Honda is showing off the production version of the 2019 Insight Hybrid, the third generation of the nameplate and second generation of the compact sedan bodystyle, at the New York International Auto Show.
The all-new Insight was shown in near production prototype form at the North American International Auto Show in January, so the production car isn’t really a surprise but rather a welcome arrival. It is due in showrooms in early summer 2018, becoming the fifth new electrified vehicle launched by Honda over the past year.
Positioned between Civic (with which it shares a platform) and Accord, pricewise, the 5-seat 4-door has the design refinement of a premium sedan, but with the fuel economy of a sub-compact hatchback, thanks to the third generation of Honda’s 2-motor hybrid system. The powertrain makes 151 hp net, while being rated at 4.28 litres per 100 km in city driving.
The system uses a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine to run the generator motor to provide electricity to a propulsion motor, or to store it in a 60-cell lithium-ion battery. The propulsion motor drives the front wheels, meaning the car doesn’t need a conventional transmission.
The driver can choose between ECON or SPORT driving modes, or let the computer decide for itself in NORMAL mode. Steering wheel deceleration selector allow the driver to choose from three levels of regenerative braking.
Insight rides on front MacPherson struts and rear multi-links. Its low, wide stance is highlighted from the front by the Honda signature “flying wing” grille and low-profile LED headlights. Sleekness in movement is highlighted by dynamic character lines and sweeping coupe roofline, while the tail is finished off with low-profile LED taillamps.
Inside, occupants are greeted by soft touch surfaces, premium accent stitching and ergonomically sculpted seats. The wheelbase has been stretched by 147 mm (to 2,700 mm), with most of that translating into improved rear legroom. Locating the Lithium-Ion batteries beneath the rear seat allows a folding seatback (60/40 split, depending on trim level) to expand the already large 427.6-litre trunk.
Other standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, push button start and 6-speaker sound system, among others. Options (depending on trim) include 17-inch wheels, LED fog lights, sunroof, climate control, leather seating, heated front seats, Wi-Fi and mobile hot-spot, and an 8-inch touchscreen (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration), among others.
A full suite of safety features includes, among others, forward collision warning with mitigation braking, lane keep assist and departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and rearview camera.
“The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn’t mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance,” concludes Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of American Honda. “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.”