First Honda said it was going to press the reset button on its hybrid efforts and come out with something bolder than the Civic Hybrid. Then it laid out plans for a number of hybrids that would be priced considerably more aggressively than the Toyota Prius. One of the concepts, the funky CR-Z, has already got people abuzz.
More details have emerged about the first hybrid to appear, a 5-door hatch with unique styling that's based on the Fit, but three inches taller and one inch wider. It will use the Civic Hybrid's Integrated Motor Assist technology and mate that car's 1.3-liter engine with 94 hp to a 15kW electric motor powered by a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. Fuel economy, according to insider predictions, will be somewhere around 71 - 82 miles per gallon, but that's based on Japanese domestic use. Expect a drop for U.S. comparison.
Honda is considering a return to the name "Insight" for its first new hybrid, which we're all for. The Insight was a brilliant little ride, and we never understood why Honda let it go. Though it was low on practicality with only two seats and not much storage, it was a purpose-built vehicle for big mpg numbers. This potential new Insight will be Honda's global hybrid, and the company expects to sell 100,000 of them in the U.S. annually. Add this to the other three hybrids Honda is planning, and Honda's hybrid future -- assuming it delivers as promised -- looks quite bright.