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Auto review: 2019 Honda Insight aims to become America's favorite hybrid

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Honda will build the Insight alongside the Civic and CR-V in Greensburg, Ind.

Power will come from a 1.5L engine connected to two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery. In most conditions, the Insight runs on electricity alone, with the gasoline engine powering a generator that in turn sends power to the front wheels. The gasoline engine connects to the Insight's wheels only occasionally, when the car is running at a steady speed on the highway and the system locks up to send power directly from engine to the front wheels for greater efficiency.

The interior features an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the middle of the center stack, above the shifter but below the dashboard vents. It manages navigation, audio and other systems. Traditional buttons and knobs handle climate control. The shifter is the same push-button control most Honda and Acura vehicles use.

The batteries are under the rear seats. Those seats are split 60/40 and fold to increase cargo space.

Available features will include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.

The new Insight appears to be longer than the Prius, though the Toyota may have more passenger and cargo space, thanks to its hatchback layout.

This is the third time Honda has sold a car called the Insight. The second-generation 2009 Insight was a four-door compact hatchback that looked a bit like a Prius but didn't approach the Toyota's fuel economy. Its main claim to fame was being the least-expensive full hybrid, but it never caught on with buyers.

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About The Writer

Mark Phelan is the Detroit Free Press auto critic. He can be reached at

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