Honda Insight hybrid prototype revealed ahead of Detroit motor show

2019 Honda Insight Prototype Front Quarter Left

The wheelbase and length of the new auto have grown over the previous Insight, although Honda hasn't yet specified the new car's dimensions. 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 vehicle lineup", will debut at the Detroit Auto Show next week. New on the 2019 Insight will be Traffic Sign Recognition.

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. That battery, by the way, will be located under the rear seats and won't rob the Insight of the ability to fold the rear seatbacks for longer cargo. The second-gen Insight that debuted in 2009 was a five-passenger hatchback with a raised, elongated tail that made it hard to distinguish from the Toyota Prius.

According to Honda the long wheelbase platform allows Honda to offer class-leading passenger space and will also integrate both apple CarPlay and Android Auto with Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system.

The system has some big advantages over earlier hybrids.

In the larger and heavier Clarity Plug-In Hybrid mid-size sedan, the drive motor is rated at 135 kilowatts (181 horsepower) and 232 pound-feet of torque.

The new Insight will feature a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.

Like its predecessors, the 2019 Honda Insight will be a petrol/electric hybrid, but this time it's being introduced when hybrid powertrains are actually becoming popular.

Like all new Honda models, the Insight will incorporate the Honda Sensing suite of active-safety features.

It runs on electric power only and uses the engine (operating as a generator) or the battery pack. It's certainly a lot more conventional in appearance than its two predecessors of the same name, so Honda presumably hopes it will be third time lucky for the nameplate this time. Those include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure alert, and a new traffic-sign recognition feature that's been used on European cars for several years but is just making its way into mass-priced USA vehicles.

The 2019 Insight will be manufactured at Honda's Greensburg, Indiana plant, alongside the Civic and CR-V.

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