…..with an Accord face.
Much of the world was warmed to the idea of Honda reviving their Insight hybrid when they revealed a prototype version of the car earlier this year by way of a kind-of-futuristic Accord, and now, ahead of the New York Motor Show, the Japanese automaker has revealed it in full.
Sans the large alloys (of the same pattern) and liquid metal paint job, the production-spec 2019 Insight looks identical to the thinly disguised ‘concept’ that preceded it. Over the car most recently bore its name, Honda hasn’t kept any secrets about it wanting to push its replacement as a generally more premium product.
Contrary to front end design, the all-new Insight is actually built upon the platform architecture of the 10th-generation Civic sedan, and therefore shares much of its dimensional attributes and interior fixtures. Given the apparent preference for this new fascia design, it’s possible that a facelifted Civic will come to resemble the all-new Accord head-on, as we now know the Insight will.
It’ll slot in below the Accord, however, in terms of pricing, but above the fully petrol-powered Civic, eschewing their previous strategy of a head-to-head battle with the Toyota Prius. This new car’s first appearance in New York telegraphs Honda’s clear intent to aim it at North American buyers, at least in the car’s first big marketing push. It’ll come in three trim levels - LX, EX, and Touring - and at its most fully featured will be equipped with nearly every luxury one would expect from a range-topping Honda.
The powertrain, of course, is the technical highlight of the 2019 Insight, but isn’t something necessarily Honda will use to sway buyers, intending to win them over in the much the same way as they would with more conventional arguments of luxury, practicality, quality, safety, and equipment levels. The company has worked hard to enhance the Insight’s refinement and ride comfort levels while also using various weight saving measures to improve fuel economy.
Under its bonnet, which is fully aluminium, is a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that operates using the more efficient Atkinson combustion cycle. This unit is augmented by an electric motor supplied by a 60-cell lithium ion battery back. Honda hasn’t disclosed more detailed information on the engine or electric motor output, or the specific capacity of the battery, but does say that its combined power amounts to 112kW and 267Nm.
Fuel economy is claimed to be best in class, which should be relatively easy contest as most hybrids are sized and priced a full segment below where the Insight would sit - such as the Prius and Hyundai Ionic.
In North America, Honda has also confirmed that the Insight will receive the full suite of their Honda Sensing advanced safety and driver-assist tech as standard, which includes Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Like the Civic it’s based on, the Insight should easily maintain its 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating, which bodes well for an equally high score from ANCAP if and when it arrives for Australian consumption.