While the Insight Concept on display at the Paris Auto Salon was the same vehicle seen in various pre-release pictures, the automaker did offer at least a couple of more detail specifics about its Prius-fighting five-door that will go on sale here next spring. According to comments made by Honda Motor Corp president Takeo Fukui in a video teleconference with reporters in Japan, expect Insight pricing to start slightly below $19,000, a figure that would undercut its Toyota rival by about $3,000 and position the car almost $4,000 below the current Civic Hybrid. While slightly larger than the Civic, the new Insight would reportedly equal its stablemate's 40/45 EPA city/highway mileage numbers. That accomplishment, like its cost advantage, is directly attributable to the host of advances in the next iteration of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system which is smaller, lighter, simpler and less costly than the package used at this time, but does continue to use a nickel-metal hydride battery.
Honda will put a final production version of the Insight on display in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Still no confirmation as to when we'll see or hear more about Honda's other upcoming hybrid offerings, a sporty coupe based on the CR-Z concept and its follow-up, an IMA-abetted Fit.