New Honda Hybrid: "to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer"

https://i0.wp.com/img.alibaba.com/photo/10245424/Table_Top_Meat_Slicer_Ham_Slicer_.jpg?resize=177%2C177Don’t get me wrong, I like new technology, and improved fuel economy too, but I just had to show this auto review excerpt from the Sunday Times because, well, it’s just so darn funny.

BTW to the potential hate mail senders, I drive an electric car myself to/from work most days. It costs me about five cents a mile to operate.

Sure, with any combo gas-electric technology, you likely won’t get the same performance, but I don’t have these sorts of problems alluded to in the article. – Anthony

(h/t to Kate at SDA)

Times Online Logo 222 x 25

May 17, 2009

Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid

Honda Insight

Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

The biggest problem, and it’s taken me a while to work this out, because all the other problems are so vast and so cancerous, is the gearbox. For reasons known only to itself, Honda has fitted the Insight with something called constantly variable transmission (CVT).

It doesn’t work. Put your foot down in a normal car and the revs climb in tandem with the speed. In a CVT car, the revs spool up quickly and then the speed rises to match them. It feels like the clutch is slipping. It feels horrid.

And the sound is worse. The Honda’s petrol engine is a much-shaved, built-for-economy, low-friction 1.3 that, at full chat, makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer.

So you’re sitting there with the engine screaming its head off, and your ears bleeding, and you’re doing only 23mph because that’s about the top speed, and you’re thinking things can’t get any worse, and then they do because you run over a small piece of grit.

Because the Honda has two motors, one that runs on petrol and one that runs on batteries, it is more expensive to make than a car that has one. But since the whole point of this car is that it could be sold for less than Toyota’s Smugmobile, the engineers have plainly peeled the suspension components to the bone. The result is a ride that beggars belief.

There’s more. Normally, Hondas feel as though they have been screwed together by eye surgeons. This one, however, feels as if it’s been made from steel so thin, you could read through it. And the seats, finished in pleblon, are designed specifically, it seems, to ruin your skeleton. This is hairy-shirted eco-ism at its very worst.

Please click to read the rest of the article at the Times Online

214 thoughts on “New Honda Hybrid: "to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer"

  1. In the US market, only three 4-seat cars — all of them hybrids — get 35 mpg or better:
    Toyota Prius starts at $21,000
    Honda Insight starts at $19,800
    Ford Fusion hybrid starts at $27,995
    Somewhere, Honda and Toyota lobbyists are smiling.
    In case you had any glimmer of doubt, you can now be certain that Ford, GM and Chrysler will not exist as independent companies in 2016.

  2. Car and driver reaches a different conclusion.
    Among other things:

    For the record, the Insight drives like a Honda, with tight suspension motions, a firm ride, well-connected steering, and a no-fat musculature. Interior sound levels are mild and well controlled, especially at freeway speeds. Cockpit space is generous for two in front, a bit tight on the knees in back if front occupants are unwilling to compromise on legroom. The rear bench is high, firm, and exceptionally well shaped for lumbar support.

  3. WOW!, I’m going to have to test drive one. Can it really be this bad?
    A CVT type of transmission is very hard to get used to, but really this is the type of car that will be sold with the new mileage standards.
    Get used to it? Never!

  4. FYI Link to Times Online doesn’t seem to work.
    Very funny Mr. Clarkson. Probably not far from the truth, either. I was (am) amazed at just how SMALL the Insight is. The Fit looks bigger!
    It’s really a shame for the internal combustion engine to be associated with such a Biblically terrible car.
    REPLY: link fixed, thanks- A

  5. When comparing prices, I think that Toyota and Honda are subsidizing prices to sell the dang things. Ford is probably closer to what theirs is worth, not that it matters.

  6. Jeremy Clarkson is always a good read and always funny.
    Why we can’t get the 55 mpg diesel BMW in the US is beyond me. Fragile eco-weenie crapbox or Beemer? No contest.

  7. I have been driving a Toyota 2008 Prius for a work car for 1.5 years, 18000 miles, In mostly city driving in Phoenix, AZ, I get 48-50 miles per gallon. It seats 4 people comfortably, has room behind the rear seat for 4 sets of golf clubs, and stays comfortably cool in out 110 degree temperatures. I have no problems with this car. It is really a great auto for city driving as well as 2 hour drives to Tucson on occasion, and gets over 50 miles per gallon at 75 miles per hour to Tucson and back.

  8. My wife and I own an older Honda Insight – the lightweight all aluminum 2 seater. It gets fantastic mileage (around 90 mpg (canadian gallons)). The last time we put gas in the thing was sometime in March, and it’s down to half a tank now. Maybe not the peppiest car on the block, but in city driving it’s great, and runs for pennies a mile. The new Insight is loads heavier and basically seems like a re-fitted civic in hybrid trappings. The hybrid system is not as clever as the older Insight’s was either, and from the sound of Clarkson’s review, not all that smooth. That’s a shame.
    You have to take Clarkson with a grain of salt. I’ve been driving a car with a CVT for some time now (a Saturn ION Quad Coupe) and it’s very nimble, responsive, and gets excellent highway mileage (in the 40 mpg range). Clarkson is used to driving fast cars with manual transmissions (he even hates flap-paddle shifting) so any kind of automatic transmission is going to feel slushy and distant to him.
    Don’t get me wrong – I love watching Mr. Clarkson, but he is prone to exaggeration for the sake of comic effect. 🙂
    I’ve not driven the new Insight — we looked at one but decided to pass on it for one simple reason — there are no options for a sunroof or leather seats. Also, the mileage isn’t that great – my non-hybrid Saturn is within talking distance of it’s fuel economy and I’m a heavy-footed driver, so there didn’t seem to be any urgent need to switch cars at this point in time. There was no essential “selling feature”.
    We’ll give the new Prius a look when it comes out – it has better mileage, and is available with leather and sunroof. A sunroof can save you from running the air conditioning on all but the hottest days, saving even more money.

  9. Clarkson knows his cars. He isnt very good at predicting how well cars will sell the states though. I wouldnt be suprised if this pile of rubbish sells great in the US.
    I can state one example, all the men of top gear loved the Monaro, named it the best muscle car money can buy. GM brought it to the US as the rebadged Pontiac GTO. The car only lasted 3 years here in the states and had misrable sales.
    They are great as used cars though, im aiming one myself….who knows this could be the last generation of V8 cars if the green hysteria continues. They wont rest till we are all driving eco-boxes that get double the MPG of the average car, yet make about 1/4th the HP.

  10. I actually drive Honda’s first iteration of the Insight (the two-seater) and love it. It’s a manual transmission, however, and I suspect that a lot of the problems they have with the newer version relates to the CVT. In my opinion, most if not all of the fuel economy gains that politicians and environmentalists want Detroit to acheive could be made if consumers would just be willing to learn to drive a stick shift and drive up the demand for manual transmissions. When I first bought my car, Honda offered a choice between an automatic or manual transmission, and even the CVT which is noticably more efficient than a standard automatic couldn’t match the fuel economy of the manual transmission. Even after driving the car about 100,000 miles I can still get about 75-80 mpg on a level freeway on a warm, dry day. (Cold and rainy weather drop it down to about 65 and a stiff headwind reallly can cut into the mpg.)

  11. 23 MPH!? You can go even faster on a bicycle.
    Actually I would think a bicycle with a small quick-charging capacitor that runs a motor assist that runs on electricity from the capacitor that gets it from pedeling would be a better idea, everyone would have strong legs too. Let’s also add a CO2 pumper so we pump plant food into the atmosphere.

  12. Mr Clarkson has long been able to turn a fine phrase, but I don’t know where he got “ham slicer” from, the things are always called “bacon slicers”.
    When I was growing up the little shop in the next village had a bacon slicer, a fine thing finished in red enamel with a handle the operator had to wind furiously. It was used for four different products: raw smoked bacon, raw unsmoked bacon (always known as “green” bacon in those days), cooked luncheon meat (a high-fat cooked sausage-type product made predominantly from pig skin from the snout, ear and scrotal region) and corned beef. No one gave a moment’s thought to any risk from slicing raw bacon and then cooked meat on the same slicer and no one ever became ill as a result. Oh how times have changed.

  13. It should be written that every member of Congress, every member of their staff, every member of the office of the Presidency, and the entire federal government must never ride or drive any car that does not get the CAFE standard.
    Just think if Obama used armored clown cars, they could pack a dozen into one transporter, using egg crate packaging.
    I just read a report, the hybrids get nowhere near the advertised MPG in real world use.
    And while we are at it, make sure no member of government has any house of over oh say 800 square feet. And yes, they get only one.
    Try and repeal f=ma and see where you get.

  14. When comparing prices, I think that Toyota and Honda are subsidizing prices to sell the dang things.

    Toyota’s making money on the Prius, though I’m not sure how long it will take them to pay off the research investment.

    Why we can’t get the 55 mpg diesel BMW in the US is beyond me.

    The switch to low-sulfate diesel in the US is going to help diesel makers meet US emissions standards.
    Remember though that in terms of CO2 output burning a gallon of diesel emits about 20% more than burning a gallon of gasoline, due to the higher density of hydrocarbons in diesel.

    Fragile eco-weenie crapbox or Beemer? No contest.

    Might depend on your budget …

  15. The Times is on the buy American train, even if the “American” is actually built in Mexico or Canada.

  16. It has an indicator that shows leaves growing as you ease off the gas? Isn’t that backwards? Leaves *eat* CO2, so they should grow when you put your foot through the floor, shouldn’t they?

  17. Last Saturday I solved the problem of what car to buy, I bought a 2000 Astro Van. Seats plenty, loads of room and I have recycled on a major scale. My guess is that I will not ever buy a new car again. Certainly at $5 per gallon it would take me forever to recover the cost of a $20,000 micro car. Maybe if $10 is achieved by our government I will rebuild my 1971 Alfa Romeo GTV.

  18. Xavier Itzmann (15:34:53) :
    In the US market, only three 4-seat cars — all of them hybrids — get 35 mpg or better:

    Hmm, my 2005 Toyota Matrix gets about 35 highway. It’s a manual.

  19. Absolutely hilarious review! Gotta test drive one just to see how close the analogies come to reality.

  20. I love watching Top Gear, but it’s not a car show, it’s a comedy show that happens to involve cars. It’s heavily scripted and the situations are contrived to get a laugh.
    I treat Clarkson’s “review” like the show. Take it as comedy and not a review of the car.

  21. FatBigot (16:15:25) :
    Mr Clarkson has long been able to turn a fine phrase, but I don’t know where he got “ham slicer” from, the things are always called “bacon slicers”.

    In my experience it’s just called a “slicer”, since you can put almost any kind of meat on it. When I worked in fast food as a kid we used it to slice Roast Beef for the Roy Rogers Roast Beef sandwiches. So how about we just call it a “meat slicer”.

  22. I have a car with a CVT and don’t have any problem with the performance, but then it’s a Nissan Murano with something like 265 hp. It was weird at first when you’re expecting the car to hit a shift point and it just keeps on going.

  23. If you want to know what the new American automobile fleet will look like in a few years, travel down to Cuba and take a look around. That’s what is going to happen here in the USofA. Many of us will just keep our old vehicles on the road. If they increase the cost of keeping our old vehicles, then we will just go without other consumer goods. I’ll save my money for gas or whatever other taxes they dream up.

  24. Just imagine to deal with such a lot of batteries. If you don´t use them a certain time they just die. Everything related to GWrs. its a nonsense.

  25. One of the the comments to the article read:
    “Electricity is the way – and new battery technology will soon provide 1000 Ks of range.”
    Presuming the commenter meant 1000 kilometers, yep, good luck with that. Approximately 600 miles, given the current state (and soon-to-be future) of battery tech, which *might* now yield 40 miles, maybe 100 miles on a REALLY good day.
    But, SOON …

  26. Anthony, just wondering if you have driven in heavy rain like we get in summer here in Florida, you know 3-5 inches in a short time, street flooding and all. Also, how would your parked car handle hurricane winds?
    Another concern I have is about insurance. In order to meet the new mpg standards proposed, cars will have to shed a lot of steel. Let’s follow that line of thought. Will there be more injuries even in low speed accidents? Will the injuries be more severe in medium speed accidents? No doubt there will more fatalities in higher speed accidents. Damage to the vehicles will be much greater at all speeds. Will the insurance companies take this lying down? No way. They will undoubtably be paying out much more in claims and will raise rates accordingly. The point being whatever savings you may realize in fuel you will probably lose in insurance premiums, medical co-pays and car repairs, all the time putting yourself in greater danger. I’ll stick with my rear wheel drive, solid as a rock, long wheel based, wide stanced big ass Mercury Marquis. Holds six comfortably, rides smooth as silk, plows through flooded streets and gets 30 mpg at 70 mph.

  27. We’ll give the new Prius a look when it comes out – it has better mileage, and is available with leather and sunroof. A sunroof can save you from running the air conditioning on all but the hottest days, saving even more money.

    There’s also an option for a solar-powered (PV on the roof, apparently) ventilation system for hot days. Sunroof’s great, unless you’re parked and want to keep thieves out. Sounds like a gimmick to me but being able to lock up and return to a reasonably cool car in summer, if you can’t find shade, sounds nice.

    Hmm, my 2005 Toyota Matrix gets about 35 highway. It’s a manual.

    Yeah, highway. The comment you replied to is undoubtably for the EPA *combined* estimate, which likely be 30-ish at best.
    New Prius EPA combined mileage is 50.

    The Times is on the buy American train, even if the “American” is actually built in Mexico or Canada.

    Cornfed … I doubt if the UK Sunday Times would be on the “buy American” train …

  28. I have no time for eco-friendly anything.
    The basic desire of cleanliness and economy are the only true drivers. I don’t buy an efficent automobile because it is “green”, but because it saves me money.

  29. Chuck Rushton @16:52:19
    Also, I am looking forward to the sudden shock !! horror !! when, five years after buyiong the “PIUS”, these folks have to buy a new set of batteries!!!

  30. The Insight also has a dashboard that glows green as fuel efficiency climbs.
    My point:
    If CO2 is promotes plant growth, would it not be more accurate for Honda to make the dashboard glow green when fuel efficiency goes down, i.e. more CO2 emmissions = more plant growth.
    I posted on this a few hours ago…
    http://algorelied.com/?p=1741
    The Ford Fusion hybrid also has it backwards. It has a digital green leafy vine that grows on the dashboard display as fuel efficiency goes up.
    Sometimes it seems we live in a world where up is down, where right is wrong, and where truth is fiction.

