Toyota's Prius may be the poster child for hybrid automobiles in the U.S., but it was Honda who first brought a modern gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle to our shores. The two-seat Insight was introduced in 1999 as a 2000 model and was discontinued in 2006.
The demise of the Accord Hybrid -- whose replacement will come in the form of an Accord diesel -- leaves just the Civic hybrid in Honda's hybrid portfolio. Honda hopes to change that, however, for 2009.
Three new models will help bolster Honda's efforts in the realm of gasoline-electric hybrids. The first model will be a production version of the CR-Z concept. The two-seat vehicle picks up where the Insight left off and includes a Civic Hybrid powertrain (4-cylinder gasoline engine, Honda Integrated Motor Assist, and a continuously variable transmission) that has been shrouded with sleeker bodywork.
The second model will be five-door hatchback with seating for five. The Global Small Hybrid (GSH) is taking direct aim at Toyota's popular Prius and is expected to be similar in design to the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell vehicle according to Forbes. Early estimates on price for the GSH are in the $22,000 range. Total global sales are pegged at 200,000 units per year.
The third model will be a hybrid version of Honda's second generation Fit subcompact vehicle. Americans are currently able to purchase the first generation Fit which is rated at 28/34 MPG (city/highway) with the manual transmission -- the second generation model is expected to improve upon those numbers slightly. Furthermore, a hybrid version would likely push the numbers higher by another 15 to 20 percent.
"Hybrids have drawn attention for their image, but time has come to go to the next step," said Honda president Takeo Fukui.
With fuel prices quickly approaching (or already exceeding) $4.00 per gallon in many parts of the U.S., Honda’s new hybrid entries should arrive just in time to satisfy a buying public that is slowly stepping away from large body-on-frame SUVs and pickups.
quote: I think you might be missing the irony intended by the OP.
quote: . . . what are those execs thinking?
quote: Just tacking on a hybrid system to a production car just isn't the same.
quote: The largest difference between a Prius and a gas Camry, for example, is that the Prius is has a better drag coefficient than the Camry.
quote: OH GOD...I just realized that I sound like a Honda advertisement...apologies.
quote: Americans are currently able to purchase the first generation Fit which is rated at 28/34 MPG
quote: Not all hybrids make sense. At current fuel prices, the Toyota Highlander hybrid takes 12.7 years to break even
quote: An analysis for USA TODAY by auto-price consultant Edmunds.com shows that the difference between a Toyota (TM) Camry hybrid and a similarly equipped gasoline Camry was $889 Friday, up from $850 a week ago. Assuming 15,000 miles a year, Edmunds figures just 1.7 years for the Camry hybrid's fuel savings to offset the car's higher price — slightly longer than 1.6 years when the price difference was less a week earlier.
quote: The third model will be a hybrid version of Honda's second generation Fit subcompact vehicle. Americans are currently able to purchase the first generation Fit which is rated at 28/34 MPG (city/highway) with the manual transmission -- the second generation model is expected to improve upon those numbers slightly. Furthermore, a hybrid version would likely push the numbers higher by another 15 to 20 percent .
quote: The only reason I'd buy a hybrid is to save $$$ on fuel.
quote: Today, it isn't so clear. But if by the end of my next vehicle's life gas is up to, say, $8.00/gallon, a hybrid will make a lot of sense.
quote: I have yet to pay over $36 for a full tank of gas. It is a great car that WILL save you money.
quote: Dude, will you STFU about people not looking at their total fuel prices.
quote: I do have the sport model which allows me to shift manually via the paddles on the wheel. This tremendously increases the gas mileage I get from my vehicle. This all depends heavily on the driving of the user and loads in the vehicle, but I have two kids and pets which fit nicely and probably affect mileage only slightly.