This kind of a smart car, that is.

The good stuff:

  • OMG Cute!!
  • It’s a ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle)
  • The place it’s manufactured is energy conscious, and there is a recycling program
  • The coupe isn’t a bad price for a little car–$11,590–especially for a car with Mercedes Benz components.
  • Very easy to park in the city

Not so good stuff:

  • It has very low clearance, which makes me think it won’t do so well in snow over 3 inches.
  • Rear wheel drive, which is another minus for those of us with snow.
  • I don’t live in the city, so for long range trips–which is what I mostly do–this isn’t a good choice for me.

I was also very disappointed with the mileage–utterly pathetic for a car this size:

“The vehicle is designed to achieve 40 city/45 highway mpg according to 2007 EPA standards and 33 city/41 highway mpg according to 2008 EPA standards.”

That’s not as good as my 1993 Honda Civic VX, which got 50/55mpg with a conventional engine. And which was considerably larger. And it’s certainly not as good as my current car, a 2001 Honda Insight, which gets 57/64mpg. And is a SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle).

Why Honda?? Why did you stop making Insights??? There is no information on what the mythic Insight replacement will be. There is a hybrid version of the Fit in Japan, but no plans to bring it to the US. Despite reports of over 80mpg.


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Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. It doesn’t look much bigger than my oatmeal-powered trike!!

    I do find it strange how so many cars are being advertised with supposedly good fuel consumption/emission figures—when they are actually worse than cars made 5-10-15 years ago.

    I used to work on car magazines and can recall various Volkswagen and Peugeot diesels returning in excess of 55mpg. That was 10 years ago!

  2. The Insight had a much higher price when compared to other cars of its type, way too much to offset the gas savings. It was basically the “early adopter-mobile.” Honda is still making and selling the Civic and Accord hybrids, and yes, they are selling the Fits here, and have since 2006. Go to and you can search for both new and used vehicles–including the Fit!

  3. But it’s not a hybrid fit. The regular fit doesn’t have very good mileage. Same for Hybrid Civics.

    The insight–fully loaded–was $19K in 2006.
    That’s hardly out of the range of other cars.

  4. It is when you consider the performance rating and the fact that it was a two-seater.

    I stand corrected on the Fit. I looked it up, and apparently they’re scrapping the hybrid Fits to make a dedicated hybrid line of cars for 2009. Their main goal is to cut the costs way down.

    Me, I’m still wanting to see those carbon fiber hybrids come on the market…

  5. Don’t be too impressed by ULEV. My Land Rover Discovery II is also a ULEV vehicle. It gets 14MPG on premium fuel on its best day.

  6. ULEV is better than HI Lev.
    Also, I think the complaint that the insight was too expensive is a non-starter.
    People pay tens of thousands more for two seaters. What killed the insight was that dealers HATED it. I had to really work to find one–and nearly every dealer I talked to tried to talk me out of it.
    Apparently the markup on the car was very small.

  7. Does anyone know about the durability of these vehicles – how does the transmission stand up? how long is it expected to last? how often should it be maintained and how easy is it to maintain. I have the same questions about the engine? what about the cooling system? how often does it need servicing? after I took the carte for a test drive I lifted the cover to the engine compartment and naturaly it was very hot therefore this small engine is working hard and the dealer said you change the oil every 15,000 km – even if it is the highest grade oil does it make sense?? perhaps a mechanic good answer these questions – I have not been able to find this info anywhere

    David Stolk

  8. If you are asking about the smart car, I don’t know the answers either.

    If you are asking about the Insight, mine has just rolled over to 100,000 miles, and is still going strong. Almost no repairs at all for me. I wish I could buy another one!

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