Steane Klose | Aug 11, 2008

It may not yet have a name but we have confirmation that Honda's upcoming dedicated hybrid vehicle will be officially unveiled at this year's Paris Motor Show. There have been rumours that the new vehicle would don the Insight nameplate, in line with Honda's first dedicated hybrid model, but at this stage that looks more like wishful thinking than fact.

With an expected price of USD$20,000, the compact 5 door hatch (based on Honda's 2007 Remix Concept) has the Toyota Prius squarely in its sights and could take the hybrid market by storm on price alone. If all the right ingredients are there, it's possible that we might be looking at the next big thing in the hybrid market.

Designed as an entry-level offering, the new Honda will be officially released next year at the Detroit Motor Show - around the same time we're expecting to see the wraps come off the next-gen 2010 model Prius.

Sources claim the Honda will be powered by the same 1.3-litre IMA system that motivates the Civic Hybrid, complete with a constantly variable transmission for maximum economy. The nickel metal hydride battery pack will be mounted beneath the rear floor to reduce the impact on interior space.

If the new Honda hybrid makes it to market with a USD$20K price tag and gets close to its claimed 60mpg (around 3.5-4.0 l/100km) fuel-efficiency rating, then Toyota might just have a real fight on its hands.

The Prius-punisher is one of four new hybrid models on the way from Honda over the next four years as the Japanese manufacturer looks to increase hybrid sales volume to 500,000 units, around 10% of the company's total sales volume. One of the four promises to be a revival of the spirit of the CR-X and will go into production in 2010.

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