  31. I happen to like the CVT in my jeep especially on cruise control, when more power is needed say on a hill the engine just pulls, no dropping a gear.
    ” In the Insight you are constantly reminded, not only by the idiotic dashboard, which shows leaves growing on a tree when you ease off the throttle ” Does the dash really do that, hilarious, doesn’t the tree need C02 and the more there is the better it grows.

  32. Note to non-USA readers: When your read something such as “35 MPG in the US”, remember that a US gallon is only 80% of an Imperial gallon! So, the numbers are better than you think.

  33. I believe the new VW TDI turbo diesel gets over 35 mpg and you don’t have to deal with any of the hybrid nonsense.

  34. A friend of mine owns a 2006 Prius. She said that she always loved the car but that she now is convinced that she had to sell the car because she said it was making her sick. She went to an electronics shop and had the car tested with a Gauss meter as she drove around. The meter maxed out at over 10 Mg. The EPA states that the maximum EM radiation for prolinged exposure should only be 1 Mg. My friend contacted Toyota and found out that in their 2009 model Prius they began adding shielding to their car.
    I haven’t heard of others getting sick from their Hybrid, but if you add up all the EMF you are exposed to with cell phones, computers, and electronics, why add to this with EM radiation in your car.

  35. Fun article, Clarkson is a good writer:

    The nickel for the battery has to come from somewhere. Canada, usually. It has to be shipped to Japan, not on a sailing boat, I presume. And then it must be converted, not in a tree house, into a battery, and then that battery must be transported, not on an ox cart, to the Insight production plant in Suzuka. And then the finished car has to be shipped, not by Thor Heyerdahl, to Britain, where it can be transported, not by wind, to the home of a man with a beard who thinks he’s doing the world a favour.

    I just bought Mrs. Smokey a new Camry, with the 268 horsepower, 23 mpg engine. We are very happy with the car, and wouldn’t trade it for the 4-cylinder wimpmobile, which gets exactly one mpg better mileage.
    FatBigot: You should experience the standard American hot dog, made with the very finest pig snouts, lips and sphincters. Or the bologna, which is made with exactly the same ingredients, only it’s bigger. Compared with Spam, they’re both low fat diet foods.

  36. Anthony, thanks for posting the Clarkson article. I’ve seen him on Top Gear and found him to be mildly amusing, but I was not aware of his written reviews. The one you posted is hilarious, but so are others he’s written. (Check out the one on the C6 Corvette, for example.) I’m a car guy, and read many car magazines and reviews, but rarely do the articles show the wit, humor and irreverence of Clarkson. I’ll enjoy browsing his archives.

  37. OT :
    didn’t know how else to get this to your attention :
    received the following email :
    *********************************************************************************
    Dear steven,
    In three days, the Environmental Protection Agency will be holding a public hearing in Seattle on whether greenhouse gases should be considered a dangerous pollutant.
    There are only two of these public hearings across the country. This is a crucial opportunity to support the reduction of the greenhouse gases that are having a dangerous impact on our planet.
    Fellow activists and allies are gathering at the hearing site to show the EPA that we support solutions to the climate crisis.
    We need your voice. Will you join us for this important event?
    Here are the details:
    Bell Harbor Convention Center
    2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66
    Seattle, WA 98121
    Thursday, May 21st, 12:00 PM noon
    Please RSVP to join us now.
    The EPA can make progress on solutions to the climate crisis. But they need to know that you support this effort.
    I hope you can join us on Thursday and support solutions to the climate crisis.
    Thanks,
    Steve Bouchard
    Campaign Manager
    repower America
    *********************************************************************************
    and it got me to thinking, I have been getting several of these ever since using “their” technology to send my CO2 feelings to the national media. How about a WUWT “bit bucket” where we could forward such stuff for all to see and then after, say, 30 days the file gets auto deleted ?
    as to the event itself, I’m sked to work that day and I can’t change it at this late date, just got the email today – May 19 – Dang ! I would very much like to show up and file a report.
    Steptoe Fan

  38. The whole point about the “Pious” and any other Green automobile is expressed completely by the greeny dashboard displays: It makes the owner feel good. That’s the whole marketing strategy; it doesn’t actually do anything.

  39. Approximately 600 miles, given the current state (and soon-to-be future) of battery tech, which *might* now yield 40 miles, maybe 100 miles on a REALLY good day.

    The new Telsa being introduced is claimed to get about 300 miles on a charge.

    Also, I am looking forward to the sudden shock !! horror !! when, five years after buyiong the “PIUS”, these folks have to buy a new set of batteries!!!

    They guarantee it for 10 years/150,000 miles in California-compliant states. 8/100,000 in other states.
    From an automotive site:

    There’s more than a few 1st gen Prius that are in the quarter million mile club, that are still running like trains, and there’s even a Gen 1 Prius taxi in Victoria B.C. that’s over 300,000 with no battery related problems. And just in case you’re interested, the record is over 400,000 miles for a Prius.

  40. Mike Abbott (17:21:59) :
    Watch his Top Gear TV program where he drives to the Magnetic North Pole.
    Sorry, don’t have a link but google it.
    It’s got it all .. Arctic, SUV, Canada! No Polar Bearies tho.

  41. Hey Jeez:
    For Ed…
    Honda (atmosphere) Insight 1.3
    Reply: Eu não entendo, mas responder em Inglês. ~ ctm aka jeez

  42. Jeff Alberts (16:49:40) :
    Back in the 60’s we called it a “meat slicer”…. when I was too young to actually be doing that sort of thing the neighborhood deli guys hired me to help on sundays…. Second Sunday on the job, yep, I sliced part of my thumb off. The deli guy who hired me handed me a towel, finished the slicing, and wrapped my thumb slice in with the bologna. Don’t know why, but they kept me on the job anyway.
    dhogaza:
    lighten up and get a sense of humor.
    jeez…. thanks for the customer complaint letter.
    Anthony: thanks for this thread. I howled. I needed it. I’m grading final exams, essays and term papers and really, really, really needed a spot of brightness.
    And yes, I gotta test drive that thing for myself.

  43. I am securely surrounded by two tons of steel and comfortably ensconced on a leather seat in a 23-year-old Mercedes diesel. I get 36 mpg Imperial (30 mpg U.S.) on the highway. My ‘carbon footprint’, apart from being a ‘so what’, is low because all the CO2 used to build my car has now been absorbed by the forest. Besides, when I am done with it, it can be recycled since it isn’t full of plastic. Not to mention that it cost me (used) half the price of a new Smart “car” and it will almost certainly last longer, even giving the Smart a 17-year head start! No hybrids for this chap.

  44. I gave the Toyota Prius serious consideration when I was looking for a new car a few years ago. After doing some fuel consumption calculations, I came to the conclusion that it didn’t make economical sense given my annual mileage.
    I’ll give hybrids another look the next time I am looking for a new car but, like before, the economics have to make sense.

  45. Was going to say I haven’t laughed so hard since I fell in a pit of snakes, but Smokey has given Mr. Clarkson a run for his money.
    Those observing that the more CO2 a car produces the more plant life is fertilized – are heretics of such magnitude as to be candidates for a slicer sit down themselves. But in serial hybrids (Chevy Volt) where the ICE only kicks in to re-up the battery – a display with competing green vines might be interesting: one vine for “EV Mode,” another for “CO2 Fertility Mode.” Or should it be “Alarmist vs. Skeptic” modes?

  46. Try putting 3 car seats in the back for 3 kids under 5 and then load all your stuff for a week visit at Grandma’s house. Over the river and through the woods? Not possible!

  47. dhogaza (16:19:42) :
    “Remember though that in terms of CO2 output burning a gallon of diesel emits about 20% more than burning a gallon of gasoline, due to the higher density of hydrocarbons in diesel.”
    Excellent then we should all convert to diesel powers cars to do our bit helping plants to grow better in our cooling climate. 🙂

  48. Jeez: Sorry
    Ed Berry……….
    When Will El-Viejo go back to Hell???
    Honda (Atmospheric) Insights 1.3

  49. My BMW 320d gets better economy, better acceleration, and looks and feels better than a Prious or any of it’s imitators.

  50. I bought one of the first Honda Civic hybrids. I have driven it 170,000 miles in a little less than 7 years. I drive it like an old lady and average about 50mpg, except when I drive fast, then it isn’t using the hybrid feature and it doesn’t do that well.
    The CVT is great, although I should have waited to get the manual. Like all automatics, it needed a $300 service at about 150,000 miles, but no replacement. Best feature is it turning engine off at stoplights. And the regenerative braking saved my having to touch the brakes until 155,000 miles. And it doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard like the Prius. No leaves on the dashboard, just some trip meters with fuel economy.
    For anyone who cares, although I thoroughly enjoyed the review of the Insight, there are not two motors, just an electric motor on the same crankshaft as the gasoline motor. And there is no distinct noise from the electric motor or power control unit. The only time you would notice a different noise from a gas only Civic engine would be when you run out of fuel and can hear the high speed wind and bearing noise without the combustion noise.

  51. The whole point about the “Pious” and any other Green automobile is expressed completely by the greeny dashboard displays: It makes the owner feel good.

    The State Motor Pool of Oregon has had 1st and 2nd generations long enough to do some cost comparisons with comparable standard 4-door compact sedans over 100,000 miles of operation.
    They’ve found they’ve been saving considerable money with the Prius, even factoring in the higher initial cost of purchase. One reason was lower maintenance.
    I guess you’re right though – saving money would make most people feel good. Don’t knock it until you try it!
    Personally I’m driving an 1990 acura integra with 235,000 miles on it. When I replace it, hopefully there will be a much wider range of high mileage options available for me to purchase.

  52. Someone mentioned Toyota and Honda having a head start….does not matter, US Government Motors is going to get $65bl more taxpayer money to build it’s fleet. I’ll never buy a GM or Chrysler from the Government, I’ll walk first.

  53. bill-tb says:

    I just read a report, the hybrids get nowhere near the advertised MPG in real world use.

    It is true that the original way that the EPA was computing mileage tended to overestimate the mileage obtained in the real world for a lot of cars, with hybrids being overestimated somewhat more than average. However, the new EPA estimates that are supposed to be more representative of real world conditions are pretty good. I think they estimate the Prius at 46 or 47 mpg overall, which is about exactly what I am getting. And, if I lived in a climate with less frigid winters than Rochester (and/or had a longer commute to work so the car had more time to warm up), I would average more than their estimate, since I consistently average above 50mpg in summer but drop down into the low 40s in winter.
    Overall I think that my 2004 Prius is a great car. And, I am not the only one. Consumer Reports survey has consistently found the Prius has the highest customer satisfaction (percentage of owners who say they would buy it again) of ANY car.

  54. My BMW 320d gets better economy, better acceleration, and looks and feels better than a Prious or any of it’s imitators.

    EPA equivalent for this car is very good at 48 MPG combined.
    However, in terms of carbon emissions, it’s more like 38 MPG combined compared to a gasoline engine, not that close to the 50 MPG combined the Prius 3 is rated at.
    Looks, of course, are a matter of personal taste.

  55. And… my two cents as usual:
    87 Daytona Shelby, 35+ MPG highway (yes, US gallons, yes, US miles), mid 20s in the city, unless I’m doing those 12 second quarters. Power AND economy 22 years ago.
    But I suspect my Challenger R/T, when (if) I get it, will not be an economy car. I happen to like power AND security, not tin can crumple-mobiles.
    My ex-girlfriend’s dad had a first gen Insight… he rolled it doing a low speed u-turn on a gravel road. Guess how likely I am to ever get in one?

  56. dhogaza (16:19:42)
    Toyota’s making money on the Prius, though I’m not sure how long it will take them to pay off the research investment.
    Everything I’ve seen in the automotive and financial press says that at best Toyota made money on the Prius when demand spiked briefly last summer when gas topped $4/gal., but have lost money the rest of the time. They’ve had to cut the price on the new one to bring it closer to the Honda’s price point, so the margins will be worse.
    dhogaza (17:24:20) :
    The new Telsa being introduced is claimed to get about 300 miles on a charge.
    The new Tesla is mostly vaporware at this point, raising the amount of capital necessary to ramp up from the mostly hand built methods of the first one to production capacity large enough to bring the new one in at a competitive price looks to be highly problematic, when Toyota is having a hard time generating profits with their much more highly developed technology.
    There’s more than a few 1st gen Prius that are in the quarter million mile club, that are still running like trains, and there’s even a Gen 1 Prius taxi in Victoria B.C. that’s over 300,000 with no battery related problems. And just in case you’re interested, the record is over 400,000 miles for a Prius.
    Some years ago I saw a story about one of the light bulbs from Edison’s earliest production that had been burning continuously in an old stairwell for about eighty years. A remarkable performance of technology, but I wouldn’t base my prediction of the lifespan of the bulb in my desk lamp on it. If my experience with modern technological devices that rely on sophisticated electronics and deep cycle batteries is any where close to typical, expecting bulletproof reliability from these things is like drawing four cards in a poker hand and expecting to fill a royal flush.

  57. For perspective, unless already mentioned, the prius driving around a track at its best speed followed behind by a bmw m3 comsumed MORE gallons per mile that the M3. FACT!

  58. Joel Shore,
    You’re right about the CR rating for the Pius [Oops… the Prius]. But if I only touch the CO2 emission generator pedal on Mrs. Smokey’s 268 HP Camry, I can leave any Prius ever made way back in the dust — looking like they’re powered by hamsters in an exercise wheel.
    I admire people who think they’re actually saving the planet by buying a Prius; they’re so cute. But as for me… give me power!! And the CO2 I’m donating to the atmosphere is simply another added benefit.
    It’s all good!

  59. The White House will be flying 747s over Manhattan to make sure that no one is wasting fuel.

  60. For anyone who cares, although I thoroughly enjoyed the review of the Insight, there are not two motors, just an electric motor on the same crankshaft as the gasoline motor.

    Umm, that sure sounds like two motors to me. Just a common drive train.

