June 14, 2010
On the second Sunday of every month, there's a mammoth swap meet at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Thinking that maybe we'd buy something bigger than a breadbox (and I have bought things like 1950s breadboxes there), my husband and I went there in the Insight. The car's folding rear seats, yielding 31.5 cubic feet of cargo-hauling space, could let us bring home something that wouldn't fit in our other cars, which are short on carrying capacity.
But as luck would have it, there was nothing we wanted to buy -- big or small. After shopping, we took the greener-than-green Insight to a nearby Pasadena landmark of the arts and crafts movement: the Gamble House, built in 1908 by architects Greene and Greene. It fits right in, don't you think?
February 12, 2010
I fit the basic profile of a hybrid car owner. I live in Santa Monica. I shop at Trader Joe's, the farmers market and occasionally Whole Foods. I bring my own cloth grocery bags. I buy organic milk. I voted for... well, you get the idea.
I have in the past recommended to friends and family members that they might be happy with a Prius. But not for the obvious reasons. For the hatchback thing.
The main reason I like our 2010 Honda Insight, for example, is that it's a hatchback. No, there's not enough space back here for a large dog and luggage for a family of four. But groceries for four? No problem, and the lightweight liftgate, low liftover and wide opening make them very easy to load.
Here's a thought: Ninety percent of the minute-to-minute satisfaction Insight and Prius owners get from their cars is related to their hatchback body style and its inherent practicality. Once we get past the initial thrill of EPA ratings, American acceptance of hybrids has little to do with fuel economy and plenty to do with a pent-up desire for hatchbacks.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor
November 20, 2009
High-speed pizza delivery? Not quite. But with its flat load floor and wide hatch, the 2010 Honda Insight was the perfect pick for delivering 37 pizzas to a local shelter for homeless and at-risk teens.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant
November 16, 2009
We all know the 2010 Honda Insight has fold-down seats and can carry loads of cargo.
This weekend I went to the supermarket and piled my bags into the back. Even though this car does not have a power-operated rear hatch, it is easy to close.
I'm not very tall but I have no problem reaching the top of the open door to pull it shut. I also appreciate that the door is light and I don't have to struggle to swoop it down.
I'm starting to like this car more and more.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
November 13, 2009
OK, I'm back from my six-day trip to Morro Bay and Berkeley and ready to talk. First thing: No one should buy the Insight as a road trip car.
But if you're considering the Insight as a commuter car, and it will be the only vehicle at your disposal for an occasional road trip, you will survive, even if you have a kid under 4. Probably.
November 02, 2009
I continue to bemoan the fact station wagons got a bad rap. They clearly represent the most flexible and useful configuration you can get in a sedan-sized footprint, and so I'm sorry automakers have to disguise their designs to deliver that utility without calling their cars wagons.
Consider the Honda Insight. Everybody talks about its hybrid powertrain but look at the cargo area covered by the rear hatch. Especially with the rear seatbacks flipped down flat, the space is cavernous. Though the Insight is a compact car, it can accommodate surprisingly voluminous loads. Which is precisely the genius of the station wagon roofline. And the Insight even presses that boundary. Take out just a couple degrees of down angle in the roofline's profile and you'd have a station wagon shape, pure and simple.
And why not, I say? There's already a vertical glass element in the hatch. Too bad we can't just be honest and have the Insight be a really efficient little wagon.
It IS plenty efficient, too, but you'd expect that. Starting with a fresh fill-up and then easing into the slow-and-go freeway traffic of my morning commute, I worked the "average mpg" readout up to 53-plus, using light throttle when acceleration was necessary and maintaining momentum when possible. With the traffic-imposed limit of about 55 mph, I was using less fuel than I would have on a motorcycle.
And with all that space!
Kevin Smith, Editorial Director, @ 7825 miles