The Japanese hybrid returns after four years!

Introduced in late 1999, the Honda Insight was the first production car to feature the company’s then-new Integrated Motor Assist system. It was also the first hybrid launched in North America, arriving in showrooms seven months before the Toyota Prius. Production ended in 2006, after only 17,020 units built, with plans to roll out a replacement in 2009. The second-gen model arrived on time, but this time as a five-door hatchback. The Insight was discontinued for the second time in 2014, mostly due to slow sales. Come 2018, and Honda revived the nameplate with a modern design and a new drivetrain. A pre-production prototype was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, while the production model was launched at the New York Auto Show.

"The Honda Insight is anticipated to receive fuel economy ratings competitive with the best hybrids in the segment, with styling that will have universal appeal inside and out and best-in-class passenger volume," said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice resident of American Honda. The redesigned Insight will join four other electrified Hondas, including the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, Electric, and Fuel Cell, and the Fit EV. Slotted between the Civic and the Accord, the new Insight is now described as a premium sedan, mostly because it has a more elegant exterior design and more modern appointments and convenience features inside the cabin. Let’s see what it has to offer and how it stands against the competition in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Insight.

  • 2019 Honda Insight
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    151
  • MPG(Cty):
    55 (Est.)
  • MPG(Hwy):
    61 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    197
  • Displacement:
    1.5 L
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    25000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Exterior

  • Employs Honda’s new styling language
  • New, sleek fastback design
  • Muscular fenders
  • LED lights
2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775153
The new Insight was designed around the company’s recent styling language, so it looks pretty familiar

The new Insight was designed around the company’s recent styling language, so it looks pretty familiar, especially when compared to the new Clarity and the Accord. The angular headlamps, the large grille that’s narrower at the bottom, and the aggressive bumper vents are features we can find on several other Honda models. On the other hand, the grille has a unique design with the "flying wing" insert placed at the top and running into the headlamps.

The side view is a bit more generic than the exotic-looking Clarity, in the sense that it doesn’t have the sharp beltline running through the door handles. However, the Insight benefits from significantly more muscular fenders front and rear and a swoopy beltline that makes it stand out in the lineup.

2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775154
The rear is a significant departure from the previous generations

The rear is a significant departure from the previous generations. While both its predecessors had hatchback configurations, Honda went with a fastback sedan design for the new Insight. The roof gets a coupe-like appearance as it descends toward the rear fascia, while the decklid is rather short. But unlike most modern fastbacks, there’s no tailgate. This new design approach is a sign that Honda wants to better integrate the Insight in its sedan lineup. A good decision if you ask me, as modern hybrids no longer need the awkward and bubbly design from two decades ago. By putting hybrid drivetrains in a more conventional looking vehicle, Honda will make the Insight appealing to a larger audience. When buying a Prius, you have to settle for its outlandish design, but the Insight offers that familiar look that more customers can relate to.

2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775157
Another notable feature is the significantly longer wheelbase at 106.3 inches.

Another notable feature is the significantly longer wheelbase at 106.3 inches. That’s 12.3 inches longer than the first-generation Insight and 5.8 inches longer than the previous model.

The rear fascia itself looks modern and fresh. The taillights are large and have sizable LED strips, but become narrower on the trunk lid. The small spoiler integrated above adds a bit of character. The rear bumper is as simple as they get, but the black insert with chrome trim in the lower area gives the Insight a sportier feel. Overall, it’s an exciting design that integrates the Insight into the current Honda lineup even better.

The full LED headlamps and taillights are standard, as are the LED daytime running lights and the 16-inch alloy wheels. When ordering the range-topping Insight Touring model, you get 17-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lamps, and a power moonroof.

Interior

  • Clean dashboard design
  • 8-inch infotainment screen
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Premium features
  • Optional leather seats
  • Optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • New driver-assist features
2019 Honda Insight Interior
- image 775161
The interior is both modern and classy compared to the previous model and it also sports a few unique styling cues

Much like the exterior, the interior looks familiar and shares some features with existing Honda models. It’s both modern and classy compared to the previous model, and it also sports a few unique styling cues. The dashboard is particularly interesting, with the A/C vents in the center stack and on the passenger side connected by a slim black and chrome strip. Not only it gives the cabin a premium look, but it also gives it a more organic, two-tier layout. The whole dash is also wrapped in a soft-touch material and features real stitching.

The eight-inch infotainment screen is positioned just below the center A/C vents, with more controls underneath. The configuration is clean and uncluttered and follows current trends. The display includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The seven-inch TFT instrument cluster displays vital information in a modern way and puts the Insight inline with other recently introduced hybrid cars.

