Honda's new hybrid disappoints

New hybrid-only Insight does too poorly on Consumer Reports tests to earn a recommendation.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)
Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

2010 Honda Insight
Cool cars for less than $18,000
Cheap cars keep getting better and better. Kelley Blue Book picks the best for '09.

Find your next Car

NEW YORK ( -- Honda's new hybrid-only Insight, touted as a low-cost competitor to the Toyota Prius was dealt a major blow Monday after it failed to get a thumbs up from the influential magazine Consumer Reports.

"The Insight is the most disappointing Honda Consumer Reports has tested in a long time," said David Champion, director of the magazine's auto test center.

The magazine roundly pans Honda's (HMC) new hybrid car in its upcoming August issue, criticizing its ride quality, handling, interior noise, acceleration, and rear-seat access.

Champion called the car "noisy and stiff-riding," in a statement released by the magazine.

Out of 22 currently available hatchbacks and small wagons the magazine has rated, the Insight ranks 21st.

The Insight scored 54 out of a possible 100 points in the magazine's tests.

Therefore, Consumer Reports will not recommend the Insight based on the results.

The only car that ranked worse was the Dodge Caliber. The Caliber scored 49.

Honda defended its car's performance. "Initial feedback from most customers and automotive media regarding the all-new Honda Insight has been very positive," said Honda spokesman Chris Naughton. "In fact, the Insight has won several hybrid comparison tests completed independently by automotive media outlets," Naughton said.

The Insight is a "mild hybrid," unlike the slightly more expensive Toyota Prius against which it competes. The Insight requires its gasoline engine to run most of the time, even at low speeds.

Consumer Reports recorded fuel economy of 38 mpg in its tests, a figure the magazine called "commendable." The Insight's official EPA-rated fuel economy is 41 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

The Prius is Consumer Reports' top-rated hybrid car and America's top-selling hybrid vehicle by a wide margin.

The Prius was redesigned for the 2010 model year. The 2009 Touring version earned 80 points in the magazine's testing and was the highest-rated hybrid vehicle.

Consumer Reports rates vehicles using a series of standardized handling and performance tests performed at the magazine's Connecticut test facility. It also rates vehicles using more subjective measures like build quality and functionality. To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More
Royal wedding: How much will it cost? Meghan Markle's wedding to Prince Harry could cost millions once security is included in the bill. See how the costs break down. More
Robot co-workers? 7 cool technologies changing the way we work Experts believe humans and machines will work much more closely together. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play