You've got to love the leak! The January issue of Honda Belgium's company magazine has unwittingly broken the embargo on information about the drivetrain, technical specifications and performance specs of the keenly awaited 2009 Honda Insight.
The big reveal to the world of Honda's newest and latest hybrid was not expected until the Detroit Motor Show next week. But Honda Belgium let the cat out of the bag, in full colour. Honda US has been beating the drum about lifting the lid on the new car at the Detroit Motor Show; but it's been beaten to the punch, and it won't be happy. (Maybe a few copies escaped from the back door of the print warehouse... it's not the first time.)
There are lots of images below, but the interesting stuff is in the technical details. According to Euro site Carscoop, the Insight will use a 1.3 litre four-cylinder 63.4Kw (at 5800rpm) and 123 Nm (at 4,600rpm) petrol engine mated to a 10kW and 103Nm electric motor.
These figures do not match the quoted output of the Intergated Motor Assist system of the current Civic hybrid (85Kw and 170Nm), but Carscoop claims the Insight will share the Civic Hybrid drivetrain.
The Insight will also be mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Claimed fuel consumption for the Insight is a miserly 4.4 l/100km, on the combined cycle. This betters the current Civic Hybrid's 4.6 l/100km, but is exactly the same as the claimed fuel economy for the Aussie-spec Toyota Prius. The head-to-head battle here should be a tight one.
The leaked information also shows that the Insight will be marginally smaller than the Prius externally (4395mm length for the Insight, compared to the 4450mm length of the Prius), but, given the similarities in overall form, interior dimensions should match nearly precisely.
There will be more details on the Insight after the official reveal, and maybe some 'yet-to-be-leaked' surprises. Whatever, it is looking like game-on in the hybrid wars.