With today's reveal of the Chevy Volt we can finally compare the three main fuel-efficient vehicles that will fight to the death for hybrid market share. In the silver trunks you've got the 2011 Chevy Volt from Michigan, weighing in at $40,000. A featherweight at $18,500, in the light silver trunks there's the 2009 Honda Insight. Finally, in the third corner, sporting the edgy red metallic trunks and weighing in at $22,000 is the reigning champion, the Toyota Prius. Which one has boxed its way into your heart? The Volt has the advantage of being American, assuming you're part of the group that believes an American car is a good thing. It also sports an electric mode with a 40-mile all-electric range. Of course, that carries a big price tag with it. The Insight looks like a Honda and looks like a hybrid. It is low in price but compared to the Volt it has less technology. It should have that comfortable, competent and reliable design we associate with Honda, if you're into that. The Prius is a known quantity. Not the best looking vehicle ever made, the Prius is well-associated with the hybrid movement and is a solid performer in the mileage area. The price isn't too high, if you can get one for MSRP, and owners of the Toyota hybrid almost uniformly love their car.
I think the Chevy's the best looking, but it sure as shit ain't worth more than two of the second-best looking Insight. It's pricing itself into halo car territory as far as I'm concerned (Like the SSR) whereas the Honda's price tag and the fact that Toyota sold close to 200,000 Prii show that these two are a little more real.
Thus, the only one I'd consider buying (and could someday soon afford) is the Insight. All it needs is custom taillights, some extra scoops here and there, a coffee can tailpipe, and some chrome trim around the doorseams.