CompetitionPosted on December 4th, 2008 No comments
Maybe you’ve seen these before. They are the officially released images of the new Honda Insight and 3G Prius. For some reason, seeing them side by side, I was kind of captivated. In reading through various commentary online I’ve seen a lot made of the similarities between the two vehicles. I think it’s a bit superficial to focus on that too much. As I’ve said many times before, the Prius’ appearance is mainly dictated by necessity. It has one of the lowest drag coefficients of any production vehicle sold. So it’s no surprise that the Honda is similarly shaped since Honda’s stated goal was MPG.
The new Honda Insight
The 3G Prius
What struck in reading through the announced (so far) details is how these two cars are diverging.
-The motor in the 3G Prius is larger than the 2G Prius, up from a 1.4L to a 1.6L. The Honda is debuting with a 1.3L motor. Clearly Honda is focused on MPG performance.
-The 3G Prius, as far as I know, will use the same HSD system the 2G uses. The Insight will use Honda’s IMA hybrid system based on the previous incarnation of the Insight. Direct comparisons between the efficiency of IMA and HSD system weren’t really possible because the two cars (the previous generation Insight and Prius) were so different. Once again, the new iterations of each car will be difficult to compare as the Honda seems to be slightly smaller, probably lighter and the 3G Prius is actually a bit larger than even the 2G.
-Toyota hasn’t officially announced pricing on the 3G so it’s anyone’s guess what that will be. It seems reasonable to speculate it will, at the lowest, be the same as the current generation, probably higher. Honda is already planning to undercut Toyota pricing, the word is now that the base MSRP will be below $20K.
In general it seems like Honda is positioning the Insight to be the MPG performance, entry level hybrid and Toyota is slightly re-positioning the Prius to be the hybrid family sedan of choice. Looking at it from Toyota’s perspective I think that’s a strong strategy especially if Toyota can pop up with a smaller, lighter and cheaper hybrid, possibly badged as a Scion or something along the lines of a Corolla hybrid. It would give Toyota two strong hybrid options above and below Honda’s.
Either way, the good news is two of the very best car manufacturers are set to release two, exciting new hybrids that will offer different experiences. For the American car buyer, that’s welcome news indeed.
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