First Details on Honda's New Insight Hybrid


Sometimes rumors turn out to be true. No, Bristol Palin isn't carrying John Edwards' alien love child. The other rumor. Honda just released some details on its next hybrid, a model built from the ground up that will bring back the Insight name in spring 2009. Unlike the original Insight, which was the first hybrid sold in the U.S., this one will have five seats rather than two and will compete with the Toyota Prius — and sell "at a price significantly below hybrid vehicles available today," according to Honda. A concept version of the car will debut Oct. 2 at the Paris International Auto Show and is shown at right and in an additional image below.

The concept is a four-door hatchback with styling that's a little FCX Clarity plus Civic, with a silhouette that's similar to the Prius, as all ultra-aerodynamic cars now seem to be. Traditionally, Honda concepts usually turn out to look nearly identical to production models. Like the Prius, the Insight has a folding backseat — something no Honda hybrid to date has had.

Honda hasn't released any gas mileage figures or claims, so we wonder if it will make any inroads in that area. No Honda hybrid since the original Insight has competed with its Toyota counterparts in terms of fuel economy. On the other hand, Honda says it has reduced the cost of its hybrid system, called Integrated Motor Assist, which bodes well for its upcoming hybrids as well as this one. There are no further details on the sporty two-seater based on the CR-Z concept that's been on the auto-show circuit since 2007, which has been green-lighted for production sometime after the Insight.

Honda will import half of the Insight's planned 200,000 yearly build to North America.





isnt mileage on the civic hybrid very close to the Prius? I dont get why you would say Honda hasnt been close on the mileage front to Toyota hybrids.

Civic Hybrid is 42 mpg combined
Toyota Prius is 46 mpg combined.


Should do well if the prices stays at $18,500 and the mpg is around 50.

Buzz Kill

Why can't Honda, or Toyota for that matter, add 10 or 12 inches to the rear and make this a wagon? Call it whatever you want, but it would make a much more versatile vehicle and one I'd consider buying.

I need a place for my dogs.


Buzz Kill,

You are not the only one that wants wagon. I want it too.
But guess what? Americans still didn't fall in love with wagons again.

Combined mileage does not apply to everyone and that number basically favors city driving, thus making the Prius's number look superior.
The city and highway driving ratio is different for everyone.
Civic Hybrid gets 40/45 City/Highway; the Prius gets 48/45 City/Highway.
Put it this way, we see both vehicle has the same highway mileage.
The reason why the Prius does better in city mileage while the Civic Hybrid does better in highway is simply because their hybrid system is different.

All right, all those crap are over now. Where do I sign up for this baby?


Don't get attached to the LED headlights and low profile tires...they won't make production. It's more attractive than the Prius but did they have to use such a similar profile?


Why won't the LED headlights and low-profile tires make it into production? When you build the volume of cars Honda does, the economies of scale are tremendous. Remember, the first Accords were among the earliest cars to come standard with 5-speed manuals instead of 4-speeds, and AM/FM Stereos instead of then-standard AM-only, and even sunroofs. These things get much less expensive when you put them on every car you make!


Why won't the LED headlights and low-profile tires make it into production? When you build the volume of cars Honda does, the economies of scale are tremendous. Remember, the first Accords were among the earliest cars to come standard with 5-speed manuals instead of 4-speeds, and AM/FM Stereos instead of then-standard AM-only, and even sunroofs. These things get much less expensive when you put them on every car you make!

I think the LEDs will stay or go depending on how they impact the battery. If they use less of the battery they may indeed stay, although doubtful as very few cars use LEDs as actual headlights, mostly they're used as just daytime running lights. But if its purely a cost issue I'd guess they wouldn't use the LEDs.

Low profile tires also don't make much sense on a hybrid i agree.


It's a hybrid geared for economy, both in operation and initial cost. LED headlights haven't even become ubiquitous on expensive luxury cars let alone a car purported to start at $18,500. I do agree that LED headlights would reduce the electrical load. And the tires - expect to see low rolling resistant, small diameter ones to keep the friction, cost and unsprung weight to a minimum. Low profile tires means more weight, higher cost and higher friction.


It looks like a Civic-hatchback-Prius-wannabe.


I don't think they'll have any problem selling 100,000. Heck Toyota could sell probably 50,000 more Prius' if they could produce them.

i'm guessing its more of a production issue than a demand issue.

looks good. I hope the interior isn't too futuristic looking, like the civic.



Honda just needs to start waving its white flag, because by cloning the Prius for this new model they are admitting defeat and hoping for the old "if it looks like a Prius, it must be as good as a Prius." They might fool some people, but as long as they continue to use the inferior integrated motor assist system, they'll continue to eat Toyota's dust in the marketplace. At the same time Toyota will introduce a larger, more powerful Prius next year which will get even better mileage than the current one, putting Honda farther behind.

Max Reid

Fantastic Design. With hatchback style, it should have cargo space close to that of mid-size sedan.

Important thing is they should sell it for around 20K. And it will go head-to-head with Prius.

No idea, why Prius sales are so low even with high gas prices. Looks fishy, may be this car will jump-start the competition.


That's what I said. If Toyota could produce 50,000 more they'd sell them. So Honda's plan to sell 100,000 Insights is likely to happen.


