Honda Insight Prototype is ready for its Detroit debut

Honda Insight Prototype is ready for its Detroit debut”

The 2018 Honda Insight has been revealed in prototype form ahead of its official unveiling at the Detroit motor show.

By dividing the hybrid away from the Civic, Honda has taken the opportunity to give it a new design. 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.

Interestingly, the third-generation Insight appears to be a hybrid version of the latest Civic, launched for the 2016 model year.

In other words: The Honda Civic Hybrid is dead! In the 2019 Insight, it uses a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle engine for its internal combustion component. A long wheelbase ensures rear seat passengers aren't short on space, and available perforated leather seating will guarantee that the Insight does not feel like a gas miser of yesteryear.

"The new 2019 Honda Insight signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging", stated Honda exec, Henio Arcangeli Jr. The previous Insight could only muster 41 mpg while popular hybrids like the Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota Prius return 58 and 56 mpg, respectively.

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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 hybrid will be powered by a third-generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid system that will combine a 1.5L four-cylinder engine to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery. It was very much a two-seat auto and it featured tapered rear wheel arches. Honda has not yet announced how fuel-efficient the next Insight will be, but Arcangeli described the vehicle as having "best-in-class performance" in this regard.

It will be a slightly smaller hybrid four-door sedan than the Accord Hybrid, new for 2018, for which fuel-economy ratings haven't yet been released.

Over on the safety tech and driver-assistance side, there'll be Honda LaneWatch on EX and above trims, along with the Honda Sensing safety suite. That includes the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.

The 2018 Insight will also be built in the US, unlike the two previous generations, which were imported from Japan.

As such, it helps Honda by providing economies of scale for its high-volume Civic assembly line as passenger-sedan sales wane in the face of continually rising demand for SUVs and crossover utilities of all sizes.

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