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March 11, 2009

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All-new Honda Insight Starts Under $20,000; Becomes Most Affordable New Hybrid Available in the U.S.

Insight targets entry segment as gateway to hybrid technology

TORRANCE, Calif. - The all-new 2010 Honda Insight goes on sale March 24 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price(1) (MSRP) of $19,800 for the Insight LX, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced this week.

The distinctively styled, five-passenger, five-door dedicated hybrid vehicle is powered by an Integrated Motor Assist(TM) (IMA(TM)) system comprised of a 1.3-liter i-VTEC(R) gasoline engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor that together contribute to an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 40/43 miles per gallon(2).

The Insight features the Ecological Drive Assist System (Eco Assist(TM)), an innovation that can further enhance efficient vehicle operation while providing feedback related to individual driving styles. A sleek exterior blends design elements from the original 2000 Insight's highly aerodynamic side profile with a front-end design similar to the hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity, a marquee environmental product for Honda.

The interior offers a roomy passenger environment with a configurable rear seating and cargo area that benefits from 60/40 split fold-down seats.

Major features standard to the Insight LX include front, front-side and side-curtain airbags; an anti-lock braking system; a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); Eco Assist; automatic climate control; tilt and telescope steering column; manual driver's seat height adjustment; power windows; a four-speaker AM/FM audio system with CD player and auxiliary audio input for external digital music players; and much more.

A more premium version of the Insight is also available. The Insight EX, with a MSRP(1) of $21,300, adds to the Insight LX features with Vehicle Stability Assist(TM) (VSA(R)); alloy wheels; cruise control; steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters; an upgraded audio system with six speakers; USB audio interface(3); a center console with armrest and storage compartment; heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals; and much more. Exclusively available on the Insight EX, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System(4) (6.5-inch screen) with voice recognition provides routing and guidance to individual addresses and more than 7 million points of interest within the continental United States. Models equipped with the navigation system also include Bluetooth(R) HandsFreeLink(R) for hands-free operation of compatible mobile telephones, along with related steering wheel-mounted controls for voice activation of the navigation and hands-free telephone systems.

A 4-cylinder engine with intelligent variable valve timing and a DC brushless electric motor forms the foundation of the IMA hybrid system. The electric motor, positioned in-line between the engine and the transmission, adds power during acceleration and in certain cruising situations, and recaptures energy from the vehicle's forward momentum during braking (regenerative braking).

The Insight's IMA system has the capability to operate exclusively on electric power in certain low- to mid-speed cruising conditions. It can also provide cylinder deactivation during deceleration and an idle-stop feature when the vehicle is stationary. With a 10.6-gallon fuel tank, the Insight delivers an estimated maximum driving range exceeding 400 miles. Models for sale in California and states that have adopted the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ZEV standards receive an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) emissions rating.

The Insight introduces Eco Assist to help drivers achieve improved real-world fuel economy. Eco Assist is a feature designed to help drivers optimize fuel efficiency for their given set of driving conditions. Pressing the ECON button can further enhance the efficiency of multiple vehicle systems: throttle control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and cruise-control operation (EX only). Eco Assist also provides feedback about driving style via a 3D-appearing background within the speedometer. The background changes colors from green to blue to reflect how efficiently or inefficiently the driver is accelerating or braking (green = efficient). The driver's results are continuously tracked as fuel-economy ratings are shown per drive cycle and on a lifetime basis in the form of plant-leaf graphics that appear in the Multi-Information Display (MID).

Up to five leaves can be 'earned' as the driver demonstrates a fuel-efficient driving style. A real-time score is shown in the Eco Guide MID screen. Standard safety features on all Insights include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags; front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); side-curtain airbag system; anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD); driver's and front-passenger's active head restraints and a front body designed to mitigate pedestrian injuries. All new Insights also feature Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering(TM) (ACE(TM)) body structure, which provides improved frontal-crash compatibility between vehicles of different size and ride height.

Photos: Honda

(March 10, 2009)


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