Detroit motor show 2009 - Honda Insight
11 January 2009
There was no grand unveiling, no press conference, nothing - just the new car sat on a stand.
In many ways it made a refreshing change to some of the overblown car launches of the motor show, but it also served to underline fears about the global economy and the falling demand for hybrids in particular.
With fuel prices low and the recession biting, it seems people aren't so prepared to pay a premuim for clever green technology after all.
So is the Insight the right car being launched at the wrong time? No.
People should be excited, both because of its fuel economy and an asking price that redefines the hybrid market.
The car uses same hybrid powertrain as the Honda Civic IMA: a 87bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine, with an electric motor that generates 13bhp. The powertrain is then mated to a continuously variable transmission.
The Insight also has a set of batteries to store energy that is generated under braking, which subsequently provides power for the electric motor.
Average fuel consumption is expected to be rated at 64.2mpg, while carbon dioxide emissions are 101g/km.
If confirmed, these figures compare favourably with the Civic IMA's 61.41mpg and the rival Toyota Prius hybrid's 65.69mpg.
The Honda Insight hybrid will go on sale here in April, when it is expected to significantly undercut the rival Toyota Prius, with prices starting at around £15,000.