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Why The Honda Civic Hybrid Is Dead And The Insight Is Alive

Industry News / 3 Comments

Both are built on the same platform, so what gives?

In case you didn't already notice, the Honda Civic hybrid is gone, and it's been gone for a while. Honda figured the Insight could cover for its absence. Thing was, the outgoing second-gen Insight was pretty lackluster. Wouldn't it make sense to bring back the Civic hybrid considering the all-new Civic is a great-looking and fun-to-drive car? Yes, just not as a Civic. Wards Auto spoke with Henio Arcangeli, senior vice president-Automobile Development at Honda America and asked about this very issue.

"The Civic is lightweight, sporty, fun-to-drive, and if you electrify the Civic I think you kind of take a lot of the character away, so it was a smarter idea to bring back an older nameplate from before and make it kind of a whole new vehicle." Remember, however, the new Insight is built on the Civic's platform, although it's been modified for hybrid purposes. And at the same time, by completely eliminating the Civic hybrid for good, the Civic's good name is preserved and the more, shall we say, boring hybrid name is appropriately given to a previous boring hybrid. However, the new Insight does look pretty darn good. Honda has obviously learned its lesson from the 1999 and 2009 model year Insights.

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"The first generation was a bit of an engineering marvel," Arcangeli added. "The first hybrid on the market. It had approximately 70 miles per gallon. The second Insight was I think the least expensive hybrid on the market at the time." But unlike the previous second-gen Insight, Honda thinks of the new model as a "premium compact." In fact, it's slotted above the entire Civic lineup price wise. The new body design looks great, sort of a cross between the Civic and Accord but it looks a bit less chunky, for lack of a better word. Its lines are smoother and sleeker, and it'll be equipped with the connectivity features buyers expect today. A new Accord hybrid is happening soon, but not everyone will want a mid-size sedan, hence the need for the Insight.