The fuel-efficient but expensive technology just isn't in demand at current fuel prices and market conditions

The fuel-efficient but expensive technology just isn't in demand at current fuel prices and market conditions

The all-new 2010 Honda Insight hybrid car made its world debut today at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, ending several weeks of image leaks and specifications conjecture. Utilizing the latest generation of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology and new, more cost-efficient production methods, the 2010 Insight will provide consumers with an affordable option for eco-friendly driving.

The EPA fuel-economy rating for the vehicle is 40mpg in the city and 43mpg on the highway, and to ensure owners realize the full benefits of the hybrid technology, it will come with a special Ecological Drive Assist System. Furthermore, the Insight also features an ECON mode that optimizes control of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), engine and related powertrain components to further improve vehicle fuel efficiency.

Power comes from a 1.3L SOHC aluminum-alloy i-VTEC engine and CVT, along with a new generation of Honda’s IMA hybrid system. The IMA incorporates a 13hp (10kW) electric motor and a compact Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) – recapturing and storing kinetic energy from vehicle braking and deceleration and supplying additional power for acceleration when needed.

The advanced drive system has the capability to operate exclusively on electric power in certain low- to mid-speed driving conditions. It also provides for cylinder deactivation within the gasoline engine during deceleration and for engine shutoff when the vehicle is stopped. With a 10.6-gallon fuel tank, the Insight delivers an estimated maximum driving range in excess of 400 miles.

Standard features include 60/40 split and fold-down rear seatbacks, a two-tier digital instrument panel, automatic climate control, power windows, mirrors and door locks, a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and a 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 audio playback, an auxiliary audio input jack and speed-sensitive volume control.

Upgrade to the EX and you get alloy wheels, cruise control, a six-speaker audio system with USB audio interface, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, stability control and satellite navigation.

The new Insight will go on sale in the U.S. this April and will be priced below the Civic Hybrid.