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This could be one of the most significant cars of next month's Paris show. And indeed on the market next year.

Yes, yes, like any modern motor show, the eco-geo-enviropolitical-type climate makes it's inevitable that there will be a green flavour to the show. (Does green have a flavour? We're not actually sure...) And so there'll be all sorts of electric cars, alternative fuel power, and hybrids. But this is the big one.

Well, the compact and affordable one. Which means big.

It's the Honda Insight concept, a pretty accurate preview of the company's new 'affordable family hybrid car' which is set to launch in Europe as soon as next spring. The real production version will be unveiled in Detroit in January.

Honda is billing it as the cheapest hybrid car on the market, and says it will significantly undercut the Toyota Prius (£18,000) and its own Civic Hybrid (£17,000).

At the moment hybrids are something well-heeled people buy to make a statement. Honda wants to change all that, and make them something the rest of us buy to save money. So the Insight's price premium over a normal petrol supermini must be less than the saving in fuel you can make by driving it.

Based on an all-new platform, the Insight is smaller than the Civic Hybrid but has a similar 'Integrated Motor Assist' powertrain. Honda says it has learned how to make the motor, batteries and electronics more cheaply and more compact than when it designed the Civic Hybrid. The battery pack is mounted beneath the boot, which means the seat can be folded in proper hatch fashion and the centre of gravity is lower.

There's no word on fuel consumption, but we'd expect quoted figures pushing 70mpg. Hybrid owners often complain they don't get the quoted fuel figures though, so the Insight will have onboard an electronic driver coaching system to help eke out every last drop.

To get better consumption than the Civic hybrid, the Insight has a low- drag shape. Note that FCX Clarity-ish, Prius-ish aero-tail profile.

If you're thinking the 'Insight' name sounds familiar, you're right. Honda has revived the name of its first production hybrid to be sold in Europe. The original Insight was launched in 1999 and sold some 17,000 units around the world. That's for its whole life, and only 400 of them made it to Europe. Honda is aiming significantly higher with the new Insight, though, and predicts it should sell around 200,000 units every year worldwide, and a far higher proportion will be for Europe.

More exciting, by the end of next year, we'll also see, based on the same platform and hybrid powertrain, that lovely CR-Z concept coupe making it into production. A good-value, small, sporty hybrid coupe? You bet.

A year or so after that, a Jazz hybrid will appear, then the next year a hybrid version of the next-gen Civic. Honda reckons these should push its global hybrid sales over 500,000 per year by 2010.

Remember, Honda makes 'only' four million cars a year overall, so that's one in eight of all Hondas.

Lofty ambitions, but with Priuses shifting like particularly fashionable hot cakes, we wouldn't bet against Honda. We'll find out more about the Insight in Paris next month.

Source: Top Gear
 

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Looks all to similar to that toyota thing
 

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Think it was called the pryis or something, awful was its second name, but engine wise a good car even if it looks like a back end of a bus
 

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F*ck sake there going down the porshe road, "look wee made a new car" erm no you just coppied a design!!!
 

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Yeah true, what has happened to Honda they used to make great cars. Yeah are just not making cars for the "younger" generation
 

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Nope Honda need to start making proper cars again, however they wont because there is only a very small market for real drivers cars. All the modern Hondas are just far too big and bulky compared to the old ones. Even the new CRZ which is supposed to be the replacement of the CRX is huge and not a patch on the old one design wise :(
 

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so the Insight will have onboard an electronic driver coaching system
is this similar to the onboard coaching system on BMW's? "you are superior, you are in a BMW, drive like a cock, you know its good"
 

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HAHA nahhh i don't think Honda has THAT big of an ego :lol:
 

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stug45 said:
so the Insight will have onboard an electronic driver coaching system
is this similar to the onboard coaching system on BMW's? "you are superior, you are in a BMW, drive like a cock, you know its good"
'Cut up that old women'

'Pull out infront of that car'

'Undertake that MLM'
 

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No that was the FCX clarity.

Which WILL redefine the car as we know it, a number of other manufacturers are already producing concepts based on the same platform, because it works. Unlike hybrids and battery powered electric cars.
 
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