• Sep 4, 2008
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Honda Insight Concept

Honda is reviving an old name for its new Global Hybrid that goes on sale next spring by calling it the Insight. The new five-door hatchback "Prius-Killer" will be the most direct competitor yet for Toyota's iconic hybrid. Learning from the lesson that hybrid buyers apparently prefer their cars to be recognizable as such rather than being derivatives of existing models, Honda has modeled the new Insight after its low volume FCX Clarity fuel cell car and will be debuting it as a concept at the Paris Motor Show next month before it goes on sale as the least expensive hybrid in the world in 2009. Recent comments by Honda have hinted at a price starting at $18,500 for the Insight, which goes on sale 10 years after the original. Unlike the tiny two-seater that had limited appeal and utility, this new one is expected to appeal to a much wider audience. Honda is planning for worldwide sales of 200,000 units a year with 100,000 going to the U.S. market.


[Source: Honda]


PRESS RELEASE
Honda Insight Concept Hybrid Vehicle to Debut at Paris International Auto Show

Honda will reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, to be named Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show, October 2, the company announced today. The new Insight Concept shares styling cues with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle and will provide an early look at the highly-anticipated five-passenger hybrid vehicle.

Going on sale in the U.S. next spring, the all-new purpose-built Insight will come to market at a price significantly below hybrids available today. From this unique position in the marketplace, the Insight will advance the affordability and accessibility of hybrid technology to a new generation of buyers.

"The original Honda Insight pioneered hybrid technology in the U.S. and remains a symbol of Honda's commitment to innovative technology and fuel efficiency," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will break new ground as an affordable hybrid within the reach of customers who want great fuel economy and great value."

The Insight Concept defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology by utilizing a more cost-efficient version of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) hybrid technology, resulting in a new level of affordability for hybrid customers worldwide. Evoking the innovative styling cues first seen in the FCX Clarity, the Insight Concept is designed with a low center of gravity and a generous five-passenger cabin, offering the kind of driving pleasure and roomy interior that customers have come to expect from Honda. While the Insight Concept's aerodynamic design clearly identifies its fuel efficient purpose, its five-door access and folding rear seats speak to functionality that is designed to meet the needs of customers with an active lifestyle. The Insight Concept is a small, fuel efficient hybrid car that delivers big style and functionality with a healthy dose of fun.

Honda achieved a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components which should make Insight the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. The production Insight will be offered as a five-door, five-passenger hatchback. Numerous technologies, including a function to assist customers in achieving more fuel efficient driving habits, will be applied to achieve a further improvement in real world fuel efficiency. With its affordable price, the new hybrid vehicle will represent the best value in its segment. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at an expanded hybrid vehicle production line at the Suzuka factory in Japan.

The Insight is expected to have annual global sales of 200,000 units per year - approximately 100,000 in North America. Following the launch of the new Insight, Honda also plans to introduce another unique sporty hybrid vehicle based on the CR-Z, first shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. All together, Honda's global sales of hybrids should increase to approximately 500,000 units a year, or more than 10 percent of its total worldwide annual automobile sales.

The original Honda Insight was introduced in December 1999 as America's first gas-electric hybrid car. The first vehicle to break the 70-mpg fuel economy barrier, Insight was designed from the ground up to demonstrate the ultimate potential for fuel-economy in a two-seater subcompact automobile.

A leader in the development of cleaner, more fuel-efficient mobility products, Honda introduced the first low-emission gasoline vehicles; America's first gas-electric hybrid car and the world's first EPA-certified hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCX. In 2007, Honda was named "greenest automaker" by the Union of Concerned Scientists for the fourth straight time.

For more information and downloadable high-resolution images of the Insight Concept and other Honda vehicles, including the Civic Hybrid, please visit www.hondanews.com. Consumer information is available at www.honda.com.