  61. A friend of mine was looking at a Prius, and mentioned to me that, with leather, sunroof, etc, it was priced in the high 20’s.
    I had just purchased a Hyundai Sonata 4cyl, I think (24/33) was the rating. My price: $14,975, and it has a LOT of features, tho not leather and sunroof in this model.
    After she looked it over, she bought the exact same car as mine, and didn’t need leather or sunroof. Why? Because it was such a tremendous value, it is easily appreciated for what it does have. And I checked the first several tanks and averaged ~500 miles on 17 gallons (combined city/hwy) (so almost 30 mpg combined)
    It’s important to note that Hyundai has come a long way. This car has 60k in just 2 years, and runs like a swiss watch. The paint is the only weakness I’m noticing. It seats 5, has adequate power (170bhp), and is more attractive and roomier than the prius. It has power windows/mirrors, air, tilt, cruise, auto. Not everything, but very nice.
    Bottom line, it’s about value: The Prius (at ~50 combined) would go 100K miles on 2000 gal of fuel. My car would need 3333 gal, or 1333 more gallons of fuel for the same distance. At $4/gal, that’s $5332 more in fuel. But the Prius (they wanted) cost 12k more. Around here, the stripped model prius was ~$22,500. ($7500 more than my car) And that’s the payback at $4/gal? What is that, 150k miles to break even?
    Hmmmm….Maybe I should take another look at that new mustang…. 🙂

  62. “James (19:18:40) :
    For perspective, unless already mentioned, the prius driving around a track at its best speed followed behind by a bmw m3 comsumed MORE gallons per mile that the M3. FACT!”
    That was a Top Gear stunt. The cars were driven as hard as possible, the M3 won of course. All cars in the UK have their best fule rating listed at a constant 56MPH (Highway).

  63. Peter (19:13:48),
    Thanx for pointing out that really great restaurant review.
    I liked it!

  64. Dave Wendt says:

    Everything I’ve seen in the automotive and financial press says that at best Toyota made money on the Prius when demand spiked briefly last summer when gas topped $4/gal., but have lost money the rest of the time.

    While I don’t know what the financials are on it for Toyota, I think I should mention that demand has outstripped supply on the gen-2 Prius pretty much constantly since it was introduced in October 2003. I waited 7 months for mine…and there were people reselling them on eBay for more than the list price. (There were also some unscrupulous dealers who loaded them up with useless dealer add-ons and then charged more money…take-it-or-leave-it. Fortunately, the dealership that I bought it from didn’t do that; however, when I gave a half-hearted try to finagle a deal with my dealer since I knew him personally, he said, “Joel, when there is a 6-month waiting list on a car, the only negotiations from the sticker price are up.” Needless to say, I decided sticker price sounded just great.)

    Some years ago I saw a story about one of the light bulbs from Edison’s earliest production that had been burning continuously in an old stairwell for about eighty years. A remarkable performance of technology, but I wouldn’t base my prediction of the lifespan of the bulb in my desk lamp on it.

    True enough…but I think the point is that we have now have enough years of data (the 1st gen Prius having been introduced here in 2001 and I think a couple years earlier in Japan) to say that there has been no big issues so far with battery life even for cars that have racked up quite a bit of mileage.

  65. Very funny review, though through the humor I feel he’s still not a big fan of this car.lol
    City driving, I hear these cars are marvelous. But on constant highway driving? I’m told from a bud who drives a Pruis, they really don’t get much better mileage then a modern efficient hydrocarbon burning car built these days.
    So besides the idle shutting down and using it for stop and start driving, I can’t see any other advantage. It’s kind of like going from horse, to horseless carriage and then to a modern car. Then going back one step to horseless carriage only with more technology involved.
    I’d like to know when a flux capacitor or fission driven vehicle will hit the market?
    Now we’re talking horsepower!hehehe!

  66. Oh yeah, not a big fan of wiki
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission
    But it does say,
    “The amount of free energy contained in nuclear fuel is millions of times the amount of free energy contained in a similar mass of chemical fuel such as gasoline, making nuclear fission a very tempting source of energy”
    Now that’s good MPG! 🙂

  67. My only car is, and since 1996 shall ever be a 1966 Toyota Landcruiser with a Chevy 350 engine, with 2 gas tanks with an overall capacity of 45 gallons. I get maybe 16-18 mpg, and don’t care in the least. The top has been off since 1997 whether the temperature is 100, or -10. I will never sell it, and inheritance will consist of prying the steering wheels off my cold dead fingers. And Anthony, If you ever want to explore real rural Nevada, drop me a line anytime.

  68. I’m all for cleaner environment and all, and I’m really all for saving money. But these cars are too little. I’m on the road a lot and it makes me nervous for the people in those little cars—especially for people in those ‘Smart’ cars. I think Smart is the wrong name for them. I don’t want to come across one that has been in an accident with a semi.
    Look out for your legs :

    On the other hand I do like this one :
    http://images.loqu.com/contents/755/576/image/080909/smart-car-with-monster-truck-wheels/5.jpg

  69. Read this 2008 article about fuel economy of Jeep Chrysler products already on the road in Europe and ask yourself the right questions! For example “What the hell is going on in the USA today and what the added value of hybrid technology is all about?
    I think we don’t need it. Like we don’t need Cap&Trade or EPA Regulations for that fact.
    http://www.contracthireandleasing.com/car-leasing-news/index.php/2008/03/26/jeep-prove-impressive-fuel-economy/

  70. If this is the future of automotive engineering, the future for anyone wanting power in a car is in the past. By that I mean, car enthusiasts will hold on to old cars and fix ’em up, or buy kit cars.
    And if the government tries to make all non-“green”, pedal-driven cars illegal, they’ll make millions of subversives who will drive what they want, regulations be damned.

  71. Peter (19:13:48) :
    A rather pointed and unusual restaurant review from the same paper
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/eating_out/a_a_gill/article6225761.ece
    Well worth reading.

    Indeed. Peter didn’t mention how appropriate this review is here, as this A. A. Gill somehow manages to get from a delicious rant on enviro-whackos to the put-down of a tapas joint in London. Climate Realists here will enjoy this tidbit:

    Environmentalists are the nutters with degrees in composting who sit next to you on the bus. But that’s not their real impediment. The real killer thing is the schadenfreude: the naked, transparent, hand-rubbing glee with which they pass on every shame, sadness and terror. No disaster is too appalling or imminent that the green movement can’t caper and keen with a messianic glee. Take George Monbiot, the Malvolio of the green movement, who, as I’ve pointed out before, would be a geography teacher if it weren’t for the amazing good fortune of imminent apocalypse. Every week, he sifts the minute details of demise, like a jolly self-congratulatory Scrooge. Most of us would rather drown with the polar bears and Bangladesh than get in a lifeboat steered by Monbiot. . .

    /Mr Lynn

  72. Mr Clarkson has long been able to turn a fine phrase, but I don’t know where he got “ham slicer” from, the things are always called “bacon slicers”.
    Well, we do call them that over here. (You are not from the US; the lack of abbreviation after “Mr” gives you away. Also, your decent grammar and usage.) But “bacon slicer” is a new one on me.

  73. The question I have with hydrogen powered cars is: What happens to the water? Scientific American had Alan Alda on PBS praising the Mercedes hydrogen car to the skies. They showed the water dribbling out of the tailpipe onto the roadway. Even here in the Seattle area the temperature can drop below freezing at night and stay there during the day. What will freeway driving be like when all the cars are dribbling water on the frozen pavement? Answer: Very expensive Dodgem Cars. A catch tank? How long before the enviros pass the wastewater through a mass spectrometer and your local TV News Numnums are in a swivet about: “TOXINS FOUND IN HYDROGEN CAR WASTEWATER”?

  74. We drive a 2005 Prius around town. It really works well. Of course it is no sports car but only a kid who never grew up (like Jeremy Clarkson) would expect a fuel efficient hybrid to handle like a BMW M5.

  75. I work for a tier 1 supplier for the transportation industry. My company designs and builds assembly/test machines and turnkey assembly lines for transmissions and engines so we get to see what’s coming down the pike.
    Currently we are working on the GM (now Government Motors) Volt program, which none of us can figure out how it will in any way get GM out of the hole aside from Obama infusing a perpetual flow of taxpayer money to keep it afloat, and heavily subsidizing consumers. We are however willing to accept millions from the public treasury to remain profitable.
    The diabolical part of the equation is Obama….err, GM will be able to utilize billions of monopoly money to compete with Ford who must rely on private capital investment. I really don’t think most people understand just what it takes to go from concept to production.
    Basically we are witnessing the formation of automotive version of AmTrak.

  76. I’ve owned a Toyota Camery Hybrid (4-door) for three years. It seats five. I’m getting on average 35 – 37 mpg around town and 32 on the hiway. It handles well, has excellent acceleration, and to date, has required no maintenance other than the normal routine oil changes and system check-ups. The sound system is pretty decent too. My wife and I are very pleased with the car and wouldn’t hesitate in buying another when we wear this one out.

  77. One size does not fit all,
    I rent the Pious from time to time, can’t say its my type of car but it works although I guess I’m too lead footed to get the mileage claimed
    first off I live in a rural area and my normal “commute” (when it’s not just downstairs in my slippers) is to one of the major airports – all of which are 130+ miles away, no electric car is going to make that anytime soon
    as part of my work involves hauling a few 100lbs of electronics to remote Mt tops on occasion my daily driver is a 3/4 ton 4wd 6speed turbo diesel – with brush guards & winch, chain saw in the back – I also get to drive it for 100’s of miles at times (any job that’s less than 700 miles that requires tools or gear – these days it simpler and sometimes faster to drive than fly) it gets mid 20’s at 75mph unless I’m pulling the 5th wheel (some of my job sites have been so rural that its 70 miles to the nearest motel – anyone ever been to New Effington SD? – makes you wonder what old Effington was like)
    so what’s going to happen, not just odd balls like me but the farmers and ranchers who have a 20mile or better trip to paved road and then its another 100 miles to the nearest store – can’t haul feed or cattle in one of them crumple boxes – and how long will one last off pavement?

  78. Hank, aye, but can you haul a large boat or large Airstream behind it? Can it haul a family of 8? Or will it outrace a muscle car?

  79. It illustrates the commissars contempt for the masses perfectly, they sit on their high thrones of privilege while passing judgement on what the little people need, in the USSR they got the Lada.
    Capitalism gave us an equality never dreamed of by our forebears, socialism and the new world order being hammered into place will give us such crumbs as they see fit, their hubris and arrogance looks exactly the same as the USSR elite to me.
    In the NWO you take what they give you, you do what they tell you, you think what they tell you to think and you keep your mouth shut and look grateful, you can do what you like in the NWO just as long as it fits exactly with what the NWO commissars demand.

  80. @ Xavier Itzmann (15:34:53) :
    “…In case you had any glimmer of doubt, you can now be certain that Ford, GM and Chrysler will not exist as independent companies in 2016.”
    There’s still Harley Davidson. My favorite point, btw, in all this eco-nonsense, is that a technology almost as old as cars still gets double-or-better the mileage as these hybrids, and costs less to make and operate, and that is the motorcycle. When gas prices started going up, I decided I was going to go for it. I purchased a 250cc Yamaha for $4k new.
    On some tanks I get 88 miles per gallon.
    I also happen to ride through West Los Angeles in my daily commute. Which has probably the highest percentage of hybrid vehicles of any local area in the nation. I’m trying to find just the right way to express how much money I spent on a vehicle that is so much simpler than their pieces-of-shit hybrids, that gets better mileage, oh and in California I get to white-line (which means I can move through traffic), so I actually reach my destination faster than they do in So.Cal traffic.
    Just maddening. Europeans get it, if you want economy, you move to two wheels.

  81. “DR (21:12:40) : Basically we are witnessing the formation of automotive version of AmTrak.”
    Ewwwwwww!

  82. Mr Lynn (20:36:59) :
    Peter (19:13:48) :
    <>
    Now there’s “quote-of-the-week” material, and I should know !!!
    The whole quote again –
    “Environmentalists are the nutters with degrees in composting who sit next to you on the bus. But that’s not their real impediment. The real killer thing is the schadenfreude: the naked, transparent, hand-rubbing glee with which they pass on every shame, sadness and terror. No disaster is too appalling or imminent that the green movement can’t caper and keen with a messianic glee. Take George Monbiot, the Malvolio of the green movement, who, as I’ve pointed out before, would be a geography teacher if it weren’t for the amazing good fortune of imminent apocalypse. Every week, he sifts the minute details of demise, like a jolly self-congratulatory Scrooge. Most of us would rather drown with the polar bears and Bangladesh than get in a lifeboat steered by Monbiot. . .””

  83. Oooops – I had extracted – “Most of us would rather drown with the polar bears and Bangladesh than get in a lifeboat steered by Monbiot. . .”
    Gotta stop using those <>s.

  84. After 3 years of daily recharging an electric car’s battery capacity is reduced by at least 80% and very expensive to replace. The battery itself ends up in a landfill where it would take up a lot of space. And think how much energy was used to produce and deliver the battery in the first place. Now imagine the result of millions of electric cars whose batteries have died out after a few short years while the regular combustion engine can soldier on for as long as one wishes. I know which one is more expensive and polluting over a widescale of time and number of purchasers.

  85. Every leftist greenie is talking about the plug-in electrics that are one or two years away.
    I attended a talk two years ago by a researcher from PNL on how the grid will handle them. Looks like only coal is capable of handling the extra loads.
    WInd and solar are unreliable. Nobody will build more hydro or nuclear, but they aren’t really suited to on-demand power, which is what is required when several million people all plug in at night when they get home from work.
    We should begin now getting ready for the brownouts. Buy your own generators! You’ll pay more for the gas, but at least you be able keep your food frozen.
    Half-baked idiots with half-baked ideas are running the country (or is that ruining).

  86. I do not get the hybrid thing. A bunch of complexity to get a few extra miles per gallon. My 2002 kia spectre cost about 10,000. It got about 42-47 miles per gallon on the highway at 70+mph with the air on. Car needed no maintenance in 150,000 miles except oil changes,tires, and one scheduled timing belt change that I did for about $50. The brake pads were even still good at that mileage.
    So i am going to spend 30 to 40,000 for some rinky dink hybrid that is so complex that it will not be repairable in a few years to get about the same mileage as my 10,000 car had.

  87. At least the Fusion is the size of a real car. Only real competition is the Camry. How much are those again? Oh yeah, and with worse mpg.

  88. The Prius felt to me like driving a golf cart. I can only imagine the Honda experience. All I can conclude is that anyone who thinks ANY of these “eco-cars” are in any way comparable to what most Americans have come to consider a “decent ride” has never HAD a decent ride. I can understand how a Lithuanian farmer right off a field tractor might fall in love with the likes of a this new breed of automobile, but not people who’ve experienced options.

