2019 Honda Insight: 55-mpg hybrid without the goofy eco-car design
There are a lot of people out there that would like a car that gives really good fuel economy.
I'm talking freeze level of fuel economy but not everyone wants to drive a car that says ugly as a priest.
Well, here's a pretty normal looking car.
It's the 2019 Honda Insight.
It goes out of its way to hide its hiberness while still delivering over 50 miles per gallon.
Let's hide behind the wheel and see how it rides.
This third generation Insight is built on the Civic platform, and it's about the same size.
So Honda could have technically called this a Civic hybrid.
But they just couldn't resist an opportunity to rub in everyone's face that they were technically the first hybrid in the American market.
When the first generation beat the Prius back in 1999.
So the name's got some street cred, I get it.
And this is a new model, which means it gets the new sheet metal and a ride that's been refined for quietness.
Now part of that is thanks to a revived rear suspension.
But you mostly have the hybrid power train up front to thank for that.
Now under the hood, we've got a smaller version of the Accord hybrid set up.
But we stepped down from a 2 liter to a 1.5 liter gasoline engine and that's gonna be mated with a small battery pack and two electric motor generators.
Total system output's 151 horsepower and around 197 pound of torque which is pretty good for a car of this size.
Now interestingly, there's no transmission.
Explain how it works in a separate piece over on theroadshow.com so if you're feeling really nerdy go check it out there but the short story is that the electric motor sort of acts like a CBT here.
Only without any of the lagging throttle response that you typically get from that sort of transmission, There is still a bit of a disconnect between what your ears hear coming from the engine and what you feel with the old **** dyno when you accelerate, but it's just an audible discordance, it doesn't actually affect the performance.
It just takes some getting used to.
Now, for the trouble, you get pretty good acceleration, especially at city speeds where those Turkey electric motors are really in their element.
And, at those urban speeds, they're averaging around 55 miles per gallon for the EX and LX models and I've tried to stand to 51 miles per gallon for this heavier touring model I'm in right now.
Not only gives you a lot of tools, some gauges, some drive modes.
There's a normal, an econ, a sport, and an EV setting down here, as well as some paddle shifters that allow you to adjust the amount of brakery jam as you approach a stop sign or coast downhill.
Those are going to help you get better fuel economy, but I found that you don't really need Need any of this stuff.
I've just been getting in the car in the normal mode, driving it like a normal person.
And it's returned between 49 and 51 miles per gallon.
So Honda's numbers are pretty spot on.
So every Honda Insight, even the base model, comes with standard with the Honda Sensing suite of driver aid technology.
So even if you don't check any boxes, you're gonna get forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping steering assist, all of that out of the box.
Though you're probably gonna wanna check at least one box, to step up to the EX trim level, and that's gonna get you the larger eight inch Hondalink Infotainment System, where you get standard Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
It's gonna make living with this car just a little bit easier.
The [INAUDIBLE] screen also comes with kinda lanewatch camera system.
It's Not my favorite.
I would prefer to have a regular blind spot monitoring system that watches both sides all the time, as opposed to a camera that only comes on one side when you activate the turn signal, but it's better than nothing, I guess, it gets the job done.
But overall I really like the cabinet of this car, especially the placement of the screen.
It sort of blends that sort of Tablet popped out look that's in vogue right now with a really low placement that makes it easy to reach.
I like that and plus there's volume knob, so gotta love that.
Now aside from the smart gauges, the drive modes down here, and what, maybe like four hybrid badges around the body There's not a whole lot to distinguish the Insight from a conventional Honda vehicle.
There's not even a battery bump out back, Honda shrunk that pack down and shoved it under the rear seat, so you don't even see it.
They're really hiding the hybrid from you.
So what you're left with is a pretty regular-looking car that drives pretty normally, and gets really good fuel economy.
Rather than some sort of spaceship looking echo car that's constantly rubbing your green cred in everyone's face.
I can appreciate that and I think buyers will too when they hit the road later this month.
The 2019 Civic hybrid.
Excuse me, Honda Insight starts at $ 22,800 for the base LX model.
But you're definitely going to want to upgrade to the EX model for $ 24,000 or the Touring at around 28K To get the better dashboard tech that makes this car a lot easier to live with.
Now the top trim touring level's gonna cost you a couple of MPG because it's a heavier car, it's just got more equipment.
But I still think it's worth it for a car that has this level of driver aid and infotainment tech, as well as t his amount of fuel economy while not embarrassing you every time you get out of it.