The Toyota Prius is the flagship when it comes to hybrid vehicles. Its a symbol for eco-friendly living and incorporates cutting edge engine technology that is still unrivaled. Honda is looking to change all that.
Toyota first introduced their Prius way back in 1997 in Japan. Although it was small, it was still a four door vehicle suitable for four adults. Honda entered the hybrid market shortly thereafter with their Insight, a small two door vehicle that was introduced in the U.S. shortly before the Prius. The Insight had better fuel efficiency than the Prius, but because of the Insight's size, it was not as popular as the Prius and was eventually pulled from Honda's line-up. Since then, Honda has tried to push their Honda Civic Hybrid as an alternative to the Toyota Prius.
Apparently Honda is ready to compete directly with the Prius. Today Honda has announced the re-introduction of the Insight. This time its bigger and cheaper, with four doors and a price tag of about $18,500.
The new and improved Insight will be unveiled at the Paris Autshow in October. The consumer version of the car is expected to incorporate about 90% of the autoshow concept vehicle's looks and features. The Insight's battery and control unit are stored in the trunk for what Honda calls a "light, pleasing driving feel." The hybrid engine uses gasoline while at cruising speed and pulls power from the battery when accelerating.
It will be interesting to see what kind of gas mileage this new model will get. As you can see in the picture, it bears a striking resemblance to the Toytoa Prius. Honda expects to start selling the Insight in North America in 2009.
To read more about the new Honda Insight, click Here.