• Dec 29th 2008 at 12:01PM
  • 27
Click above for more shots of the leaked 2009 Honda Insight brochure

With the Detroit Auto Show right around the corner, we won't have to wait that much longer before Honda spills all the details of its second-generation Insight hybrid, but that doesn't mean we aren't keenly interested in whatever tidbits leak out before its official unveiling. According to what appears to be a Japanese brochure for the new Insight, three models will be available along with a Modulo model, which is JDM Honda-speak for a factory customized rendition. The three standard trims in Japan appear to be G, L and LS, though we'd expect something more like DX, LX and EX in the US.

In addition to the leaked brochure, Insightman is offering some speculative information that includes standard features and options lists, including available colors. We hope to see some of these highlights on US Insights, especially the 7-speed paddle shifters for the CVT automatic transmission and navigation system with 7-inch screen. As far as the all-important fuel economy data, the Insight reportedly scores over 70 mpg under Japanese testing procedures, which is less than the 83 mpg the Prius manages under the same tests. On the flip side, the Insight will undercut the Prius by several thousand dollars when it finally goes on sale sometime in 2009.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am not a mathematician, but it seems that a driving 12000 miles//yr, a Prius would save the owner $1660 over an Insight over a 10 year lifespan of the car (@$4/gal fuel). How much again is the premium you would have to pay for a Prius?
      Driving 25,000 miles a year would make this a tough decision, but either way it's not a lot of money difference. How you like the cars looks is probably more important.
      I would buy a reasonably priced PHEV with a small diesel kicker for range extension.
      Who is going to be the first to offer such a practical and economical car? Why is it not available now?
      Since they haven't gotten the message yet, I think I will stick with what I have now, until they offer me what I want. It's kind of like voting with your wallet.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Often, those "is the hybrid premium worth it" calculations make a misleading comparison by matching a Prius against another cheaper car that isn't quite comparable - the Prius has certain standard features that are optional or not available on the cheaper car.

        That mistake is easy to make, as Toyota didn't make a non-hybrid version of the Prius, so it is hard to find a model with comparable features and similar size.
        harlanx6
        • 6 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I agree Chris M. My point I was trying to make is that the difference in fuel costs between these high mileage cars doesn't amount to that much even over the lifespan of the vehicle, and a test drive would be a better way to help make that choice. I really would like a Prius, but I am a married man and my wife doesn't like the looks of them. I think they look cool, but our choice for our next vehicle will probably be a compromise. One thing is sure. It will be a high mileage vehicle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You are correct about the 7 speed CVT, which Honda offers on the JDM Fit. Most people do not know how a CVT works. By advertising the car as a 7 speed CVT the average buyer will be able to relate that to their current car's 4-5 speed trasnmission. "look honey the Honda has 7 speeds it must be better".
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd have to say that the mileage (if it really is 15% lower than the current old Prius) is a major disappointment - this would make it worse than the bigger Civic Hybrid I believe. This would put it down in the territory of the Fusion Hybrid (a much bigger, heavier car). Time will tell I suppose. The Prius rolling out this spring is on line for a ~10-15% mileage increase over the current model.

      I like the design, as it looks great, but Honda needs to deliver on good mileage (maybe this is just Honda sandbagging everyone with false mileage data before roll out). Honda is good at playing very coy about stuff till the roll out.

      As for the paddle shifters and 7 speeds for them in a car with a CVT - 90% of the people who buy this car won't know what a CVT is (even when you explain what the abbreviation means), they're used to a "regular" car and if you have the option to click the paddle's to control the shifting (I'm sure it's a "Performance" mode the user can turn on etc.) it'll be a cool, high end item, to them - simple as that. The point about it being superfluous with a CVT is well taken in reality though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Honda Civic hybrid is rated at 40 city, 45 highway, 42 combined. The Insight is smaller and more aerodynamic. I would certainly hope the Insight would get better mileage. It would seem stupid for Honda to come out with a new car that could not beat the old Civic Hybrid.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What is the HSD system??

        I know what the IMA system is. I have ordered a car and I don't know all about it yet. I know the Prius will still be the mileage champ. The cars are both very similar in looks. Personally, I prefer the Insight dash over the Prius. That was one of the main reasons. I can't stand the instruments being in the middle of the dash. The Prius is geared for city driving with its electrical system. The Insight will be geared more for highway. I am curious how both cars would compare on a long highway trip.
        • 6 Years Ago
        HSD is Hybrid Synergy Drive. Toyotas system.

        It is a very slick piece of tech. Instead of a transmission, it has two electric motors and a orbital gears, that enables them to easily drive only on electric power.

        It has two advantages over the Honda system.

        1: Driving the wheels without turning the engine.
        2: Elimination of the transmission.

