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RoadTrip: 2010 Mercury Milan and Honda Insight - EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Join The Auto Channel's Mark and Marc to look at hybrids from two marques: Mercury and Honda!

SEE ALSO: Mercury Buyers Guide and Honda Buyers Guide

Show host Mark Fulmer and The Auto Channel's co-founder test drive the new Mercury Milan and Honda Insight while talking about the state of alternative fuels and energy. There's plenty of wise cracking and even some good information.

Just click PLAY to ride along


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Mercury Milan

Exterior design changes focus on the grille, fenders, hood, and front and rear fascias. The chin was pulled forward and the fascia was pulled down for a wider, sportier look. These changes, as well as substantial underbody work, make for a cleaner, more aerodynamic vehicle.

The interior features a more contemporary, technical look with new metallic finishes on the instrument panel that carry through on the center console, doors and steering wheel. The all-new instrument panel is finished with a soft upper and lower skin. A redesigned leather-wrapped steering wheel, new shifter, and wrapped and padded armrests also have been added, to increase Milan’s sportiness and comfort.

The seat contour also has been revised, with more side support and smoother bolsters for a more comfortable seat. More-textural inserts and contrasting stitching and leather seat inserts give the Milan even more attitude.

The 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid (along with its sister car, the Ford Fusion Hybrid) offer class-leading fuel economy, besting the Toyota Camry hybrid by at least six mpg in the city. They join the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner Hybrids, doubling both the size and volume of Ford’s hybrid lineup.

The second-generation powertrain system combines the best attributes of the gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors to deliver the optimal experience for the customer in terms of driving performance and fuel economy. The propulsion system for the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid transitions between gas and electric power and back more efficiently and seamlessly.

The overall system upgrade allows the Milan Hybrid to operate longer at higher speeds in electric mode. It can operate up to 47 mph in pure electric mode, approximately twice as fast as some competitors. The city driving range on a single tank of gas is expected to be more than 700 miles.


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Honda Insight

The all-new 2010 Honda Insight hybrid car made its world debut today at last January's North American International Auto Show. Utilizing the latest generation of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMAŽ) hybrid technology and new, more cost-efficient production methods, the 2010 Insight defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology, providing hybrid customers with a new level of affordability, fun-to-drive performance, and a U.S. EPA city/highway fuel-economy rating of 40/43 miles per gallon.

The 2010 Insight will be launched at Honda dealers throughout the United States in the beginning of April 2009 and will be priced below the Civic Hybrid.

“Honda hybrids have always offered great value, high fuel efficiency and a healthy dose of fun near the middle price range in the Honda lineup,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “With the introduction of the all-new Insight, we’re opening up Honda’s fun-to-drive, versatile and fuel-efficient hybrid technology to an entirely new group of buyers that previously may not have considered a hybrid because of either image or cost."

Evoking the advanced and aerodynamic five-door sedan design first deployed on the revolutionary FCX Clarity fuel cell car, the new Insight has a low center of gravity and a spacious five-passenger cabin, offering the kind of driving experience and roomy, versatile interior space that customers have come to expect from Honda.

To help Insight owners realize the full benefits of Honda hybrid technology, the Insight will feature a new interactive, driver-focused fuel economy enhancement technology named the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist™). Eco Assist combines multiple functions:

A driver-activated ECON mode that optimizes control of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), engine and related powertrain components to further improve vehicle fuel efficiency;

A driver feedback function that uses an innovative speedometer display with changing background colors to provide real-time guidance to the driver on achieving higher fuel efficiency; and

A unique fuel-economy scoring function using a plant-leaf graphic to provide feedback to the driver on current-trip driving efficiency and lifetime fuel-efficient driving performance.

All Insights are powered by an advanced 1.3-liter SOHC aluminum-alloy i-VTEC engine and CVT, along with a new generation of Honda’s IMA hybrid system for exceptional fuel economy and fun-to-drive performance.

The Insight’s IMA system incorporates a 10-kilowatt (13 hp) electric motor and a compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) – recapturing and storing kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration and supplying additional power for acceleration when needed. Packaging of the ultra-compact IMA battery and IPU in the vehicle’s rear floor allows the enhanced utility of a 60/40 split and fold-down rear seat back.

The Insight’s IMA system has the capability to operate exclusively on electric power in certain low- to mid-speed driving conditions. It also provides for cylinder deactivation within the gasoline engine during deceleration and for engine shutoff when the vehicle is stopped. With a 10.6-gallon fuel tank, the Insight delivers an estimated maximum driving range in excess of 400 miles.

Standard safety features on all Insights include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side curtain airbag system; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD); driver- and front-passenger active head restraints and a front body designed to mitigate pedestrian injuries. All new Insights also feature Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which provides improved crash compatibility between vehicles of different size and ride height, enhancing protection for Insight occupants while reducing the potential for injury to occupants of the opposing vehicle in a frontal collision.

Additional standard features on all new Insights include 60/40 split and fold-down rear seatbacks; two-tier digital instrument panels; automatic climate control; power windows, mirrors and door locks; a tilting and telescoping steering wheel and a 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 audio playback, an auxiliary audio input jack and Speed-Sensitive Volume Control (SVC).

Insight EX models add alloy wheels, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system with USB audio interface, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, Honda Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSAŽ) and an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition.