The new Honda Insight has broken cover at the Paris auto show.
The new hybrid vehicle revives the Insight nameplate formerly applied to the two-seat hybrid vehicle that inaugurated the gas-electric class in the United States in the late 1990s. It also bears a distinct resemblance to that other hybrid you might have heard of, and that's a battle set to take place in U.S. showrooms early next year.
Honda says the Insight's shape bears the hallmarks of its larger, fuel-cell-powered FCX Clarity, but it's hard not to see some echoes of the Toyota Prius in its greenhouse--though the front end is quite Civic-like in its appearance. The new Insight seats five, Honda says, and the rear seats fold for improved cargo access.
The important innovation in the new Insight is a much less complex, much more affordable hybrid drivetrain, the company says. It will allow the Insight to be sold for a price significantly lower than today's hybrids, Honda says. The automaker expects to sell 200,000 of the vehicles each year worldwide, with 100,000 heading to the United States from its Suzuka, Japan, factory. Combined with a production version of the CR-Z coupe hybrid concept, the new family of hybrids could swell to 500,000 sales annually.
The new 2010 Honda Insight goes on sale in the U.S. in the spring of 2009. More details to come--stay tuned.
2008 Honda Insight ConceptEnlarge Photo