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Prius compared to Insight

2054 Views 11 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Serenity
Hi, just joined, basically to ask this question. I'm considering buying a hybrid, and over the years have seen comments here and there by devotee-owners of *both* these cars; usually raving about the one they own and bashing the other. Any one happen to have personal experience owning or driving both? Or....can you share any reliable comparison info about the pros and cons of both? Also curious about the Honda Civic hybrid. but an older Insight is more in my price range. I've heard that the Prius, before 2004 models had some big problems. Thanks a bunch. From Durango CO.
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The no-brainers are: If you need more than two seats, then you need a Prius. If you like small, and fun, then you need an Insight. If you want a stick, then you need an Insight.

The most important thing you need to do is drive both. As far as the driving, the Prius is fun because of the all electric mode, but it isn't nearly as fun because it is a bigger car and less nimble for that reason and you can't get a manual.

I personally do not like the Prius cockpit at all and hate the way it gives you (or doesn't give you) the feedback on the hybrid system. Others love that part. Don't make your decision without sitting in both cars and driving.

If you are comparing automatic transmission models, then both will get similar mpg and both are low emissions.
I have both and as has already been brought out you need to see what your personnel needs are in regards to
Room - (Prius wins)
Seating (Prius wins for 4, Insight for 2. I am tall and find the insight to be more comfortable because I can stretch out but you sit lower and some people don't like that)
Performance (Insight wins - you feel in control and a lot of people think its a sports car)
Ride (Prius wins - THose big tires and a lot of insulation make for a smooth ride)
Gadgets (Prius wins in options (GPS, bluetooth, HID lights) but Insight in base versions due to its supeiror dash information)
Price (Insight wins)
EV Mode (Prius has and if you do a lot of stop and go driving you would like the all electric drive and A/C on the prius)
MPG (Insight wins easily if driven carefully. If you are a lead foot with max A/C the insight will still win but it will be a smaller victory)
Have fun, RIck
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What's the argument against the Civic hybrid? It's smaller than the Prius, and no fold-down seat, but there's a manual transmission version...
I test drove an HCH and liked it.

People don't seem to like it as much as the Prius because it doesn't have the 'cool' factor, but it has the same IMA style as the Insight and I like that style of dash feedback better.

If I needed a 4 seater, I might well go with the HCH. I haven't driven a Prius enough to know if I could live with the funky dash stuff and an automatic! Ech!

If you are thinking auto, then you need to try the cars out. It is definitely cool to have the all EV mode in the Prius.

Nothing beats the stick Insight for fun. Add the turbo too, don't forget!
There are rumours that the new Civic will beat the Prius for mileage. The Civic batteries are less expensive and the engine is simpler. If you are considering a new Prius you really should wait for a couple of months to check out the 2006 Civic. If you can't afford the new Prius then you can't afford the new Civic either. I have not heard that there were significant problems with the original Prius or the 2004 Prius. Prius versus Civic, the Prius wins in the city, the Civic wins on the open road. The Prius has more room but the Civic is probably a sportier drive and can be had with a 5 speed.

As for the Insight, it is a different car for people that are different. It tends to appeal to technical and scholarly folk, airplane pilots and people that drive imense amounts per year. Lone wolves, Mac users, unusual car collectors, extroverts, radicals, back to the landers, environmentalists, people who hate rust, inventors, and those who wanted a Citroen or EV1. Occasionally a perfectly normal person buys one by accident. :lol: :lol: :lol: Don't buy one unless you are comfortable answering questions from total strangers!

I can't imagine wanting to drive anything else! Gotta getta MIMA. :wink:
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Insight Cons: 2 seater, aluminum body harder to repair, small tire foot print follows road grooves, no factory cruise control, body style stands out to much, with the engine off the A/C is off, expensive for a small car, EGR valve issues.

Insight Pros: Best gas mileage, suprisingly nimble, comfortable for long trips, Instrument cluster is easy on the eyes and well thought out, tax deduction.

