2019 Honda Insight: America's Oldest Hybrid Climbs the Social Ladder

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.

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]

Steph Willems
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  • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 12, 2018

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

  • LuvGermanCars LuvGermanCars on Jan 12, 2018

    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?

    • Ttacgreg Ttacgreg on Jan 12, 2018

      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.

  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.
  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars