Honda’s Insight will be a steal – for Toyota buyers

2 October 2008

Honda Insight, outsideThis car is bad news – if you’ve just bought a Toyota Prius. The 2009 Honda Insight looks like a Prius, will no doubt drive a bit like a Prius, probably isn’t as clever or as frugal as a Prius, but nonetheless and most importantly is considerably cheaper than a Prius. It’ll start from around £15,000 when it goes on sale in the UK next spring, so if you’ve just plonked down 18 to 20 big ones on a slippery eco Toyota, you may find your resale value just took a dive. After all, in a couple of years’ time what would the average punter rather buy, a brand-new Honda or a second-hand Prius with baby-sick stains on the back seat?

Prius hawkers may draw your attention to superior fixtures and fittings like the (mostly useless) robotic parking facility or other electrified gewgaws to justify the extra requirement of readies, but the long and short of it is that resale values of Priuses will plummet by an extra couple of thousand the moment the Insight goes on sale. We wouldn’t be surprised if Toyota was forced to trim the RRP of new Priuses, for that matter.

Honda Insight interiorWhen it all shakes out, the Insight’s arrival will be excellent news for second-hand Prius buyers. That’s not to knock the Insight. We love the look of the Honda, and it will no doubt be a lovely thing to drive and a plasticky thing to sit in. But we think that Toyota’s Synergy Drive hybrid system is a superior set-up to Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist. At least as fitted to the current Civic IMA, the Honda hybrid combination is not as fluid as the Prius in stop-start traffic and less good at saving petrol around town.

So hurrah for Honda but we’ll take a one-prior-owner Prius, thanks. The baby-sick stains will probably come out with a bit of Cillit Bang.

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