The Honda Insight Hybrid Is Making A Return – But Not As You Remember It


Honda will be showing the Insight Prototype at Detroit to preview the 2019 production model.

Remember the Honda Insight? First introduced nearly 20 years ago back in 1999, the Insight was technically the first mass production hybrid car to be sold in the US several months before the fashionable Toyota Prius arrived. But while demand for hybrids is currently showing no sign of slowing down, the second-generation Insight was killed off in 2014 following a sharp sales decline between 2010 and 2013 despite it being the most affordable hybrid on the market. Not that anyone mourned its loss.

It may not be as influential as the Toyota Prius, but we can at least thank the Inisght for introducing America to the hybrid, which combined bold looks with impressive fuel economy. In a surprise move, Honda is reviving the Insight name for a new generation. While the original Insight was a quirky hybrid hatchback, the new 2019 model will be a stylish five-door sedan. At next month’s Detroit Auto Show, Honda will be showcasing the Insight Prototype as a preview of the 2019 production model due for launch in the summer of 2018. Shown in photos ahead of its reveal, Honda describes the new Insight as an “upscale, stylish five-passenger sedan” that’s positioned above the Civic in Honda's passenger car lineup.

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Unlike the first two generation models, the all-new Insight will utilize the latest generation of Honda’s two-motor hybrid system. Honda hasn’t revealed any fuel economy figures yet, but says it will be “competitive with other compact hybrid models.” "With its sophisticated styling, dynamic stance, ample interior space and best-in-class performance, the all-new Insight embodies Honda's approach to creating electrified vehicles without the typical tradeoffs," said Honda executive Henio Arcangeli, Jr. "You won't have to be an electrification advocate to appreciate the new Insight – it's a great car in its own right, independent of what's happening under the hood."

Compared to the old car, the all-new 2019 Honda Insight features new styling, packaging and “performance desired by mainstream buyers - a hybrid vehicle without any inherent compromise.” Its refreshed styling makes it more comparable to the current Civic and Accord than the Clarity, which could make it more attractive to mainstream buyers. By 2030, Honda aims to have its electrified vehicles make up two-thirds of its global sales, and the Insight will be another step to help it reach that goal when it launches later next year as Honda's fifth electrified car in the past year. It will be built at Honda’s Greensburg plant in Indiana alongside the Civic and CR-V.