• Oct 2nd 2008 at 11:21AM
  • 24
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Honda Insight

The biggest bit of greenery at the Paris Motor Show may be the Honda Insight concept. This is the car that's set to give the Prius a run for its money in the ongoing hybrid arms race in America, and it looks like it may have the goods to do proper battle. As has been stated, over and over again, the Insight bears a striking resemblance to its main rival from Toyota, but perhaps that's to be expected as both cars are meant to cheat the wind in an effort to reach maximum efficiency.

This isn't the production version, but we don't expect too many changes to its external appearance before it hits the Detroit Auto Show in January in its final form. Details like those LED-heavy light clusters up front may not make it, but the overall look is what will be in Honda dealerships sometime next year. The interior looks pretty spacey, but so did the second-gen Prius' when it was introduced. Take a look at the live shots in our gallery below.

[Source: Autoblog]



Honda has always intended Hybrid vehicles to be a bridge to a hydrogen powered future, the potential of which has already been demonstrated by the FCX Clarity. The Insight Concept has clear stylistic links to the world's first production fuel cell car, with both vehicles' forms shaped to maximise the efficiency of their respective drivetrains.

The Insight Concept is the stylistic inspiration for the production version which will go on sale in 2009. From this unique position in the marketplace, Insight will open hybrid technology to a new generation of customers.

The 1.3 litre Insight is powered by Honda's acclaimed IMA system, which has been extensively modified to reduce its cost and weight. With careful engineering of key components and refinement of manufacturing processes, the cost of the hybrid system has been significantly reduced. This ensures that Insight can be sold at a very competitive price without compromising ability, quality, environmental performance or profitability.

The Insight will benefit from a significant cost reduction in Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) components resulting in the most affordable hybrid vehicle to date. This dedicated hybrid vehicle will be offered as a 5-door hatchback with seating for five passengers and built on a newly developed platform. Engineers have mounted the compact control unit and battery beneath the boot space to give the Insight both a low centre of gravity and the practicality of a conventionally powered hatchback.

This reduction in cost has not been brought about by compromising the quality of the Insight, instead the Japanese manufacturer has tasked its engineers with finding more intelligent cost reduction solutions.

Insight will utilise various technologies, including a function to assist more fuel efficient driving giving customers a further improvement in real world fuel consumption. Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan which recently has expanded hybrid motor production line.

CO2 emissions and fuel economy are targeted to be at a similar level to the existing Civic Hybrid, giving drivers a flexible and highly practical lower environmental impact car. At its expected price point, Insight will have a unique combination of passenger space, luggage capacity, emissions and economy.

"The original Honda Insight launched in 1999 was the pioneer of hybrid technology in Europe and remains an iconic symbol of Honda's environmental innovation," said Takeo Fukui, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. CEO. "This new Insight will also break new ground by providing an affordable hybrid to an expanded number of customers craving great fuel economy and great value."

The Insight will form the first part of Honda's new hybrid strategy, which will see a further dedicated hybrid model, derived from the CR-Z show car and a hybrid version of the Jazz. The strategy will make hybrids both more accessible and more appealing to a range of customer types.

The Insight Concept is the culmination of two decades of hybrid petrol electric hybrid research and development. The Insight production vehicle will go on sale in Europe, Japan and North America during the first half of 2009.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      These photos are good news!

      Thanks for showing pics of my next car...my current car is old enough to legally drink, and it needs to drink often, so I am definitely ready for a new one.

      I'll confirm that the production car looks as good as the concept, the interior is OK, and it drives well enough.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't care for the wheels - a bit too busy and too much plastic. I liked the quasi-disc wheels of the Honda Civic Hybrid OK, though, so maybe the production model will have something more like the HCH or even the original Insight.

      The rest of the car is simply beautiful.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's still ugly imo.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A Honda hybrid under 19k. Looks beautiful to me.

