When it comes to hybrid cars, the name “Toyota Prius" is almost always mentioned as the best example of a vehicle that runs on dual gas-electric power. Toyota's most popular hybrid model earned this distinction because it is the most popular selling hybrid model on the market.
But, the Prius certainly wasn't the first hybrid model sold in America. That distinction belongs to Honda who beat Toyota to the market with its two-seater Insight. Introduced in 1999, the Insight was an odd-looking, but highly fuel efficient car that got as much as 70 mpg, an awesome return that hasn't been matched by any car since.
Unfortunately, Honda yanked the Insight off of the market in 2006, deciding to concentrate on selling hybrid versions of its Accord midsize sedan as well as its compact Civic. That strategy backfired as buyers avoided the V6 Accord hybrid while offering only tepid interest in the Civic hybrid. Besides, neither model has even approached the Insight's fuel economy, leaving customers wondering if there was something better that they weren't seeing.
As it turns out, Honda has been holding back on the American driver.
Starting with the 2010 model year, Honda will once again offer the Insight for sale in the US. Its newest model is a vast improvement over the original, offering seating for five passengers instead of two while looking a whole lot better than the first generation model.
What We Know About The 2010 Honda Insight
Honda is holding closely to the vest specifics about the newest Insight, but gleaning information from various automotive blogs and enthusiast websites, we've been able to conjecture the following:
- The car will be styled much more closely to the shape now used by Toyota for the Prius. Analysts are saying that the Insight takes its styling cues from the Honda FCX Clarity, its pricey hydrogen model.
- The Insight will be slotted just below the Civic and start at $18,500, an unheard of to date low price for a hybrid car. At present, the Prius retails for about $3000 more.
- Fuel economy numbers aren't final, but the heavier and bigger second generation model should still achieve an optimum fuel economy of 60 mpg.
- Honda plans on building as many as 500,000 units annually with about half that number being made available for the US market.
We won't know more details about the Honda Insight until after the 2008 Paris Auto Show is held in October, but when that information is made available, drivers will likely be very interested in buying a car that costs less than the Prius while delivering even better fuel economy.
Copyright 2008-2012 - Matthew C. Keegan is the owner of a successful writing and marketing business based in North Carolina, USA. He manages several websites and is a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport, a retailer of quality Honda Civic carbon fiber hoods and Honda Civic headlights .