Honda first released the Insight in 1999 as a 2-door hatchback; the 1st-gen Honda Insight was, in fact, the first hybrid car in the U.S. A second-generation model was produced in 2009 as a 5-door hatchback too. The five-door hatch was designed to compete with the Toyota Prius but it performed dismally and was discontinued in 2014. Now, Honda plans to release a third-generation Insight as a 4-door sedan. To shore up support before its public debut at Detroit in mid-January, Honda has released a teaser image of the model which will be showcased in concept form. When it hits the markets, the Insight will slot above the Honda Civic in Honda’s sedan lineup.
Exterior and interior styling
Honda has only released a vague image of the Honda Insight Concept careful not to give away much before the Detroit Auto Show. From the image released, the Insight exterior design looks a lot like the 10th-gen Honda Civic. One of the most recognizable styling cues derived from Honda Civic is the long hood. The Honda Insight Concept body is also full of curvaceous body lines just like the Civic.
Honda, however, says the Insight will have a more premium look as well as a more luxurious cabin. The sedan body style is more popular in the U.S. than the hatchback and Honda hopes it will attract lots of buyers. More details will be revealed during the sedan’s debut at Detroit Auto Show.
Unlike previous Insight models, the new Insight will use a two-motor system. Previous versions used an Integrated Motor Assist system that featured a 1.3 L, inline-4 mill that combined with a single electric motor. The system produced only 98 hp. This setup had many critics who also complained about the powertrain’s abrupt switching on and off at stoplights.
The two-motor system has already been tried and tested; it currently powers the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid, Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and will also be used in the upcoming Honda CR-V Hybrid. It features a 2.0 L, DOHC Atkinson cycle mill and two electric motors. Power output figures are yet to be revealed; the automaker may reveal this information when the Concept makes its debut. Honda, however, says the Insight will be able to compete with its rivals. This means the model’s power output and fuel economy will be in the same range as the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq.
We will have more to share after the model makes its debut at the Detroit Motor Show later this month. Unlike the previous Insight models which were built in Japan, the 2019 Honda Insight will be built in the U.S.; due to the declining demand of sedans in the U.S., Honda will use the capacity of its Indiana plant to build the Insight close to its market rather than import the models from Japan. Production versions of the Insight will hit dealerships in the summer so as to give the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid which debuts this quarter a breathing space in the market. Official prices will be availed when it nears its on-sale debut. Since the model will be more of a newcomer, Honda may lower its price to stand a chance against the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq.