When we last met the 2019 Honda Insight in Detroit, it was in prototype form, and it offered a glimpse of the Japanese auto giant's future plans for the Insight nameplate. With the New York Auto Show fast approaching, Honda has taken the veil off of the production version of the Insight ahead of its Big Apple debut.
The basic styling language of the 2019 Insight is largely reminiscent of the prototype's albeit with the bulk of the changes taking place at the front end. Here, the car borrows a number of cues from several Honda models including the "flying wing grille," slick LED head and tail lights, as well as the basic coupe-esque profile. The tail lights themselves lose the smoked effect, but they still look elegant and refined. Honda still plans to position this model between the Civic and the Accord, so look for pricing to also mirror this intriguing (pun intended) grey area between the two as well.
The interior of the Insight is where the new model's focus on luxury and refinement will truly be in the spotlight, with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system arriving as standard equipment. The infotainment system comes bundled with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, which is a nod to the Insight's focus on young buyers. The Insight also comes with Honda's Sensing technology which we loved in the Honda Accord Touring we recently tested, and should help enhance the Insight's commitment to occupant safety.
This safety suite is very extensive, and includes Honda's Lane Watch technology, forward collision warning, collision mitigation technology, and adaptive cruise control. The rest of the cabin reflects the Insight's move upmarket, and is constructed of high quality plastics, as well as scattered swaths of leather trim and an equally supple leather wrapped steering wheel. Like the Accord, the Insight can also be equipped with some of its optional equipment including the same leather seats that deliver balanced levels of support and comfort. Overall, this is a marked improvement over the last Insight, and should allow this iteration to stand out better against rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq and the Toyota Prius which offer cabins that embrace a futuristic layout but sacrifice ergonomics and space in the process of doing so.
Performance for the 2019 Honda Insight will come from a fuel efficient two mode hybrid powertrain which is very similar to what is found in the Accord Hybrid. A 1.5 liter four cylinder engine is paired with an electric motor and a lithium ion battery pack, which delivers 151 horsepower and 197 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. These are commendable figures, and the setup also allows the 2019 Insight to achieve 55 mpg in city driving, which is on par with green rivals. The transmission is perhaps the only mundane thing in the Insight, with the CVT featuring three modes (Normal, Econ, and Sport.)
"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."
The 2019 Honda Insight will be built alongside the CR-V and Civic at Honda's plant in Greensburg, Indiana, wheras the 1.5 liter engine and the hybrid battery system will be built at two separate plants in Ohio. Honda did not reveal when availability to eager buyers will begin, but it will be interesting to see how this new chapter of Insight fares in a marketplace that is rapidly being swallowed up by crossovers of various shapes and sizes. The 2019 Insight will not only have to overcome this very potent hurdle, but also the established status that the Toyota Prius has gained in the hybrid sedan segment. Another key rival is the Hyundai Ioniq which has established itself as a plucky underdog that has certainly been bringing the fight to the fore-mentioned Prius as of late.