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2019 Honda Insight Review

Terry Box | January 16, 2019
2019 Honda Insight Review

The ruthless future just won’t let me be.

About the time I get hybrids neatly categorized as silent, lackluster little pods that resemble the landing gear on a sea plane, along comes the stylish 2019 Honda Insight.

Sleeker and far prettier than the new Civic, the once supremely strange Insight now looks and mostly drives like a real compact sedan.

What’s a crusty graybeard with gas in his veins supposed to do – run faster and learn to use those goofy meme things?

Maybe. Look, I understand that these fuel-efficient gas-electric power plants will likely propel most vehicles over the next decade, and already reside in everything from tiny city cars to exotic Ferraris.

I just didn’t think it would all happen so fast – possibly my next tattoo, incidentally.

I will stick my neck and other body parts out and predict that contrary to what some dreamy CEOs claim, hybrids – not pure electrics – will drive the auto industry for the foreseeable future.

It’s simple, CEOs: If I can’t easily take Sparky on a cross-country summer vacation or pull my ski-boat with one, you can keep it.

Like most complex hybrids, the Insight relies on an electric motor to push it briskly away from stops and a small four-cylinder engine to take over from about 30 miles per hour on.

Honda, though, chose with the new front-wheel-drive Insight to complicate matters a bit more by hooking the 1.5-liter gas engine directly to the front wheels, while coupling the AC electric motor to the wheels through a traction motor.

Don’t ask me why – other than the Insight doesn’t have to use a real transmission or dreaded CVT. But then, I don’t fully understand quantum physics, women or Washington politics, either.

Although the front-wheel-drive Insight shares a platform and overall dimensions with the Civic, it looks a lot more like the polished Accord sedan.

My silver Insight greeted me with a broad blacked-out grille wearing thick chrome trim at the top and slender headlamps that curved back into the fenders.

A long hood slid gently down to the grille, complemented by a gracefully curved top.

Its smooth sides, meanwhile, featured a slight curve in them tightened by a couple of character lines and a subtle scallop at the base of the doors.

Moreover, everything settled nicely on reasonably sized tires and decent-looking wheels – 215/50 tires wrapped around black and silver alloy wheels.

It’s so attractively normal-looking, in fact, that no one will wonder if you’re wearing socks made from rice-husks when you take this extremely green hybrid to the store.

2019 Honda Insight

An iPad-sized display screen above the console offered truly dumb touchpads to tune the stereo, but at least a knob on the console handled the volume.

The car’s heated black-leather seats featured perforated and pleated centers with white stitching and even the plastic door panels – always a good measure of cheapness – had leather-looking centers with white stitching.

In short, nothing up front looked like a college computer-lab project, and the back seat offered good leg- and reasonable head room.

My well-equipped Insight did not arrive with a single option – kind of a rarity in these profit-hungry times.

Look, I have no intention of taking up skateboards and backpacks, which tend to make me look like a homeless person fleeing the police.

But when I finally surrender to the weird, wooly future, it might not be so bad if the Honda Insight is any indication.

2019 Honda Insight

  • What I liked most: The overall execution of the Insight, which emerges as an attractive, highly economical vehicle that feels mostly like a normal car
  • What I would change: I’d trade a few miles per gallon in the Insight for a real transmission
  • MSRP: Base price, $22,930; as equipped, $28,985
  • Fuel economy: Rated at 51 miles per gallon in the city, 45 on the highway and 48 combined with filler on the left
  • Official color: Lunar Silver Metallic
  • Odometer reading when tested: 1,727 miles
  • Weight: 2,987 pounds
  • Length-width-height: 183.6 inches long/71.6 inches wide/55.6 inches tall
  • Fuel-tank capacity: 10.6 gallons
  • Towing capacity: Not applicable
  • Spare tire: None – air pump
  • 2019 Honda Insight in a few words: A good way to be green without having to live lean and mean
  • Warranty: Three-year, 36,000-mile overall warranty and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain protection
  • Final assembly location: Greensburg, Ind.
  • Manufacturer’s website: www.honda.com
  • E-mail me at terry@carprousa.com
  • Up next: 2019 Acura MDX

Credit: Honda

Tags: honda, honda insight, review, honda insight review, 2019, car reviews
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