record
    I felt that the Fit was far more competition than the Insight
     
  5. rpeek2

    rpeek2 Dry Ice Juggler

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    I too checked out the Insight. The price was attractive but couldn't stand the uncomfortable driver's seat. Also, there was no option for leather or sunroof. It drove nicely and overall appearance inside and out looked of quality. The Prius won on its mpg claim, roominess, and the options I needed.
     
  6. PriusSport

    PriusSport senior member

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    We own both a Prius II and a new Insight LX. The Insight is smaller and sportier, harder suspension. The seats are more sport seats than the Prius. Actually, the Prius drives more like a sedan than a sports coupe, which is what the Insight feels like. Gas mileage, the Prius is probably better--maybe by 3-5 mpg. I get 45-50 mpg in my Prius, while my wife gets about 40 mpg on her Insight after 1500 miles, and it's getting better. I think she should get 45 mpg eventually if the tire pressures are pushed into the high 30s like my Prius.

    Cost difference is an overriding factor. The Insight was $5K less than what I paid for my Prius new in 08. For that price difference, I would have bought the Insight in a minute.

    You can get a base Insight right now for about $18.5K. For the money, it's a great little car. The hatch design, like the Prius, greatly improves functionality. Honda will sell a lot of these cars at this price if gas gets to $4 again.
     
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  7. 2to4

    2to4 Wherever we end up

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    We test-drove both cars. The Insight was first, because we had a Honda motorcycle and a Honda CRV, both of which provided excellent reliability (over 88,000 miles and 61,000 miles respectively). Note: We intended to buy the Honda before our test drives.

    The decision to buy the Prius was based primarly on the difference we experienced on the interstate highway. The Honda would not hold a straight line for either of us. We had to constantly make steering corrections. There were other minor things, but the resulting motion sickness my wife experienced in the passenger seat at interstate speed is what sealed the deal for Toyota.

    At this point we are glad we bought the Prius. Whether or not we buy a Toyota next time will be based on how well the Prius does for us. We hope you will be satisfied with whichever vehicle you purchase.
     
  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Insight impressions:

    • hit head getting in the Insight driver door - owch!
    • felt cramped - ugh feeling, no room to stretch on long drives
    • instruments through wheel - so I can only see them some of the time
    • interior space - smaller
    • rear seat leg room - what leg room?
    I didn't feel comfortable with the Insight, like a shirt too small, it just didn't work. It is probably OK for smaller sized folks.

    Bob Wilson
     
  9. timo27

    timo27 Member

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    I test drove the Insight (I think it was an EX), and honestly, if it were the choice between the Prius II and the Insight, I probably would have chosen the Insight. To me, the lower-end Prius seats don't have the necessary lumbar support (obviously, YMMV). The Insight was somewhat better. For me the Prius IV--has a power lumbar support--was the answer--and, yes, it is considerably more expensive, but in my case the only reason I bought a new car in the first place was to not kill my back by either bending over to get in (that was the problem with my good ol' RSX, which I otherwise dearly miss) or having a driver's seat that feels like a trough (the Prius II and III, and--surprisingly to a lesser extent--the gen II Prii). Also, though I've read their 0-60 times are similar (C/D even claimed the Insight won by a hair, but when you're talking 10 sec times, who cares!), the Prius seemed to have much more useable power, and didn't thrash the engine when merging.

    I say all this as a long-time Honda fan--I don't think there's a better manufacturer of 4cyl engines out there, and the manual transmissions on their cars are delicious. (The road noise gets tiresome, though). I also think Consumer Reports gave the Insight an undeserved bum rap--people know what they're getting into, generally, and the Insight is a lower-priced car, which comes with some compromises. Lastly, I agree with the poster above who said the Fit should also be considered.

    You asked for my $0.02, and I gave you a whole dime!
    Cheers,
    ~T
     
  10. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Timo,
    Thanks for the review. I have heard some negatives about the seats in the Insight, so given your back issues, I will take your review as a plus.

    I figure you know what you are getting with a 4-cylinder ivtech engine. It was one of the things that draws me to the car. With my GTI, repair costs are very high and when my warranty runs out next year, I will be paying for repairs I can't do myself (and on that thing, there are plenty of them). The rock solid 4 bangers from Honda speak for themselves. Since I am getting into the hybrid game for savings, it seems like a winner thus far.
     
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Well I've test driven most hybrids (except the LSh, 2010 RXh, 1st Gen Prius, 1st Gen Insight and all GM hybrids)


    Here are my impressions of the Insight

    Pros:

    • Lower price
    • easier to understand hybrid feedback (ambient meter for example)
    • Very comfortable front seats
    • A stylish steering wheel (stolen from the Civic)
    • Simple dashboard layout
    • Easy to read layout
    • fold flat rear seats
    • quieter than expected
    • underfloor storage bins in the cargo area
    • Good number of usable interior storage bins

    Cons:


    • Extremely limited rear headroom
    • Cheap cardboard cargo floor cover
    • TCS/VSA only available on EX model (do not know if it's the same in the US)
    • Plastics are more Fit-like than Civic-like (again, low price)
    • A little bit narrow (moving the shifter was a knee-touching affair. Thankfully my salesman was a man, not a woman)
    • Rock solid rear centre seat (not that anyone's gonna sit there due to the limited headroom and shoulderroom)
    • Basic features only (this may be a pro depending on how techie you are)


    Since it comes down to upfront cost, it seems like the Insight would be in your favour. I would check the insurance costs between the two too and see which one is lower (they may actually be similar, I'm not sure). Maintenance costs should also be similar though the brake pads might last a little longer in the Prius due to more reliance on the electric motor to slow the car down.
     
