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Ok, I’m still not sure why dedicated hybrid cars from Japan must have this basic shape (very similar to the Prius and, fortunately, not nearly as goofy looking as the previous Insight), but for those of you wanting an alternative to Toyota’s Prius, that alternative will soon be available, for thousands of dollars less than the Prius. More info and pix after the clicky thingie…

Honda’s 2010 Insight will come in at about $20,500 for the base model LX. That gets you stuff like power windows, climate control and a CD audio system with Aux input for an MP3 player or that old portable 8-track that nobody can convince you to sell on eBay.

For another $1,400, you can upgrade to the EX, which gives you alloy wheels, stability control, cruise control, heated mirrors with turn indicators, paddle shifters (do you really need paddle shifters with a CVT transmission?!) and an upgrade path to having a GPS system, which will probably run another $2k or so (yeesh, when will car companies stop charging $2k for a $200 piece of tech?!)

So while I think it’s cool that there’s a cheaper alternative to the Prius for those wanting a hybrid (me not being in that group of people), I have to say that although I dig Honda’s double-decker dash layout (see the current Civic), I think this Insight’s dash treatment has come out to be a bit inelegant. And unfortunately, I think it works better without the GPS than with. So maybe forgo the GPS and put a couple hundred clams toward a really good GPS  with a dashmount.

See the gallery below for more images…

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(Ok, I realize I’m complaining a lot in this post, but does anybody else think Honda would be better off taking pictures of this car in a more pleasant atmosphere…these pics are all a bit cold and dreary)