Honda Hybrid To Start at $18,500, Wipe Smug Smile Off Prius' Face

Honda has been diligently working on its Toyota Prius-fighter, a dedicated Honda hybrid expected to go on sale early in 2009. But they recently pulled out the trump card in this battle royal — a starting price of just $18,500. The five-door, five-passenger hybrid-only car will get to that low, low price point by using a greatly simplified — and 50% cheaper — version of its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system. Seems the mileage wars are really starting to heat up.

Jalopnik Snap Judgment: Considering the Honda hybrid will be coming in a whopping $3,000 less than the base Prius and will wear the depreciation-proof Honda badge, we're betting the number one super-best automaker from the land of the rising sun will be redoubling efforts on its 2010 Toyota Prius. Within three years, we'll be looking at volume sales of high-mileage offerings from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and GM, among others. A crowded market will mean good times for hybrid lovers (and lots of leftover 2010 Camaros for the rest of us). [NextEnergyNews]