Honda has released a single official image showcasing its Prius-fighting Insight hybrid. The production-spec Insight appears to have carried over much of the styling shown on the Insight concept when it was first unveiled. Many may find its slab-sided looks uncomfortably similar to the Prius.
The outlandish 'motor show only' rims and lighting have made way for a lower cost and more realistic kit. We'd love to have a poke inside and see just how much of the futuristic dash and instrument cluster has remained. There'll be no tears from us though if the cheesecloth upholstery has been swapped out in favour of something a little less retro.
Honda is expecting big things from the Insight which should hit the US market in early to mid-2009. With an expected price tag under USD$20,000, Honda will be hoping to make more than a dent on Prius sales. Should Honda have its figures right, 100,000 of the little blighters are expected to roll out of showrooms across the US.
If the Honda can match the Prius in function and reliability, and manages to hold its price advantage, Toyota may have a real battle on its hands. They're so darn similar that badge loyalty may be the only defining factor. At the very least, the price-leading Insight may help push down the cost of hybrids to 'conventional car' levels. And that's something 'the environment' would no doubt welcome.