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Melbourne show: Honda’s Insight via Paris

Coming next year: The production version of the next-generation Honda Insight.

Production Insight can wait as Honda shows concept

27 Feb 2009

HONDA Australia unveiled the concept version of its new hybrid, the Insight II, at the Melbourne International Motor Show today, six weeks after the production version’s public debut at the Detroit motor show.

While the Insight Concept sitting on a turntable platform at the Honda stand at Melbourne is the same vehicle Honda took the covers off at the Paris show last year, the production version is already on sale in Japan and the US.

The all-new five-seat, five-door Insight joins the Civic Hybrid sedan to counter Honda’s chief hybrid competition – the Toyota Prius – and is likely to go on sale here next year.

Billed as the world’s most affordable hybrid, the new five-seat, four-door Insight is a much more versatile package than the slow-selling two-seat aluminium-bodied, first generation.

15 center imageLeft: Insight II and Civic five-door (bottom).

The new model uses the latest iteration of Honda’s proprietary Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid drive mated with a 1.3-litre i-VTEC engine in a wind-cheating body boasting an aerodynamic drag of just 0.28Cd.

Honda also displayed for the first time early Australian specification examples of its new Odyssey people-mover and the British-built Civic five-door, both due later in the year. Pricing, final specification detail and on-sale dates for both models are yet to be announced.

Odyssey gets a more powerful engine – up 14kW to 132kW – which Honda says is also more fuel efficient. It also gets ESC, along with Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering that detects instability in slippery conditions during cornering and braking and automatically helps to correct the steering.

Active head restraints, three-point seatbelts in all seven seating positions and front, side and curtain airbags are also now standard.

The five-door Civic Si will be launched in April with a 1.8-litre 103kW/174Nm engine with a six-speed manual or five-speed auto.

Like the Odyssey, the Civic Si gets ESC and ABS, along with front, side and full-length curtain airbags.

Honda also took the opportunity to unveil new standard equipment and a new colour (Championship White) for the three-door Civic Type R, which now comes with a limited-slip differential, tyre-pressure monitoring and an auxiliary jack for MP3/iPod players.

The white finish is said to evoke memories of Honda’s first F1 car in 1963. The colour is complemented 18-inch graphite coloured alloy wheels, a contrasting smoke-chrome finish on the badges, door handles, fuel filler cap and lower front grille.

Honda says the limited-slip differential is a performance winner, shaving 1.44 seconds from lap times in testing at Honda’s test track in Tsukaba, Japan.

The Civic Type R goes on sale next week for $41,990. Also on the Honda stand was the new City light sedan released earlier this month, along with examples of the City and Accord Euro kitted out with recently arrived Modulo accessories.

Read more:

Honda to have the cheapest hybrid

Detroit show: Honda gives hybrid Insight

First look: An Insight into production

Civic hatch hindered

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