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Discussion Starter #1
CR has listed the 2019 Honda Insight as “In-test” for quite a while, but just today it went live with its completed, full report!

They had earlier posted a preliminary overview report based a short rental and drive of a Touring. The full review, along with ratings in each area, was based on an EX trim.

The review is positive overall, with solid marks for handling, ride, and braking, although their ratings and comments were weird and even off base about several key aspects (e.g., entry to and egress from the car supposedly being difficult — CR reviewers must be used to driving SUVs; the display system supposedly being too far away and its buttons too small — are its reviewers near-sighted? Do they have short arms? Do they have big fingers? :smile_big:). They also faulted the driver information display for having too many choices, seeming to not realize that it, like the central 8” info center, is customizable.

They mentioned IIHS safety ratings, but overlooked NHTSA's. They also ignored safety in their overall judgment and evaluation of the car, and continue to display a marked Toyota bias as they favored the Prius over the Insight, which had some glaringly weaker safety ratings and is a much smaller vehicle.

I raise these criticisms even though I’m a fan of Consumer Reports. I just think they‘ve blown their review and showed a lack of careful judgment in several key places.

What do you think of their review?

Posting areas of agreement and disagreement could help us inform prospective buyers, as well as letting us have some fun nitpicking their review and ratings!
 

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I think consumer reports is geared to some subset of buyer that I don't think I am a part of. Things they deem very important do not always jibe with what I think is important. I wonder how they decide what the criteria is? Safety and cost I guess should be pretty universal but some things that effect their opinion on a make seem trivial or seemingly uninformed.

They rate cars like toasters, to me cars are more than a mobile appliance. Maybe that's it, it's for people who see cars as a consumer item only. I have more passion about cars so my critique can be very different. I actually know quite a few people who just want a reliable car and don't care about endless details etc, but many of them do drive Hondas!
 

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They routinely rate Jeep Wranglers poorly, but most of us who own one love them. They don’t understand that we don’t buy them to be comfortable or practical. We own them because they’re fun!
 

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I think consumer reports is geared to some subset of buyer that I don't think I am a part of. Things they deem very important do not always jibe with what I think is important. I wonder how they decide what the criteria is? Safety and cost I guess should be pretty universal but some things that effect their opinion on a make seem trivial or seemingly uninformed.

They rate cars like toasters, to me cars are more than a mobile appliance. Maybe that's it, it's for people who see cars as a consumer item only. I have more passion about cars so my critique can be very different. I actually know quite a few people who just want a reliable car and don't care about endless details etc, but many of them do drive Hondas!
MY toaster is getting 62mpg and is extremely comfortable to drive. It's solid as a rock, and I feel very safe in it. With that said, CR should probably use an Insight in a longer-term test as it DOES take some getting used to. My love of the Insight didn't get really serious until the 5th or 6th day (and nearly 1,000 miles). The lack of a real transmission, engine noise and battery management differ from any other car I've driven. It's not a bad thing, but you do need to learn to drive it a little differently from an ICE-only car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've found, over the years, that their car reviews are excellent, drilling down into key aspects, with systematic testing that go well beyond the often cursory, glowing reviews in the auto mags and auto websites.

I've found them quite helpful in evaluating cars and picking the right one. They used to emphasize safety and reliability, and made sound, evidence-based judgments.

But, for the Insight, as with other Hondas, they seem to nitpick odd things, as I described. With the Toyotas, e.g., the Prius, their Road Test analyses point out all sorts of flaws, even more than the Insight, but then they end up rating the Toyotas higher than the comparable Hondas, anyway!

It's also pretty clear that marginal differences are magnified in their ratings — differences of a percentage point or two, or a couple of feet in stopping distance, end up translating into scores of 4 rather than 3 or 5 rather than 4. They dramatically magnify small, even marginal, differences into overall ratings that make certain cars look no-so-great, while others look very good.

For the Insight, I was really surprised by their inattention to its safety scores, especially compared to the Prius. Usually, Consumer Reports puts far more emphasis on safety.
 

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One item on which they have criticized the Insight unfairly is the push-button gear-selector. Their testers are used to levers that stick up or or out, linked to transmissions. Having one in this car makes no sense, but CR wants one anyway. They found the Insight's push-button gear-selector "cumbersome to use and [it] requires more attention than a shifter should require." Well, maybe that's true if the last 40 vehicles you drove had a lever, but you get used to the Insight's arrangement pretty quickly.

Silly, nitpicking stuff like that does make you wonder. I only take their evaluations broadly and put much more credence in the recommendations based on repair records that they provide as models get a few years of age on them.
 
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