Engineers told to close the gap to the new Toyota Prius

Honda is fast-tracking an upgrade to the Honda Insight to counter the threat posed by the new Toyota Prius.

With the Prius now trumping the Insight’s 85mpg with 107mpg in the same Japanese test cycle, sources in the cars’ home market say Honda engineers are being put under pressure to improve the Insight and close the gap.

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While economy will take priority, it’s believed that Honda will also take another look at the chassis to try to refine the Insight’s unsettled low-speed ride.

In the sales race, the Insight got off to a roaring start in Japan in the early part of this year. The Honda even became the nation’s best seller with 10,481 units in April, the first hybrid car ever to achieve that position in Japan.

However, things move fast in the fad-driven Japanese market, and the arrival of the new-shape Prius in May had a dramatic effect on the Insight’s sales, which fell to 8183 units. The car is also being outsold by the Fit (Jazz), 13,016 of which were sold in June.

Peter Nunn

See all the latest Honda Insight reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Honda’s history in environmental cars dates back to 1972 and the Civic CVCC, a petrol car designed to meet US clean air regs

The Honda Insight is more affordable, but no better than other hybrids such as the Toyota Prius

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