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2019 Honda Insight First Drive – Comfort and Value Meet Fuel Efficiency

2019 Honda Insight

A few months ago, we wrote about a Honda Clarity PHEV, observant it’s a glorious yet mediocre fuel-saver sedan and commuter car.

Prepare for déjà vu.

You see, Honda has brought onward another Insight hybrid for 2019. And my take on this Civic-related sedan is many like that of a Clarity – well-built, good for commuters, and remarkably unremarkable.

I contend “Civic-related� since a Insight does share skeleton with a Civic, yet there are pivotal differences, generally with a skin. Yet Honda also sets it adult as a “mature� compress sedan in a lineup. More on that later.

Full Disclosure: Honda flew me to Minneapolis, put me in a good hotel, fed me several glorious dishes (along with good beer), gave me a few cracks during a racing simulator (in that Jalopnik’s author kicked my butt, nonetheless a associate VerticalScope worker took tip honors, during slightest before we left), gave me a 20-minute float on a Honda Jet, and charity a shawl we did not take and a unstable cell-phone horse that we did.

Honda calls a Insight a some-more “mature� choice to a Civic in a unequivocally demure acknowledgment that whatever one thinks of a Civic altogether (I’m a fan), a looks are off-putting to some (they don’t worry me, yet we get since others find a styling objectionable). The meditative is that Civic intenders won’t travel out of showrooms when they see that they can get a identical automobile with some-more regressive styling. Oh, and it’s labelled pretty and it will save them on gas.

On a road, a Insight isn’t a blast to drive. You wish sport, hang with a Civic and understanding with a looks. When we tangled a stifle on I-94 easterly of a Twin Cities, we got a lot of sound, yet not a lot of fury. we was hardly even pushed behind into my seat. Same when it was my co-driver’s turn.

2019 Honda Insight

So, it’s not fast. It’s not unequivocally meant to be. It has adequate gumption for reasonable highway flitting and merging, and that’s about it. This thing is meant to get we to work comfortably, and to boost a time between fill-ups.

It’s wholly predictable, then, that a dual-pinion, variable-ratio electric energy steering is generally deceptive and a small numb, yet not egregiously so (it has some-more life than a Nissan Kicks we gathering a week prior, yet not by a lot). It’s also predicted that regulating Sport mode seems to do small some-more than make a automobile louder and a stifle a tad bit jumpier.

It doesn’t take many assign in cornering to get a singing tire and a small bit of understeer. Again, a Insight wasn’t built for that kind of driving. It can do it, yet it would rather not. That’s a bit like me eating asparagus.

2019 Honda Insight

Drive it sedately, and it mostly shines. At turnpike journey or suburban speeds, a Insight is quiet, gentle yet being soft, and all-around pleasant. It’s a good value tender that not usually compares agreeably opposite a princely Prius yet opposite non-hybrids like a likewise mature and polished Volkswagen Jetta. The biggest smirch we beheld was a hood quivering (visible yet not audible) on a early prolongation indication during highway speeds.

Although a Civic provides a bottom body, usually a roof skin and behind entertain row is common with a Civic. The front support structure is also different. A MacPherson setup creates adult a front suspension, while a behind is a multi-link. Both have correspondence bushings that are filled with liquid (the behind usually has that on a Touring trim). Wheel sizes are 16-inch on a LX and EX trims, and 17-inch on a top-trim Touring we drove.

The hybrid complement friends a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine to twin electric motors for 151 sum complement horsepower and 197 lb-ft of sum complement torque.

There’s something blank from a Insight – a transmission. Instead, Honda has baked adult an electric-drive complement that works like so: The two-mode complement can be a array hybrid, a together hybrid, or a pristine EV.

One of a electric motors is a thrust motor, a other is starter/generator. Under many conditions, a gas engine delivers energy to a generator motor, that in spin ships a extract to possibly battery container or directly to a thrust motor, as needed. Under light conditions, a gas engine shuts off and a Insight runs all EV for a bit. Drivers can use a EV expostulate symbol to name all-electric expostulate for adult to about a mile on full charge.

