Shortly after its introduction in prototype form at the 2018 Detroit Autoshow, Honda has now introduced the production version of the all-new Honda Insight, which joins the Honda Clarity series (EV, PHEV, and FCV) and recently launched 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid, as the fifth new Honda electrified vehicle to be introduced (to the U.S. market) over the past year.
The Insight is slated to go on sale in North America in the second half of this year, positioned between the Civic and Accord in Honda's passenger car line-up.
The Insight will be manufactured alongside the Civic and CR-V at Honda's plant in Greensburg, Indiana. The hybrid battery unit will be assembled at the company's Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio, while the engine is manufactured at Honda's Anna, Ohio engine plant, which also produces the engine for the 2018 Accord Hybrid.
However, unlike the previous Honda Insight model which was sold locally, the all-new Insight will be produced as a left-hand drive only model, meaning that it is highly unlikely to make it to Malaysia.
The Insight is powered by a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine hooked-up to Honda’s third generation two-motor hybrid system. Total system output is rated at 151 hp and 267 Nm of electric motor torque.
Under most conditions, the Insight operates as a series hybrid in which the gasoline engine, is connected to the generator motor, that produces electricity that is supplied to either the electric propulsion motor and/or the 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack.
Unlike other hybrid systems, Honda's two-motor hybrid technology works without the need for a conventional automatic transmission – the electric motor directly powers the drive axles. At higher speeds, a lock-up clutch connects the engine to the drive axles to provide the most efficient operation during highway and freeway driving.
Drivers can select from three levels of regenerative braking via a steering wheel-mounted button.
In normal mode, the Insight is capable of all-electric driving for short distances, roughly under 1.6 km.
The Insight shares its basic platform architecture with the 10th-generation Civic model but gets numerous engineering enhancements to further improve ride quality, cabin quietness, and efficiency.
The Insight benefits from Honda's Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which uses a network of front frame structures for added strength and impact absorbance in a frontal collision. Elsewhere, an aluminum hood (unique to the Insight) reduces weight, while additional sound insulation in the engine bay, front fenders, front firewall, and front and rear floor for added cabin refinement.
The Insight’s relatively long wheelbase of 2700 mm and the placement of the lithium-ion hybrid battery pack beneath the rear seats, grants it spacious rear legroom and does not compromise much on boot space. However, at 427 litres, it is still less than the Civic sedan’s 536 litres. The Insight is also offered with 60/40 spilt-folding rear seats, for certain variants in the U.S. market.
The Honda Insight will include the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies as standard, which includes Forward Collison Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Selected variants (for the U.S. market), will also receive the Honda LaneWatch camera system.
On the inside, the new Insight features a soft-touch instrument panel with real stitching, ergonomically sculpted seats, and a 7-inch TFT meter cluster. An 8-inch Display Audio touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration is also optionally offered for the U.S. market.