Posts Tagged ‘insight’

Prius Wins Japan’s Fuel-Efficiency Rankings for 6th Year (Except It Doesn’t Really) …

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced Friday that Toyota’s Prius had won the latest 2011-12 fuel-efficiency rankings, handing a 6th straight victory for the Prius.

Nine of the top 10 regular passenger cars (kei cars are not included in this ranking) were hybrids — the exception being Mazda’s Demio with its Skyactive tech.

Position Maker Model KM/L in JC08 Mode) KM/L in 10/15 Mode Transmission Car Type
1 Toyota Prius 32.6 38.0 CVT Hybrid
2 Lexus CT200h 30.4 34.0 CVT Hybrid
3 Honda Insight 27.2 31.0 CVT Hybrid
4 Toyota Prius α 26.2 31.0 CVT Hybrid
4 Honda Fit 26.0 30.0 CVT Hybrid
6 Honda Fit Shuttle 26.0 30.0 CVT Hybrid
7 Mazda Demio 25.0 30.0 CVT ICE
8 Toyota Camry 23.4 26.5 CVT Hybrid
9 Honda Insight Exclusive 23.2 26.5 CVT Hybrid
10 Honda CR-Z 22.8 25.0 CVT Hybrid

But wait a minute. There’s something fishy going on… A surprising omission here is the Toyota Aqua (Prius C outside Japan) which should surely have made the list with its fuel consumption figures.

In fact, the Aqua would have topped the list with its economy figures outstripping the Prius at 35.4 KM/L in JC08 mode. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport states that vehicles had to be on sale in the 2011 calendar year, and the Aqua did just that — scraping in right at the end by going on sale on December 26th.

So perhaps this isn’t really the 6th straight win for the Prius at all? Following the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s own rules, I hereby pronounce the real winner as the Toyota Aqua.

Toyota Aqua beats Prius in real Japan fuel-efficiency rankings

So the Prius loses its crown in my reckoning. But Toyota shouldn’t waste too many tears over it: Add the Aqua to the mix, and you have Toyota products filling out all top-three spaces.

Sources: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport , Car Watch, Toyota Aqua site (all Japanese-language)

Japanese Car Auction Finds: Original Honda Insight (ZE1) Hybrid

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Today I wrote up some information about finding hybrid cars in Japan’s car auctions. Honestly, I was surprised that there are so many different models. For example, I had no idea that the Toyota Crown or Kluger were available as hybrids.

Anyway, along with the Prius, the Honda Insight can also be counted as one of the trailblazers in the hybrid revolution. There are a few reasons why the first generation of Insight is noteworthy:

First of all, it was an exceptionally fuel-efficient vehicle. Despite production ending five years ago, it is still rated as one of the most frugal vehicles ever tested by the US EPA with a highway rating of 70 MPG (which is 84 MPG when measured in Imperial gallons).

In addition, it incorporated start / stop technology which is now being taken up by BMW et al as a key strategy to reduce consumption.

There were more innovations, such as CVT transmission and the use of aluminum and plastic to reduce body weight, but I think another reason why the Insight ZE1 model should be remembered is that it was the first hybrid sold in the US, beating the Prius shortly after.

I think the question I have is how did Honda so comprehensively drop the ball after this amazing start? They had a technologically superior hybrid car that pioneered a whole raft of technologies that could have been introduced in other models across their range. The Insight beat the Prius at what was its raison d’etre – fuel economy. And then it beat the Prius to market in the key automobile market in the world. And yet after achieving so much, the hybrid branch withered on the Honda tree, and has only just recently been slightly reinvigorated by the ZE2 Insight – a pale reflection of its predecessor, and whose only virtue seems to be that it is relatively cheap.

I, for one, hope that Honda regains its earlier vision and gets back to what made this original Insight such an amazing car: Prescient technology and stunning fuel economy.

Here is a 2000 ZE1 Honda Insight in the car auctions in Japan. With such low KM on the clock, I would expect this one to end up going for around 350,000 Yen.

Honda Insight ZE1 Hybrid Car in Japan's Car Auctions

Honda Insight ZE1 Hybrid Car in Japan's Car Auctions

Honda Insight ZE1 Hybrid Car in Japan's Car Auctions