Separated at birth : Honda Insight 2010, Toyota Prius 2004-2010
With the introduction of the 2010 Honda Insight, the aesthetic of the everyday hybrid automobile has been firmly established : if it has four doors, a hatchback, reasonable aerodynamics and low fuel consumption, it must strongly resemble a Toyota Prius.
So visually similar is the new Insight to the Prius that one wonders if Honda intends to fool people into buying one of their hybrids. While this blog is generally intolerant of bad design, we try and shy away from open criticism – however, the shameless copying of a successful form is not something one can or should condone. Imitation is imitation [and thievery – of ideas and revenue], not the sincerest form of flattery.
The overall profile, the taper of the windows, the rear lights, the small piece of rear windshield below the tail, down to the small bulge on which the logo of the manufacturer is placed – all are strikingly similar. Unless Honda and Toyota have merged of late or have started to share tooling and body panels, or maybe a common design philosophy, one simply cannot understand the reason for this strange similarity.
It is unfortunate that a major manufacturer, quite different from its primary competitor in many ways, has chosen this rather subversive route to gain marketshare for it’s product. Honda is generally recognized as being a manufacturer of repute – not least for being first off the block [in the US] with the slightly odd but quite innovative Insight hybrid back in 1999. We see no reason why such a company could not produce an automobile that did not have to rest on the laurels of its closest competitor.
Why, Honda? Whydyadoit?