By LARRY CORNWELL
Special to The Post and Courier
Both the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have plenty of off-set competitors.
These models include the Nissan Altima Hybrid, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Some like to include the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt in this group.
Personally, I don't think any of these models, especially the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, are direct competitors.
Many of you know that I recently made a round trip up to New York and back to Charlotte in a Toyota Prius. The Toyota Prius did well and achieved combined city/highway average of 51 mpg. It was pretty comfortable and easy to drive. However, it was lacking something.
This is where the Honda Insight comes in. The Toyota Prius has a weird next generation style going for it, but the Honda Insight has a sleeker, more futuristic look to it. Digital displays featuring vibrant colors and an array of buttons welcomes the driver to the interior.
The Honda Insight has a touch of that fun factor that is missing from the Prius. It has a sportier feel as well. The steering, braking and seating position all make for a more engaging experience. During my test drive of the Honda Insight, I drove it from Atlanta to Charlotte after dropping off my latest Triumph America test motorcycle.
Even after riding the Triumph America over four hours to Atlanta and then returning right away, the drive was not taxing. In fact, I was not as tired as I had thought I would be.
The 2013 Honda Insight achieved an impressive highway/city combine mpg of 42. If I had been easier on the accelerator, I'm sure I would have added two or three more mpg to that mpg average.
On sheer numbers, no, the Honda Insight does not match the Toyota Prius concerning fuel economy. However, the Prius is void of most emotional feel that you get with some vehicles.
The 2013 Honda Insight has a touch of emotion and sportiness, which can make up the difference of a few mpg.
Look for my review of the Toyota Camry next.
Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.
2013 HONDA INSIGHT
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door hybrid hatchback
PRICE RANGE: $19,000-$28,000
ENGINES: 1.3 liter four-cylinder producing 123 horsepower and 98 pounds-feet of torque
FUEL ECONOMY: 41 mpg city/44mpg highway (42 mpg city/highway combined average observed under hard driving)
COMPETITOR MODELS: Toyota Prius
PRODUCTION LOCATION: Suzuka, Japan