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2009 Honda Insight hybrid - Official pic

The production version of Honda’s Insight hybrid is headed for a fanfare-free debut at the increasingly desolate Detroit show in January: Honda has said that it will maintain a presence at the show, but will forego its normal press conference in light of the global economic downturn.

Honda InsightHonda says the new hybrid will feature “a new interactive, driver-focused fuel-economy enhancement technology named the Ecological Drive Assist System,” or Eco Assist for short. Although no further details were given, this sounds (in name, at least) a lot like Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide that will take the place of a normal instrument panel on the 2010 Fusion and Milan hybrids. That system uses two customizable LCD screens to display information relating to fuel economy, range, and battery charge. Honda officials have suggested that the fuel economy would be about the same as that of the current Civic Hybrid, which is rated at 40 mpg in the city and 45 on the highway.

Power for Honda’s new hybrid-only model will come from a scaled-down version of the powertrain found in the Civic hybrid—a 93-hp, 1.3-liter four-cylinder paired with a 20-hp electric motor—and will also use nickel-metal-hydride batteries. Honda expects to build 200,000 Insights annually, half of which it will send to North America. Insight sales will begin on Earth Day in April 2009, and we expect a price of around $19,000.

© Source: caranddriver
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