        Oh, you meant the styling. I can live with it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      For people who where concerned about it looking like a prius rip off all i can say is that rear looks 100% insight. looks just like the old one

        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree with you, stevefazek and I'm shocked that it took 16 posts for someone to finally say what you did. It's a total Prius knock off with a style that is nothing new or epic. In fact, coming from Honda it's actually a bit of a let down. It's not all bad, however, there are some particularly interesting elements to the car which make it unique and 'sexy' but the overall style is all Prius.
        I also agree about the back end. That's really the only styling cue I see coming from the "Insight" name.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Can someone who was there verify that the wheels are difference sizes. It looks to me that the rears are smaller than fronts. Yuk.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I take it back... I think Gabe is right, the wheels are the same but the differently sized wheel wells trick the eye. Many cars have larger front wheel wells but the effect it has on the perceived wheel size is more pronounced on the Insight II.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think it's just an optical illusion from the different sized wheel wells.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Take a look at photo 9 in the gallery. The wheels are clearly different sizes.
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you look at picture #2 or #9 in the gallery you'll see that the rear wheel is indeed smaller.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, it does look like the rear wheel is smaller. When Honda released the photo last month I thought it was the result of bad Photoshop work. But now I can only conclude that the rear wheel really is smaller. Honda makes some great stuff but their styling choices can be odd, to be charitable. The latest Accord is another example: it looks good as coupe but the sedan is awful, IMHO.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Holy crap, looks awesome!

      For those who like to hate on certain cars, grow up. A car is a utility, gets you from point A to point B. This kind of mythical connection to be had with a car is f'in ridiculous.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Okay, I'll admit ... although ugly ... it's still better looking than the Prius. I think they do this on purpose because they know they could never even come close to keeping up with the orders if they were good looking as well as 40+mpg.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Are those LED headlights final? I hope so. Those are totally underrated.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Those are also totally borrowed from Porsche...

        Honda went all Hyundai on this sucker (aka copied a bunch of stuff that looks good on other cars and stuck it on this one.)

        Either way, Honda engines rock so this puppy will probably sell really well.
      • 7 Years Ago

      I read that in japan, it gets a whopping 71 mpg. In US it'll be slightly lower. Still 60mpg would be much better than a prius. I hope so. I never thought much of the car till I saw that number. It's also only 3 inches longer than the fit which is shocking, b/c it looks long.

      I currently drive the Fit. I'm really liking it. but if this car comes in manual, i'm sold!
      • 7 Years Ago
      It looks fine. Yes those wheels have to go.

      But I read target mpg is only the same as current Civic Hybrid, which will put quite a ways behind the new Prius. This is a bit of a disappointment.

      But the killer for me is the CVT. No thanks. Give me a stick and I will buy it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      battery pack size?
      where is the assembly plant located?
      production capacity?

      With the Toyota prius production maxed out Honda could sell a huge number of vehicles if they can produce them in quantity.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Along with the Civic Hybrid, the new vehicle will be produced at Honda's Suzuka factory in Japan which recently has expanded hybrid motor production line."

        "CO2 emissions and fuel economy are targeted to be at a similar level to the existing Civic Hybrid..."
      • 7 Years Ago
      Given that the 5-speed Insight is STILL the hypermilers car of choice, they'd be nuts not to offer an *appropriately geared* five speed.

      But... If they do what they did in the '09 Fit, then I guess I'd grudgingly chose the CVT. In the 09 Fit they made fifth gear even shorter than the previous generation Fit, which means the engine revs yet another 500rpm higher on the highway than the 08 did, and the manual now gets 2mpg WORSE highway mileage than the automatic. That ain't right!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, I just ruled out the Fit for this reason. The actual reason I here is because they think people are too lazy to downshift to pass or go up steep hills?? Baffling.

        If there is no decent Stick, I will look into a new Rabbit Diesel.

        I am no Diesel fan but if that is the only way I can get decent fuel economy and shift for myself, so be it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        God that sucks. Thats called penny pinching using the same gear ratios as japan and europe.
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