Monday, June 06, 2011

Why the Honda Insight was a disappointment to me

There's an interesting story on CNN Money about the 10 cars that are a disappointment to their manufacturers for 2011. The list of 10 disappointments for 2011 are:
  1. BMW X6
  2. Mercedes-Benz R-Class
  3. Ford Flex/Lincoln MKT
  4. Mercedes-Benz Smart fortwo
  5. Toyota Tundra
  6. Nissan Quest
  7. Mercedes-Benz Maybach
  8. Honda Insight
  9. Acura ZDX
  10. Subaru Tribeca
The car that caught my eye on that list was the Honda Insight. I used to want to own a Honda Insight, but not anymore. CNN Money had this to say about my former automotive infatuation:
The Insight went on sale in March 2009 in the U.S as a 2010 model with prices starting at $19,800, making it the least expensive hybrid vehicle available in the United States. That should have boosted sales but didn't. Blame part of it on a drop in gasoline prices of over one-third over the past year that eroded demand for fuel-efficient cars. Blame the rest on excessive enthusiasm for cost-cutting. Embarrassingly for Honda, the more expensive Prius continues to beat Insight like a drum, outselling the Insight seven to one.
Back in January 2009 the wife and I drove to Classic Honda on West Colonial and Mercy Drive to put a deposit down on the not-yet-shipped 2009 Honda Insight. We wanted to purchase a new car for my commuting and our travel, and we wanted a very high MPG hybrid. We were put off by the high cost of the Prius and attracted by the (barely) under $20,000 price of the Insight, as well as the supposedly higher MPG the Insight was supposed to provide.

Well, March came and the first few Insights were delivered to Classic Honda. We drove over to look at them and take one out for a test drive. We noticed a number of issues that would eventually put us off and keep us from buying the Insight:

  1. Size. The car was cramped to drive in and to ride in on the drivers side. The back seat was almost non-existent once the front seats had been pushed back.
  2. Interior Cheap Materials. The interior of the car was cheap, with plastic everywhere. And when I say plastic I mean the slick, cheap-feeling kind you find on toys at the dollar store. Seriously. The exterior fit and finish was adequate and the engine and drive train were like little jewels under the hood. Too bad I don't drive strapped to the outside of a vehicle.
  3. Expensive. Once the dealership started adding in this and that fee, and once we started asking for very basic features like floor mats, then the cost went well past $20,000 into the price range of the Prius.
  4. Treatment. We were treated poorly at the dealership. Firstly, they couldn't offer us a car note lower than 6%, even though we were going to put 20% as a down payment. We had and continue to have an excellent credit rating. Secondly, they were very pushy that we buy the car right then. Even though we put a deposit on a car, we were told that if we didn't buy the car right then and there the car would probably be sold by the time we got back on Monday. Keep in mind this was Saturday, and we wanted to get a better loan at 3.5% from our credit union. By the time we were done at Classic Honda that day, we were done with Classic Honda.
The next day, a Sunday, the wife and I drove back up to West Colonial, but instead of stopping at Classic Honda we drove past them to the Toyota of Orlando dealership right down the street from them. We looked at the Prius' they had on the lot, talked to their salespeople, drove one around, and by the time all was said and done we drove off the lot with a 2009 Prius.

Everything that Classic Honda did to made us angry wasn't repeated at Toyota of Orlando. Toyota of Orlando was courteous throughout the entire process, the Prius was competitively priced compared to the Insight and was a much better car to drive and ride in, and we got a really good loan at a very low interest rate. Two years later we still feel we bought the better car, and we intend to purchase another Prius, or something close to it. But not a Honda Insight.

What killed the Honda deal for us was the treatment by the Honda dealership.

I drove back to Classic Honda in my new Prius to get my deposit back. Revenge never tasted so sweet.


  1. Good information..thank you for educating us..

  2. I like the sense of revenge in this post. You should email this post to that classic honda dealer. Dont get angry get even.


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