The Toyota Prius, the best-selling hybrid in America, will face a potential rival with the return of the Honda Insight hybrid for the 2010 model year. The aim of Honda is to offer the Insight with a price tag under $20,000 and, according to the company, it has already succeeded to do that. The new Insight will be priced at $19,800 exclusive of destination fees.
With the required delivery fees the Insight's final tag is $20,470, which is about $2,300 less than the Prius base price. The Honda Insight comes in two trim levels, the LX and EX. The Honda Insight LX is available with standard elements like automatic climate control, tilt and telescoping steering column and power windows.
The EX version, the more upscale of the two, comes with Vehicle Stability Assist, alloy rims, cruise control, up enhanced audio system and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Although both Prius and Insight employ the same drivetrains to attain fuel economy gains, the Prius gets almost 10pmg over the Insight. The latter is rated at 40mpg in the city, 43mpg on the highway and 41mpg on the combined cycle.
Power under the hood for the Insight comes from a 1.3 liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder gas unit with a 13hp electric motor. The Insight will introduce the company's new Ecological Drive Assist System which features a three-dimensional background on the speedometer that turns green when the driving is efficient and blue when it is not.
The system also encourages efficient driving habits by regularly monitoring fuel economy and displaying eco-ratings in the form of a plant just like the one found on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The maximum is five leaves for driving efficiently. The latest Ford Insight is priced at $20,470 inclusive of destination fees and will be available for sale beginning March 24, 2009.