In 1999, Honda introduced the first mass produced hybrid car to the American market, the two-seater Insight. Oddly shaped and a bit out of place, it won the hearts of its owners as the car achieved an astounding 70 mpg, far outpacing anything else on the road. Alas, the Insight was never much of a sales magnet and was discontinued by Honda in 2006 as the Japanese automaker chose to offer a hybrid version of its popular Civic instead.
A new Insight is set to debut in 2009 as Honda seeks to gain fresh transaction in a high demand segment. Unlike the original model, the Insight will sport a cleaner design, get excellent fuel mileage, and be priced thousands of dollars less than the arch-rival Toyota Prius. In true Honda fashion the automaker is rather tight lipped about the new Insight, but we've gleaned the following information from our automated sources which we will share with you momentarily.
Introducing The 2010 Honda Insight
Yes, the Insight is on its way back to the states, in fresh form and ready to do battle. Here's what we know about this exciting model:
Styling cues from the FCX Clarity – Honda's test hydrogen vehicle is the FCX Clarity, an attractive model being tested in Japan and in California. Look for the Insight to borrow plenty of its looks from that hydrogen model.
Sharing components with the Fit – The Civic is no longer the tiniest of all Hondas, a distinction now associated to the Fit. Look for the Insight to use many of the same components found in the Fit while being powered by the same 1.3L engine found in the hybrid Civic.
Saving you money – Trying to find a Prius for $ 21,000 is nearly impossible with most models going out of Toyota showrooms priced at $ 23,000 on up. Honda says that the starting price for the Insight will be an industry leading $ 18,500!
Stretching your fuel further – Fuel mileage is the largest unknown with the new Insight, but this we do know: the car will beat the Prius and may actually top the original model's 71 mpg! Cars with air conditioning included (and running) will lower fuel numbers as will certain other variations, but topping 60 mpg on the highway and at least 50 mpg around town is a strong possibility for the Insight.
Honda Will Ramp Up Production
Honda has said that they plan on building 200,000 Insights annually with half those cars being shipped to the US. With gas prices hovering around $ 4 per gallon and a dearth of hybrid cars available, next summer's debut of the Insight will be welcome relief from pain at the pump for thousands of lucky drivers.