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article details
Author Jeff Palmer
Categories Gasoline/Electric Hybrid , Insight
Create Date March 16, 2009 12:35
Last Update April 22, 2009 15:42

It's been roughly 10 years since Honda debuted the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle to the US market. That vehicle was the 2000 Insight, an aluminum-bodied 70mpg eco-technological tour de force. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to describe the Insight as an eco-exotic, with its combination of cutting edge drivetrain technology (IMA, or Integrated Motor Assist) and super lightweight aluminum body construction.

Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology trailed Honda in the US market by about a year, but their HSD-powered Prius debuted in Japan nearly two years ahead of the Insight. The Prius wouldn't make it to the U.S. market until after it had received a mid-cycle model update. This version went on sale in the USA in 2000, and from that point it took surprisingly little time for the Prius to surpass the Insight's sales volume. In response, Honda expanded their Hybrid lineup a few years later, adding the Civic Hybrid in 2002, and in 2004, the Accord Hybrid. Even with three models flying the IMA flag, the Prius continued to outsell Honda's entire hybrid lineup.

Through these three models, Honda has taken several distinct market approaches, but the core IMA gasoline/electric technology has remained largely unchanged. The original Insight was Honda's most ambitious approach to date, seeking the maximum possible fuel economy with few compromises against that goal. The Civic Hybrid was designed to deliver superior fuel economy in an "everyday" mainstream family package. The Accord Hybrid was designed to deliver a blend of superior "V6-plus" performance with the fuel economy of a typical 4-cylinder engine.

None of these approaches have really resonated to the degree that Honda had hoped, so Honda is tacking in another direction with the 2010 Insight: unique "hybrid" styling with sufficient room for a family, exceptional real world fuel economy (thanks in part to an intelligent driver "coaching" system), and a class-leading sticker price. While the car is still packed with technology, much of it is carried over from existing Honda Hybrids; the bulk of Honda's engineering efforts have been applied towards making Hybrid technology affordable for the masses.

The 2010 edition of the Insight is also designed to be built in much greater volumes than the original Insight, with Honda initially targeting sales of 100,000 units in North America, and an additional 100,000 units sold elsewhere in the world. There are already rumors suggesting that Honda is working on making arrangements to increase those figures. The Insight went on sale in Japan on January 22nd and has been met with exceedingly strong demand.

The US version of the Insight will be offered in two trim levels: LX and EX, with an optional navigation system available on EX models. The LX will serve as the "gateway" model to hybrid technology, and comes equipped with typical Honda "LX-grade" level features such as a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo (with aux input), power windows with auto up/down for the driver, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, 60/40 split folding rear seat, standard CVT transmission, power exterior mirrors, automatic climate control, outside temperature gauge, 15" steel wheels, a standard security alarm, and a rear wiper. The EX model is expected to be the top selling trim level and adds 15" alloy wheels, VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), a special "7-speed" sport mode for the CVT, an upgraded stereo with USB ipod connectivity and a set of tweeters, turn signals on the wing mirrors, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, center console storage/armrest, vanity mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, map and glovebox lights, and seatback pockets. The Navi option adds bluetooth handsfree link as well as steering wheel/voice controls for the stereo, navi, and bluetooth.

Honda expects the EX to represent the bulk (65%) of Insights that are sold, with the LX representing 25% of the mix, and the fully loaded EX-navi model accounting for the last 10%.

