The 2019 Honda Insight Will Get 50 MPG, Look Like A Honda

A funny thing has happened on the way to our collective electrified vehicle future. Honda has unveiled its 2019 Insight in “prototype” format, revealing a gorgeous 4-door compact hybrid sedan that looks like it’s ready for Main Street rather than a Star Trek convention. In fact, it looks much better than the Honda Civic with which it shares many of its underpinnings.

2019 Honda Insight Prototype Front Quarter Left

Honda’s new third-generation 2019 Insight goes for 50+ mpg and aspirational design.


Neither wildly futuristic like the first Insight 2-seater of 2000, plain looking like the first Civic Hybrid of 2003, or thrifted to painful levels like the second-generation Insight of 2010, the new 2019 Insight will be positioned as a premium compact hybrid slotting above the Civic in Honda’s lineup. As Honda Division General Manager Henio Arcangeli puts it, “Honda wants the new Insight to be a great car that also happens to be electrified.”

Practically aspirational

2019 Honda Insight Prototype Interior Dashboard

Roomy and with the latest technology onboard, the 2019 Honda Insight aims to offer a premium compact experience above the best-selling Civic.


Honda hasn’t released any specifications for the new Insight, but after personally scrutinizing a prototype on static display I can state that it is clearly Honda Civic-sized.

Low and wide and with the brand’s “flying wing” grille as seen now on the Accord and Civic, the Insight’s got the latest coupe-like styling, yet looks as though it’s roomy enough to seat five passengers. Honda says the Insight will feature a long wheelbase to offer class-leading passenger space, so there should be plenty of room to bring friends and family along for the ride.

The car’s lithium-ion hybrid battery will live under the rear seats, enabling 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks and a pass through into the otherwise conventional trunk. 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.

Inside, the Insight will be available with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and an onboard Wi-Fi connection that will enable over-the-air system updates.

On EX and higher trims, the Insight will come standard with the Honda Sensing group of safety technologies, including adaptive cruise control with low-speed following capability, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, Road Departure Mitigation (which helps keep the car on the road), and traffic sign recognition capability.

Oddly, Honda’s LaneWatch system is used for the Insight, revealing what’s in the car’s right blind spot on the infotainment screen. It does not work for the left side of the car. A blind spot monitoring system would be better, paired with rear cross-traffic alert.

Nuts and bolts

2019 Honda Insight Prototype Silver Profile

Using a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a 2-motor electric propulsion system similar to the much heavier Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, the smaller Insight should offer brisk performance.


The new 2019 Honda Insight will use the third-generation version of the company’s 2-motor hybrid system, which allows the car to run on electric power much of the time. Essentially, it is the same 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder gasoline engine and 2-motor system used in the new Honda Clarity plug-in hybrid, sans the plug.

Honda says the Insight will offer “class-leading” power, but does not define what that is. In the Clarity, the 1,498cc 4-cylinder generates 103 horsepower and 99 lb.-ft. of torque and its AC permanent-magnet synchronous drive motor develops 181 horsepower and a substantial 232 lb.-ft. of torque from zero to 2000 rpm. Total system power in the 4,100-lb. midsize Clarity is 212 hp. Therefore, if Honda fully implements this drivetrain in the new Civic-based Insight, which is likely 700-800 lbs. lighter, performance should be robust.

Testing is still ongoing but Honda predicts the Insight will achieve EPA fuel-economy estimates in excess of 50 mpg, competitive with the best hybrids in the compact class, which would be the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq. No word yet on whether there will be a plug-in version.

To 2030 and beyond

2019 Honda Insight Prototype Silver Rear Quarter Left

The 2019 Insight is just the first of many hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars on their way to your local Honda dealer over the next decade.


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. Launching this summer, the production version of the 2019 Honda Insight hybrid will be built in the company’s appropriately named Greensburg, Indiana plant along with the Civic and CR-V.

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The 2019 Honda Insight Will Get 50 MPG, Look Like A Honda


The 2019 Honda Insight Will Get 50 MPG, Look Like A Honda

The 2019 Honda Insight Will Get 50 MPG, Look Like A Honda


The 2019 Honda Insight Will Get 50 MPG, Look Like A Honda