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Tony O'Kane | May 13, 2009

Thanks to booming demand in the US, Japanese and European markets, Australian motorists will have to wait until the second half of 2010 before they can get their hands on Honda's new Insight hybrid.

Demand for the cars has been unprecedented, with the Insight recently becoming the first hybrid to rise to the top of Japan's sales charts. Back when TMR first experienced the Insight at its local preview, it was originally tipped to arrive here in late 2009.

The news from Honda means we'll likely have to wait a full year longer for the Insight than initially expected.

2009-honda-insight-hybrid

At this stage, Australia's allocation of Insights is unknown. We spoke with Honda's PR man Mark Higgins, and he said that the Insight's situation will probably mirror that of the Civic Hybrid, of which Honda Australia simply can't get enough to meet demand due to overwhelming orders abroad.

We've no doubt it will be popular when it eventually lands here, but the delay gives Toyota's new Prius a substantial lead on the Honda.

The Prius is expected to debut here in July and although it will most definitely be priced above the Insight, the fact that it'll be first out of the blocks should give it a definite leg-up.

2009 Honda Insight

Local pricing has yet to be announced, but overseas the Insight retails for less than the Civic Hybrid, with which it shares much of its basic mechanical componentry.

A 1.3 litre inline four is hooked up to an electric assistance motor and CVT gearbox, and the whole ensemble is capable of returning fuel economy figures of around 4.6l/100km - about line-ball with the Civic Hybrid.

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