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  • 93 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The CVT in the new Maxima has ruined it's already lackluster gas mileage. It keeps the revs consistently higher throughout and is getting 92 octane or gets very sluggish/inefficient.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It'll be interesting to see what mileage it gets. It's already cheaper than the Prius, but if it also got better fuel mileage it truly would be the "Prius-Killer".
      • 6 Years Ago
      Have to say that eventhough the design is a little bland, competition will be good. Can't wait to see the specs on this car and how it compares in price and perforamce to the Prius.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow.. I didn't know there were that many honda fanboiz.

      I don't care if you're a honda fan or not... this thing looks exactly like the Prius. You can mod all the similar comments saying so down all you want, but that just serves to help prove the point.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, but can Honda crank these out to meet demand, or are they going to be unable to fill consumers' orders like Toyota?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Shockingly Prius-like. But better. You should be able to do better with a few years to tinker. It won't matter, this car will sell as fast as Honda builds it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yo'd think they'd be able to do something a little different with the shape. Great that it's cheaper and all but you won't be able to tell them apart.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish they would have kept the lower window profile from the FCX on the new Insight. i think that look would have provided enough distinction from the Prius in profile and accents the teardrop shape nicely. Of all the styling elements to leave behind why did they choose that one?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. Looks great. I'd get that over the Bug eyed Prius anyday. It almost looks like a concept. I like it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        vehicular aerodynamics aren't just dictated by the lowest coefficient of drag. you have to factor in frontal area and overall surface area.

        it's very much possible that the shape of the prius is one of the better ways to maximize interior space while minimizing surface area.

        i remember riding in the original insight a decade ago. glad to see it's back.
        • 6 Years Ago
        sk: I'm tired of telling people that The Prius has the most aerodynamic shape, so if you want a Prius fighter, it has to have the right aerodynamics. aka: the same shape as the prius.

        what were you expecting, a scion xB shape?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oh it is a concept. I missed that....

        If the production looks anything like that, It'll still sell tons.
        • 6 Years Ago
        According to wikipedia, the Opel Calibra, Benz S-Class and Lexus LS430 have the same coefficient of drag as the Prius. And the Nissan GT-R and Civic Hybrid are just very slightly worse. So, no, a car does not have to look anything like a Prius to have as low a Cd as the Prius.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @BoneHeadOtto: But why do they have to start with a 5 door hatchback? Why a more typical sedan or coupe? That'd surely cut down on the ugly coefficient.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Stanton- Coefficient is just that. A value to compute the actual amount of drag. It is much easier to have a low drag coef. on a larger car (LS, S-class, even the GT-R). The smaller vehicles need to stick to a few formulas simple shapes to achieve the best results.
        • 6 Years Ago
        yeah but to have a 5dr hatch, and seating for 4 you typically end up with this shape. But i think honda mande their hybrid this shape because this is thought of as the hybrid shape.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's funny because the LS430, S class, Calibra and GT-R don't get 45 MPG.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Please explain, to me it looks just like the Prius
        • 6 Years Ago
        Drag coefficient is just a coeffecient. You then have to multiply the frontal area by the Cd in order to begin to measure drag. I'm not an engineer or a physicist, but I would imagine there are also more calculations that come into play here. All told, if you want it to hold 4 adults and have a high level of efficiency, this is going to be the shape.
        This is just one reason why this car will have better MPG numbers than the Civic Hybrid. Even if they had identical weights, hybrid drivetrains, etc, the Insight would still perform better because of how much less it disturbs the air as it travels.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Boo! I thought it might end up being some kind of cool looking coupe, boy was I disappointed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought most aerodynamic shape is also a function of speed too? So how can any car claim to be the most aerodynamic unless it can morph as well?

      • 6 Years Ago
      OK, first, this looks good, and I'm glad they retained the Insight name. I remember having to explain to friends and family what a hybrid was when they saw the first of them on the street. Also, the price point is excellent. Good job there.

      My gripe is that the proportions are SO Prius it's not even funny. In profile, they have got to be close to identical. I understand that it's aerodynamic, but come on... you can deviate a little at least.

      It's just Honda doing what they do best: taking someone's good idea and running with it.

      Whether that's a good thing or not is up to you.
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