Should some-more energy be needed, a gas engine can couple adult to a thrust motor. This is indeed finished around a generator, that is always connected to a gas engine. In this together hybrid operation, a generator engine links adult to a thrust engine around a lock-up clutch, permitting energy from a gas engine to be used in a supplemental manner.

Like a Accord Hybrid, a Insight has several regenerative braking modes, charity adult to 3 opposite levels of regenerative braking when a stifle pedal is lifted. That pedal also has a click indicate during 75 percent stifle – pull it past there and we should get a small some-more oomph for passing. Drive modes embody Sport, Normal, and Econ, and a EV expostulate button, that is reduction a expostulate mode and some-more a powertrain setting.

The interior is customary complicated Honda – a crush of modernization and old-school logic. The volume doorknob continues to make a jubilant return, and a customizable tile infotainment shade is present. we also dug a cell-phone holder, even yet it doesn’t assign wirelessly. we also like a customizable gauges, a la Accord.

I don’t like how a infotainment shade looks like a inexpensive inscription tacked onto a dash, yet during slightest it’s lowered now. we also am not a fan of a push-button shifter for a “transmission� that doesn’t unequivocally exist.

There’s copiousness of legroom and headroom adult front, and a behind is atmospheric adequate for many adults. Cargo space stands during 15.1 cubic feet, that is a max for Civic sedans as well. Honda achieved this by relocating a battery container underneath a behind seats.

Features-wise, there are 3 trims – LX, EX, and Touring. Honda Sensing – a company’s apartment of reserve and driver-assist tech – is standard, and it includes collision-mitigation braking, adaptive journey control with low-speed follow, lane-keeping assist, and road-departure mitigation. The Insight also has accessible traffic-sign recognition, rearview camera, driver-awareness monitor, and LaneWatch. we had suspicion a latter was passed yet we was misinformed – it’s back.

Other accessible facilities embody Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, remote start, 60/40 separate behind seat, navigation, moonroof, haze lamps, leather steering wheel, leather seats, exhilarated front seats, dual-zone meridian control, and reward audio.

The bottom LX ($22,830) has 16-inch wheels, LED lights, Honda Sensing, and involuntary high beams among a underline highlights. The EX ($24,060) nets we CarPlay/Android Auto, XM, LaneWatch, keyless entry, a separate behind seats, and remote start, among other things. For nav, a moonroof, exhilarated front seats, leather seats, haze lights, reward audio, twin climate, and involuntary wipers, and other goodies, we need to step to a Touring ($28,090). Destination is $895. You’ll notice a top-trim Prius has bottom cost of only over $30K.

2019 Honda Insight

Fuel economy clocks in during 55 mpg city/49 mpg highway/52 mpg total for a LX and EX trims, and 51/45/48 for a Touring.

Although many of my day was spent in a Touring, we gathering a LX quickly and, outward of cheaper interior materials, didn’t notice many difference.

I asked Honda who they consider a Insight customer is. Is it someone who wants a Civic hybrid, or is someone who wants a Civic-sized Honda yet Civic styling, regardless of either it’s a hybrid or not? Is it someone who only wants a compress automobile with relations value (the EX fits that bill), again regardless of powertrain? Is it a commuter who wants to widen a fuel budget?

I got PR-speak for “all of a above, really.� Which arrange of fits with how we see this car’s place in a lineup. It has an ascending conflict when it comes to outdueling a Prius, simply since a Toyota beats only about everybody in name recognition, if not on cost or specs or character or performance. But as good as a Civic is, a styling isn’t for everybody and regardless, it can’t harm Honda to have twin plain offerings in a compress class.

The Insight isn’t an enthusiast’s car, yet afterwards again, many buyers aren’t enthusiasts. For a spare commuter, a Insight creates a lot of sense.

Sensible and conspicuous frequency go together, unless something is remarkably sensible. That descriptor sums adult a Insight. It’s kind of boring, not quite engaging, yet it does what it sets out to do well. And it has looks that are handsome, if plain.

It’s a package that only works. Which will expected work out good for Honda.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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