Hybrid Pioneers: Mk1 Toyota Prius vs Volkswagen XL1 vs Honda Insight Car News

One of the motors also recovers energy when coasting, but there is no regenerative effect triggered by pressing the brake pedal like on modern hybrids. This means that the pedal works without corruption and is truly fantastic: precise and efficient. Surprising.

If it’s the only piece of Prius that can be considered even vaguely sporty, the XL1 is quite different. In fact, it’s such an “optimized” sports car that VW built a prototype with wider tracks, tires that weren’t special low-friction 115-section and the 187-hp V-Twin. ‘a Ducati Panigale. It would have been a lot of fun. As it stands, the XL1 diesel-hybrid, all 69bhp, is still in many ways deeply satisfying to drive.

The ride is rugged but the damping smooth at high speeds, and the combination of double wishbones up front and that natural steering make the car a great communicator. It’s not fast and even with 25hp of electric power to use the throttle response is imprecise, but there is something about the Lotus Elise about the way it moves. Unlike the effortless way it goes down a road, the driver does a bit of practice.

The theoretical economic potential of 313 mpg comes at a price, however. The rigidity of the XL1’s monocoque and its lack of soundproofing (the interior, with its wood pulp dashboard, weighs only 80 kg) make the roar of the road hearty, even if the car slips. herself in the air almost silently. The two-pot diesel – essentially a 1.6-liter TDI aluminum from the Polo cut in half – doesn’t transmit much vibration but has all the acoustic refinement of a marine two-stroke.

The wow factor of rear view cameras and their beer mat screens also fades, leaving you with a car that has worse rear visibility than the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. The almost weightless butterfly doors are a great theater, but opening them, skipping the beautiful but wide carbon fiber sills and lowering gently into the cramped cockpit becomes tiring. The need to carry the case-sized charger inverter robs the XL1 of what would otherwise be more trunk space than the Porsche 911. Special? Enormously, but not exactly usable.

The Insight is more ordinary than the XL1. Perhaps unfairly, there is just less pioneering spirit in the place, and it starts with the imprint. The Honda is carefully tapered to achieve an aerodynamic teardrop shape, but it’s subtle. On the XL1, the effect is so extreme that for a brief moment, when Prior drives it over a ridge behind me, I can see in the Insight’s rearview mirror a bright daylight between the front and rear wheels on either side. of the VW. It is quite shocking.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-05 05:01:23

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