Although I am a Toyota fan I must say this new Insight would definitely get me to jump ship. What a great all around package!

Troy S.

I don't mind if it "resembles" the look of a Prius. Take a look around on any road. All trucks pretty much look similar, vans, and alot of sedans. Very few vehicles stand out on their own in the looks depertment. The Scion xB and PT Cruiser/HHR are good examples. So if it looks similar to another make/model... big deal!


The Scion xB looks like the Honda Element and Ford Flex.

Troy S.


Oher than sharing some "square" attributes with the Flex and Element, the xB is still unique. I don't see any resemblences other than some squareness in the Flex and a little boxiness in the Element. 3 Totally different vehicles. Regardless, the xB was an "EXAMPLE" of a unique looking vehicle.

The new Insight is not unique looking at all. It reminds me of how GM copied the PT Cruiser with it's HHR. They did this because the PT was selling briskly and they wanted a piece of the pie.

I'm a loyal Honda fan through and through but, am a little disappointed with the near Prius clone. I simply feel as if Honda could have made the new Insight a litle more unique.

Swap the Prius badge with the Insight's badge and joe public would have a hard time telling them apart.


Gotta agree with all, grafted civic nose on a Prius body from driver door on back.

David in Houston

The reason it may resemble the Prius is due to aerodynamics. That shape lends itself to less frontal area and less wind resistance from air trailing off the back. So most vehicles designed solely for high-mpg will have similar shapes. Honda's not copying Toyota; they're just doing math and calculating the best shape. Most trucks look the same because they're designed for utility. Most vans look alike for the same reason.


David in Houston, for years I've been reading all the geniuses who said the only reason people bought the Prius with its "weird" styling was to show the world they're green environmentalists. Honda Civic Hybrid drivers didn't want to show off like that according to these experts. Now you're saying the styling of the Prius actually has a real purpose and that Honda is just adopting the logical design for that type of vehicle. Well, Toyota did the heavy lifting on figuring out the right configuration, and the company and people like me who bought one faced some stereotyping over its design. Considering that Honda had every opportunity to design the distinctive shape first and didn't do so, I'm going to continue to say that Honda has copied the Prius, probably right down to the length of the wheelbase.



I personally think that the new Insight looks more like the FCX Calrity than the Prius. Just don't see why everyone has to link it to the Prius right away.
Are we gonna say the NSX looked like a Ferrari?


there are a few reasons why my wife and i haven't purchased a prius this past year. one, they are expensive and two, the styling leaves much to be desired. the honda insight rocks! if the production car looks anything like this concept, gets comparable mpg to the prius, and is under 20K we'll definitely be in line for one. btw, i don't think it looks anything like a prius.


There are no cheap hybrids - the Honda Civic Hybrid stickers for $1,500 more than the much larger and more economical Prius, so I don't understand the comment about the Prius being too expensive. Are dealers jacking up the price because of demand?

Troy S.


No.. The NSX is unique looking enough. Now, The HHR and PT cruiser are a different story.

I don't think Honda copied Toyota. Honda's first Gen Insight featured the aerodynamic design first. The new Insight will certainly hold it's own. Who cares if it looks similar to another make/model? Alot of vehicles on the road have similarities. I just wish Honda would have made the design a little more unique. They don't have a history of making vehicles that look like other manufacturers. Why start now?

I personally will buy an Insight when my 2 Civics and Ridgeline wear out. It might be a while though. They're showing no signs of wearing out. :)


The Insight looks pretty good, but the rest of the Honda lineup is the ugliest in autodom. How did they go so wrong with grotesque CRV, the blocky Pilot, the underpowered yet inefficient Avalanche wannabe, the doorstop- like civic, and last but certainly least, the strange Accord. The Insight gets its best lines from the Prius, but they should clean up the Audi/VW grille a little before selling it to the public.

Mentioning Sarah Palin's daughter in the article is tacky, unproductive to Honda, unkind, shows bias, and all around disrespectful to a minor. I have been anxiously awaiting Honda's new hybrid. Because of this reference to Palin's daughter, I now feel a longing to go back to wanting a Prius.

Don't you mean five doors not five seats?

Timothy Barnum

I've owned my 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid for 2 1/2 years now has 35000 miles as its our main car. I do not know why Consumer's Reports and EPA have such low mileage ratings for the HCH. On long trips I can easily exceed 50mpg. I find that even 10 mile trips on state routes with occasional traffic light stops, I can achieve over 45.

With air on and 2-3 mile trips which is seldom my driving and can get below 40 in the city. Cold weather hurts as it must warm-up before the engine shuts off at stops.

The Honda has an instantaneous mpg meter right next to the speedometer in addition to 2 trip mpg/odometers, the battery charge level and indication of how much the battery is charging or discharging at any instant.

These tools allow one to learn to be a hypermiler and figure out how to get the best mileage. The Honda stops sending fuel to the engine and opens the valves at any speed that the engine isn't needed. Its possible to coast at 60mpg or even run on the electric alone slightly.

Its base price includes everything except Nav namely 5 star safety, side airbags, cruise, a great sound system, a MP3/iPod input port. My wife thought the interior of the Prius at least in 2006 was yuk.
TimB Annapolis, MD

Red was right

There are reports honda may drop the insight after 2014, due to poor sales. Guess Red's posts above were correct back in the day. Really nailed it...

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