Honda heads hy­brid as­sault

Paris Mo­tor Show will be a haven for hy­brids, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

APOSSE of hot hy­brids will lead an au­to­mo­tive as­sault on the French cap­i­tal when the 2008 Paris Mo­tor Show opens on Oc­to­ber 4. Honda and Citroen have pre­sented a pic­to­rial preview of their main cars for the show. They will com­pete with an all-elec­tric Nis­san and a diesel Mazda city car for main brag­ging rights.

But Honda has the front run­ning with a car that looks like a Toy­ota Prius clone and car­ries the In­sight name that was ap­plied to its first (un­suc­cess­ful) petrol-elec­tric pro­duc­tion car.

‘‘This new In­sight will . . . break new ground by pro­vid­ing an af­ford­able hy­brid to an ex­panded num­ber of cus­tomers crav­ing great fuel econ­omy and great value,’’ Honda Mo­tor Com­pany pres­i­dent Takeo Fukui says.

The In­sight II is a big change from Honda’s Civic hy­brid and is planned to be much cheaper than any other hy­brid in show­rooms.

It is called a ‘‘fam­ily hy­brid con­cept’’ and is said to be smaller than the Civic, but still ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing five peo­ple in­side its hatch­back body.

De­spite the ob­vi­ous vis­ual con­nec­tion to the Prius, Honda says the styling of In­sight II is based on the the FCX Clar­ity, the com­pany’s hy­dro­gen-pow­ered fuel-cell car.

It aims to sell 200,000 In­sights a year and says the hy­brid pow­er­house will be fol­lowed by a sporty hy­brid based on the CR-Z con­cept car, a Jazz hy­brid and a new Civic hy­brid.

Citroen is mak­ing no pro­duc­tion claims for its Hyp­nos, which looks like a one-off show car. It has a stylish cross­over body and the French car­maker says ‘‘a pow­er­ful sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence awaits the driver and passenger, tak­ing them into the realm of pure magic’’.

The coupe body is packed with petrol­elec­tric tech­nol­ogy that is claimed to make the car quick and en­joy­able while re­turn­ing bet­ter than 5 litres/100km and emit­ting less than 120g/km of CO2.

Hy­brid high­wire: Honda’s In­sight II is the first in a line of new hy­brids promised by the com­pany.

Hyp­notic ef­fect: the Citroen Hyp­nos fea­tures a dy­namic-looking cross­over body.

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