        MPG will probably be close on the highway still may be a slight edge for the Prius, but probably not enough to matter.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Remember the goal of the insight is to make the most affordable hybrid. Most of the R&D was to make the hybrid machinery lighter and cheaper, even at the cost of potentially greater mileage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I own a 2003 Corvette. Fun car to drive. Amazing acceration. However, the most fun car I ever drove was a Mazda Miata convertible with a 6-speed trans. I drove it around a rural winding road. Up-shifting and down-shifting constantly. What a blast. When I am in traffic and want to scoot out of the pack, nothing is more fun than my Vette. This just means that a lot of people have their own fun cars, no matter what the size or horsepower.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Honda stated in a press event that the goal was to get essentially the same MPG as the civic hybrid at a lower entry price.

        I read this in several places, this is not news. Prius remains the MPG champ.

        Price is the main selling point here and the only reason you would buy this over the Prius with its superior HSD system.

        But don't discount price as a big sales advantage. Honda may have a winner here when gas prices go back up.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I realize that the idea "may" be to make an affordable hybrid. However, the main goal of ANY hybrid is better mileage. I am sure Honda's goal was not to make a cheap hybrid. Their goal was to make a higher mileage hybrid. If I wanted lower mileage, I might as well by a Civic or a Fit. The new Insight HAS TO HAVE GREAT MILEAGE. Otherwise, why buy it?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have an 85 rx7, it makes about 100 horsepower, but its not slow, its a rwd coupe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Snowdog is right. The object of the Insight was to get mileage like the Civic Hybrid at a lower cost. Overall mileage champ will still be the Prius. However, all 3 are mileage winners. The Prius, Civic Hybrid and the Insight. I read about a lot of super mileage cars on the horizon in 2010-2012. These 3 offer 40+ mileage now (Insight in May 2009). Economy is mileage plus initial cost. 3 WINNERS. I have already ordered my Insight. I am sure I won't be disappointed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Let's hope they offer more than these pedestrian looking rims....the rims make this car.

      And different colored body panels should be included like they were in the concept....
      • 6 Years Ago
      why in the world would anyone want 7-speed paddle shifters for a CVT. Doesn't "shifting" a CVT defeat the entire purpose. Why stop at 7, its a CVT so you could have 8 gears or even 12. How dumb.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Would you drive a car with 1 gear?
        • 6 Years Ago
        A manumatic interface to the CVT is better than the D S L selector that Honda currently give you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There are no 7 speeds in a CVT...they are electronically programmed in to give the driver perceived gearing...like the Nissan CVTs. It's purely to give most drivers the feeling that they are driving a regular car.

        Most people don't like change.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's seven "virtual" gears. CVT is not "one gear" it's "infinite gears".

        The seven virtual gears are just seven defined gear ratios. they could have had 6, 10,200 gears, but they just chose 7
        • 6 Years Ago
        I understand the "virtual" gears thing. My comment was that giving people these "virtual" gears is stupid and has no purpose. "Shifting" a slushbox is stupid enough, but "shifting" a CVT is the height of stupidity. Letting people be stupid by giving them 7 "speeds" is not a feature.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I had the same thought. A 7 speed paddle shifter would only be used with a 7 speed transmission. A CVT tranny would only have P R N D and maybe L on its shifter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My biggest beef is the car is not exciting. Owning the fit, which does not get the greatest mileage, I learned how important excitment is. I'm glad I got the fit, than a boring higher-mileage yaris

      I used to want the insight but I've been having second thoughts. I've been eyeballing the toyota iq lately. Let's just hope the CRZ is exciting how the insight isn't.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The fit got awards over other eco-boxes because it is fun. It's the car that goes to show that low horsepower does not mean lack of fun.

        the car has incredible handling, smooth shifter and clutch, etc. The pedals are easy to press, and heel toe-ing is easy on it. Also, the car isn't as slow as it seems on paper in a straight line.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I must be confused. I can't think of anyone who would think the Fit is an exciting car. It is a short wheelbased wagon. It has about 109 horsepower. It has to be as exciting as watching paint dry. Exciting cars are: Corvettes, Porsches, BMW's. Sportscars are exciting. Small economy cars are for saving gas. I own a Corvette. It is exciting. I have my order in at the dealer already for an Insight. When I get it I will be happy because it will get great gas mileage. That is what the Insight will be about. It is Honda's Prius fighter. When I want excitement, I will take out the Corvette. When I want to save gas, I will drive the Insight.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If the Insight gets 85% of the Prius city mileage, it will be at, or just under, the 41 mpg that it sounds like the Focus Hybrid will be getting. The Focus is roomier, though, admittedly, much more expensive.
      Kudos to Ford, and to Honda, for getting us more good options!
      More, please!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds good. HIDs at L trim, and 7 speed @ the top of the line trim. I still prefer manual tranny though..but that disadvantage might be compesnated for from the CVT's lack of a shift shock.
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