Pruis Cons: No manual transmission, heavier, body style stands out to much, expensive for what you get.

Pruis Pros: Electric only mode, room for a family, comfortable, tax credit, NAV system, Keyless ignition technology, Great systems information center, bigger tires which means a better ride.

No matter which one you go with you really can't go wrong. It just depends on what you want the vehicle for.

I bought the Insight CVT back in 2001. Now I wished I had gotten the 5 speed for even better gas mileage. I have been thinking about getting the Pruis because I like the new technology it has in it. Although the Honda Civic looks more like a regular car, I'm not impressed with it's interior. I also like the Prius stealth mode electric only design.

I think hybrids need to look more mainstream to be accepted to the average consumer. Price is also a major factor to many.
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Resist wrote:
Insight Cons: 2 seater
That may be a Pro, no room for mother in law :twisted:
I would highly recommend driving both cars. I thought I wanted a Prius until I rented one. I found the seat to be uncomfortable on long drives, and it didn't provide much support while cornering. On the other hand, I love the Insight seat, and it has plenty of cornering support.

However, seats are different for everybody. You might have the exact opposite opinion after driving both cars.

In short, my suggestion would be to not look at the list of features for each car, but simply drive each one, and see which is your favorite. Nothing is more important that driving comfort in my book.
I've only driven the Prius short distances compared to the Insight, but if you don't need 4 seats, then I can't recommend it. I found the Prius to be slow, boring and ugly. :) EV mode is GREAT, but the usefulness is killed by the fact that you can't grid charge the car.

I have driven the CVT Hybrid Civic for a total of about 6 weeks, so I have a fairly well formed opinion about it. First, it's a boring old Civic. :) There's really nothing extraordinary about it. I found many of the controls to be placed in slightly odd places (such as the mirror controls....almost under the dash to the left of the steering column), and I can't say much about the factory stereo (though it was no worse then the Insight). With much effort, in summer weather, I was able to pull off 50 MPG. But there's no way I would have the patience to do this daily. Aside from the odd control placement, the interior is actually quite nice. The plastic feels cheaper then the Insight, but the sued seats are comfortable and grippy.

Obviously, I am heavily biased toward the Insight. :)
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Mr./Ms. Clean Air:

A great source of info for the Insight is right here.

Another great source for all hybrids is
Very friendly group, and a good bit of inter-action between the popular hybrids.

Good Luck to you.

I have a friend who has a Prius and I (of course) have an Insight. We took both cars on a road trip and one friend has gotten to drive both cars.

He said that it was easy to tell when the Prius was using the electrical system but he couldn't tell in the Insight unless he was watching the dash.

The Insight is much sportier in ride and design.

As for the low seating and the hard tires, these I consider to be pros not cons. I'm short and yet I like sitting as low as I can. The CRX I had before seemed high to me. Having had my Insight for a couple weeks, I can tell you that if you've ever ridden in or drove a CRX, the ride is smoother and the seats more comfortable for tall people. I drive a carpool and my passenger is much larger than I am.

My friend's Prius has the coolest map feature, which is very useful when you have a passenger acting as navigator. I've ridden in it once and it's got a smooth ride, roomy too, for those people with families. It only comes in CVT and there are no plans to make manual transmission available. The Prius does great in stop and go traffic.

I like the dashboard of the Insight much better than the Prius. It's well laid out and you can see everything AND the road without too much effort. It's easy to monitor your mpg progress as you drive.

For me, I swear by two-seaters. For you, I would suggest test driving every hybrid you can get your hands on. Also keep in mind that Honda is also working on fuel cell technology and there might be something that gets even better mileage than the Insight's 61/66 mpg rating that is currently the best in the industry.

Just a point of trivia, the Honda CRX I had was rated at 40/45 mpg with automatic transmission. When I bought it, you could get a 5 spd CRX HF that got about 60 mpg.

2005 silver Insight 5 spd no AC "Serenity" lmpg 67.3 and counting
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