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Second generation Insight Hybrid

Third generation Toyota Prius
Honda readies its Prius-fighter

Honda has dabbled in hybrids before with the first generation Insight, the Accord Hybrid, and most recently with the second generation Civic Hybrid. However, neither model has been a runaway sales success like the overachieving Prius from Toyota -- both the original Insight and Accord Hybrid were eventually discontinued.

Now that the Detroit Auto Show is roughly a month away, Honda has officially pulled the wraps off its new Insight Hybrid which will go toe-to-toe with Toyota's wildly popular Prius. As we stated in our original article on the Insight Concept, the production model is little changed stylistically. The production Insight is wearing a smaller, less ornate wheel/tire package and the LED lighting from the concept appears to be gone.

According to Honda, the Insight will use a 1.3-liter gasoline engine and the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. Honda also says that the Insight will feature fuel economy identical to the current Civic Hybrid which is rated at 40 MPG city and 45 MPG highway. The identical fuel economy numbers may be disappointing to some, but remember that the Insight is expected to retail for less than $19,000 while the Civic Hybrid starts at a loftier $23,550.

Honda expects to sell 200,000 Insights globally each year.

When the Insight finally does arrive in showrooms next spring, it will do battle with the third generation Toyota Prius. Photos of the Prius leaked to the internet in mid-October. Toyota later confirmed that the leaked pictures were indeed of the new Prius.

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RE: Honda readies its Prius-fighter
By Drexial on 12/3/2008 2:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
I chose to comment and say you deserve a 6.... this keeps coming up. Every discussion. It is the most efficient for space/aerodynamics. The First generation Insight had the lowest drag coefficient of any car. But there was only room for two.

RE: Honda readies its Prius-fighter
By Solandri on 12/3/2008 3:37:24 PM , Rating: 5
I'll add that when I was playing around with an fluid flow simulator in the early '90s, I arrived at a similar shape as the most aerodynamic for a car. The definitive trait seemed to be the lack of an angle change between the hood and the windshield. Any time I increased that angle, the drag coefficient went up relatively quickly.

RE: Honda readies its Prius-fighter
By quiksilvr on 12/3/2008 5:27:25 PM , Rating: 1
I would easily agree with you guys...IF THE MPG WAS HIGHER THAN THE LAST GENERATION CIVIC HYBRID. And given that it clearly ISN'T there is NO reason for them to go with this fugly looking aerodynamic shape if nothing is coming from it.

RE: Honda readies its Prius-fighter
By Raidin on 12/3/2008 5:56:17 PM , Rating: 3
You can't consider the aerodynamic property of a vehicle as the sole reason for the miles per gallon it gets. There are so many other factors. Most notably, weight.

RE: Honda readies its Prius-fighter
By othercents on 12/3/2008 6:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
exactly... changing the angle between the hood and the windshield adds 200pds in weight.


RE: Honda readies its Prius-fighter
By daar on 12/4/2008 7:50:55 AM , Rating: 1
That drag excuse is retarded, you can make a more unique looking car easily with the same windshield/hood scheme, and the drag increase from front/trunk adjustment would be minimal to such an extent that it wouldn't matter to the engineers.

By jhb116 on 12/4/2008 1:51:59 AM , Rating: 3
Did you read the whole article? Instead of striving for better mileage - they decided to go with more efficient production processes/materials which allows lower cost. Roughly $4,000 drop (from $23K to $19K) represents approximately 17% drop in price with 40/45 MPG versus the 09 Prius, advertised at $22K with 48/45 MPG. Given the US economic situation - this will likely be much more competitive than the previous version or the Civic Hybrid.

By Davelo on 12/4/2008 4:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
Then why don't they do something with those fog light scoops? Surely those must cost some drag.

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