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New Honda Insight details emerge ahead of NAIAS debut

15 January 2018 - Autoblog

New Honda Insight details emerge ahead of NAIAS debut

Honda is reintroducing the Insight hybrid as part of the Japanese automaker's electrification strategy.

Set for production as a 2019 production model, the prototype, which Honda describes as an "upscale, stylish five-passenger sedan positioned above the Civic in Honda's passenger car lineup," will debut at the Detroit Auto Show next week. Honda has previously teased the car, but is now revealing more details ahead of its official introduction at NAIAS.

The new insight is long and low, with a swoopy roofline that appears to be optimized for aerodynamic efficiency. It features LED lighting in the front and rear, and its grille shares the "flying wing" styling with other cars in the Honda lineup. Its long wheelbase translates to roominess for the five passengers, according to Honda.

Inside the new Insight, there will be optional perforated leather seating. The centerpiece will be an 8-inch touchscreen, accompanied by a 7-inch LCD "driver's meter." 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. The car will be capable of over-the-air updates through its built-in Wi-Fi.

The Insight will feature the Honda Sensing safety suite as standard, which includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition. The EX trim and above will include Honda LaneWatch to help drivers keep tabs on their blind spot.

The new Insight will feature a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Honda says the Insight will operate solely under electric power in most situations, with the engine acting as a generator when necessary. The batteries are packaged underneath the rear seat, maximizing trunk space and allowing for 60/40 folding rear seats.

The previous-generation Insight looked quite a bit like the Toyota Prius. But one industry analyst called the handsome new Insight the "anti-Prius." As in, cars no longer have to look weird to be green.

"The new 2019 Honda Insight signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional tradeoffs in design, premium features or packaging," said Honda Senior VP of Sales Henio Arcangeli, Jr. "The Honda Insight is anticipated to receive fuel economy ratings competitive with the best hybrids in the segment, with styling that will have universal appeal inside and out and best-in-class passenger volume."

Honda will build the Insight at its factory in Greensburg, Ind. It's expected to go on sale later this year.

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