2019 Honda Insight hybrid to debut in Detroit, promises 50 mpg combined

January 15, 2018

A "concept" for the 2019 Honda Insight hybrid sedan will appear at the Detroit auto show that opens next week, debuting a new "premium compact" model that will sit between the compact Civic and mid-size Accord sedans.

Honda announced on Thursday that its new hybrid will be EPA-rated at 50 mpg combined or better, though it released few specifications or details.

The 2019 Insight is expected to arrive at Honda dealers sometime during the second half of this year, and it will be the company's first dedicated hybrid to be built in the U.S.

Rolling off the same Indiana production lines as the Civic, its maker was careful to say that it used parts sourced "both domestically and globally."

The parts coming from outside the U.S. likely include the hybrid powertrain, which is similar to that used in the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, which went on sale in December.

The Insight's 1.5-liter inline-4 that operates on the highly efficient Atkinson Cycle is paired with Honda's clever two-motor hybrid system, which substitutes entirely for a conventional transmission.

It consists of two motors, one that powers the car and another that serves as a generator to recharge the battery pack.

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.

2019 Honda Insight prototype

2019 Honda Insight prototype

Honda says the Insight will operate mostly on electric drive, with the drive motor powered either entirely by the battery pack or while the engine is serving as a generator to recharge the battery to provide power.

Only under maximum acceleration or at highway speeds does the system use the engine to power the wheels directly.

Standard or optional safety features on the new Insight will include Honda's clever LaneWatch system, which uses a camera in the right-side door mirror to display a view of the car's blind spot on the center screen as soon as the driver signals a right turn.

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

Honda will release trim levels, features and options, specifications, and pricing for the 2019 Insight closer to its on-sale date sometime between July and December this year.

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