An updated version of Honda's hybrid Insight is coming to the Frankfurt Motor Show. The automaker recently announced changes to the 2012 Insight ahead of its Frankfurt debut, including revised exterior styling, engine and suspension adjustments and a host of mechanical improvements designed to benefit fuel economy.

To onlookers, the most obvious change to the 2012 Insight will be in front, where the hatchback swaps out its chrome, three-bar grille for an updated version with one chrome bar above the automaker's emblem. Other changes to the Insight's front fascia include larger air intakes and repositioned fog lights.

But according to Honda, the 2012 Insight's biggest changes are under the hood. The automaker says the updated Insight's powertrain, air conditioning and continuously-variable automatic transmission have all been revised to improve fuel economy and decrease carbon dioxide emissions. The 2012 Insight also features enhanced aerodynamics and a new cold storage system designed to further benefit gas mileage. Honda says the result is between 45 and 51 miles per gallon - a substantial improvement over the current model's 40 mpg in city driving and 43 mpg on the highway.

Other changes to the 2012 Insight are minimal. Drivers will likely appreciate that a slimmer tail spoiler and smaller rear wiper motor improves rear visibility. Honda says it also made adjustments to the Insight's engine and suspension for an overall improvement in ride comfort and stability. Honda also enhanced the quality of some interior features.

Such revisions should help jumpstart Insight sales, which are down from last year.

Further details on the 2012 Insight - including an arrival date and pricing - are expected when the revised hybrid is officially revealed in Frankfurt.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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