Honda Insight prototype previews 50 mpg 2019 Insight hybrid sedan

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Launching nationwide later this year, and positioned as a premium compact above Civic in the Honda passenger auto lineup, Insight elevates itself above other compact hybrid models with its sleek sedan design, roomy five-passenger cabin, and refined driving performance, along with high fuel efficiency.

Like its predecessors, the 2019 Honda Insight will be a petrol/electric hybrid, but this time it's being introduced when hybrid powertrains are actually becoming popular. The wheelbase is longer, therefore, while the stance is lower and wider.

Honda Insight prototype previews 50 mpg 2019 Insight hybrid sedan

Inside, Honda is promising best-in-class passenger space, along with a more upscale cabin than most compact cars. With the Insight, there is no tall tail or oven-door hatchback window as in the Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq, or Honda's own Clarity.

The car's lithium-ion hybrid battery will live under the rear seats, enabling 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks and a pass through into the otherwise conventional trunk.

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Inside, the third-generation Insight will be available with perforated leather upholstery, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as well as Wi-Fi over-the-air system updates. The EX trim and above will include Honda LaneWatch to help drivers keep tabs on their blind spot. Those include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure alert, and a new traffic-sign recognition feature that's been used on European cars for several years but is just making its way into mass-priced USA vehicles. Most important, though, is the economy, with Honda suggesting an EPA combined rating of more than 50 mpg, despite "class-leading power" from the Insight.

Where previous hybrids have been compromised by their electrification, the new Insight will be "a great vehicle in its own right, independent of what's happening under the hood", said Honda's United States boss, Henio Arcangeli.

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After launching the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid with the latest version of the two-motor hybrid system, the brand recently released the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid in Canada, while in the United States, hydrogen fuel cell and fully electric versions of the The Clarity are offered as well. In the Clarity, the 1,498cc 4-cylinder generates 103 horsepower and 99 lb. -ft. of torque and its AC permanent-magnet synchronous drive motor develops 181 horsepower and a substantial 232 lb. -ft. of torque from zero to 2000 rpm. 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. Compared to the first two generations, the biggest change this time is that the Insight will be a sedan.

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