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Date Thread Starter Thread
03-18-2009 22:54 Interior questions   (Score: 1, Normal) atomiclightbulb
07-17-2009 08:33 Steve
07-17-2009 08:37 Steve
07-27-2009 17:12 80honda
03-17-2009 17:24 How did Wayne Gerdes do it?   (Score: 1, Normal) CrystalFiveMT
03-17-2009 19:48 Insightman
03-17-2009 20:53 JeffX
03-17-2009 21:01 NealX
03-18-2009 08:01 Insightman
03-18-2009 12:13 RyanDL
03-18-2009 15:13 Insightman
03-19-2009 12:16 RyanDL
03-19-2009 15:24 NealX
03-19-2009 22:28 Insightman
03-20-2009 00:17 NealX
05-20-2009 22:16 xcel
04-05-2009 01:41 Saw one March 25 in Tyson's Corner, VA   (Score: 1, Normal) MojaveAccord
04-05-2009 21:34 Insightman
04-11-2009 09:06 CastleHonda
04-25-2009 12:21 Nakamichi
04-30-2009 22:50 ballermd
03-27-2009 18:49 Eco Assist Everywhere!   (Score: 1, Normal) enemy
03-29-2009 10:06 Insightman
03-30-2009 00:40 HONDA AFVM
04-12-2009 03:18 accord1989
04-08-2009 10:16 Honda Insight Homecoming and Canadian prices   (Score: 1, Normal) Insightman
03-16-2009 13:23 Colors?   (Score: 1, Normal) WCA19
03-16-2009 14:53 creativeguy
03-17-2009 05:25 Art of Snow
03-22-2009 10:53 blackstripe77
03-26-2009 14:56 SoichirosHeroes
03-16-2009 21:42 Insightman
03-16-2009 22:57 atomiclightbulb
03-16-2009 23:09 Insightman
03-16-2009 14:18 Thank you Jeff   (Score: 1, Normal) iceman6
03-16-2009 16:16 Jonniedee
03-16-2009 16:18 Hondasrule
03-16-2009 19:30 atomiclightbulb
03-16-2009 21:55 Insightman
03-17-2009 00:57 Powered by Honda
03-18-2009 01:00 superchg
03-20-2009 14:37 SoichirosHeroes
03-20-2009 14:55 Insightman
03-20-2009 22:25 HONDA AFVM
03-26-2009 14:48 SoichirosHeroes
03-16-2009 14:20 some hybrid comments   (Score: 1, Normal) TonyEX
03-16-2009 22:13 Insightman
03-21-2009 18:02 Varmint
03-21-2009 22:21 Insightman
03-24-2009 08:49 danielgr
03-24-2009 10:15 Insightman
03-24-2009 22:59 HONDA AFVM
03-25-2009 04:31 danielgr
03-25-2009 05:26 danielgr
03-25-2009 08:36 Insightman
03-25-2009 09:39 danielgr
03-25-2009 11:52 HONDA AFVM
03-25-2009 18:33 danielgr
03-26-2009 10:42 longhorn
03-24-2009 10:19 Official 2010 Honda Insight website is up   (Score: 1, Normal) Insightman
03-17-2009 01:12 Series Hybrid   (Score: 1, Normal) slowro
03-17-2009 08:08 JeffX
03-17-2009 14:59 norcalinternet
03-22-2009 01:09 HONDA AFVM
03-18-2009 02:24 slowro
03-16-2009 13:31 seat height adjusters   (Score: 1, Normal) A77
03-16-2009 14:10 JeffX
03-16-2009 18:13 wyy183
03-16-2009 18:48 JeffX
03-16-2009 20:42 Insightman
03-21-2009 15:53 TXsalesguy
03-16-2009 15:18 Does HFP exist?   (Score: 1, Normal) integrator
03-16-2009 15:57 wyy183
03-16-2009 16:59 Nick GravesX
03-16-2009 18:04 CarPhreakD
03-16-2009 21:27 Insightman
03-18-2009 14:44 BigAtomicBlue
03-16-2009 22:23 Non-hybrid A/C compressor benefit   (Score: 1, Normal) Insightman
03-17-2009 13:14 mentaloriental
03-17-2009 13:37 Hondasrule
03-17-2009 13:41 danielgr
03-16-2009 22:59 LX shifter has an L position   (Score: 1, Normal) Insightman
03-16-2009 18:43 covered storage door under navi = memory card storage?   (Score: 1, Normal) UzLess
03-16-2009 21:51 Insightman
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