Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Honda Insight hybrid ousts Civic Hybrid for upscale EV

Honda Insight hybrid ousts Civic Hybrid for upscale EV

Positioned as what Honda is calling a "premium compact" positioned above the Civic, the new Insight will be a hybrid-only option for buyers that is expecting to carry a 50 mpg fuel economy rating.

Roomy and with the latest technology onboard, the 2019 Honda Insight aims to offer a premium compact experience above the best-selling Civic. The batteries are packaged underneath the rear seat, maximizing trunk space and allowing for 60/40 folding rear seats. With the Insight, there is no tall tail or oven-door hatchback window as in the Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq, or Honda's own Clarity.

The Japanese auto giant had already confirmed the Insight name was going to be resurrected, again, but now it has released official images of a new Insight prototype that looks to be pretty close to a production-ready model. The infotainment system includes customizable app tiles and shortcuts - similar to what we saw in the Honda Odyssey minivan - as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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Like all new Honda models, the Insight will incorporate the Honda Sensing suite of active-safety features. On the assistance front, the new Insight will feature a collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. It does not work for the left side of the vehicle. Arriving later in 2018 as the fifth electrified vehicle launched by Honda over the past year, Insight will join the Clarity series (Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid) and the all-new 2018 Accord Hybrid, arriving at dealerships nationwide early this year. In most conditions, Insight operates on electric power only, drawing energy from the engine (operating as a generator) or battery pack.

Honda says the Insight will offer "class-leading" power, but does not define what that is. The hybrid will be powered by a third-generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system that will combine a 1.5L four-cylinder engine to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery.

In the larger and heavier Clarity Plug-In Hybrid mid-size sedan, the drive motor is rated at 135 kilowatts (181 horsepower) and 232 pound-feet of torque.

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The third-generation Insight was conceived as part of the Honda Electrification Initiative, its worldwide commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and offer electrified vehicles in two-thirds of its offerings by 2030.

Unlike the new CR-V, however, the third-generation Insight is not bound for Europe, but it will sit in the brand's U.S. line-up between the Civic and the Accord.

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