New Honda Insight Prototype previews 2019 production model

Honda has confirmed that the Insight name will return to its line-up by showing off a new prototype model. As the company freely admits, the Insight Prototype – which will be officially unveiled at next week’s Detroit Motor Show – previews a brand new saloon that will go on sale next year.

Like the two previous cars with that name, it’s a hybrid, but as yet, there’s no word on the finer technical details of the car – how powerful its engine is or how far it can go on electric power alone, for example.

What we do know is that the Insight is powered by the latest version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid powertrain. This combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery.

Honda has said that it expects the Insight to get a combined fuel economy rating from America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of more than 50mpg. That would put it on a par with the Toyota Prius and Kia Niro, which have EPA ratings of 52mpg and 49mpg, respectively.

Where the new Insight differs from the previous models with that name is that it is described by Honda as a ‘premium compact’, and it will sit above the smaller Civic in the company’s range. As well as its fuel economy, the car’s appeal will centre on its looks and spacious interior, says Honda.

It’s certainly a striking car, with a low stance, a coupe-like profile and a nose that’s dominated by the ‘flying wing’ grille and slim LED headlights. According to Honda, the new Insight is a full five-seater; and, because its batteries are located under the floor, the boot is a good size, and can be extended thanks to 60/40 split rear seats.

The car’s equipment will also reflect its premium position in the market, with the very latest in infotainment, connectivity and driver-assistance systems.

According to Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the American Honda Motor Co, ‘The Insight signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging.’

The new Insight is expected to go on sale in America in summer 2019, but there are no plans to sell the car in the UK or Europe. Instead, the next Honda hybrid to go on sale here will be the CR-V, which was unveiled at the Frankfurt Show last year.

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