The commuter hybrid segment is about to get a bit more crowded

Originally offered as a three-door hatchback for the 2000 model year, the Honda Insight has been an on-again, off-again power technology showcase for the Japanese automaker. Now, the nameplate makes its return for a third generation at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, bringing a fresh body style, the very latest H-badge technology, and fuel returns aimed at taking down the Toyota Prius.

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The Full Story

2019 Honda Insight Will Take on the Toyota Prius with 50 MPG; Debuts in New York Exterior
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Outside, the 2019 Honda Insight offers standout features like a “flying wing” grille, LEDs for the headlights and taillights, and a coupe-styled roofline.

As a follow-up to a prototype model shown earlier this year in Detroit, Honda is prepping to pull the sheets on a full-fledged third-generation Insight later this week at the New York International Auto Show.

The Insight is part of a big EV offensive from Honda, which is looking to release several new battery-assisted models over the course of the next several years. With the arrival of the 2019 Insight and 2018 Accord Hybrid already on the table, Honda brings the total number of electrified vehicles to debut in the last year up to five.

Outside, the 2019 Honda Insight offers standout features like a “flying wing” grille, LEDs for the headlights and taillights, and a coupe-styled roofline.
The wheelbase measures in at a sizable 106.3 inches, which gives the four-door loads of rear legroom (37.4 inches) and cargo room (15.1 cubic feet) as well.

2019 Honda Insight Will Take on the Toyota Prius with 50 MPG; Debuts in New York Interior
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Meanwhile, the interior gets soft-touch materials for the instrument panel, plus sculpted seating and a ton of tech.

Meanwhile, the interior gets soft-touch materials for the instrument panel, plus sculpted seating and a ton of tech.

Honda will offer buyers three trim levels to choose from, including the base-model LX, the mid-level EX, and the range-topping Touring.

Kicking off the list of standard equipment are 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, six-speaker audio, and Bluetooth support. Upgrade to the EX and you’ll get two additional speakers, SiriusXM radio, and an 8-inch display in the dash. Finally, the Touring adds in 17-inch alloys, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, LED side-mirror turn signals, leather seating, a heated seat function, an 8-way power adjusting driver’s seat, a 4-way power front-passenger seat, 4G LTE WiFi, 10-speaker audio, and more.

As you probably expect, the 2019 Insight also comes with the latest safety tech, such as Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

2019 Honda Insight Will Take on the Toyota Prius with 50 MPG; Debuts in New York Drivetrain
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However, the really important bits are found in the powertrain department, where the 2019 Insight mounts Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid system.

However, the really important bits are found in the powertrain department, where the 2019 Insight mounts Honda’s third-generation two-motor hybrid system. All told, the set-up produces upwards of 151 net horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque, blessing the Insight with a claimed best-in-class power-to-weight ratio and 55 mpg in the city.

A 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle internal combustion engine burns the dino juice, while the lithium-ion battery is mounted below the rear seats. The powertrain operates primarily as a series hybrid, but offers some all-electric driving as well. Drivers can choose between a range of regenerative braking modes, as well as driving modes for more mpg, or, believe it or not, a “sport” mode as well.

Under the fresh body panels, the 2019 Honda Insight is built on the same bones as the most recent 10th-gen Honda Civic, with upgrades including “numerous engineering enhancements to further improve ride quality, cabin quietness and efficiency,” according to the manufacturer.

2019 Honda Insight Will Take on the Toyota Prius with 50 MPG; Debuts in New York Exterior
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In terms of pricing, the Insight will slot in between the Civic ($18,84) and Accord ($23,570).

Aluminum is used to keep weight at a minimum (such as in the hood), while MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link in the rear help it handle. A variable ratio steering set-up keeps it pointed in the right direction.

“The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn’t mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance,” said senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Henio Arcangeli, Jr. “The Insight is another symbol of a new era in the evolution of Honda electrified vehicles, where customers can have everything they want with no compromises.”

In terms of pricing, the Insight will slot in between the Civic ($18,84) and Accord ($23,570). While its main rival will be everyone’s favorite/hated iconic hybrid, the Toyota Prius, more and more makes are looking to add to the hybrid pot over the course of the next few years, so could it could get pretty crowded very soon.

Either way, look for the 2019 Honda Insight to arrive in dealers early this summer. And don’t forget to check out the complete details when it drops at the 2018 New York International Auto Show later this week.

References

2019 Honda Insight Will Take on the Toyota Prius with 50 MPG; Debuts in New York Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Insight.

2000 - 2006 Honda Insight
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Read our full review on the 2000-2006 Honda Insight.

