Honda has released the first official look at its much-anticipated new hybrid model, the Insight. The concept version shown here will make its public debut on October 2nd at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, and the production version will go on sale in the U.S. next spring.
While the original, innovative Insight hybrid was a streamlined two-door hatchback, this namesake model will be a larger five-door hatchback. It draws clear design inspiration from the Toyota Prius and the Honda FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle. Rather than a hybrid application to an existing model, like the Civic hybrid, the Insight was designed specifically as a hybrid.
While official details are thin, Honda claims the Insight will use a more cost-effective version of today’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain, enabling the car to be priced under current hybrids. (The base retail price for the 2009 Civic hybrid is $23,550; the 2009 Prius is $22,000.)
Referred to by Honda as a "small car," the new Insight is about 2.5 inches shorter bumper to bumper, one inch narrower, and two inches lower in height than the Prius. The chart below compares the new Insight against the current Civic, Fit, and Prius.
|Honda Insight||Honda Civic||Honda Fit||Toyota Prius|
The Insight will be built at the Suzuka factory in Japan, where the Civic hybrid is manufactured. Honda is projecting 100,000 annual sales in North America—almost twice the volume of the Fit at the current sales rate. Following the Insight launch, Honda will introduce a sporty two-door hatchback hybrid shown in Detroit, the CR-Z.