2019 Honda Insight Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jan 11, 2018
  • Honda returns the alt-fuel Insight to its lineup
  • Introduced at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit as the Honda Insight Prototype
  • Completely redesigned, compact 5-passenger sedan
  • Employs Honda’s third-generation, 2-motor hybrid drivetrain
  • Expected to get 50+ mpg
  • Standard Honda Sensing driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies
  • Available leather seats, LaneWatch, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto


If you think the Toyota Prius was the first hybrid vehicle sold in the United States, that’s inaccurate. It was Honda’s teardrop-shaped Insight that arrived in 1999, an aerodynamic 2-seater capable of getting fuel economy in the mid-60 mpg range.


Honda Insight Prototype front quarter left photo When Honda first redesigned the Insight, it tried the same recipe that had vaulted the vaunted Prius to the top of the hybrid sales chart. This approach did not result in success.

Now, Honda gives it another go. This time around, the company normalizes the Insight, installing its latest 2-motor hybrid drivetrain in a 5-passenger compact sedan that is undeniably stylish.

Exterior Features

Honda characterizes the 2019 Insight’s styling as “universally appealing.” While that might be optimistic, if for no other reason than no vehicle universally appeals to everyone, there’s no question that this is a good-looking car.

Highlights include the emerging signature “flying wing” grille, LED headlights and taillights, and what Honda calls a “coupe-like” roofline. The Honda Insight Prototype shown at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show has a handsome set of machined-finish aluminum wheels, too.

Interior Features

Honda expects that the Insight will offer “best-in-class passenger volume.” Because the battery pack is housed under the rear seat, the new Insight seats 5 people while providing a standard-size trunk. A 60/40 split-folding rear seatback expands utility.

Interior design is reminiscent of the Civic, but because Honda is positioning this as a premium upgrade to that popular model, expect more upscale materials and detailing. Perforated leather upholstery is available as an option.

Under the Hood

The 2019 Insight will use Honda’s third-generation, 2-motor hybrid drivetrain. It’s composed of a 1.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine that serves primarily as an onboard generator, an electric propulsion motor, and a Lithium-ion battery pack.

Honda promises fuel efficiency that is competitive with the best vehicles in the segment, and that means it will get more than 50 mpg in combined driving. One reason is that Honda anticipates that in most driving conditions the car will operate on electric power only.

Honda also says the new Insight will supply “class-leading power” and “refined driving performance.”


When the new Insight arrives later in 2018, it will include standard Honda Sensing, which is a suite of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies. It includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed following capability, and traffic sign recognition.

Upgrade to the Insight EX and the car is equipped with LaneWatch. This is a system that uses a camera to show the driver what lurks in the car’s right-side blind spot. It does not work for the left side, because there isn’t a camera on that side of the car. You also won’t be able to get a rear cross-traffic alert system for this car.


You can, however, upgrade the 2019 Insight to an available 8-in. touch-screen infotainment system. It includes a power/volume knob, notable for no other reason than one is missing from the Civic.

The system also includes customizable app tiles, and smartphone integration supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. System updates via Wi-Fi keep the technology up to date, but Honda does not state that a Wi-Fi hotspot is a feature of the car.

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