  89. Why is it that noboby talks about the roads all these cars drive on — that are paved with asphalt, you know, that fossil carbon petroleum byproduct?
    PS — I drive a pickup truck, frequently on dirt roads. So I’m half and half.
    PPS — then there was the guy who went to parts store and said he wanted a gas cap for his hybrid. The parts dealer said it sounded like a fair trade.
    PPPS — so what if it’s an old joke. It’s still a good one.

  90. Indiana Bones (17:46:21) :
    Are your aware the as CO2 levels increase, the fotosynthetic rate increases? The rate increases up to a 1% (3x current levels) CO2. Feeding the trees is quite accurate.
    Where I come from this is high school (equivelant) biology.

  91. Many, many years ago, a friend of mine had a Toyota Starlet, tiny car, with an econometer on its dashboard, green light when you’re driving economically, orange, then red.
    Needless to say, the challenge was to keep it in the red as much as possible!
    When EU regulations on emissions were formulated, they did the usual thing.
    Set the limits & then said that these were achievable with catalytic convertors, so a cat was what had to be had.
    The same limits were achievable with lean-burn engines, which were more economical, but couldn’t be run with a cat, so weren’t used.
    I’d guess one big problem with designing a car for the US market, is designing one capable of carrying a familly of lard-asses!

  92. Jeremy (22:07:00) :
    “There’s still Harley Davidson. My favorite point, btw, in all this eco-nonsense, is that a technology almost as old as cars still gets double-or-better the mileage as these hybrids, and costs less to make and operate, and that is the motorcycle”
    Damn straight, I get over 40 miles per gallon,
    AND still have a fast powerful exciting ride. 🙂
    http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b238/XY-SATAN/saltspringislandbiketrip054.jpg
    AND I drive it to work everyday, rain or shine.

  93. Call me silly. We have a vehicle that gets 423 miles per gallon of fuel (if you believe their ads). The technology relies on wheel motors powered by a generator powered by a diesel engine (no batteries). So, why not adapt that technology for highway travel?
    Side note. When my oldest daughter turned 16 in 1986, I gave her my old 74 buick to drive. She hated it, but it kept her safe.

  94. Jeremy Clarkson is an unmitigated, egomaniacal petrol-head. While he does have his moments and displays a decent sense of humour I dislike his glating arrogance. However, in this instance the bloke deserves a heartfelt accolade.
    WELL SAID JEZZA!

  95. Dave(Another) (17:39:09) : I am securely surrounded by two tons of steel and comfortably ensconced on a leather seat in a 23-year-old Mercedes diesel. I get 36 mpg Imperial (30 mpg U.S.) on the highway.
    Dave, I too have such a fine beast. I get 28-30 mpgUS most of the time. When “drafting” trucks on a freeway on long trips, I’ve gotten up to 35-36 mpg (again, US). IFF I ever want to have a low carbon foot, I can load up with bioFuel. In an emergency I can run jet fuel, cooking oil, Automatic Transmission Fluid, even kerosene and scented lamp oil or up to 25% gasoline blended in with any of that lot.
    And remember that during a collision, momentum is conserved. We each take away our share of Mass x Velocity. Now, if a 1 ton car whacks into me, I will take my share of MV as 2M (1/2V) while he will get 1/2M so 2V.
    (This is a simplification for illustration. Car collisions are not elastic and the math is a bit more complex than shown here, but you get the idea… they bounce off and the big car ploughs through… so they take more delta V).
    At this point some are thinking “So What?” while others have leapt ahead to energy… While momentum goes as MV, the energy is distributed as MV^2 … So while I’m getting 1/4 the energy per unit mass spread around twice as much mass to absorb it, he is getting 2-squared energy per unit mass in 1/2 the mass to cope…
    And that is why “the big car wins”… We don’t take all that delta-V the small guy does, so we soak up a whole lot less of the energy in the collision, and we have more to work with to absorb it before it gets into the cabin. (And, for that matter, we also don’t take as much force on the seat belts… My personal delta V is a lot less, so my seat belt crushes my chest with much less force…)
    My ‘carbon footprint’, apart from being a ’so what’, is low because all the CO2 used to build my car has now been absorbed by the forest. Besides, when I am done with it, it can be recycled since it isn’t full of plastic. Not to mention that it cost me (used) half the price of a new Smart “car” and it will almost certainly last longer, even giving the Smart a 17-year head start! No hybrids for this chap.
    My “daily driver” is a 1980. So that’s 29 years old … I think it’s “carbon contribution” was absorbed long ago… It will still be running in another 30 years too, if fed modest maintenance (It never needs to be ‘recycled’ it can be ‘reused’ forever). BTW, I bought it for about $2000 IIRC several years back. Far less than the Sales Tax on a new econobox… It is approaching 200,000 miles and these iron block Diesels are known to go 1,000,000 miles. (I had one at 450,000 when I got rid of it and got this ‘young one’;-)
    So yes, I drive a luxury tank that’s just a bit under the “new CAFE Standard” and where you can walk away from a major collision… That cost me less than the sales tax on the econobox and with no car payment… And can be a “Carbon-free Diesel” if I want it to be 😉
    And folks wonder why car sales are down…
    BTW, when I want power I can drive it’s turbo sibling (“only” 24 mpg in a 2 ton boxy wagon doing 75 ish on the freeway with seats for 7 with the 3rd row setup…) The BMW from ’86 or so (524?) that had a turbo 6 Diesel in it was astoundingly fast and got even better gas milage. Wish I had bought one when I had the chance.
    Videodrone (21:26:30) : as part of my work involves hauling a few 100lbs of electronics to remote Mt tops on occasion my daily driver is a 3/4 ton 4wd 6speed turbo diesel –[…] (any job that’s less than 700 miles that requires tools or gear – these days it simpler and sometimes faster to drive than fly)
    As various air travel restrictions set in, my “comfortable drive range” got longer. Doing equipment installs in co-lo sites became a pain (always carried my “loss is not an option” tool kit and laptop in the airplane cabin, often with the Very Expensive Parts… No More). Well, it finally reached the point where I was happiest to drive long distances with kit in car…
    Did a shot from San Francisco to Denver one weekend. Installed gear in 2 days. Then headed home – but snow sent me back via Phoenix / L.A. route. Still did it in one shot of about 24 hours. THAT is when you really appreciate the Benz comfort… But at this point anything closer than about 1000 miles, it’s definitely faster and easier to drive when gear is involved. At about 1/2 the continent it gets tedious though 😎 Only commuted “coast to coast” twice (!) … with a wagon load of gear. Sometimes the “hotel” was the bedroll in the bed of the wagon…
    so what’s going to happen, not just odd balls like me but the farmers and ranchers who have a 20mile or better trip to paved road and then its another 100 miles to the nearest store – can’t haul feed or cattle in one of them crumple boxes – and how long will one last off pavement?
    There will always be a category of “commercial truck” that will be exempt from the “non-commercial light truck / car” requirements. You will drive one of them. I saw a Great Big Pickup made on an F750 Chassis (no typo SEVEN fifty…) Custom job with all the bed / cab proportions right. Monster size, though, but from a distance it looked like a regular F150 with the road shrunk up!
    The “end game” (which I don’t think we’ll ever reach) would be like it is for private airplanes. Folks will “pay up” for a name plate, since it is the license for the craft, and “rebuild” the other 99.9999% of the parts around it… ( I have a ‘junker’ Diesel at a storage yard for just this purpose…)
    Here’s your 1980 F350 4×4 … Yes, reg and plates –
    it’s all in the envelope 😉 Just add drive train, body, and accessories …
    Hey, FedEx, UPS, and bread trucks will be built on some kind of chassis.

  96. Why settle for just the one Jeremy Clarkson?

    Reply: Two thumbs up ~ charles the supposedly no sense of humor moderator

  97. @Videodrone (21:26:30) :
    BTW, Benz makes trucks… and the old pre ’85 Mercedes Diesel sedans & wagons have the attitude of one (or of a German Staff Car)… I’ve taken it over Christmas Tree Pass Nevada with not even a hint of a worry.
    http://www.exploringnevada.com/2009/01/08/photos-of-christmas-tree-pass-in-nevada/
    Including some of the more rutted one lane side roads… But I think what you’d like is one of these Big Trucks:
    http://www.wakeboarder.com/products/showproduct.php/product/1391/cat/211

  98. Since most commentators are concentrating on the “ham slicer” it’s only fair to tell our American friends an old story that only makes sense because the machine has only *ever* been called a “bacon slicer” here in the UK.
    Bert comes home to his wife and tells her that his friend Eric was sacked at the shop this morning after being found [snip]”
    “She’s getting the sack too”
    (Whether this makes it past Anthony’s moderation rather depends on whether he wants his blog to contain important climate information or anecdotes about sexual perversions in grocers shops, but perhaps just this once…)
    Reply: Sorry, we strive to be a Flog (family blog). I left it to the readers’ imaginations. ~ charles the moderator

  99. “Hank, aye, but can you haul a large boat or large Airstream behind it? Can it haul a family of 8? Or will it outrace a muscle car?” – David Corcoran (21:32:30)
    No, thats what I use my 4×4 truck for. With a raised suspension, mud terrain tires, front and rear lockers, diff guards, rock sliders, locking center transfer, rack system, raised intake snorkle, dual electrical system, 9000 lb. winch, and a slightly modified engine, the truck will pass anything on (or off) the road but a gas station. So, it makes perfect sense I would own a hybrid for most of my driving needs. The truck gets driven maybe once or twice a month – usually to one of my favorite trailheads or an off-road rally.
    Now, I’ll bet you had me stereotyped as one of those tree hugging, polar bear petting folks. It’s a common mistake people make when you tell them you own a hybrid.

  100. 1) Brits (and Europeans for that matter) don’t get hybrids.
    2) If you think this is bad, wait until 2016 when CAFE goes to 35.5. We’ll be talking about 1990-2010 being the “golden years” for automobiles. The sportscar of tomorrow will be a 1.something L 4 cylinder FWD direct injection plug-in hybrid. Yaaaaaawwwwwnnnnnn.
    Buy your truck and Corvette today. Tomorrow, they’ll be gone…

  101. In Europe much of the money to build/maintain roads comes from road fuel tax. Electric cars avoide paying this tax, will this change???

  102. Daghoza seems a bit precious with his “holier than thou” contributions on the fun subject of Jeremy Clarkson’s comments about the Honda abortion.
    dhogaza (16:19:42) :
    dhogaza (16:54:38) :
    dhogaza (17:24:20) :
    dhogaza (18:47:32) :
    dhogaza (18:52:23) :
    In the UK, we want J. Clarkson Esq., for PM. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ei=1NYTSrSvI6GrjAfbi9HjCA&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=Jeremy+clarkson+for+PM&spell=1
    The Tesla starts at £87,100, so it’s as pointless as a woman preaching. “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” Dr. S. Johnson.
    As for the diesel BMW being too expensive, I would suggest that a vehicle being worth better than 50% of its purchase price after 3 years is a better deal all round than a cheaper car that is worth only39% after the same period. Total costs of ownership are the figures to compare.
    It should be noticed that J. Clarkson is a climate realist and will have no truck with AGWarmists. Were JC to become PM (otherwise known as King Magnus) and restore financial and scientific sanity to the world, I suspect the USA will send us Ambassador Vanhatten to declare “Sir. The Declaration of Independence is cancelled. The treaties which endorsed it are torn up. We have decided to rejoin the British Empire. We shall of course enjoy Dominion Home Rule under the Presidency of Mr B. Obama. I shall revisit you here shortly, not as the Ambassador of a foreign power, but as High Commissioner for the greatest of your dominions, and your very loyal and devoted subject, Sir.”
    http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0300431h.html#i01 The Apple Cart, Act II.
    A Political Extravaganza by George Bernard Shaw
    Political correctness? Bah! humbug!
    `

  103. Wait til the Chinese come in with their version of an electric car:

    “Dr. Wang was trained in material sciences, and our senior leaders are expert in material sciences,” Stella Li, the company’s senior vice president, told me. “We feel that if you understand materials very well, many things are possible.” In particular she meant the development that propelled BYD into international news late last year: its unveiling of the world’s first mass-produced battery-powered hybrid car that could be recharged on normal household current. The new F3DM model, which I drove around a parking lot, can run for at least 60 miles purely on battery power, after which a gasoline engine kicks in. The iron-based battery recharges fully in seven hours; it is said to be good for well over 1,000 charge/recharge cycles, an unusually high number. When I pressed the “gas”—and I was alone in the car, with no minder—I was pushed back in the seat as far as I am with my normal car. The announced retail price for the car is $22,000—expensive in China, cheap in the U.S. or European market, where no comparable plug-in cars are yet on the market.

    From http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200904/chinese-innovation

  104. The Chinese are coming.
    Their low cost production values means that any western (including Japanese) automobile will be priced out of the market.
    In Australia the introduction of Chinese vehicles will be probably in the next six months. Their pricing will be two thirds or less of the next cheapest equivalent model.
    Traditional mass manufactures will be decimated and perhaps annihilated in the near distant future.
    And they will meet your CAFE standards.

    MattN (03:18:24) :
    1) Brits (and Europeans for that matter) don’t get hybrids.

    This is because they have into high efficiency diesels for years. Their cars are smaller and much cheaper than hybrids. Many Euro cars are more fuel efficient than
    hybrids.
    Toyota made their Hybrids to last the life of the battery. Changing the battery in one of these cars is false economy.
    Forget about great advances in battery technology. They have to follow the laws of physics and thermodynamics. Batteries have been around for over 100 years and in that time in reality only incremental advances have been made.
    As someone has posted way back. You can’t suspend f=ma.

  105. Les Francis (04:34:01) :
    The Chinese are coming.
    Yes, but these cars are not built according to our safety standards.

  106. We have a vehicle that gets 423 miles per gallon of fuel (if you believe their ads).
    That’s not what the ad says. The add talks about how much fuel it takes to move a ton of freight 423 miles. My Semi will move a ton of freight about 200 miles on a gallon of diesel, but that certainly doesn’t mean I get 200 MPG.

