Honda has made great strides when it comes to adding more green to its lineup of vehicles. From the Clarity lineup, to the upcoming Accord Hybrid, It’s no secret that Honda is keen on regaining ground that it has lost to Toyota and its ever growing lineup of hybrid vehicles. On that front, Honda has revealed its latest step in this initiative, the reawakened Insight hybrid sedan.
Dormant for the last few years, Honda plans to position the 2019 Insight above its popular Civic sedan, making it serve a tweener role between the forementioned Civic, and the larger Accord sedan. Wheras past Insights lost sight of their objectives, and ended up floundering behind mainstays like the Toyota Prius. The 2019 Insight aims to stay on track by offering buyers a roomy five passenger cabin, as well as perhaps the sleekest styling we have ever seen on the Insight.
There are welcome traces of Accord DNA in the design, and while its current status as a prototype means that some elements will be tweaked for production, we like what we see so far, and hope that Honda will keep the majority of the design intact.
A key element we like is the Insight’s interpretation of the “flying wing” grille that also sees duty in the Accord. it helps add a sense of boldness to the front fascia, and works nicely with the LED headlights. The youthful character lines transition to LED tail lights that do their part to add a premium flair to the car’s overall package. It’s clear that Honda is banking big on this athletic look, and we are curious to see if it can indeed lure in tech savvy millennials that want style to go with their eco-friendly vehicle purchase.
The long wheelbase also helps the Insight have copious amounts of passenger room, and it will certainly surprise rear seat occupants in particular. Buyers wondering if it is indeed richer than the Civic will be blown away by the premium features that are jam packed into this car. They include perforated heated leather seats, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as a smaller 7-inch LCD digital drivers meter. In addition to this welcome pinch of luxury, Honda engineers were influenced by the smoothness and accessibility of mobile devices, and it shows with neat features such as home screen shortcuts, customizable app tiles, as well as built in WiFi with over the air update capability. The latter item is a nod from Tesla which helped spearhead over the air update capability several years ago with the Model S EV sedan.
Performance for the Insight comes from a 1.5 liter four cylinder Atkinson cycle engine which is paired with an electric motor, and also sees duty in the bigger Clarity Plug-In hybrid sedan. Good for a modest 105 horsepower and 99 lb-ft of torque on its own, output spikes to 212 horsepower when it is combined with the electric motor, which in turn should make the lighter Insight a compelling drive in certain driving situations. Honda claims that in many driving scenarios, the Insight operates on electric power alone with the car drawing power from either the lithium ion battery pack, or the engine when it is serving as a generator for the hybrid system. As a bonus, Honda engineers placed the battery pack under the rear seats which not only allows the Insight to have a full sized trunk, but even the luxury of 60/40 split folding rear seats.
Look for the 2019 Insight prototype to make its official debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show next week, with the official production version trickling its way into dealerships later this year.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.