Where previous hybrids have been compromised by their electrification, the new Insight will be "a great vehicle in its own right, independent of what's happening under the hood", said Honda's United States boss, Henio Arcangeli. 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.
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.
The auto manufacturer hopes to make two-thirds of its global vehicle sales electrified by 2030. Which means it should share its 2700-millimetre wheelbase.
The all-new Honda Insight Prototype will make its world debut on January 15 at the North American International Auto Show, giving consumers a first glimpse of the latest model in Honda's growing lineup of electrified vehicles.
Inside, Honda is promising best-in-class passenger space, along with a more upscale cabin than most compact cars.
Certain smartphone functions will also be integrated through the available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Wi-Fi enabled updates. Fuel economy of around 60mpg is mooted, although Honda claims the Insight can drive on electric power alone in most situations. In the Clarity, this powertrain delivers a combined output of 212 horsepower-103 hp from the gas engine and 181 from the electric motor-but the Insight could hierarchically be slightly less powerful.
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. We're thinking about 150 to 160 hp, which would be higher than its rivals.
The wheelbase and length of the new vehicle have grown over the previous Insight, although Honda hasn't yet specified the new car's dimensions.
The Insight Prototype boasts a sleek design with a low and wide stance, highlighted by Honda's signature "flying wing" grille and bold fascia, low-profile LED headlights and taillights married to sharp and dynamic character lines and a sweeping, long coupe-like roofline.
Honda says the 2019 Insight will commence production later this year at the company's Greensburg, Indiana assembly plant. No pricing has been announced yet, but we're expecting a base MSRP of about $26,000, right between the Ioniq and the Prius.