48/45 for the Prius. But the new Insight will be priced lower than the Prius, with some indicators pointing as low as $18,500.
Unlike other hybrid cars, the Prius and new Insight are dedicated hybrids, meaning they only come as hybrids. Some analysts and pundits point to image of owning a recognizable hybrid as a significant effect on why the Prius has been so popular. And if other car makers want to compete against the Prius, they need their own hybrid-only cars on the market.
The Honda Insight may just do that. It's too early to tell, of course, but when it does go on sale, the lower cost may make the Insight very popular with customers looking for a hybrid car.
One thing to keep in mind when you look at the lower mpg numbers on the Insight is, once you get up that high, the difference between 40 and 45 mpg is very low. If you travel 15,000 miles a year, the difference between 40 and 45 mpg is under 42 gallons of gas a year. As opposed to going from 20 to 25 mpg, when you would save 150 gallons a year.
There's a short clip of the Insight at the Detroit Auto Show at the Honda Insight blog.
Press Release from Honda follows:
The all-new 2010 Honda Insight hybrid car made its world debut today at the North American International Auto Show. Utilizing the latest generation of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA®) hybrid technology and new, more cost-efficient production methods, the 2010 Insight defines a new stage in the evolution of hybrid technology, providing hybrid customers with a new level of affordability, fun-to-drive performance, and a U.S. EPA city/highway fuel-economy rating of 40/43 miles per gallon.
The 2010 Insight will be launched at Honda dealers throughout the United States in the beginning of April 2009 and will be priced below the Civic Hybrid.
“Honda hybrids have always offered great value, high fuel efficiency and a healthy dose of fun near the middle price range in the Honda lineup,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “With the introduction of the all-new Insight, we’re opening up Honda’s fun-to-drive, versatile and fuel-efficient hybrid technology to an entirely new group of buyers that previously may not have considered a hybrid because of either image or cost."
Evoking the advanced and aerodynamic five-door sedan design first deployed on the revolutionary FCX Clarity fuel cell car, the new Insight has a low center of gravity and a spacious five-passenger cabin, offering the kind of driving experience and roomy, versatile interior space that customers have come to expect from Honda.
To help Insight owners realize the full benefits of Honda hybrid technology, the Insight will feature a new interactive, driver-focused fuel economy enhancement technology named the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist™). Eco Assist combines multiple functions:
* A driver-activated ECON mode that optimizes control of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), engine and related powertrain components to further improve vehicle fuel efficiency;
* a driver feedback function that uses an innovative speedometer display with changing background colors to provide real-time guidance to the driver on achieving higher fuel efficiency; and
* a unique fuel-economy scoring function using a plant-leaf graphic to provide feedback to the driver on current-trip driving efficiency and lifetime fuel-efficient driving performance.
All Insights are powered by an advanced 1.3-liter SOHC aluminum-alloy i-VTEC engine and CVT, along with a new generation of Honda’s IMA hybrid system for exceptional fuel economy and fun-to-drive performance.
The Insight’s IMA system incorporates a 10-kilowatt (13 hp) electric motor and a compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) – recapturing and storing kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration and supplying additional power for acceleration when needed. Packaging of the ultra-compact IMA battery and IPU in the vehicle’s rear floor allows the enhanced utility of a 60/40 split and fold-down rear seat back.
The Insight’s IMA system has the capability to operate exclusively on electric power in certain low- to mid-speed driving conditions. It also provides for cylinder deactivation within the gasoline engine during deceleration and for engine shutoff when the vehicle is stopped. With a 10.6-gallon fuel tank, the Insight delivers an estimated maximum driving range in excess of 400 miles.
Standard safety features on all Insights include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side curtain airbag system; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD); driver- and front-passenger active head restraints and a front body designed to mitigate pedestrian injuries. All new Insights also feature Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, which provides improved crash compatibility between vehicles of different size and ride height, enhancing protection for Insight occupants while reducing the potential for injury to occupants of the opposing vehicle in a frontal collision.
Additional standard features on all new Insights include 60/40 split and fold-down rear seatbacks; two-tier digital instrument panels; automatic climate control; power windows, mirrors and door locks; a tilting and telescoping steering wheel and a 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 audio playback, an auxiliary audio input jack and Speed-Sensitive Volume Control (SVC).
Insight EX models add alloy wheels, cruise control, 6-speaker audio system with USB audio interface, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, Honda Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and an available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Voice Recognition.
Honda is a leader in developing cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, including the original Honda Insight, introduced as America’s first mass-produced hybrid car in December 1999. American Honda has announced plans to increase its U.S. hybrid sales beyond the new Insight with the introduction of a third hybrid car, based on the Honda CR-Z concept vehicle, within the next couple of years. Honda is also a leader in the development of advanced alternatives to gasoline, including the zero-emission, hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell car, the world’s most advanced production automobile.