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New "dedicated" Honda hybrid spy pics

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http://www.autoblog.com/photos/spy-shots-h...-hybrid/927430/

Looks very close to the FCX Clarity, which is a good thing, as it's about 10 times more stylish than the similarly-shaped Prius.

Here's an article referring to the spied vehicle....

The green-car race is on, and Honda is readying three new entries. First up: a small, low-cost "dedicated hybrid" that could give the Toyota Prius a run for your money at purchase time and at the gas pump.

What We Know About the 2010 Honda Hybrid

It doesn't have a name yet, but Honda's promised low-cost "dedicated hybrid" car is coming into focus. The company confirmed the new model's broad outlines in a late-May press briefing that gives us just enough detail to make good guesses about the specifics that are due to be released later this year.

What we're calling the 2010 Honda Hybrid is due to start production early in calendar 2009 and should reach dealers a few months later with a hoped-for starting price of around $20,000. That compares with $22,600 for the 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid sedan, now the only gasoline/electric vehicle in the brand's portfolio. The new Hybrid will be built alongside the Civic at Honda's Suzuka plant in Japan, but on a specific ("dedicated") platform shared with no other current Honda vehicle. In this way--and perhaps others, too--the 2010 Honda Hybrid mimics the top-selling Toyota Prius. However, Honda says it will also add a hybrid patterned on the sporty 2007 CR-Z concept coupe, as well as a gas/electric version of its Fit subcompact. Timing on these hasn't been announced, but sources forecast the CR-Z by model-year 2012, the hybrid Fit by 2015.

Company officials say the 2010 Honda Hybrid will be a 5-passenger 4-door hatchback looking somewhat like the wedge-shaped FCX Clarity, the hydrogen-fuel-cell midsize sedan that's now being leased to a handful of select Southern California consumers. The front-wheel-drive Hybrid will be smaller than Clarity, likely falling in the compact-car class. Our estimated dimensions are based in part on sightings of test prototypes based on the Honda Airwave, a compact high-body wagon not sold in the U.S.

The 2010 Honda Hybrid will use a lighter, simpler new version of the Civic Hybrid's basic Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) drive system. Unlike other hybrid setups, notably Toyota's, IMA uses a battery-powered electric motor only to assist the gasoline engine; the car does not run on electricity alone except in certain low-speed situations. Company talk of "significant" weight and cost reductions suggests the Hybrid's IMA will have either a 3-cylinder engine or a small 4-cylinder with displacement of 1.0-1.3 liters. The engine, like the platform hosting it, should also be specific to the 2010 Honda Hybrid. Ditto the expected continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The motor and battery pack should also be exclusive, Honda-engineered components designed for maximum efficiency with minimum space, weight, and cost. The batteries, which reportedly tuck beneath the cargo floor, will be conventional nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH), not the more-advanced lithium-ion (LI) type. Honda believes LI batteries are not yet ready for mass-market cars because of their cost and concerns about overheating. That means the 2010 Honda Hybrid will not have plug-in capability like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt or the LI-powered Prius expected by 2012.

Demand for hybrids and other "green" vehicles is fast gaining momentum, especially in the U.S., and Honda clearly wants a big piece of this expanding pie. That explains reported heavy investment in the 2010 Honda Hybrid project, which includes expansion of the Suzuka plant (from 70,000 vehicles a year to around 250,000) and setting up new facilities to produce the electric motor and related components. Though Toyota is likely to remain far ahead of Honda in hybrid-vehicle sales, Japan's number-two says it's not in a race, only continuing its drive to make cars more environmentally responsible. In that regard, Honda touts its many years of pioneering low-emissions technology--and for being named "greenest automaker" by the Union of Concerned Scientists four years in a row (2004-07).

Still, the 2010 Honda Hybrid is no mere image-polishing exercise. As financial analyst Koichi Ogawa pointed out in a recent Reuters report: "When you say 'hybrid,' the image that really comes to mind is Prius. Honda is very dependent on the U.S. market, which is shifting towards things like hybrids, and for survival having a hybrid (model) is essential." So, despite all the high-minded spin that will doubtless surround it, the 2010 Honda Hybrid is as much about earning greenbacks as greening-up the planet.

A Notable Feature of the 2010 Honda Hybrid

Despite its probable $20,000 base price, the 2010 Honda Hybrid shouldn't skimp on essential features like antilock brakes and curtain side airbags. Other standard equipment remains to be seen, but we'd expect at least air conditioning, a multi-position rear "magic seat" a la Fit, and simple but attractive cabin appointments. Pricing would probably preclude fancy Prius-style options like keyless starting or a navigation system with rearview camera, but Honda marketers may have other ideas. As for fuel economy, it's bound to be good, but just how good is impossible to say until we have specifics on vehicle weight, engine and motor outputs, battery capacity, and other essentials.

