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2019 Honda Insight: Detroit Auto Show

What Is It?

The 2019 Honda Insight is an all-new hybrid compact sedan. Most of us will recall the Insight from the first generation — a funky little coupe with a manual gearshift — and the second, a more conventional hatchback that tried and failed to compete with the Toyota Prius. It looks like the third time could be the hybrid charm.

Honda says it’s positioning the new Insight above the Civic. That makes sense, given the extra cost of the hybrid hardware, bespoke styling and lofty aspirations. The company says the Insight signals “a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging.”

Much of the car is upscale, offering perforated leather, over-the-air system updates via Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and an 8-inch touchscreen. Standard equipment, meanwhile, includes LED lighting at both ends, plus a suite of advanced driver aids like adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring and traffic sign recognition.

On the subject of packaging, the lithium-ion battery is located under the rear seats, so the Insight can offer the same kind of cargo volume as a regular, non-hybrid car, as well as rear seats that split and fold in 60/40 fashion. The Civic, incidentally, has 15.1 cu ft. of trunk space, so don’t be surprised if it’s the same for the Insight.

The drivetrain consists of a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder and an electric motor. The Insight is programmed to run on the battery as much as possible, using the engine mostly as an on-board generator. Honda says power will be “class-leading” while returning “competitive” fuel consumption. That would have to be at least 56 miles per gallon. It might also be able to run for a mile or so on battery power alone.

How Much?

To be announced. The 2018 Toyota Prius starts at just under $25,000, so somewhere in that region isn’t a bad guess.

When Can You Get It?

The 2019 Honda Insight arrives summer 2018.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

With any luck, it should be more pleasant to drive than the rather dull Prius.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Toyota Prius — More than a car, it’s now a cultural reference. The benchmark compact hybrid. Achieves 56 mpg combined.

2018 Ford C-Max — Straying into crossover territory and “only” averaging 40 mpg. Also a little old.

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid — All-new last year, this is a fine addition to the compact hybrid class. Returns 58 mpg combined.

See all 2018 Detroit Auto Show articles

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Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top Gear magazine for several years.

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