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Honda reveals more details of new Insight prototype

The Honda Insight prototype is set to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next week. — Handout via AFP
The Honda Insight prototype is set to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next week. — Handout via AFP

TOKYO, Jan 12 — Honda has released new images and more specs for a new Insight prototype that’s set for its official unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show next week.

The Japanese auto giant had already confirmed the Insight name was going to be resurrected, again, but now it has released official images of a new Insight prototype that looks to be pretty close to a production-ready model. In fact, Honda has confirmed the prototype previews a brand-new sedan that’s set to go on sale next year. It’s certainly a lot more conventional in appearance than its two predecessors of the same name, so Honda presumably hopes it will be third time lucky for the nameplate this time.

In 1999, Honda started production of the original first-generation Insight, which was a subcompact hybrid sedan that stayed in production until 2006. After a brief hiatus, Honda finally introduced a second-generation compact Insight for the 2010 model year, which this time only stayed in production until 2014 and was killed off due to poor sales.

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. Although details of the propulsion system won’t be confirmed until the show, it’s almost certain the new Insight will feature the latest version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid powertrain. The system utilises a 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. Honda’s target is for the car to achieve a 50 mpg combined fuel economy rating when it’s rated by America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Where the new Insight will differ from its predecessors is by being a more premium model than they were, and it will sit in the lineup above the current Civic. As well more conventional styling than the first two generations, the 2019 Insight will also place a greater focus on interior space for passengers and cargo.

The production model is expected to go on sale in the US 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. — AFP-Relaxnews

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