Buying Advice for the 2010 Honda Hybrid

The 2010 Honda Hybrid should appeal for affordability, high mpg, and Honda's reputation for quality and strong resale value. Unfortunately, Honda's answer to the Toyota Prius will have to take on a brand-new Prius that should beat it to market by several months. Expected next January as an early 2010 model, it's said to be somewhat larger yet lighter than today's version, with better performance, higher fuel economy, and a longer electric-only driving range despite retaining NiMH batteries. Moreover, Toyota has a knack for removing cost in ways customers don't usually notice, so the next Prius may well be priced very close to the new Honda. Still, the U.S. market has plenty of room for both cars, and Honda plans on sending over 100,000 of its "dedicated hybrids" each year, fully one-half the model's planned worldwide production. With all this, the 2010 Honda Hybrid should be readily available, but should also be in high demand with gas prices what they are, so be prepared to pay full sticker price and probably more.

2010 Honda Hybrid Release Date: There's nothing firm at the moment, but the announced early-2009 production start implies sales would begin in the third or fourth quarter of next year.

ConsumerGuide Automotive

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I thought Honda was going to like, NOT make their hybrid look like ass.

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in pic #6, there is a prius behind it.

looks like imitation.

no doubt it'll be better than T, but does look like a prius. they just want a piece of the pie. maybe they'll make a diesel variant, that would set them apart, and have some real power to lay down.

Edited by loki
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At first I thought it was a Prius, then I looked at it more closely. It's a Prius with a Fusion grille.

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At first I thought it was a Prius, then I looked at it more closely. It's a Prius with a Fusion grille.

If my driveway mated?

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If my driveway mated?

Yes, and mated through the back door.

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Yes, and mated through the back door.

The Honda is only going to be available in brown?

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Cheese wedge shape like the Prius is a bad thing. Honda usually makes better looking cars than Toyota. This car is rumored to get 70 miles per gallon (combined cycle), even if that is Japanese figures and gets adjusted down by the EPA to 60 or so, that is still insane. The Malibu hybrid is only 27 mpg combined, and even the Prius is 46 mpg. If Honda pulls off 60, they are going to win a lot of buyers.

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It's totally unoriginal in the sense that it looks just like a flipping Prius.

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Cheese wedge shape like the Prius is a bad thing. Honda usually makes better looking cars than Toyota. This car is rumored to get 70 miles per gallon (combined cycle), even if that is Japanese figures and gets adjusted down by the EPA to 60 or so, that is still insane. The Malibu hybrid is only 27 mpg combined, and even the Prius is 46 mpg. If Honda pulls off 60, they are going to win a lot of buyers.

The Prius is all new next year. People are anticipating much higher than 60mpg combined.

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if this is what the future of cars looks like, i.e. sucking major ass, then i am going to have get rid of all of my interest in cars and develop a sick addiction to destructive porn and building little voodoo shrines of all my coworkers to pass the time. this egg shaped green car $h! sucks ass, i don't care if gas if 5 bucks a gallon. to hve to deal with this crap is a major pain in the ass. if anything this is the opportunity for the domestics to come back. cars that have real style but have good fuel economy. but those cars need to be here now and none of the domestics have any skill in getting on top of a market. cars like prius and this egg honda might actually force me to vomit and other things.

edit- i am not saying the prius is a bad car, i just don't like the styling direction it is taking things.

Edited by regfootball
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Apparently the "Prius" shape is the one that maximizes fuel efficiency. But, I'll gladly take a sexy shape over something functional any day, even if it means sacrificing 10 mpg.

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This car resembles the Prius due to the profile and that's about it. Otherwise, it bares resemblance to the Insight, Clarity, and to some extent the CRX. It was stated from the beginning that it would take styling cues from the Clarity. I think once the camo comes off it's going to resemble the Prius a lot less.

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At first I thought it was a Prius in cladding, but on closer inspection it looks longer and wider. It reminds me of the Clarity. The overall shape is more pleasing than the Prius.

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I thought Honda was going to like, NOT make their hybrid look like ass.

Regardless about what you think about the styling......that's the number one reason people buy the Prius.......because it looks so different than most other sedans on the road, the Prius owner KNOWS his neighbors, friends, and co-workers will know his vehicle is a hybrid.

I think Honda showed some genius in designing their dedicated hybrid to mimic the Prius shape so closely......but, tough to tell in these pics it may be, it appears the car will be infinitely more attractive due to Honda details around the front-end styling, the greenhouse, and even the tires/wheels/front-and-rear tracks.

I just hope it rides and handles alot more like a Honda than what the Prius does.

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identifiable shape or not, people want a good looking car. efficiency or not, people want to be seen in a decent looking car. the proportions make it look tinny, not substantial or familial, like a prius. with no credence for luxury, i think this will fail to dissect the prius formula. but with over 60 mpg, and under $20k, this may just develop its own formula!

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building little voodoo shrines of all my coworkers to pass the time

I'm going to start doing that just for the hell of it.

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