Insight Prototype 07
Honda Insight Prototype

Honda Insight Prototype To Debut In Detroit

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Hey, remember the Honda Insight? It was that oddly shaped little two-seater that was the first production hybrid in America (sorry Toyota) that silently slipped away only to be replaced by a rather Prius-esque shaped thing. Well, it’s back, and this time around, 99 percent of the oddities and problems are ironed out and Honda is starting to make a pretty big deal about it.

The Honda Insight Prototype will take to the stage for the first time at this year’s North American International Auto Show, in beautiful (but cold) Detroit.

Prototypes & Precursors

Yes, Honda calls it a prototype, but they seem serious about bringing it to dealers by 2019. They call the Honda Insight Prototype a “precursor to the all-new 2019 Honda Insight.” So be it. Honda says the 2019 Insight will be an upscale and stylish five-passenger sedan, situated above the Civic in Honda’s car lineup. The future Insight will use Honda’s latest generation of their two-motor hybrid system.

The 2019 Insight will take an entirely new approach with styling versus the second-gen Insight from 2009. The ’09 was a 5-door, 5-passenger design with increased space and utility, and was one of the market’s more affordable hybrids. What’s also true is that Jeremy Clarkson hated the things, and not because it’s a green hybrid (Clarkson’s about as green as a Harkonnen). No, he disliked the Insights because the build quality was shabby. When was the last time you heard that about a Honda?

Funny thing is, I heard the same thing from other people. A car-friend of mine rented one on a business trip. He’s a Mercedes/German car guy and a person of very high standards, and he was floored by how cheap everything was. He said it was especially galling, given that it was a Honda.

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Honda Insight Prototype. Photo: Honda North America.

Green Desires

Fast-forward to the North American International Auto Show and the 2019 Insight which will be unveiled there. The 2019 Insight is said to take an entirely new approach to styling, packaging, premium features, and overall performance that many mainstream car buyers require these days. Honda says it will be a “hybrid vehicle without any inherent compromise.”

“You won’t have to be an electrification advocate to appreciate the new Insight – it’s a great car in its own right, independent of what’s happening under the hood,” said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., Senior VP of Automobile Sales and GM of the Honda Division in America. “The all-new Insight embodies Honda’s approach to creating electrified vehicles without the typical tradeoffs.”

Arcangeli went on to say that “at the 2017 North American International Auto Show we announced our Honda Electrification Initiative with the intention to make two-thirds of Honda’s global vehicle sales electrified vehicles by 2030. With the Insight launching later in 2018 as the fifth electrified vehicle brought to market over the past year, we’re demonstrating our commitment to that goal.” Two-thirds? Impressive. Honda plainly sees where the economic, regulatory, and ecological winds are blowing and show no signs of being caught flat-footed.

Manufacturing & Availability

The Insight will be manufactured at Honda’s Greensburg, Indiana plant, alongside the Civic and CR-V. It will join the Clarity series (Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric, and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid), and the 2018 Accord Hybrid as part of Honda’s green fleet. The Insight will be arriving at dealerships nationwide early next year.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format

Photos & Source: Honda North America.