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Mike Stevens | Feb 27, 2009

honda_insight

Nothing says 'it's on!' like the hybrid war raging between the Toyota Prius and Hondas new hybrid upstart, the Insight. And this is one neat-looking machine.

Honda has displayed its new low-cost hybrid contender to the public for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere. Set to rival its cross-town rival from Toyota, the new Insight is be priced below the Civic Hybrid and put affordable green transport within the reach of the masses.

As well as featuring Honda's Intergrated Motor Assist (IMA) Hybrid system, the Insight also comes equipped with an Ecological Drive Assist System, or Eco Assist. The three-mode system can adjust engine output and idle-stop duration, indicate the level of fuel efficiency through the colour of the speedometer or keep score of driver habits relating to fuel usage for both a single trip and the life of the vehicle.

2009_honda_insight

The combined 1.3 litre engine and electric motor offer similar performance to a traditional 1.5 litre engine. A coefficient of drag of just .28 also assists in keeping thirst to a minimum, along with a selection of lightweight body parts.

The Insight borrows heavily from the larger, hydrogen powered FCX for its exterior inspiration and certainly looks tidier through the front end than the current prius, although against the new model it becomes a much closer call.

Inside, Honda's two-tier dash makes an appearance, offering at-a-glance information in a thoroughly modern setting with seating for five in a flexible five-door package.

It is, really, a must-see at this year's Motor Show. Hybrids, it seems, are starting to become "interesting"...

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