2010 Honda Insight
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Read our full review on the 2010 Honda Insight.

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Read more Honda news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Press release

The all-new, production version of the 2019 Insight will make its global production debut on March 28 at the 2018 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), providing a first look at the latest entry in Honda’s expanding lineup of electrified vehicles. The new Insight, launching at Honda dealerships nationally in early summer, joins the Clarity series and just-launched 2018 Accord Hybrid as the fifth new Honda electrified vehicle introduced over the past year.

As a premium compact sedan, Insight is positioned and priced between Civic and Accord in Honda’s passenger car lineup. The Insight is unique in providing universally appealing styling, with the packaging and refinement of a premium compact sedan and fuel efficiency competitive with leading hatchback hybrid models. Powered by the third generation of Honda’s innovative and efficient two-motor hybrid system, Insight’s 151 net system horsepower combines with a lightweight structure to deliver the best power-to-weight ratio in its class as well as up to 55-mpg in the city1.

"The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn’t mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The Insight is another symbol of a new era in the evolution of Honda electrified vehicles, where customers can have everything they want with no compromises."

Design and Packaging

The 2019 Honda Insight boasts a sleek sedan design with a low and wide stance highlighted by Honda’s signature "flying wing" grille and bold front fascia, low-profile LED headlights and taillights, sharp and dynamic character lines and sweeping coupe-like roofline. Inside, the new Insight features premium cabin appointments including a soft-touch instrument panel with real stitching, ergonomically sculpted seats, a 7-inch TFT color digital driver’s meter, available heated and leather-trimmed seating and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration.

The new Insight’s comparatively generous wheelbase (106.3 inches) and exceptional packaging efficiency yields best-in-class rear legroom of 37.4 inches, along with a spacious 15.1 cu.-ft. of trunk space that rivals gasoline versions of midsize cars. The placement of the lithium-ion hybrid battery pack beneath the rear seats allows for a fold-down rear seat (60/40-split on EX and Touring trims) to maximize cargo- and people-hauling flexibility.

Trims and Features

The 2019 Honda Insight will be available in three trims – the well-equipped Insight LX and EX and line-topping Insight Touring. Standard features include full LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a 7-inch TFT digital driver’s meter, push-button start, a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth®, Pandora® compatibility and a folding rear seat.

The Insight EX adds Smart Entry, two additional audio speakers, SiriusXM® radio and an 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with smartphone-like features and functionality, including customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts.

The line-topping Insight Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, LED side-mirror turn signals, perforated leather seating, heated front seats with 8-way power adjustment for the driver and 4-way power for the passenger, dual-zone climate control, embedded Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™, Honda HD Digital Traffic, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, next-generation HondaLink® subscription services, a 10-speaker premium audio system, and HomeLink® Remote System.

Body and Chassis

The Insight shares its basic platform architecture with the highly-praised 10th-generation Civic. In keeping with its premium compact sedan character, the Insight gets numerous engineering enhancements to further improve ride quality, cabin quietness and efficiency. The body features Honda’s Advance Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. An aluminum hood, unique to Insight, reduces weight, while additional sound insulation in the engine bay, front fenders, front firewall, and front and rear floor further aids cabin quietness.

The Insight’s new chassis is designed to provide a highly refined, confident and composed driving experience. It utilizes a fully-independent suspension system – Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear – with liquid-sealing compliance bushings at both ends (Touring only). Like Civic, the Insight also features variable-ratio dual-pinion electric power steering. Confident and linear braking performance is provided by an electro-servo brake system, which seamlessly combines efficient regenerative braking and mechanical (friction) braking for ultimate stopping performance.

Advanced New Powertrain

The all-new Insight is powered by the third generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, featuring a highly efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine, a powerful electric propulsion motor, and lithium-ion battery pack. Total system output is 151 horsepower and 197 lb.-ft. of electric motor torque. Under most conditions, the Insight operates as a series hybrid, in which the gasoline engine, connected to the generator motor, produces electricity that is supplied to either the electric propulsion motor and/or the 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack.

The Insight features three selectable driving modes – NORMAL, ECON, and SPORT – allowing drivers to customize their experience by maximizing efficiency or driving performance. Additionally, all Insights have steering wheel-mounted deceleration selectors to choose among three levels of regenerative braking performance, depending on driving conditions. In normal mode, the Insight is capable of all-electric driving for short distances of roughly a mile. Unlike competing systems, Honda’s two-motor hybrid technology works without the need for a conventional automatic transmission, with the electric propulsion motor directly powering the drive axles. During higher speed operation a lock-up clutch connects the engine to the drive axles to provide the most efficient operation during highway and freeway driving.

Advanced Safety Technology

The 2019 Honda Insight will include the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, which includes Forward Collison Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Traffic Sign Recognition. Insight EX and Touring trims will also come equipped with Honda LaneWatch™, and all trims will have a multi-angle rearview camera. The Insight targets top collision safety ratings, including an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK with a "Good" rating in all crash test modes and a "Superior" rating for front crash protection.

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