New Insight puts the focus on fun
Latest edition shows how far Honda has come since it first brought hybrids into the mainstream
Honda chose this year’s Vancouver International Auto Show for the Canadian debut of the 2019 Honda Insight, underscoring the importance of this market for electrified vehicles.
And while not a fully electric vehicle, the all-new hybrid sedan takes full advantage of a battery pack to push its fuel mileage into Prius territory, the gold standard for the compact hybrid segment. And depending on your esthetic sensibilities, the stylish Insight eclipses the angular, polarizing looks of Toyota’s 2019 hybrid. Somewhat ironically, the first generation Insight, built from 1999 to 2006, had truly oddball lines and included rear wheel spats said to improve fuel economy but mostly led to ridicule. Clearly, Honda designers did not look to that first-gen Insight for inspiration for this all-new third-generation model. In fact, the case can be made that the styling inside and out of the new Insight is more in line with the current iteration of the top-selling Civic. And that’s by design, not accident, as the Insight shares a number of structural and cabin architecture with the current 10th generation Civic, including chassis, roof and rear quarter panels.
In defence of that original Insight, it was a remarkable vehicle on two counts: it was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid sold in North America — the aforementioned Prius first washed ashore in the summer of 2000; and it boasted a highway fuel economy rating of 3.4 L/100km, ridiculously low even by today’s standards. In addition it did provide a bit of a blueprint for one of Honda’s most underrated vehicles to date, the sporty three-door, hybrid CR-Z.