Honda launched the original Insight model all the way back in the year 2000. Now Honda isn’t a company that is own for taking huge bold risks, but that’s exactly what they did with the first generation Honda Insight. The Insight came with a design that “featured optimized aerodynamics and lightweight aluminium structure to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions“. The rear wheels of the Insight were covered by bodywork, so there was no break in the rear lines of the car.
This resulted in the 3-door hatchback being very fuel efficient but, facing a series of problems if something ever got stuck in between the rear wheels and the bodywork. It’s no surprise that Honda soon dropped this design language for all future generations. Now the Honda Insight is just your regular run of the mill hybrid sedan, and the brand new third generation Insight is a very good one at that.
So what is the third generation Honda Insight? Well, you can think of it as a hybrid version of the old regular Honda Civic, bearing more similarities to the Civic than the looks. The Insight has the same wheelbase, almost the same interior, and even the same chassis as the new Civic. The Styling of the Honda Insight seems to be the perfect blend of the brand new Accord and the Civic. On the front we get a pair of slim, sleek headlights with integrated daytime running lights, a chrome strip runs across the front grille and ends in the headlights. Around the rear don’t expect to find the same teardrop rear slope, it’s all very normal here. Though the rear end does feature the same sloping roofline as the Civic. It’s safe to say that Honda probably played it very safe with the styling this year around. They probably took one look at the current generation Prius and decided their was a need in the market for a cheap “normal” hybrid that doesn’t feature the weird bumps and creases of the fourth generation Prius.
The Honda Insight starts at an MSRP of around $22, 830 for base trim LX model in the US, that type of money for a decently sized hybrid sedan that can achieve up to 23 km/l, is pretty excellent. The third generation Honda Insight comes with a 1.5 liter i-VTEC Atkinson-cycle inline-four engine paired with an electric propulsion motor with a lithium-ion battery pack. The combined output rating is around 151bhp and 197 lb-ft of torque. Though one thing that came as a bit of surprise was that the third-gen Honda Insight has no transmission to speak of. Honda has made the hybrid system work more like the system we first saw in the Fisker Karma. The 1.5 liter Inline-4 doesn’t actually have any direct connection to the drive shaft at all until it reaches 105kph. The combustion engine works as a generator powering up the batteries, this electricity is then used to power the electric motors which in turn drive the wheels. Once the car goes past 105kph the engine is connected back to the wheels.
Moving around to the interior, and we see the same basic design and layout as the current gen Civic. Every trim in the Insight comes loaded with technology such as active noise cancelling pouring out of the speakers, along with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, a camera that reads roads signs to let you know the current speed limit, backup camera and emergency braking. Options include features such as navigation and additional safety equipment. The Insight comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. Inside we get a 7-inch digital drivers meter as standard along with heated door mirrors, push-button start and a 6 speaker audio system. Optional extras include leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, 8-way power driver’s seat, 4-way power passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and 17-inch alloy wheels.