Honda’s Insight is back after leaving the company’s lineup in 2014. Honda debuted the new 2019 Insight at the New York Auto Show. The car will compete with its old rival and world-beating success, the Toyota Prius, but it may have a chance this time. Unlike the Prius, the Insight just looks like a regular car, and the fact that it can get up to 55 mpg city, means it’s right up there with Toyota’s hybrid juggernaut.
The first-generation Insight beat the Toyota Prius to the punch by becoming the first hybrid production car in America. The second-generation car was little more than a Prius-looking hybrid that wasn’t as good as Toyota’s machine. The new Insight is based on the Civic, and could easily be called the Civic Hybrid, but Honda chose instead to dust off its old hybrid moniker.
The car looks good – like a Civic with some minor changes. The exterior presents a slightly more conservative and upscale body to the world than the Civic, and we’re thrilled Honda didn’t go with a weird-because-it’s-hybrid look. We don’t get why automakers think hybrids have to look weird, they don’t.
Inside, the car gets pretty upscale materials, and a very normal-looking layout and dash. It has an Acura-like button-operated gear selector, a nice-looking infotainment system with a physical volume knob, and a roomy cabin. Overall, it looks like a car, and that’s a stark contrast to Toyota’s futuristic machine.
Here are the 2019 Insight’s details:
- The Insight is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motor combo that puts out 151 hp and 197 lb-ft of torque. Honda claims 55 mpg city. It doesn't have a combined or highway rating yet.
- There are three drive modes: Normal, Econ, and Sport.
- The Insight comes in three trim levels equipped with varying levels of equipment. They are LX, EX, and Touring.
- Even the LX comes well-equipped with features like LED headlights, running lights, and taillights; 16-inch wheels; heated mirrors; 7-inch digital driver’s meter; push-button start; 6-speaker audio system; and Bluetooth connectivity.
- The EX trim gets additional equipment like smart entry, 8-speaker sound system, Sirius XM radio, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- The range-topping Touring trim gets upgrades like 17-inch wheels, LED fog lights, LED side-mirror turn signals, rain-sensing wipers, moonroof, heated front seats with 8-way power adjustment, leather upholstery on all seats, dual-zone climate control, navigation, traffic alerts, 10-speaker audio system, HomeLink, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
With the Accord Hybrid being available, the Insight seems kind of like a weird car for Honda to release. Every other automaker is making crossovers as fast as they can, and another sedan just doesn’t seem all that smart right now. That said, the Prius is still a major success and Honda must think it can pull enough buyers away from Toyota to justify the Insight model. The vehicle will be available later this year. Pricing will be announced at a later date.