Honda's hybrid-only model will hit in April 2009

What looks like a Prius, sips gas like a Prius, comes from Japan like a Prius... but isn't a Prius? That would be Honda's upcoming dedicated hybrid (which this particular blogger thinks should be called the Insight, but won't be). We are expecting the production version of the new model, of which we have seen these spy shots, to debut this October in the City of Lights, Paris. Thanks to the use of a refined and less-costly version of Honda Integrated Motor Assist along with a 1.3-liter gas-burner, the new hybrid model should attain fuel mileage in the 50-60 mpg range, matching what's expected from the next-gen Prius that should be unveiled January in Detroit in January.

We are pretty excited to see this new hybrid rivalry go into full swing, with Toyota's incumbent model in its third generation and Honda finally offering a four-door dedicated hybrid. The Honda should come in at a slightly more attractive price but will also be a bit smaller than the Toyota. Both will use nickel-based batteries, eschewing the newer but pricier lithium ions that will likely take over in a few years. The Honda should finally see the light of day in April of 2009 and the automaker hopes to sell half of the 200,000 it plans to produce in the U.S.

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[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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