  107. Forget about hybrids, buy a Jeep Diesel:
    “During the 21-hour drive, passing through six countries, Helen Taylor achieved a fuel consumption figure of 66.76 mpg driving the Jeep Compass”
    Jeep prove impressive fuel economy.
    Fuel economy experts John and Helen Taylor drove a Jeep Compass and a Jeep Patriot, with 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines and carrying two people and their luggage, from London to Berlin on less than a single tank of fuel each.
    The husband and wife team, John and Helen Taylor first drove the Jeep Compass and Patriot 658 miles between the two European capitals. After completing their journey, there was sufficient fuel remaining in both vehicles for them to continue into Poland. In total, they travelled a total distance of 698.4 miles.
    “This new achievement helps to establish Jeep Compass and Patriot as industry leaders and proves that it is possible to offer global customers fuel efficiency and capability in the same package,” Jim Press, Vice Chairman and President, Chrysler LLC said. “Jeep offers a full range of vehicles powered by efficient diesel engines and we are committed to furthering our efforts to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In fact, at the new Chrysler, we are redesigning our business model with a greater emphasis on fuel-efficient products with features that the customers want and need.”
    During the 21-hour drive, passing through six countries, Helen Taylor achieved a fuel consumption figure of 66.76 mpg driving the Jeep Compass. John Taylor performed even better, achieving a fuel consumption figure of 67.46 mpg in a Jeep Patriot. The Taylors were observed during their marathon drive by an independent scrutineer, PC Stephen Driver, of the West Midlands Police.
    “We already knew that the Compass and Patriot were among the most economical of all SUVs, but we were amazed by the fuel efficiency that these two vehicles were capable of during this drive,” commented John Taylor. “We drove on normal roads at realistic speeds with two people and their luggage on board and the traffic and weather conditions weren’t favourable at all – cold with many traffic jams,” he said. “We used simple fuel economy driving techniques that any driver could replicate.”
    His wife Helen added, “This record achievement challenges the myth that all SUVs are gas guzzlers. We’ve proven, in everyday driving conditions just how fuel efficient these two Jeep SUVs can be.”
    The Jeep Compass and Patriot have already been praised by the media for their fuel efficiency. 4×4 & MPV Driver Magazine in the UK ranked Jeep ahead of all other manufacturers of 4×4s and SUVs by presenting the brand with a Gold Award in its 2007 Green Awards scheme. The publication praised the Jeep Compass and Patriot for being “the most economical 4×4s ever to wear the Jeep badge” and for being the least polluting with their CO2 emissions.
    For more information visit http://www.jeep.co.uk.

  108. Richard Heg (03:47:45) :
    In Europe much of the money to build/maintain roads comes from road fuel tax. Electric cars avoide paying this tax, will this change???

    In some places (Seattle?) they’re already talking about taxing you on the number of miles you drive. A little GPS gizmo can tally it up.
    Oh, and with that little gizmo Big Brother can keep track of your travels, too—and tell your wife.
    /Mr Lynn

  109. Charles the Moderator: Great name, sounds like an early mediaeval French king like Charles the Hammer, or Charles the Bald. Wish I’d thought of it!

  110. Ron de Haan (05:18:51) :
    Les Francis (04:34:01) :
    The Chinese are coming.
    Yes, but these cars are not built according to our safety standards.

    Their cars are improving on a logarithmic scale. If they pass the Australian ADR rules they will pass ANcap standards and then pass U.S. standards – all on ” borrowed” technology
    What took the Japanese 20 years to achieve in quality control, what took the South Koreans 10 years to achieve in quality control, the Chinese are cramming into a couple of years.

  111. It’s a pity Honda had to release a new ‘Insight’. The old Insight is the only hybrid car, and one of three Hondas worth owning (NSX, S2000). It really is a brilliant piece of engineering- a coefficient of drag of 0.25 is an insane achievement on a hatchback. The engine is mental too- Honda may never have built a one a decent size, but the Insight approaches an air-fuel ratio of 25:1 in highway lean cruise. That makes for some incredible efficiency numbers (the real kind- power for fuel burnt, not kilometers for fuel burnt). And as an added bonus, in that mode, it puts out the kind of nitrous oxide emissions that got American muscle cars killed off in the mid 70’s.
    And the lack of space is a great excuse to drive the V8 :).

  112. Les Francis (04:34:01) :
    That’s an interesting opinion, but I’m not sure if you’re aware of the heroic way our government has worked to keep worthless Jap imports out of our car market. The Australian government first adopted side intrusion bars, then arbitarily defined emissions standards purely to keep the Japanese from passing off their handmedowns on us. Do you honestly believe even the new Labour government would let Chinese cars into Australia? My guess for the pretext is enforcement of intellectual property laws on their trash.

  113. Robert Wood (17:08:51) :
    Note to non-USA readers: When your read something such as “35 MPG in the US”, remember that a US gallon is only 80% of an Imperial gallon! So, the numbers are better than you think.

    Yesterday here in the UK the BBC ran a report on the new US MPG numbers and using a reporter in Los Angeles with stills of a smog laden city waxed about the changes but in their lament section drew attention to the EU edict for 45mpg and stated that the US was still lagging behind. They had not factored in the difference in US and Imperial gallon volume that brings the numbers somewhat closer together.
    Re. Jeremy Clarkson. He has been quoted saying that he does not have a carbon footprint as he always drives every where. 🙂

  114. Just Want Truth… says:

    I’m all for cleaner environment and all, and I’m really all for saving money. But these cars are too little. I’m on the road a lot and it makes me nervous for the people in those little cars—especially for people in those ‘Smart’ cars.

    Well, SmartCars are indeed tiny (and apparently don’t get that great gas mileage considering how tiny they are). However, the Prius is not a tiny car…It’s almost the same size as a Toyota Camry and seats 5 fairly comfortably. Conversely, with only two people and the back seats folded down, it has quite a lot of cargo space. In fact, I can fit my bicycle in without even bothering to take off any of the wheels.
    mr.artday says:

    The question I have with hydrogen powered cars is: What happens to the water? Scientific American had Alan Alda on PBS praising the Mercedes hydrogen car to the skies. They showed the water dribbling out of the tailpipe onto the roadway. Even here in the Seattle area the temperature can drop below freezing at night and stay there during the day. What will freeway driving be like when all the cars are dribbling water on the frozen pavement?

    Hmmm…I don’t see why the water has to be in liquid form. I got to drive a GM protype hydrogen fuel cell car and its water emissions seemed to be all in the vapor form. And, of course, you are aware that when you burn fossil fuels, the two major combustion products are CO2 and water vapor? So, the difference between the hydrogen-powered car and the gasoline-powered one is just whether there is also CO2 emitted or not. (That said, because it has to be produced, hydrogen itself is not an energy source but merely a means of energy storage and one still has to worry about CO2 produced in making the hydrogen.)

  115. My subcompact hatch gets around 25mpg city and 35mpg hwy. 0-60mph in under 7seconds (6.2-6.8sec typ.) so performance is average. I use around 250 USgal/year of premium (92 octane or 95RON equivalent).
    I would still consider a hybrid, but it would still have to make economic sense to do so. One other thing. It would have to be fun to drive as well.

  116. Completely moot to me, because I couldn’t fit the wife and four kids inside unless they all went through intensive clown training first, and I doubt I could drive it without removing four inches above and below my knee. Neither of which there are plans to do. Still, good for a laugh.

  117. “old construction worker (00:49:15) : When my oldest daughter turned 16 in 1986, I gave her my old 74 buick to drive. She hated it, but it kept her safe.”
    If I had a daughter that age I’d do the same. I wouldn’t get her a little car. I would care about her like you did with your daughter. Good on ya mate!

  118. John Nevard (06:34:53) :
    Les Francis (04:34:01) :
    That’s an interesting opinion, but I’m not sure if you’re aware of the heroic way our government has worked to keep worthless Jap imports out of our car market. The Australian government first adopted side intrusion bars, then arbitarily defined emissions standards purely to keep the Japanese from passing off their handmedowns on us.

    If you have read some Australian motoring articles you will know that there are a couple of major importers who are negotiating with Chinese companies about importing their cars and have been for the last number of months.
    This will not be a grey-market import scheme. It will be a major assault on the market.
    And here’s some inside info for you.
    A relative of mine up to recently owned factories that manufactured components for the Big 3 for new car construction. Up until a few years ago all these components where made here in Australia. The engineering and machines were shifted to China and all parts were made there and then imported.
    Since the ar@e has fallen out of the new car market that business has been sold off and my relative has moved into the automotive alternate fuel market in a big way. For the last couple of months he has been in negotiations with Chinese car manufactures to engineer models that will be powered by LPG. These will get around the emission laws. You know that the Oz government loves LPG.
    A cut price green credentialed car powered by LPG which is half the price of traditional petrol. Watch all those green guilt councils and government departments line up for them. Get 2 or 3 for the price of a hybrid.
    As you know the greenest car sold in Australia is a Ford powered by LPG.

  119. Les Francis says:

    The Chinese are coming.
    Their low cost production values means that any western (including Japanese) automobile will be priced out of the market.
    In Australia the introduction of Chinese vehicles will be probably in the next six months. Their pricing will be two thirds or less of the next cheapest equivalent model.

    Ahhh, now I understand Obama’s scramble to introduce new fuel efficiency standards … protect the home side.

  120. Diesel has an excellent future, whether refined from crude oil, or produced synthetically from other carbon sources. I don’t know what the additional cost would be, but one ought to be able to reform hydrogen and CO2 into diesel as well. It may be cost effective in having the energy in a far more concentrated form with the ability to use existing distribution and storage infrastructure. Modern diesel engines have excellent efficiency, performance and emissions, and there is the potential for far greater improvements in the next few years.
    Personally, I am impressed with some of the hydraulic hybrid technology. It is cheaper and gives regenerative braking with energy recovery rates above 70%. It can even be combined with electric, with or without an ICE, to bring down the size of the motor and battery required.
    When are they going to produce a hybrid Dodge Caravan? Caravan owners are cheap/thrifty, and often strapped for cash, since they usually need the extra seating for a larger family. They would appreciate a competatively priced hybrid version. I would even take a Caravan with the Jeep diesel engine, but it is only available outside of North America.
    The Prius may sit 5, but they must be very short people. I like the Hondas, but I couldn’t fit in them comfortably, and I am only 6′ 1″. I bought a VW instead.

  121. Just Want Truth… (20:21:15) :
    Agreed- the (limited) popularity of the Smart is a little strange. It’s just a very small French car- for the 21st century- just unlike an old Peuguot 106 or Citreon AX the tiny engine is at the rear, you don’t get a diesel and it’s ten times as expensive. Better to have an engine in the front to crumple zone the rear of the car you hit and plenty of interior volume to give your body space to not be crushed in.

  122. Joel Shore (06:55:44) :
    But water vapour in your world is the biggest pollutant – it will make its way to the upper troposhere and increase the positive feedback.
    Surely you should be on a bicycle too just like dhogaza.
    If you really want to solve this global warming crisis surely we have to go back to the stone age as per Pete Best over at RC?

  123. Joel Shore (06:55:44) :
    Well, SmartCars are indeed tiny (and apparently don’t get that great gas mileage considering how tiny they are). However, the Prius is not a tiny car…It’s almost the same size as a Toyota Camry and seats 5 fairly comfortably. Conversely, with only two people and the back seats folded down, it has quite a lot of cargo space. In fact, I can fit my bicycle in without even bothering to take off any of the wheels.

    The Priuses are pretty nice. My stepmom has two of them (don’t ask me why), a 2004 model and a newer one she bought last year (guess she should have waited another year for the 3rd gen).
    As to the SmartCars. I first saw them in Canada a couple years ago. They sell a diesel version up there which gets something like 60mpg. But for some reason the diesel version isn’t being sold in the US. So the Us version only touts 40mpg. The tradeoff in MPG for such a small car is NOT worth it. With my wife and I, we couldn’t even fit our groceries in the thing. It’s simply not practical for anything except getting from point A to point B, assuming you’re not bringing anything back to point A.

  124. h and in California I get to white-line (which means I can move through traffic), so I actually reach my destination faster than they do in So.Cal traffic.

    I absolutely hate this. It’s so dangerous I can’t imagine how someone thought this was a good idea. All motor vehicles should follow the same rules. Period.

    Just maddening. Europeans get it, if you want economy, you move to two wheels.

    Just because it works for you doesn’t me it works for everyone. Where do you put your family’s groceries? What if you need a load of soil for the yard? Some lumber? What if you want to keep what you’re carrying dry? And what happens when you go flying off at 70 mph?

  125. The economics of gas consumption is only one aspect of vehicle cost. I prefer to focus on depreciation. The best one I’ve had so far is a 198? Olds Regency Brougham. Paid $3,600 for it with 65,000 miles. Put 150,000 miles on it and got $1000 on a trade in for a Grand Marquis. That’s 1.73 cents per mile depreciation. Beat that with your econocars. Was used as a Taxi for three years after that. My current vehicle, a 1990 Jeep Cherokee Laredo, to date has cost 3.1 cents per mile, not counting salvage value. With estimated salvage value it’s down to 2.8 cents. With 250k miles, I don’t know if it will make it below 2.0 cents. Of course, I’m not telling what my wife is driving, as she won’t ride in the jeep ;~P.

  126. Lance (19:58:15) :
    Very funny review, though through the humor I feel he’s still not a big fan of this car.lol

    Clarkson doesn’t like any car that won’t do at least 200 mph.

  127. Les Francis (07:54:57) :
    I’ll believe it when I see it. The government might be happy enough to subsidize Camrys being built here but I can’t see Chinese ripoffs being imported straight in. The Ford factory LPG versions aren’t important to them because they’re green- or because they’re much better cars than any front-drive Toyota- they’re important because they’re very fuel economical without being slow, and thus good value, and most importantly are built in Australia from Australian components. We can still afford to fight cartels, whether they are Japanese or Chinese. It’s just a pity the US didn’t do the same.

  128. first off I live in a rural area and my normal “commute” (when it’s not just downstairs in my slippers) is to one of the major airports – all of which are 130+ miles away, no electric car is going to make that anytime soon

    Sounds almost like me, lol. I just commuted downstairs after grabbing some breakfast.
    But, the Prius would have no trouble with the 130+ miles, and is where it shines, at constant highway speeds. No vehicle is going to get the purported mileage if you have a lead foot (as you stated).

  129. You get used to the CVT. I believe Toyota has the best implementation.
    The guy in this interview should just go buy a piece of junk like a used Grand Am with all its heaving allure.
    I own a Prius and will probably not be buying a hybrid or Toyota next but it won’t be something this guy likes.
    For those of you out there who don’t understand what happened to diesels you can thank California emmisions. My wife got a 2007 ‘classic’ Silverado Duramax with no afterburners or silly crap on it. What they have to do on large transport trucks is ridiculous. Regional registration restricting diesels in urban areas would have been smarter and allowed us to keep our mileage and functionality.

