2010 Euro-Spec Honda Insight Pics Leak Onto Web

By Chris Haak

01.06.2009

Honda plans to reveal the production version of its 2010 Insight hybrid, which was revealed in Paris this past spring in concept form, in Detroit next week.  The intrepid folks at CarScoop, however, managed to snag a treasure trove of press photos of the right hand drive UK-spec (right hand drive) Insight ahead of the production car’s debut.  There’s really none of the exterior left to the imagination, though the interior photos only show the gauges (including the car’s eco-meter, used for tracking your progress as an economical driver).  Now that the photos have proliferated across the Internet, the cat’s out of the bag, and we can feel free to share them.

The production version of the Insight, true to the form of many recent Honda concepts that very closely represented the final production versions (Accord coupe concept of 2007, Pilot concept of 2008), keeps the same basic shape as the Paris-revealed concept, but of course a car that starts at $18,000 doesn’t have all-LED foglamps and headlamps.  The wheels are also smaller, and the grille treatment is less glitzy (and naturally cheaper to build) on the production car.

The shape is probably a combination of old Honda Insight styling cues (you can definitely see shadows of the old two-door, two-seat Insight in the rear of the new car), Prius styling cues (after all, the teardrop shape of the Prius is distinctive and well-recognized as a hybrid standard-bearer), and aerodynamic practicality.  It’s not bad looking, but it’s also not going to win any beauty contests.  I actually find it better looking than the current Prius and far better looking than the old Insight, but I’ll reserve final judgment of the 2010 Insight vs. 2010 Prius until I have had a chance to check out both cars in person next week.

The Insight will be powered by a small internal combustion engine and Honda’s fairly simple IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system.  The IMA system is not as sophisticated as Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and cannot power the car electrically without running the engine, but also costs less – hence the Insight’s $18,000 price against the Prius’ $22,000 price point.  In terms of model hierarchy, the Insight is cheaper and smaller than the Civic Hybrid (Honda’s only other hybrid for the time being).  Honda expects to sell 200,000 Insights annually, with about half of those global sales coming from the US.  With the recent collapse in gasoline prices (and with them, hybrid sales), Honda may have some trouble meeting its objectives, but depending upon passenger space and interior quality, with the hybrid-enriched fuel economy numbers just icing on the cake, it should still be a pretty strong seller for the brand.

While the Insight is an interesting car and I’m curious to check it out in person, the Honda hybrid model that has me most intrigued is the CR-Z small sports car.  That is not only a great looking little car, but seems to truly be the spiritual successor to the legendary and well-regarded CR-X of the 80s and 90s.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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1 Comment

  1. Sure it’s better looking than the Prius, but what isn’t? It’s still kind of drab. I saw one of your readers suggested that Honda buy Pininfarina. That’s not a bad idea. There are quite a few of the Italian design firms that would be happy to have a steady flow of business with a reliable payor, so what is Honda waiting for?

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