2019 Honda Insight Interior
- image 775181
The new infotainment system has smartphone-like features and functionality plus customizable app tiles

Although Honda says that the new sedan comes with many premium features, amenities like perforated leather seating, seat heating Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are optional. The new infotainment system has smartphone-like features and functionality plus customizable app tiles, while the Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates should make updating the unit a breeze.

The longer wheelbase also makes the new sedan the roomiest Insight yet. Honda claims it provides class-leading rear legroom of 37.4 inches and 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, a figure that rivals gasoline versions of midsize cars.

2019 Honda Insight Interior
- image 775172
The longer wheelbase makes the new sedan the roomiest Insight yet

Tech-wise, the new Insight is well equipped. The base LX trim comes with a push-button start, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and Pandora compatibility on top of the features mentioned above. The EX line adds Smart Entry, two additional audio speakers, SiriusXM radio and the eight-inch infotainment display. The range-topping Insight Touring includes rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, perforated leather seating, heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver and four-way power for the passenger, dual-zone climate control, embedded Honda Satellite-Linked navigation, Honda HD Digital Traffic, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, a 10-speaker premium audio system, and HomeLink Remote System.

Drivetrain

  • 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine
  • Lithium-ion battery pack
  • New electric motor
  • 151 horsepower
  • 197 pound-feet of torque
  • Up to 55 mpg city
2019 Honda Insight Drivetrain
- image 775185
Total system out is rated at 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet

As a brand-new car, the Insight gets an all-new drivetrain, in the form of the company’s third-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain. The combo brings together an efficient 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, and an electric motor, the latter fed by a 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack. Total system out is rated at 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet, which places the Insight above the competition. The Toyota Prius, for instance, delivers 121 horses, while the Hyundai Ioniq cranks out 139 horsepower. The Chevy Volt comes close though with a power rating of 149 horsepower.

Full mileage specs aren’t yet available, but Honda did say that the Insight is expected to return up to 55 mpg in the city. That’s slightly above the Prius, which is rated at 54 mpg, but below the Ioniq Hybrid, rated at up to 59 mpg.

2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775190
The Insight is expected to return up to 55 mpg in the city

Based on the same architecture as the current Civic, the Insight uses a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link layout to the rear. The variable-ratio, dual-pinion electric steering ensures precise and confident steering. Stopping power is provided by an electro-servo brake system, which seamlessly combines efficient regenerative braking and mechanical braking.

Safety

2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775195

Moving over to safety features, the Insight includes the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment. The package includes Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, 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 also get Honda LaneWatch. The Insight targets top collision safety ratings in Europe and the United States, 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.

Prices

2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775192

Pricing information is not yet available, and it’s been too long since Honda had an Insight model in showrooms to attempt an estimate. But, it’s safe to assume that it won’t be significantly more expensive than the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Ioniq. With the two priced from $23,475 and $22,200, respectively, the Honda Insight should fetch less than $25,000 before incentives and options.

Competition

Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius
- image 738361

Introduced for the 2016 model year, the latest-generation Toyota Prius is already almost three years old. And unlike the Insight, it still sports a unique design that sets it apart from any other Toyota out there. And it’s still a hatchback by design. The interior looks pretty high-tech too, and the central instrument cluster enhances this feeling. The Prius uses the same 1.8-liter, Atkinson-cycle as its predecessor, but the unit is now more efficient thanks to numerous upgrades. It also features a new exhaust gas recirculation system, an active grille shutter, and reduced friction. The four-cylinder is paired with a new electric motor and a battery pack. The gas mill cranks out 95 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor generates 71 horses and 120 pound-feet. Total system output is rated at 121 horsepower. Fuel efficiency has increased by 10 percent in the new model, which returns up to 58 mpg city, 53 mpg highway, and 56 mpg combined. Pricing starts at $23,475.

Read our full story on the 2017 Toyota Prius.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Ioniq
- image 737980

The Ioniq was born out of Hyundai’s desire to give the Prius a run for its money. And, on paper, it seems that the Korean brand did a good job. Design-wise, the Ioniq isn’t as "weird" as the Prius, but it has a similar notchback layout and plenty of sporty cues. It looks surprisingly exciting for a hybrid, especially when compared to the old Prius and Insight. Inside, you’ll find a modern layout with soft-touch surfaces, a decently large infotainment display, and loads of tech. Under the hood, the Ioniq brings together a 1.6-liter Kappa GDi gasoline engine with an electric motor and a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission (unlike the Prius, which uses a CVT). The gas engine is rated at 104 horsepower and 108 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor adds an extra 43 horses. Total output is rated at 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet, more than you get from the Toyota Prius. As far as efficiency goes, the Ioniq can return up to 54 mpg in the city. Pricing starts at $22,000, making it the most affordable proposition on this list.