  130. “It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.”
    That really made me laugh!
    At least it’ll be reliable, being a Honda, but I’ve never been one for these Hybrid cars, you’ll often find straight petrol or diesel engines with more MPG. And they aren’t the most environmentally cars to produce either!
    Seems like one to avoid for me.
    http://www.onlinecharity.wordpress.com

  131. PaulHClark says:

    But water vapour in your world is the biggest pollutant – it will make its way to the upper troposhere and increase the positive feedback.
    Surely you should be on a bicycle too just like dhogaza.

    While it is true that water vapor is a greenhouse gas, it is not true that it is one that we can (at least at anything close to our current energy usage) influence the concentration of in the atmosphere significantly through our emissions. The concentration of water vapor is determined almost exclusively by the temperature…which is why people say that water vapor is a feedback and not a forcing. I.e., the way that we can change the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is by raising the temperature in other ways (such as by increasing concentration of long-lived greenhouse gases like CO2) and not by adding more to the atmosphere directly.
    As for the bicycle idea, I do in fact try to bicycle when it is practical. It has the double bonus of providing me with exercise in additional to reducing the problems associated with automobile use. But, obviously, it is only practical for certain trips.
    And no, I don’t think that we have to return to the stone age to solve the global warming problem.
    Andrew Parker says:

    The Prius may sit 5, but they must be very short people.

    Well, I am not the best person to judge how comfortable it is for tall people being only 5’5″ myself. But, the Prius actually has quite a bit of legroom in the back…in fact, more than some considerably larger cars.

  132. Jeff Alberts (08:21:22):
    Y’know- I don’t think the groceries, or the soil for the organic vege garden, or the lumber for the log cabin is a problem. Motorcycles have never aspired to be a replacement for the motorcar- sure, if you’re in your early twenties and wanting to pick some young women up they might do the job. But anyone who drives a motorbike in the real world most of the time does it because they’re quicker at speeds you can get away with on the road than most cars you can drive on the road for more than a thousand miles before their engine explodes, can dodge between inconsiderate car drivers between lanes quicker than they can swerve in front, can park in a space at least a tenth smaller than any Smart car.. oh yeah, and they’re fuel efficient.
    Extra space for when you don’t leave the house for more than a week at a time to shop for groceries is something you can hire, or borrow off your mates. Not to say that NIMRLs (Not In My Right Hand Laners) don’t make it dangerous for everyone who drives a bike the same amount of power as their car but with a fifth of the weight.. but that’s a problem that’s easily solved by getting people with cars engineered to the OPEC cartel off the road.

  133. A point we have to think about is why are hybrids being developed. An interview with a VP from Ford a few years back revealed their thinking – hybrids enable them to play with electric car technology before going to full electrically-driven vehicles in the future. They are not an end in themselves and the current form – adding an electric motor and batteries to an existing car (complete with combustion engine and transmission) – is not an efficient option.
    To design a fully-electric car, you could easily do away with the whole transmission and drive each wheel (4 or 2) with its own electric motor. I think the Tesla works on this approach and performance seems to be OK – the question is really over how to store enough power to give it a useful range.
    Apart from the most optimistic (insert epithet of choice here), everyone else considers that batteries just don’t cut it as they simply weigh too much and are horribly inefficient. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels give pretty much the best energy storage options and using a nice efficient diesel generator would be my preferred option right now (I admit, I don’t know whether a battery storage system may be needed for acceleration, but the KERS systems being developed for formula 1 racing cars may provide something useful here).
    But, hydrocarbons are destroying the earth/running out/come from nasty foreign countries (choose your particular doomsday scenario), so what are the alternatives?
    This is where the drive for fuel cells and hydrogen comes from. I think we are nearly at the stage where fuel cells can deliver the power, but delivering hydrogen on the same scale that we deliver hydrocarbons at present is going to take a very big investment in infrastructure.
    If your drive to replace hydrocarbon fuels is based on environmental notions, you have to consider that the ’emissions’ that will result from the massive infrastructure needed will completely wipe out any reductions for many years into the future. [Besides, the infrastructure has to be developed prior to gaining the emissions reduction benefits. Oops]
    I’ve not heard much about fuel cells running on methanol recently. This is the preferred option for small cells (those being developed to power laptop computers are designed with replaceable methanol cylinders a bit like disposable cigarette lighters), but I would think that this provides a stepping stone as production and distribution could – theoretically – utilise the same infrastructure as other liquid hydrocarbons.
    Of course methanol contains the dreaded Carbon and thus will release the deadly CO2, making it a non-starter for the those who approach this from the AGW perspective. But nothing will satisfy these people who are, essentially, misanthropic in their outlook and are only using climate change as a way to promote de-development.
    Me? Well, given the fact(?) that geological hydrocarbons are finite, we will have to address this one day and I would sooner have had plenty of time to work out the kinks. If some people want to drive hybrids fo no other reason than that it assuages their guilt that is fine by me. At least it provides some funds to continue development of better options.
    And Jeremy Clarkson is very funny, whether you agree with his politics or not!

  134. Xavier Itzmann (15:34:53) :
    In the US market, only three 4-seat cars — all of them hybrids — get 35 mpg or better:
    My Ford Focus at $15000 and change claims 35mpg. On my mostly freeway drive I’m getting 41.7mpg per trip. Gas went up .25/gallon in the last three weeks. Obama won’t need to mandate better gas mileage as soon as the world economy turns and gas proces once again surpass supply and demand theory. Everyone will be crying for it and asking why the auto industry has failed to adjust. Again.

  135. Maybe Jeremy should try driving other cars with CVT. I could only find one review that had an automatic, and he didn’t like that either. I have a friend with a Mini Cooper with a CVT, I drove it once and had the same slip clutch reaction to it. It takes getting used to. This is the same guy who like the Citroën line. he gives the C4 4 stars but says “Of course, I can pretty much guarantee that your C4 will break down every 15 minutes. Citroëns just do.” Now I know why I don’t watch the BBC.

  136. i would not think of buying a japanese car, i would more support our car industry. But i know that is a political question and a quesetion if you can afford it.

  137. It’s a funny article but not very accurate. I am NOT a AGW alarmist but decided to buy the 2010 Inisght based on my needs and economics; it compares favorably to most economy cars on handling, acceleration, features, space, and fuel mileage, and is priced right smack in between economy cars and the Prius. Like the Prius, it blows away the mid-size field in fuel mileage. I got it because I ran my numbers and saw it was actually going to save me $$$ over most mid-sized cars (with my driving profile), draw nearly even dollar-wise with economy cars, and has my needs and wants many economy cars fell short of. Basically it bridges a gap. Now that I have it and have practiced a bit I can top 60mpg going the speed limit on longer drives (if I’m driving classically I am still easilly 45-50mpg. I drive many many rental cars for work and so I can say with certainty the author of this article just has an axe to grind against hybrids or Honda or something. It’s not a bad car at all. Remember, I hate Al Gore too 🙂
    REPLY: If it works for your needs, all the better. – Anthony

  138. This is the same guy who took a Toyota Prius to the high desert and shot it up with a 50 caliber machine gun.
    He kept shooting until the Prius caught on fire — which I never thought could happen.
    Clarkson’s point is, of course, that hybrid technology is a bit silly. Hybrids do nothing very well and cost more.
    I’ll still with my Scion.

  139. Wow – a car that doesn’t sound or act like we’re used to. Adaptation can really be a bitch, huh? And this is a really tough case to adapt to. 😉

  140. I think you’ve missed the point that the “benefits” of hybrids are a complete greenwash. I am a mechanic, and these are disposable, 100K- cars. Likewise, how long are those batteries going to last? What environmentally caustic processes are required to produce them? What special tools and parts are required for maintenance of their novel designs?
    Don’t get me wrong, I like them from a novel technical angle. But the claim that they are in ANY way environmentally beneficial is a total marketing sham. It’s not just that you’d be breaking even in terms of your green index, it’s that you’re actually causing MORE damage to the environment by driving these things. MPG and emissions are only one facet of a whole collection of factors determining the green benefit of a given car; hybrids improve these (unimpressively), while worsening nearly every other factor (the behavioral factor not the least of all). A conventional, compact car is still FAR more environmentally-sound than any hybrid.
    Time to go remove those snarky, resentful liberal bumperstickers… I mean hey, save yourself 20K and get a bike and a bus pass.

  141. People who are afraid of EM radiation ought to avoid going out in the sun.
    And if magnetic fields disturb you avoid living on earth.

  142. ektachrome,
    gotta give Prius and Insight credit for 1 thing they do well; fantastic fuel economy combined with reasonable power and size. There are people who this makes sense for. Probably not most, but I am definitely one of them. I drive far and often for work and haul enough equipment/luggage and passengers that economy cars are too small and slow. Mid-sizes kill me on mileage compared to these hybrids and aren’t much (if at all) bigger or faster. Meanwhile the Insight pricing is in the sweet spot where I should be able to make out on the deal over the years, even at current gas pricing. Insight filled my niche and I doubt I’m alone. As a side note they get decent low-end torque compared to other cars. Like I said, I didn’t buy this car to do anything about AGW because I don’t believe it’s a problem.

  143. I drive a 1984 Caprice Classic sedan. I love this car, V8, automatic transmission, high torque at low revs, room for six, can put my bike in the trunk when needed (Sometimes you do need to do this over here in the Netherlands).
    Minor problem is gas price, currently about €1,30 per liter or $ 6,50 per gallon. But then again this car runs on LPG (Liquified petroleum gas), which is about € 0,50 per liter or $ 1,90 per gallon. In both cases the car runs about 15 to 20 MPG.
    If a want to drive a Prius or any other Hybrid I would have bought one and I am happy to have a choice.

  144. The person who wrote that Ford, Chrysler and GM won’t exist in 2016 got it mostly right. Chrysler will go well before then, or just as soon as the Obamacrats can pin it on Fiat and then let it die a natural death. Ford will hunker down until the new CAFE standards–when it will sell Fiats. And long before then, GM will have become Government Motors with a full Obamian federal subsidy so our CEO-in-Chief (the same Barack feller) can create his green car playthings and have the government buy them (while paying off his cronies in the UAW). Is this a great country or what?

  145. Lance,
    Incorrect, hybrids like the Prius and Insight improve highway mileage too. Not only do they save in the city through regen braking, but the electric drive allowed the makers to use a smaller gas engine without sacrificing much on acceleration, which means you’re running at a more efficient rpm and smaller displacement to get the same hp cruising on the highway. They also have great drag coefficients.

  146. I drive a 2005 Toyota Prius on my 50-mile daily commute (Mon-Fri), and it is a great car. I average 48 mpg, maybe closer to 46 when the Texas summer weather hits. I’ve never experienced the problems with the CVT that are described here in relation to the Insight, and I have found that the car picks up speed very nicely on the freeway. My old Saturn took me 250 miles on a 15 gallon tank, and the Prius goes about 500 on an 11.9 gallon tank.
    I don’t have any experience with the Insight, though I note that the new design is remarkably reminiscent of the Prius….

  147. Sir (10:33:07) :
    Actually the purpose of any of these fuel saving vehicles is to push nations to become more energy independent. Here in North America avoiding the need to ship $700B annually overseas just for fuel *should* be the priority. By transitioning to less fossil fueled vehicles we can keep the bulk of that $$$ at home – where it belongs.
    The savings in military support of foreign resources alone would put an end to whatever “economic crisis” we’re in at the moment. Energy independence is a justifiable reason to conserve fossil fuel. Croaking on an AGW heatwave is not.

  148. hybrids like the Prius and Insight improve highway mileage too. Not only do they save in the city through regen braking, but the electric drive allowed the makers to use a smaller gas engine without sacrificing much on acceleration, which means you’re running at a more efficient rpm and smaller displacement to get the same hp cruising on the highway

    Also, in addition to what you say (all true), they use an Atkinson cycle four-stroke rather than conventional Otto cycle, which snags something like 10% more energy out of the gas being burned.

  149. ektachrome (10:18:22) :
    This is the same guy who took a Toyota Prius to the high desert and shot it up with a 50 caliber machine gun.
    He kept shooting until the Prius caught on fire — which I never thought could happen.

    If that was on Top Gear, they most likely added some pyrotechnics to help it along. They do that. It’s a comedy show, not a documentary about car reviews. Every situation they have is I’d say at least 75% contrived.
    But it’s still funny.

  150. Great writeup Jeremy, I’ll fire up my TVR V8 in solidarity with your sentiment. I love the heady smell of glue and petrol vapour in the morning. 🙂
    These mongrel cars are overweight and underpowered. Roll on the Hydrogen fuel cells and give me some MORE ! POWER !!
    Life is for having fun in, take no notice of anyone who tries to sell you original sin.

  151. I had a chuckle too when I read that review, but he does go on to commend Honda’s other offering: “I would have hoped, therefore, that Honda had diverted every penny it had into making hydrogen work rather than stopping off on the way to make a half-arsed halfway house for fools and madmen.”

  152. “”” dhogaza (16:19:42) :
    When comparing prices, I think that Toyota and Honda are subsidizing prices to sell the dang things.
    Toyota’s making money on the Prius, though I’m not sure how long it will take them to pay off the research investment.
    Why we can’t get the 55 mpg diesel BMW in the US is beyond me.
    The switch to low-sulfate diesel in the US is going to help diesel makers meet US emissions standards. “””
    Are you sure about that “low sulphate” diesel ?
    I would think that any engine fuel that carries oxygen in it; like an alcohol or ether additive; or a sulphated diesel fuel would inherently be low mileage efficiency; the equivalent of adding water to the gas.
    My guesss is that dirty diesel carries sulphides; not sulphates. The main advantages of the California Reformulated Gasoline are that the Benzene content was cut in half to under 0.5%, but the sulphide components were reduced by something like 85%; greatly reducing the sulphuric acid in the atmosphere.
    of course then the idiots mandated MTBE, and eventually ethanol “oxygenates” which is energetically equivalent to adding water to the gasoline and charging the customer for all gasoline fuel prices. So you end up with about 15% lower fuel mileage; and hence greater carbon emissions; and actually no cleaner air in any case.
    I did find one new interesting automobile gizmo. Engineers at MIT have built an electromagnetic shock absorber. You’ve seen those flashlights with a sliding magnet and coil that you whip back and forth to charge up a super capacitor to run the flashlight.
    Well this shock absorber uses the same principle to turn the bouncing energy of bumpy roads into electricity to charge the battery, instead of wasting it as thermal energy; sometimes called “heat” (not a noun).
    Ok you can’t run the car on bounce; but it sure beats just throwing that bumpy road generated energy away.

