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Price comparison: 2010 Toyota Prius and Honda Insight

When Honda first launched the 2010 Insight hybrid, I compared its price to the 2009 Toyota Prius because the 2010 was not yet available. Honda has been pitching the Insight as a more affordable hybrid, but how much do you save? Not much, I then concluded. But was it a fair comparison, since the 2009 Prius was in its’s final months and the Insight was an all-new model?

Now the 2010 Prius has arrived at dealers, so a fairer comparison is possible. The standard Prius vs. Insight price comparison similarly loads up both models, fitting nav to both and Package III to the Prius. Results: before adjusting for remaining feature differences, the Insight EX is $1,780 less at MSRP and $1,231 less at invoice. Our feature value adjustment: about $1,400.

Compare base cars with no options, and a $2,292 price difference is almosts exactly offset by a $2,300 feature difference. Coincidence? Not likely. It’s almost as if Toyota is using the same feature values as we are.

When all is said and done, Toyota has priced the all-new Prius very close to the Insight once feature differences are accounted for. Some magazine reviews have favored the Insight, saying it drives more like a normal car. But let’s face it, neither provides a good driving experience by conventional car standards. In the Prius’s favor: it looks better, has a nicer interior, is much roomier, and gets better fuel economy.

So after comparing the Insight to the 2010 Prius, I’m still not seeing the value in Honda’s supposed value hybrid.