Honda Insight hybrid prototype revealed ahead of Detroit motor show

Honda Insight hybrid prototype revealed ahead of Detroit motor show

Where the new Insight will differ from its predecessors is by being a more premium model than they were, and it will sit in the lineup above the current Civic.

Like its predecessors, the 2019 Honda Insight will be a petrol/electric hybrid, but this time it's being introduced when hybrid powertrains are actually becoming popular. Honda says the Insight will feature a long wheelbase to offer class-leading passenger space, so there should be plenty of room to bring friends and family along for the ride. Since the battery pack is located under the rear seats, the Insight's trunk should be similar in volume to the Civic's (rated at 428 litres) and 60/40-split folding seatbacks will be standard as well. More intuitive, smartphone-like features and functionality including customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts, along with available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ integration and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, further enhance Insight over its compact hybrid competitors.

Honda Sensing suite includes Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure earning, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and new Traffic Sign Recognition. The EX trim and above will include Honda LaneWatch to help drivers keep tabs on their blind spot. It does not work for the left side of the auto.

The 2019 Insight is expected to arrive at Honda dealers sometime during the second half of this year, and it will be the company's first dedicated hybrid to be built in the U.S.

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The parts coming from outside the US likely include the hybrid powertrain, which is similar to that used in the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, which went on sale in December. Honda says the Insight will operate exclusively under electric power in most situations, with the engine acting as a generator when necessary. In the Clarity, the 1,498cc 4-cylinder generates 103 horsepower and 99 lb. -ft. of torque and its AC permanent-magnet synchronous drive motor develops 181 horsepower and a substantial 232 lb. -ft. of torque from zero to 2000 rpm. Therefore, if Honda fully implements this drivetrain in the new Civic-based Insight, which is likely 700-800 lbs. lighter, performance should be robust. No word yet on whether there will be a plug-in version.

The Honda Insight is back for a third generation, after being on hiatus since 2014. It's certainly a lot more conventional in appearance than its two predecessors of the same name, so Honda presumably hopes it will be third time lucky for the nameplate this time.

Honda says the 2019 Insight will commence production later this year at the company's Greensburg, Indiana assembly plant.

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