  153. Colorado and New Mexico voted heavily for O’Bama. I wonder how many of those Hope and Change types live in the mountains where 10+ feet of snow every year is the norm. Also wonder how they will get by once SUVs and trucks are verboten and they have to navigate those mountains in a Prius or Civic.
    Oh well, stupid is as stupid does for voting the way they did.

  154. Pofarmer (05:22:15) :
    ‘That’s not what the ad says. The add talks about how much fuel it takes to move a ton of freight 423 miles. My Semi will move a ton of freight about 200 miles on a gallon of diesel, but that certainly doesn’t mean I get 200 MPG.’
    I stand corrected. Thanks

  155. “Jeff Alberts (08:27:50) :
    Clarkson doesn’t like any car that won’t do at least 200 mph.”
    He actually thinks the Mundano is a good car so that’s not true! (He likes it too).
    Hybrids may be fine about town, but on a motorway, (Interstate,) they’re abyssmal.
    LPG!
    All the LPG vehicles I’ve driven require that you have some petrol, (gasoline,) in the second tank.
    DaveE.

  156. “”” RobP (09:32:02) :
    A point we have to think about is why are hybrids being developed. An interview with a VP from Ford a few years back revealed their thinking – hybrids enable them to play with electric car technology before going to full electrically-driven vehicles in the future. They are not an end in themselves and the current form – adding an electric motor and batteries to an existing car (complete with combustion engine and transmission) – is not an efficient option. “””
    Well Rob, I didn’t copy past here because from here on you just trundle out the same old tired rationalizations, that the greens have been foisting off on us for years.
    In the first place hdrocarbons are not destroying the planet; every living thing on this planet is made from hydrocarbons.
    Hydrocarbon fuelled autos have a lot in common with chemical rockets. As a chemical rocket burns its fuel and exhausts the combustion products; it also loses mass, so the thrust just produces even greater acceleration to higher speeds for the payload. Autos too powered by hydrocarbons exhaust the combustion products harmlessly into the atmopshere, and continually lower the total mass being carried down the road.
    These hybrids or your preferred all electric monstrosities end up with the same total mass when the battery goes flat; as they had when it was fully charged; so that is akin to driving around with your gas tank full all the time. It’s as inefficient as a snail which must carry its house around everywhere it goes; no wonder they don’t last very long.
    We don’t have any local Hydrogen mines; so it takes scarce and expensive energy to obtain hydrogen fuel from low quality ores like water; or even lower quality ores like sea water; which is about as low as you can get on the stored chemical energy food chain.
    Somebody is experimenting with a totally different carbon neutral but non hydrogen fuel source; carbon dioxide; which is readily available in our atmosphere. If you can effectively extract hydrogen from its combustion product; why not do the same thing with carbon. The process uses a Cobalt refractory ceramic; basically cobalt oxide. The ceramic is heated to about 2000 F in a vaccuum, and it decomposes giving off Oxygen which is vented to the atmosphere.
    Then CO2 is introduced to the chamber, and the hot cobalt robs the CO2 of the oxygen; recreating the ceramic; and leaving a carbon residue ready for burning.
    The world will be using hydrocarbons for ever more amazing products as well as automobile fuels long after electric cars have gone the way of the horse and buggy.
    Gasoline (a hydocarbon mix) is still the safest high energy density energy storage medium that we have; and your granchildren’s granchildren will be using plenty of it.

  157. I forgot to mention in my previous post.
    “John Nevard (08:03:13) :
    Just Want Truth… (20:21:15) :
    Agreed- the (limited) popularity of the Smart is a little strange. It’s just a very small French car.”
    French?
    It’s German!
    SMART is part of the Mercedes group, so I suppose it’s really American,
    The Chrysler Crossfire has the same running gear as a Mercedes SLK.
    DaveE.

  158. DaveE says:

    Hybrids may be fine about town, but on a motorway, (Interstate,) they’re abyssmal.

    Abysmal in what way? As noted above, while the Prius excels more in city driving, it still is quite efficient on the highway. And, there is no problem keeping them up to speed…I think Al Gore’s son demonstrated that!
    I love driving my Prius on the interstate. I just set the cruise control and relax.

  159. “It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.”
    Thanks for sharing my sentiments! I feel like this with many “eco-friendly” death-traps they call cars…like that smart car. I kinda almost wanna see a Hummer run it over.

  160. DaveE (17:01:35) :
    All the LPG vehicles I’ve driven require that you have some petrol, (gasoline,) in the second tank.

    Not so. The old VOLVO estate I ran on LPG used to start up fine on the stuff, never needed to switch over to petrol. Never ran out of LPG either, the UK is quite well provided with LPG stations. There is an OVL file you can download and use with a satnav unit to show where they all are.
    Just a pity they doubled the price over the last 5 years.

  161. hmmmm (11:22:45) :
    As a side note they get decent low-end torque compared to other cars.

    No they don’t. That’s why the revs go straight up to where peak torque is and then as Jeremy puts it, the speed ‘catches up’.
    CVT transmission has come a long way since the elastic band powered DAF 33. These days CVT gearbxes use steel belts and some clever electronic tech to control to the final drive ratio.
    I believe chevrolet were playing with a CVT called the transmatic a few years ago.
    The problem is customer perception. As Jeremy puts it, he like revs which climb with engine speed, and a ‘direct feel’ to the transmission.
    Thing is, CVT is pretty good at getting peak power onto the road. Those old DAF 33’s used to beat more powerful cars away from the lights every time.

  162. Like California, London is also pursuing a policy of electric vehicles. But do Schwarzenegger and Boris realise that electric vehicles are more polluting than standard diesel vehicles?
    Diesel vehicle
    Diesel transport to pumps 98% efficient
    Diesel engine in car 38% efficient
    Total for diesel car 37% energy efficiency
    Electric vehicle
    Electrical generation at power station 45% efficient
    Electrical transmission 98% efficient
    Electrical storage in lithium-ion battery 85% efficient
    Electric motor 90% efficient
    Total for electric car 34% energy efficiency
    Thus diesel cars are more efficient than electric cars.
    Schwarzenegger and Boris may achieve a cleaner environment for L.A. and London, in that they can transfer all transport emissions and pollution to the regions around the power stations, but I don’t think the residents in these regions will appreciate this. And let us not pretend that the adoption of electric vehicles has anything to do with carbon emissions and saving the planet, for these electric vehicles will use MORE energy than a standard diesel.
    In addition, do Schwarzenegger and Boris realise that they will have to commission a new fossil-fuelled power station to provide all this extra electrical transport energy (unless ALL the energy can be drawn at night)? And let us not kid ourselves that the new arrays of wind-turbines will assist in this, unless it is decreed that all electric vehicles are banned from driving unless the mean wind velocity is between 10 and 45 mph.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_power_plant
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion#cite_note-3
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motor

  163. And let us not get misty-eyed over hydrogen cars either. The hydrogen cycle is remarkably inefficient, and the same figures for a hydrogen car become:
    Hydrogen vehicle
    Electrical generation at power station 45% efficient
    Hydrogen generation 70% efficient
    Hydrogen compression 90% efficient
    Hydrogen transport 95% efficient
    Fuel cell 50% efficient
    Electric motor 90% efficient
    Total for hydrogen car 12% energy efficiency
    In other words, if you really want to stuff the environment and empty those oil wells, then drive a hydrogen powered vehicle.
    .

  164. >>I’ve owned a Toyota Camery Hybrid (4-door) for three years.
    >> It seats five. I’m getting on average 35 – 37 mpg around
    >>town and 32 on the hiway.
    Which is exactly what I mean. I own a Citroen C5, which is a huge 5-seater saloon car, with a 2.2 litre twin-turbo diesel.
    I get 40 mpg in town, and 55mpg on the motorway at 70mph. As I said before, hybrid electric vehicles are not only a waste of money, they also pollute the environment more than a good diesel.
    http://www.citroen.co.uk/new-cars/citroen-c5-saloon/media-gallery/picture-gallery/exterior/
    .
    Having said all that, when we get a battery that will power a car for 500 miles and weigh in at 5 kg, then electric vehicles will be a good idea. However, let us not kid ourselves that this is a panacea. To power all our vehicles from electric power, will require a DOUBLING (or even TREBELING) of the number of power stations. Work it out for yourselves – transport is one of the largest sectors for energy consumption.
    .

  165. “Joel Shore (18:47:47) :
    Abysmal in what way? As noted above, while the Prius excels more in city driving, it still is quite efficient on the highway. And, there is no problem keeping them up to speed…I think Al Gore’s son demonstrated that!
    I love driving my Prius on the interstate. I just set the cruise control and relax.”
    Abysmal in that they drive like a tank and fuel efficiency is rubbish.
    I must admit, I’m comparing it with standard European family cars such as the French made Peugeot 405 1.9TD that I own, a bigger car which on a decent run consumes less fuel. Simpler to maintain too.
    A Ford Mondeo Diesel is excellent on fuel and also drive better than a Prius.
    In fact, I can’t think of a car I’ve driven that is worse!
    DaveE

  166. “BTW to the potential hate mail senders, I drive an electric car myself to/from work most days. It costs me about five cents a mile to operate.”
    What type of car is that? Because I’m using gasoline and getting about 9 cents a mile (with gas @2.15/gal). I’d LOVE to cut costs and am quite willing to buy electric if I can do a 100 mile round trip for 5 cents a mile.

  167. Just a couple of real-world questions:
    How easily damaged are the batteries when the car is involved in an accident? I suspect that because of weight considerations, they aren’t given a lot of shielding.
    How easily damaged are the batteries by extreme heat or cold conditions?
    How much pollution will be caused when a battery is damaged? Aren’t they still lead-acid?
    Are there battery disposal fees? If the cars are sold in large numbers, will the batteries become a disposal/landfill problem, or are they completely recyclable?

  168. Oh my gosh, so funny!
    And I’m with Kevin. At $2.15/gallon, my Scion xA is costing me less than 6 cents a mile to drive. The differential needs to go way down before I believe this is a better deal–for me or the environment.

  169. That is the funniest thing I have read in a while. I wonder why nobody seems to care that that thing looks exactly like a Prius. What an ingenious design idea.

  170. DaveE (17:01:35) :
    “Jeff Alberts (08:27:50) :
    Clarkson doesn’t like any car that won’t do at least 200 mph.”
    He actually thinks the Mundano is a good car so that’s not true! (He likes it too).

    Lol, is that a real car? Seriously? Someone named their car the “Mundano”? As in “mundane”??

  171. Zer0th (01:41:18) :
    Charles the moderator,
    We had a censor moment between us about three weeks ago where I accused moderators of a lack of humour. My apologies, I was wrong. That piece about Clarkson Island was a classic and comparable to Monty Python at their best.
    Thanks for fun.

  172. jtom:

    How easily damaged are the batteries when the car is involved in an accident? I suspect that because of weight considerations, they aren’t given a lot of shielding.

    In the Prius, the batteries are located in the front area of the rear hatch, i.e., right behind the rear seats, so I think it would take a pretty severe accident (i.e., one that likely totals the car) to damage them. I haven’t heard of any issues involving this.

    How easily damaged are the batteries by extreme heat or cold conditions?

    Well, they seem to work fine here in Rochester, NY and I don’t think people in colder places like Minnesota and Canada have reported any problems either. I am personally less familiar with extreme heat but haven’t heard of any issues from the hotter parts of the country.

    How much pollution will be caused when a battery is damaged? Aren’t they still lead-acid?

    The batteries are sealed nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH). And, although I haven’t actually ever looked at mine, I am told that they are only about the size of a telephone book. The car also has a lead acid battery but I understand it to be smaller than the ones found in most cars since it is only used to run auxillary stuff, not to start the car.

    Are there battery disposal fees? If the cars are sold in large numbers, will the batteries become a disposal/landfill problem, or are they completely recyclable?

    According to Toyota (see e.g., here:http://trucks.about.com/od/hybridcar/a/toyota_hybrids_2.htm ):

    Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 “bounty” for each battery.

  173. It’s Jeremy Clarkson you are quoting here… here’s a clue, he is not a serious roadtester, he is someone who writes for shock value. See pistonheads.com and do a search on his name to see how he is derided.
    This site gets worse and worse… ~snip~

  174. FatBigot (16:15:25) : “…No one gave a moment’s thought to any risk from slicing raw bacon and then cooked meat on the same slicer and no one ever became ill as a result…”
    Pure luck. Cases of trichinosis have resulted from grinding pork and then switching to beef for steak tartare without a tear-down and cleansing of the grinder. Smoking, salting, or curing are not preventives, so raw, unfrozen bacon would also be risky.
    Not hearing of anyone becoming ill isn’t the same as no one becoming ill. It takes several weeks for trichinosis to be diagnosed. One of the diagnostic questions is “Have you eaten any raw meat recently?” The victim of a contaminated slicer would answer “no,” since he or she had ordered cooked meat, thus possibly delaying or frustrating diagnosis.
    There is no specific treatment for trichinosis once the larvae have invaded the muscles. The cysts remain viable for years, and may invade the heart, lungs and brain. Death may result, though the geometry of a slicer would make that unlikely. Anyone who would slice pork and then ready-to-eat meat on an uncleaned slicer is a health risk. It is quite possible that no one became ill, but, if so, that was luck, not competence.

  175. edcon (18:58:01) : “Anthony, did you include the replacement cost for batteries in your per mile cost?”
    A good question, one I’m not sure we’re getting a straight answer on from the manufacturers. The replacement cost is typically quoted as between $3200 and $4000. The battery life is harder to determine, since it depends on the use cycle of the vehicle, but they’re probably good for 80,000 to 160,000 miles. If the manufacturer doesn’t warantee the battery, then figure 50,000 miles. That adds anywhere from 2 to 8 cents per mile.
    Remember, though, Obamarama’s energy program has built-in inflation of about 10 to 20% per year once coal is locked out, so battery costs will probably inflate rapidly as we get further into the cycle. Better allow $8,000 to $10,000 for replacements in ten years. Used batteries would cost somewhat less, but might be iffy and hard to find.

  176. His criticisms of CVT are bogus. I drive a Honda Civic hybrid with CVT and it works like a charm. Very smooth and quiet.

