Honda Plans to Show Off Insight Prototype at NAIAS

Honda Insight Prototype

"The new 2019 Honda Insight signals we are entering a new era of electrification with a new generation of Honda products that offer customers the benefits of advanced powertrain technology without the traditional trade-offs in design, premium features or packaging", said Henio Arcangeli Jr, senior VP of automobile sales and GM of the Honda Division at American Honda Motor.

The wheelbase and length of the new auto have grown over the previous Insight, although Honda hasn't yet specified the new car's dimensions.

Honda has confirmed that the Insight name will return to its line-up by showing off a new prototype model. That'll include optional leather, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a 7-inch digital display for the driver's instrumentation. Launching in the United States later this year, the Insight has morphed from the previous five-door, Prius-shaped auto to a sleek "premium compact" sedan positioned above the Civic in Honda's line-up.

By dividing the hybrid away from the Civic, Honda has taken the opportunity to give it a new design.

Certain smartphone functions will also be integrated through the available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Wi-Fi enabled updates.

The Insight will feature the Honda Sensing safety suite as standard, which includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.

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It will also feature Honda's two-motor hybrid system.

Inside, Honda is promising best-in-class passenger space, along with a more upscale cabin than most compact cars. The Insight's battery pack is located under the rear seats, allowing a full-size boot and 60/40 split folding.

It is the fifth electrified Honda launched over the past year, joining the Clarity series of eco-friendly models (Fuel Cell, Plug-In Hybrid, Electric) and the 2018 Accord Hybrid.

The Insight's 1.5-liter inline-4 that operates on the highly efficient Atkinson Cycle is paired with Honda's clever two-motor hybrid system, which substitutes entirely for a conventional transmission. In the Clarity, this powertrain delivers a combined output of 212 horsepower-103 hp from the gas engine and 181 from the electric motor-but the Insight could hierarchically be slightly less powerful. Therefore, if Honda fully implements this drivetrain in the new Civic-based Insight, which is likely 700-800 lbs. lighter, performance should be robust.

Honda announced on Thursday that its new hybrid will be EPA-rated at 50 mpg combined or better, though it released few specifications or details. No word yet on whether there will be a plug-in version.

The production model is expected to go on sale in the United States in the summer of 2019, but at the moment there are no plans to offer the Insight in Europe as the next hybrid Honda has planned is a CR-V Hybrid.

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