  12. Penny's Dad

    Penny's Dad New Member

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    I originally wanted the Insight EX. I went so far as to put a deposite. However there was no rear seat cupholder so I bailed out. After the fact I began to appreciate the many, many subtile quality touches that the Prius has over the Insight and I am thankful the lack ofcupholders scared me away...Please notice the following:

    1. Prius has modern pull type door handles. Insight uses 70's style flip handles
    2. Prius has rear seat armrest. Insight does not.
    3. Pruis has solid plastic rear storage cover. Insight has some kind of trunk liner material.
    4. Pruis has 4- window auto up and down windows..Insight does not on all 4 windows.
    5. Touch entry with wake-up lighting in Prius and keyless ignition...no such in insight.
    6. Touch Tracer on steering wheel buttons.
    7. The Insight has a very cheap rough headliner notice how it is trimmed where it meets the windshield...the Prius while not much better is at least better fitted and trimmed. You will think about that in 7 years when the insight headliner sags on your noggin.

    Again there are other subtile reasons why you would pay 2k more for the Prius but these are some of the ones I noticed that matter to me. Lastly Notice that the Insights ICE kicks on and off very frequently in stop and go traffic. It is noticable and annoying IMO especially if you do city driving.
     
  13. Codyroo

    Codyroo Senior Member

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    If you are able, you should take both cars (the Insight and the Prius) out for a test drive and get some impressions for yourself of their performance.

    If up front costs are a true deal breaking issue, maybe you should also include the Fit as a third option.

    My past cars were a 1988 CRX-HF and a 1989 Acura Integra (which I inherited in 1999). I have had little to no issues with my Hondas. We also have a 2004 Sienna and have had no issues with it, so reliability wise, both Brands (Toyota and Honda) are great.

    While I did not test drive an Insight, I did get the Prius because I have a 10 year old and 8 year old at home. I drive my cars for 10+ years, so I wanted a car that the whole family could grow into. I drive 70+ miles (currently) to work, and I've always been big into gas mileage, thus I opted for the best gas mileage car I could get (Prius over Insight) that could seat 4 adult comfortably (Prius over Insight) and had a smooth enough ride (Prius II-IV vs Prius V) and Leather seats (Prius IV).

    1) How long will you plan on keeping the car?
    2) Envision how your life will change/evolve during the length of time that you will own the car.
    3) Take the cars out for a test drive to further gain impressions on them, taking into account #2.
    4) Gather opinions/data to see if your impressions are borne out (what you are doing now)
    5) Go get that car and leave buyer's remorse for those that didn't do their homework like you did.

    Good luck with your future car purchase! I hope you choose well.
     
  14. geeter

    geeter Member

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    Thank you all for your feedback thus far. I really appreciate your attention to detail.

    We plan on heading to a local Honda dealership tomorrow to take a spin. I borrowed my friends Gen 3 Prius II last weekend for a 30 mile jaunt, so perhaps the comparison will be best after tomorrow. Again, thanks.

    -Dave
     
  15. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    As a long time Honda owner, I wanted the Insight EX to be the 'Prius-killer' that was being hyped in late 2008. But it wasn't.

    My wants and needs were different than yours. Price was less of an issue -- my car replacement fund was overflowing because the budget presumes a certain car replacement schedule, but this trade was six years overdue because the wheels were refusing to fall off the old Honda.

    Interior space was a big issue. To justify my purchase, this new car had to be big enough to serve as our three-season road trip car. Our travel load has expanded over the years, much like the country's waistline, and the Prius appeared to barely fit us. (A Subaru wagon remains as our winter travel car, but the Prius was just fine on a month-long autumn trip.) Insight is smaller.

    I also wanted the greater fuel economy and cruise range.

    But I wouldn't attempt to talk you out of an Insight. If your car budget is tight, if the Insight is big enough, and if you are already skilled at getting good fuel economy on your previous cars, the Insight might be the right choice.

    Based on my reading of pre-release reviews on CleanMPG.com, I think you will likely find the fuel economy gap between the GenIII Prius and Insight to be less than the EPA sticker suggests. But I haven't followed the post-release followup very well.

    I didn't consider the Fit -- I'm simply done with engines that don't automatically shut off at stoplights.
     
  16. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Your profile says you have a 2008 Prius. Do you actually have that or do you have a 2010 Prius model II?