  177. RobP (09:32:02) :

    A point we have to think about is why are hybrids being developed….They are not an end in themselves and the current form – adding an electric motor and batteries to an existing car (complete with combustion engine and transmission) – is not an efficient option.M

    A hybrid allows recovery of energy while braking and installation of an engine which would be efficient but would not otherwise have the safety margin and “confidence” factor of reserve acceleration of a larger (and thus more lossy) engine. It’s as simple as that. If you do a lot of city driving, the tradeoffs of buying an electric motor and carrying batteries pay off. If not, then maybe not.
    zivilprozess (10:10:48) :

    i would not think of buying a japanese car, i would more support our car industry. But i know that is a political question and a quesetion if you can afford it.

    You mean supporting “Japanese” companies who operate factories and employ workers in the U.S. as opposed to “American” manufacturers who make their product in Mexico and lay off American workers?
    An overgeneralization, but I’m sure you see the point.

  178. Clarkson is a joker, and his reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt – as an example, his pop at CVTs isn’t really a fair criticism.
    On CO2 emissions, comparing MPG (as people have noted) is a bit of a minefield, as different fuels produce different amounts of CO2 and different countries have different sized gallons (!!!???!!!) which causes no end of confusion. In the EU, we rate new cars with a grams of CO2 per kilometre rating, which is a nice direct measure, no need to try to account for all the differences.
    Checking the figures, the Insight hybrid does pretty well at 101 g/km. But there are better; the Ford Fiesta Econetic diesel manages 98 g/km. Of course, to achieve this the Fiesta must get much better mileage per gallon (as diesel produces more CO2 per gallon), so fuel costs for the Fiesta are around 10% less, the car costs £2000 less in the first place (although you need to spend a few hundred pounds on options to get the same spec), the Fiesta’s simple drivetrain will most likely last longer and cost less to service. So the CO2 emissions are similar but the Fiesta is a whole lot cheaper. (The Fiesta manages nearly 90 mpg cruising FWIW)
    The Fiesta is a slightly smaller car though, which may be important to some, and some people will pay more for the Honda badge over the Ford badge. But the bottom line is that hybrids are not a big step up on CO2 emissions over a good diesel engine; they are about the same, perhaps at best a few percent better in town, thanks to regenerative braking, a few percent worse on the open road, thanks to the extra weight.
    For some reason the alarmists have latched on to the hybrid as the future due to CO2 emissions. Watching them try to justify this position is quite entertaining.
    Incidentally, you can see Jeremy’s review of the Fiesta at the link below on youtube. I wonder how a hybrid would cope with being driven through sea water? I hope those big current battery terminals are well insulated…


  179. “Jeff Alberts (11:40:00) :
    DaveE (17:01:35) :
    “Jeff Alberts (08:27:50) :
    Clarkson doesn’t like any car that won’t do at least 200 mph.”
    He actually thinks the Mundano is a good car so that’s not true! (He likes it too).
    Lol, is that a real car? Seriously? Someone named their car the “Mundano”? As in “mundane”??”
    It’s a nickname for the Ford Mondeo, excellent car but definitely mundane.
    DaveE

  180. My experience is a bit contrary to some comments here.
    The Prius and this car are good medium sized sedans with a 60/40 split back seat and hatch back that is good for this 6 footer with bikes and other crap to haul around … what is the point of a crossover or sedan again ? … oh you need a seat and a half to sit in 😉
    I have the last good pick up truck sold in North America, a Duramax 3/4 tonne crew cab (with upgraded Allison Transmission programming that can now withstand global cooling). It pulls around the RV like you’d expect and does a short commute for the wife. Why anybody would buy a new gas pickup is beyond me. Buy a piece of junk with holes in the fenders if you need to haul big stuff once in a while … and get a car to drive around!
    The next vehicle I buy will be an AWD Pontiac Vibe, the only car I like from GM and a better deal than a Matrix (same car) and with global cooling taking hold I have to prepare to drive on ice for a couple more months a year. The snow tires on the Prius helped and I’m not ever selling it … easy to drive starter car for kids … but it is almost time to move on although I think the Vibe will survive Pontiac’s demise from the looks of it.
    The next truck … with the diesel dead (thanks to ass backward regs) you can only hope hybrid trucks with their RV utility (on board power plant) and potentially better starting torque get better and cheaper. Otherwise its baby the aging diesel into an acreage junker and another car for the better half.
    So like Anthony said, its what you need and if you need more room than a compact hatch back, one of these hybrid’s like the Prius or this Honda will work great … and I was driving my Prius in -40 while VW TDI’s were stranded and standard gas cars were towed and thawed out.

  181. jorgekafkazar says:

    The battery life is harder to determine, since it depends on the use cycle of the vehicle, but they’re probably good for 80,000 to 160,000 miles. If the manufacturer doesn’t warantee the battery, then figure 50,000 miles. That adds anywhere from 2 to 8 cents per mile.

    The Prius warranty in the U.S. on the battery and all the hybrid-related components is 8 years / 100,000 miles but in states that have adopted the California emissions standards (which includes California and NY amongst others, and thus a significant fraction of the Priuses sold), this is extended to 10 years / 150,000 miles. (See e.g. here: http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-main-forum/26588-2007-prius-10-year-150-000-mile-hybrid-battery-warranty-whichever-comes-first.html )
    Toyota claimed that bench testing had shown the battery would last at least 150,000 miles and I am under the impression (although I don’t have hard data on it) that experiences thus far have shown this estimate to be reasonable or in fact too conservative.

    Remember, though, Obamarama’s energy program has built-in inflation of about 10 to 20% per year once coal is locked out, so battery costs will probably inflate rapidly as we get further into the cycle. Better allow $8,000 to $10,000 for replacements in ten years.

    Ah…This is analysis of the program is based on what exactly? (And, if you are claiming that there is going to be a general inflation at that rate, then it makes little sense to compare battery costs at that inflated value since everything would cost more.)
    My own prediction is that the price of the batteries will fall due to economies-of-scale. (The only fly in the ointment would be if the demand for hybrid batteries is so large that scarcity forces the price up.)

  182. DaveE (17:44:29) :
    It’s built in France. It clearly isn’t a proper German car.. apart from the old Beetle, the German’s haven’t built an underpowered rear-motor rear-driven car since the BMW 700. It’s a light shopping cart- very French, very fine, as long as it stays off the motorways.

  183. Joel Shore (14:04:53) : “jorgekafkazar says: ‘The battery life is harder to determine, since it depends on the use cycle of the vehicle, but they’re probably good for 80,000 to 160,000 miles. If the manufacturer doesn’t warantee the battery, then figure 50,000 miles. That adds anywhere from 2 to 8 cents per mile.’
    “The Prius warranty in the U.S. on the battery and all the hybrid-related components is 8 years [to 10 years]
    Right. As I stated, if there is no warranty, assume 50,000 miles. If there is a warranty, use the term of the warranty. Duh. Toyota’s warranty periods and estimated bench life all fall within my prediction of 80,000 to 160,000 miles.
    “Toyota claimed that bench testing had shown the battery would last at least 150,000 miles…”
    Right. That’s what they claim. Somehow, though, I doubt if most people drive their car like a bench. Plan on 80 to 160 Kmiles, as I said.
    “…and I am under the impression (although I don’t have hard data on it) that experiences thus far have shown this estimate to be reasonable or in fact too conservative.”
    Right, that’s your impression.
    ‘Remember, though, Obamarama’s energy program has built-in inflation of about 10 to 20% per year once coal is locked out, so battery costs will probably inflate rapidly as we get further into the cycle. Better allow $8,000 to $10,000 for replacements in ten years.
    “Ah…This is analysis of the program is based on what exactly?”
    Oh, golly, Joel, I am just under the impression (although I don’t have hard data on it) that experiences thus far have shown this estimate to be reasonable or in fact too conservative. Maybe it should be 25%. Diminished energy supply (no coal) and relatively inflexible demand for energy always result in rising prices for energy. And energy is a component in every item you buy; all costs will rise along with energy prices. Remember the early 70’s? Maybe you don’t…
    “(And, if you are claiming that there is going to be a general inflation at that rate, then it makes little sense to compare battery costs at that inflated value since everything would cost more.)”
    Right, except that if you’ve already bought one of these turkeys, in x years you must either put out for a new battery or drive zero miles. If you bought a Mini, you could drive fewer miles to offset the inflated cost of gasoline.
    “My own prediction is that the price of the batteries will fall due to economies-of-scale.”
    Your own prediction is wrong. Economy of scale applies to manufactured goods in which the cost of tooling and design are written off over longer and longer runs. Batteries, sad to say, are material cost intensive, and will only rise in price with inflation, unless…
    “(The only fly in the ointment would be if the demand for hybrid batteries is so large that scarcity forces the price up.)”
    Right!

  184. jorgekafkazar says:

    “Toyota claimed that bench testing had shown the battery would last at least 150,000 miles…”
    Right. That’s what they claim. Somehow, though, I doubt if most people drive their car like a bench. Plan on 80 to 160 Kmiles, as I said.

    Well, you can plan on that if you watn, but since, as I noted (but you conveniently left off of your quotes of me) all of the Priuses sold in New York, California, or any other state that adopted the California air pollution standard is 150 Kmiles, you would have Toyota paying a lot of warranty claims. Looks to me like their bench testing just might be realistic.
    By the way, it doesn’t really matter how you drive…The Prius makes up its own mind about when to use electric or gas power and it is designed so that the battery is rarely drained very much. This is why the battery life is so long.

    Right, except that if you’ve already bought one of these turkeys, in x years you must either put out for a new battery or drive zero miles. If you bought a Mini, you could drive fewer miles to offset the inflated cost of gasoline.

    Well, you might think that they are turkeys, which is your right, but the owners of the Prius give it the highest marks for customer satisfaction of any car that Consumer Reports has sufficient data for (measured by the percentage who answer affirmatively to the question of whether, if they had it to do over, they would buy the car again).

    Your own prediction is wrong. Economy of scale applies to manufactured goods in which the cost of tooling and design are written off over longer and longer runs. Batteries, sad to say, are material cost intensive, and will only rise in price with inflation, unless…

    Well, to paraphrase Niels Bohr(?), prediction is hard, especially about the future. So, maybe we should check back in a few years and see who turns out to be right. However, things aren’t looking too good for you so far as the replacement costs you quoted of $3200 to $4000 are already out-of-date. Here’s a piece of news from last September:

    Toyota Motor Corp., whose Prius hybrid, in one form or another, has been on the road in the U.S. since the end of 1999, said Tuesday that it has lowered the replacement price of battery packs for its first generation Prius by almost 30 percent and for the present generation (2004-now) Prius by a bit more than 10 percent.
    In dollars (which are sinking faster than the Titanic) that’s a new price of $2,299 for a battery pack for the first generation cars and $2,588 for the present generation batteries.
    Previously, Toyota would have charged $2,985 for a Prius battery replacement for either generation.

    And, the article goes on to give some data about how the battery packs have been faring so far and to talk about their plans for the futre and how this might affect battery costs:

    The carmaker isn’t doing much business in replacement batteries though – with some 500,000 Priuses now on the road in this country fewer than 300 battery packs have been replaced, and many of those were batteries damaged in accidents.
    Most also were replaced under warranty, says Toyota environmental spokesman John Hanson.
    The upshot is that Toyota still doesn’t really know how long the Prius’ nickel-metal hydride batteries will last, but figures they’ve got a lot of life in them .
    “There are a lot of cars out there with 200,000 miles on them and they are still going strong,” he told Green Car Advisor.
    One thing the carmaker does know, though, is that a lot of Prius owners are determined to keep their cars for a long, long time.
    With that in mind, and with the inevitability of battery packs for ageing Priuses finally wearing out someday (mostly, they’ll just lose their capacity to hold a really good change), Hanson said Toyota also is now studying the feasibility of setting up a U.S. factory to remanufacture Prius batteries.
    That would make the replacement cost – now about the same as replacing an internal combustion engine that has seen its last days – even less expensive.

    So, it looks like your pessimism about hybrids and their batteries may be a bit off the mark!

  185. Joel:
    Look–hybrids are garbage.
    Maybe one day they will live up to their greenwashed promises, but the technology and infrastructure are simply not there. Your claims to the contrary are a lesson in logical fallacies and false stats sampling. Inherently, the more complicated you make any machine, the shorter its lifespan. Any mechanic worth his or her salt can spot a disposable piece of driveway junk a mile away—for the most part, the production model since the seventies and early eighties has been to build cars with 100K- expiration dates.
    A compact, conventional, easily-maintained, high-efficiency conventional car is still the way to go, and both the domestic and import makers could be doing far better. Better parts availability, easier maintenance, fewer integrated systems to deal with, less weight, abundant part lines, no specialized repair training, cheaper parts and better interchangeability… these always have and always will result in a better car. Period. Anyone who argues the contrary has never even looked under their hood, let alone worked on their own cars before.
    A 1983 Honda Civic HF hatchback gets 50-60mpg. That’s a quarter of a century ago. With a friggin carburetor. And yet you still see these things zippin around, some of them rebuilt three times over. Know why? Simplicity; not smugness and hypocritical technophilia. But if the model is buy-break/sell-buy, the Hybrid-owners’ claim to environmental “insight” is absurd at best, negligent at worse.
    Want to cut your emissions and save gas?
    Drive less, and mix in some bicycling and public transit.

  186. Good Morning ladies, I am late to the dance, just ran into the website. Ham slicer indeed! I drive a 2002 Saturn SL manual, manual windows, but Ihave a splendid sunroof. I currently have 238,000 miles on this queen and she consistantly get 45 mpg. I one time and one time only got 50mpg, and if I concentrate and draft, and coast, and turn off the car at red lights, 46-48 1/2 all day. NowI bought this car for 11,500, it was called the “springtime special” Can you imagine were these suits would be if “everyone” bought one of these SL’s for $11,500, and drove it over 200,000 miles? They don’t want you to save the planet, they want to save their cushy jobs. The 1985-1995 civic’s with the 1.6 and manual got 50mpg al day. Where are those cars now? Get smart kids.

  187. “Late to the dance” is an understatement! I wouldn’t have seen your comment, dj, except this was back in the day when I subscribed to threads—very quickly thereafter my email inbox got overloaded, and I stopped that practice.
    In any event, rest assured that at least someone saw your comment. I am glad you’re happy with your 2002 Saturn. Myself, I hanker after a new Mustang GT, and one of these days I promise myself I’ll get one. I don’t reckon it makes a whit of difference to “the planet” whether I drive a nice big V-8 or a tinker-toy 4. But “tweak ‘is own,” as my old friend Sinc used to say.
    /Mr Lynn

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