2019 Honda Insight

By September 9, 2019

The 2019 Honda Insight hybrid is a compact sedan that’s based on the latest Honda Civic. In the place of a gas-only Civic engine, the 2019 Insight has a hybrid powertrain that provides excellent fuel economy. It’s also comfortable and relatively roomy, and earns superlative safety ratings.  

The powerplant is a 1.5-liter inline-4 with an electric motor, making a combined 151 horsepower and driving the front wheels. The base LX model is EPA-rated at 55 miles per gallon city, 49 highway, 52 combined. The heavier Touring model gets 48 mpg combined. Acceleration is moderate, but handling, interior space and comfort are good. 

The Insight earns five stars in every crash test performed by the NHTSA, while the IIHS also gives it the top “Good” score in every test. The IIHS further makes it a Top Safety Pick+, while rating the headlights “Good” and the active safety system “Superior.” It simply doesn’t get any better than that. 

Standard equipment on all models includes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, traffic sign recognition, and automatic headlights. EX and Touring trims get a mirror-mounted camera on the right side that turns the blind spot into a TV-like view.

Model Lineup

The Insight starts at $23,725 for the LX, which comes with cloth upholstery, LED headlights, a 5.0-inch display for audio, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB port, cloth upholstery, keyless ignition, and 16-inch wheels. 

The EX adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, two USB ports, a 60/40 folding rear seat, and the mirror-mounted camera on the right side.

The Touring costs $28,985 and adds leather upholstery, navigation, a moonroof, 17-inch wheels, premium audio, power adjustable heated front seats.

Exterior

Although it’s quite similar in outline, the 2019 Insight tones down the looks of the Civic on which it’s based. The Insight’s nose and tail more closely match the Accord. This is because Insight buyers are more like Accord buyers—according to Honda.

The Insight has milder curves than the Civic, fewer creases on the side, and more graceful wheel cutouts. 

Interior 

The instrument panel also follows the Accord and not the Civic, but it does adopt the Civic’s low dash for better forward vision, and a digital display that’s functional and easy to understand.

It’s good the dash is low because the seats are too; they’re also thin, but not so thin as to be uncomfortable. There’s good headroom even with the moonroof, and the front doesn’t feel tight as a compact car might. The telescoping steering wheel helps. 

The hybrid batteries are efficiently located so as to not steal space from the rear. Headroom in the rear is okay, and legroom is good, at 37.4 inches. Two passengers will fit well, and they’ll have room for their belongings in the trunk, which is a good-sized 15.1 cubic feet. A 60/40-split folding rear seat is standard on EX and Touring Insights.

Driving Impressions

The 2019 Insight has a ride that’s smooth and composed. However, it’s not very quick. The 1.5-liter engine makes just 107 horsepower on its own, and mated to its 129-hp electric motor delivers 151 hp and 197 pound-feet of torque. It takes about 10 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. It does feel quicker around town. 

The Insight has three driving modes: EV, Econ, and Sport. Econ mode relaxes the throttle response, but doesn’t put the car into all-electric any more than EV mode. Sport makes throttle more responsive and increases engine revs. There’s also a so-called “kickdown switch” under the gas pedal, a physical reminder that flooring the pedal will use more gas.

As for the ride and handling, the Civic structure and suspension come into play, particularly the MacPherson front and multi-link rear. Fluid-filled bushings from the Civic make the ride way better than expected from a compact car. The 17-inch wheels on the Touring model rode just as well as the 16-inch wheels on the LX and EX.  

The front brake rotors are 11.1 inches, which stop the Insight very quickly. The brakes can regenerate electric power to recharge the battery, which they do seamlessly, switching between friction and regenerative braking.

Final Word

The new Honda Insight is a bold car with many innovations. There’s tremendous value for the money in its gas-saving pieces—especially when they’re teamed with the Insight’s good looks, good room, great ride, fantastic fuel economy, and superior safety.