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Honda Fit vs. Toyota Prius

It seems like only yesterday when the “cool” car to drive was a BIG SUV. Well, those days are gone, and now everyone wants to conserve gas and save the planet. There’s no easier way to do this than by driving a cute little subcompact car, or a hybrid if you’re nasty.

I’ve been driving a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta and my lease is just about up. I decided to be proactive for once and start looking at some possible cars so I checked out the (seemingly) two most popular options: the Honda Fit and Toyota Prius.

They seemed pretty similar to me at first, but there are some distinct differences. I found my information on Edmunds, which is an incredible Web site that can answer any question that you have about any car.

This is what I’ve found:

Honda Fit
Price: Obviously prices range, but the average (with all taxes/fees/etc) is mid $17,000s.
Safety: In government crash tests, it earned a 5/5 star rating for protecting passengers in both frontal and side crashes. For back side protection it earned 3/5 stars. In all, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Fit the highest “Good” rating for “frontal-offset and side crash protection.”
Gas Mileage: approx. 35 MPG
Power/Performance: Features a 109-horsepower engine, which can really get a car that’s mass is 2,500 pounds to really fly. The manual goes from 0 to 60 in nine seconds. And because it’s so light, the Fit can really accelerate, but it’s not very quiet when going highway speeds.
Other: This has a much higher MSRP than other cars of its kind. It also hasn’t really been upgraded since 2001. It’s only been sold in the U.S. for a few years but it’s been sold worldwide since 2001. The 2009 and 2008 Fit are exactly the same. We can expect to see it in Hybrid form within the next few years.

Toyota Prius (Hybrid)
Price: About $25,000. (This is brand new, keep in mind.)
Safety: In government crash tests, it earned a 4/5 star rating for protecting passengers in the front of the car when in a frontal crash. For side impact, it received 5/5 stars for passengers in the front and 4/5 stars for passengers in the back. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Prius the exact same as the Fit. (“Good” for protection in frontal-offset and side-impact crashes.)
Gas Mileage: approx 46 MPG; Edmunds calls this the most fuel-efficient car on the market
Power/Performance: The gas engine provides 76 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor’s net peak horsepower is 110. These two power sources will hit their peaks at different times. Goes from 0 to 60 in 10.4 seconds.
Other: With all new cars, you get can get lots of goodies and techie things. The Prius features an entire screen on the dash that shows everything from the temperatures inside (and outside) to what’s on the radio to how many miles you have left before you need to gas up.