    Yeah, probably but it seems like their hybrids' CVTs and cats don't hold up that well. The OP should look at the records the Toyotas and Hondas at Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity - Hybrid Electric Vehicles and see how many and when each needed cat and transmission replacements. Also look at the mileage they're getting so far on the 2010 Insight and 2010 Prius.

    The Insight also has no electrically driven AC compressor (ICE must run for AC compressor to run) and still have drive belts. The 2010 Prius has no drive belts (look under the hood) as the water pump, AC and power steering are all electric now.

    The OP might find the lists at http://priuschat.com/forums/other-c...s-best-worst-lists-april-2010-auto-issue.html. Notice the Insight made it in the slowest vehicle column while not having the best fuel economy of all vehicles CR tests? CR said the Insight scored too low to recommend at CR Faults Honda Insight for Its Ride, Handling, Noise, and Rear Seat: Consumer Reports http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/.

    Other links the OP might find of interest.
    2010 Toyota Prius vs. 2010 Honda Insight Comparison Test Drive: Battle of the Fuel Sippers--The Rematch - Popularmechanics.com
    Honda Insight versus Toyota Prius: There's No Comparison | Car News Blog at Motor Trend
    Fuel Sipper Smackdown 2: Which Car Gets the Best Fuel Economy?
    2010 Honda Insight EX: Who Needs Passengers
     
  17. Quinlan00

    Quinlan00 Junior Member

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    I test drove both as well. I was a long time Honda owner (my last car was a 2003 Honda Element I got brand new until I picked up the Prius 2 weeks ago) so I expected before I tested both that I would end up with the Insight.

    I had a really 'meh' feeling after driving the Insight. It has really firm suspension like a sporty car, but a sport car it's NOT--It drives like a wounded slug. You feel like you are going to be crushed merging onto the interstate. The CVT transmission in the Insight seems to have to work quite a bit harder than in the Prius as far as revving, which makes a LOT of noise. Unlike many of the posters above, I did not find the Insight's seats more confortable but YMMV on that. The rear seat is pretty much unusable on the Insight for anyone but kids too. I test drove a Fit and I would buy one of those before the Insight to be frank--the only things I really didn't like about the Fit was the transmission (shifts were a bit jarring), and the styling.

    The Prius on the II trim level I found to be surprisingly well equipped, is comfortable and quiet, and does have enough power when you need to merge so you don't feel like you will be run over. I'm very happy with my II and would buy another.
     
  18. jcgee88

    jcgee88 Member

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    I looked at both when I was car shopping in February.

    I had driven a Gen II Prius as a rental, and was
    impressed with the Prius' mileage (obviously) and its
    surprising roominess. That being said, I have felt
    that competitively-unfettered Toyota had been starting
    to gouge the hybrid market, as the perception of
    hybrid technology being experimental faded and the
    Prius established itself as a quality, high MPG car. I
    was pleased when Honda came out with its next gen
    Insight Hybrid...competition is always good...and
    Toyota reacted immediately from a pricing perspective.

    I didn't test drive the Insight, instead, I did a "touch
    and feel" of it at a car show. The killer for me was
    that the rear was too small. I bike a lot and wanted
    to be able to easily accommodate a bike inside* the
    car. I didn't do a measurement at the show, but I
    could tell that it would be a tight fit at best. Lastly,
    the fact that the slightly smaller Insight did not get
    as good of mileage as the Prius pushed me away, too.

    *Normally I would put the bike on a bike rack, but
    there are times when I am in a hurry and I want to
    just throw it in the back.
     
  19. geeter

    geeter Member

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    So I went to the local Honda dealership this morning. I actually liked the Insight. It has decent seats with some lumbar support, and a halfway decent ride. In a nutshell:

    Cons: The backseat head clearance is really rough, and the interior volume with the seats down is definately less than the Prius. The backseat room was tight, and I rubbed my head on the ceiling (6'2"). The sight lines through the hatch are not good. My wife had a really hard time adjusting to this during her test drive. A bit of an econo box feel to the interior, but way better than many cars in its class. Still miles ahead of my old Kia Sephia!

    Pros: We fit two hockey bags in the hatch, so that passed our test. The car handles nicely and while it doesn't have much power, it is enough to get by. I have owned some cars in the past with less gusto, and I got by just fine. I enjoyed the ease of the dash layout and the driver side mounted speedo. Also, the Insight has a tach, which I dont recall the Prius having. It is nice when driving for mileage (despite the CVT). I also think for the price difference, it is a good value.

    We also averaged 47 mpg on our mostly stop and go traffic route, and about 3 miles of highway. I realize the MFD is probably being generous, but I would be happy with 45mpg. Heck, I push at least 30mpg out of the GTI every tank when I commute. But I wouldn't mind saving 15 bucks a tank on gas......................

    If I was looking for an upscale hybrid, this would not be it. But since I am looking to get into this for the purpose of saving money and gain two extra doors, it makes sense. I will go and test drive the Prius again to see how I feel about it after having driven the Insight.
     
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  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Regardless of the decision, you're taking the time to do it right.

    GOOD LUCK!
    Bob Wilson
     
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