By on January 11, 2018

2019 Honda Insight, Image: Honda

Third time’s a charm, they say, and Honda surely hopes it’s true. As the third iteration of the on-again, off-again dedicated hybrid model, the newly enlarged 2019 Honda Insight is putting on airs and climbing up from the bottom of the automaker’s model lineup.

For the coming model year, the reintroduced Insight will occupy the third rung of the brand’s car portfolio, above the Fit and Civic, but below Accord. Thanks to a pre-Detroit auto show release, we now have a better idea of what’s going on inside the new Insight, as well as under the hood.

Powering the Insight is the latest version of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, this one using a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder mated to an electric motor of undetermined strength and a lithium-ion battery pack (located under the rear seat) of undetermined capacity. Honda claims the vehicle operates under electric power in most situations, drawing current from the engine-turned-generator.

As for efficiency, the automaker is shooting for a 50 mpg-plus combined fuel economy rating. The model’s main rival, the Toyota Prius, warrants a 52 mpg combined rating.

Unlike past versions of the Insight, this latest model isn’t as concerned with being the most efficient plugless hybrid on the road. Mixing up the recipe, Honda wants the new Insight to serve as a premium, stylish alternative to other hybrid models. Certainly, the Insight’s face is Pure Honda, reflecting styling cues seen on the 2018 Accord. Long, flowing flanks stand in sharp contrast to the cramped, bulbous Insights of yesteryear.

Inside, Honda promises best-in-class passenger volume. The model “signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., general manager of American Honda Motor Company’s Honda division.

Image: Honda

Premium features like perforated leather seating await Insight buyers willing to shell out for options, while an 8.0-inch touchscreen provides access to infotainment functions, including available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Honda promises more intuitive, “smartphone-like features and functionality,” with Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air updates. In the gauge cluster sits a 7.0-inch driver information display.

Available later this year, the 2019 Insight shares its Greensburg, Indiana assembly plant with the Civic and CR-V. Expect a prototype unveiling on January 15th at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

[Images: Honda]

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35 Comments on “2019 Honda Insight: America’s Oldest Hybrid Climbs the Social Ladder...”

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    So, it’s a Civic hybrid with an Acura interior? Okely dokely then.

  • avatar

    It does a great job filling a market that doesn’t exist.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    I’d love to know how this vehicle came to fruition looking SO much better than its more conventional siblings. It’s what the Accord should have been.

  • avatar

    Put an electric motor on all four wheels and I’m in.

    My friend is about to buy an Accord Touring. The only thing that it lacks as far and she and I are concerned is AWD. I’m thinking I can get an Accord wannabe with AWD when the 2019 TLX becomes availabe. But if the Insight had 4 motors I would have to consider it.

  • avatar

    Looks like a Legacy Sedan and the new Accord banged.

  • avatar

    So there is going to be a Clarity hybrid and an Insight hybrid?

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      The Clarity is a “plug in” hybrid. I don’t know why they didn’t simply make an Insight ‘plug in’ like Toyota did with their Prius line. Neither of the plug in hybrid models actually sell a lot compared to normal hybrids or even BEV’s.

  • avatar

    I thinks it’s the best looking Honda sedan, and would consider buying one if the options are packaged to my liking and the pricing makes sense. Of course, it would be better as a hatch or (god forbid) a wagon.

  • avatar

    And here we have a preview of the next generation ILX styling, if there is one.

    Wouldn’t it be a better idea to build it at the Accord’s size, and call it the Accord Insight?

  • avatar

    Interesting that they keep using the Insight name when each iteration is SO different than the last one.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    Wait a minute. This is an Accord with a new name badge on it. WTF!? Why not just get rid of this non selling car and focus on the Accord Hybrid? I have sold Honda’s for years, and Honda never fails to confuse everyone with the vehicles they release without ever consulting the general public by having focus groups.

  • avatar

    This will convert exactly zero customers.

    * Prius buyers are fiercely loyal, and most enjoy having a hatch anyway. If they are moving to a hybrid sedan, it’ll be to the (quite good) new Camry Hybrid.
    * Civic buyers won’t swallow the price premium as long as their EX sedans keep returning over 40mpg highway (and will be easily able to outrun this)
    * Accord buyers have the Accord Hybrid and want the space

    The only thing this will potentially steal sales from is the Clarity plug-in, a model that is DOA anyway.

  • avatar

    Another sedan with a useless mailbox slot trunk! No wonder sedans don’t sell anymore! Make it a lift back!

  • avatar

    You can be virtuous in style now.

  • avatar

    As I said on the last article, one of the most pointless vehicles of all time. The equivalent of burning money.

  • avatar

    How big is this thing? I like the new accord but it’s essentially a large sedan at this point. Civic is ugly. I think Honda did this on purpose not to canabilize accord sales as the civic is now approaching mid sized sedan size. A slightly larger than civic sized hybrid with good looks and that is well appointed would do well.

    • 0 avatar

      Altho it looks longer, the 2018 Accord is .3″ shorter than the 2013-2017, which was shorter than the previous gen

      the 2018 Accord has a 2.1″ longer wheelbase and more interior room than the previous gen and is about 300 lbs lighter

  • avatar

    Honda finally got their current styling language right. Very attractive!
    Makes my ‘16 Prius look like some funky thing out a Japanese sci-fi comic book.
    Styling is not as high a priority to me as it is to most buyers I suspect.
    The utility of a hatchback is clearly an advantage that this Insight passed on.
    The price, dimensional, and efficiency numbers will be of interest.
    The character of the Honda power train will be interesting as well. I have grown quite fond of the Pruis’ instant (if only adequate acceleration) electric motor throttle response, with the fairly quiet 4-cyl motor smoothly rising and falling with back up power when needed.

  • avatar

    I had a 2010 Insight that was pretty decent car and got ~45 mpg. I traded it for a Civic Si, though, when I found out the battery replacement cost more than the depreciated car was worth. Now I only get ~30 mpg, but I can blow the doors off a Prius.

  • avatar

    That chrome bar-look up front is still ghastly, but this would have made a nicer-looking Accord.

  • avatar

    Not a bad looking car. The front end is a little easier on the eyes when compared to the new Accord.

    Being a past TDI owner and longtime Volkswagen owner/enthusiast, I’ve really started to miss my MK6 Golf TDI’s awesome highway mileage (48-50 mpg) which has me thinking of looking for something a little more fuel efficient. Never been a hybrid or electric car fan, but I’m now doing about 155 miles combined in commuting for work and seriously contemplating a highway mule.

    I replaced the TDI with a 16 Golf Variant TSI that gets about 42 mpg highway (tuned, lowered, installed all Euro aero underbody skid panels and other non-US market goodies from the R Variant) which is not horrible, but the tiny 11-gallon fuel tank hinders this otherwise great vehicle.

    Any ideas?

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW I drove my 16 Pruis here in Colorado over Vail pass to Glenwood Springs and back, most of it at 75-85 mph. It returned 53mpg for the trip.
      Hurts: steep high speed grades and elevation gains & losses: 4,900 ft from Glenwood to Vail Pass summit.
      Helps: Lower resistance, thin high altitude air.
      I’m betting it would do better than 53mpg on I-80 through Nebraska.

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