Read our full review of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq.

Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 610080

Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the second-generation Volt gaining a much more attractive exterior design and a surprisingly premium interior with standard rear-vision camera and a heap of safety features, including lane keep assist with lane departure warning, side blind zone alert with lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, front automatic braking, and advanced park assist with front and rear park assist. However, the Volt is a bit different in how its drivetrain operates because it uses a small gasoline engine as a range-extending generator. The electric motors generate 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque and return an all-electric range of 50 miles. When the battery is depleted, the 101-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine kicks in to extend the range. Overall mileage, including fully charged batteries and a full tank of fuel, is estimated at an impressive 420 miles. But there is a downside to the Volt: it’s significantly more expensive than the competition, retailing from $33,220 before Government rebates. However, if you’re eligible for the full incentive, the sticker for a base model can drop to as low as $26,000.

Read our full story on the 2017 Chevrolet Volt.

Conclusion

2019 Honda Insight Exterior
- image 775198

Needless to say, Honda’s strategy for the Insight has been rather awkward up until now. While Toyota built the Prius continuously since its introduction in 1997, Honda discontinued the Insight twice. But the Japanese hybrid returned with massive improvements the first time, and it seems that the second revival is again a significant departure from its predecessor. The new Insight should be significantly more successful than its predecessor, especially since it has a fuel economy rating slightly superior to that of the Toyota Prius.

  • Leave it
    • * Nameplate hasn’t been sold for 4 years
    • * Tough competition from Toyota and Hyundai

References

Honda Insight

Honda Insight Returns to Take on the Toyota Prius with Sleek Design, High-Tech Interior Exterior
- image 758737

Honda claims that the Insight will deliver class-leading power and 50 mpg combined

2000 - 2006 Honda Insight
- image 88100

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

2010 Honda Insight
- image 280299

Read our full review on the 2010 Honda Insight.

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- image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.

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- image 742500

Read more Honda news.

Press release

The all-new Honda Insight Prototype will make its world debut on Jan. 15 at the North American International Auto Show, giving consumers a first glimpse of the latest model in Honda’s growing lineup of electrified vehicles. Launching nationwide later this year, and positioned as a premium compact above Civic in the Honda passenger car lineup, Insight elevates itself above other compact hybrid models with its sleek sedan design, roomy five-passenger cabin, and refined driving performance, along with high fuel efficiency.

"The new 2019 Honda Insight 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., senior vice president of Automobile Sales and general manager of the Honda Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The Honda Insight is anticipated to receive fuel economy ratings competitive with the best hybrids in the segment, with styling that will have universal appeal inside and out and best-in-class passenger volume."

The Insight Prototype boasts a sleek design with a low and wide stance, highlighted by Honda’s signature "flying wing" grille and bold fascia, low-profile LED headlights and taillights married to sharp and dynamic character lines and a sweeping, long coupe-like roofline.

With its long wheelbase platform, the 2019 Honda Insight will offer class-leading passenger space and a host of premium features including available perforated leather seating, an 8-inch Display Audio capacitive touchscreen and a 7-inch digital LCD driver’s meter. More intuitive, smartphone-like features and functionality including customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts, along with available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, further enhance Insight over its compact hybrid competitors.

The Insight will deliver class-leading power while still receiving an anticipated EPA fuel economy combined rating in excess of 50 mpg, competitive with other compact hybrid offerings. Powering the model will be a version of 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. In most conditions, Insight operates on electric power only, drawing energy from the engine (operating as a generator) or battery pack. The hybrid batteries located under the rear seats provides for a full-size trunk with the flexibility of available 60/40 split and folding rear seats.

The 2019 Honda Insight will include Honda LaneWatch™ on EX and above and Honda Sensing™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment, including Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and new Traffic Sign Recognition.

The Insight will be manufactured at Honda’s Greensburg, Indiana plant, alongside Civic and CR-V using domestic and globally sourced parts. Arriving later in 2018 as the fifth electrified vehicle launched by Honda over the past year, Insight will join the Clarity series (Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid) and the all-new 2018 Accord Hybrid, arriving at dealerships nationwide early this year.

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Honda announced its Honda Electrification Initiative and the intention to make two-thirds of its global vehicle sales to be electrified vehicles by 2030, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell vehicles.

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