Honda’s latest Insight won't be sold in Europe, but it’s the latest in the brand’s renewed push for electrification

The 2018 Honda Insight has been revealed in prototype form at the Detroit motor show, with its powertrain the only thing about the car due to cross the Atlantic to Europe.

It's powered by the same hybrid powertrain as the 2018 CR-V hybrid, which is scheduled to go on sale in the UK in August.

Unlike the new CR-V, however, the third-generation Insight is not bound for Europe, but it will sit in the brand’s US line-up between the Civic and the Accord

The new Toyota Prius rival takes a more conventional saloon shape than its high-reared predecessor. The front will adopt Honda’s aggressive new styling theme, with a metallic strip running the full width, tying in with Honda’s other US-market models. 

The wheelbase and length of the new car have grown over the previous Insight, although Honda hasn’t yet specified the new car’s dimensions - the car on show in Detroit is only a pre-production prototype. 

Where previous hybrids have been compromised by their electrification, the new Insight will be “a great car in its own right, independent of what’s happening under the hood”, said Honda’s US boss, Henio Arcangeli. 

“The all-new Insight embodies Honda's approach to creating electrified vehicles without the typical trade-offs.”

The original Insight of 1999 was rated as the most fuel-efficient petrol car certified by the EPA at the time. Honda has not yet announced how fuel-efficient the next Insight will be, but Arcangeli described the car as having “best-in-class performance” in this regard. Fuel economy of around 60mpg is mooted, although Honda claims the Insight can drive on electric power alone in most situations.

Inside, the car has an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system and a 7.0in LCD display behind the steering wheel. It’ll feature smartphone-mimicking customisation of the interface and applications, as well as the ability to update software over-the-air via wi-fi.

Read more 

Honda Insight review 

Honda Civic review 

Honda Jazz review 

Our Verdict

Honda Insight

The Honda Insight is more affordable, but no better than other hybrids such as the Toyota Prius

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Comments
6

11 January 2018

Given the swing against diesel in Europe, and the resulting pressure on average CO2 levels i am surprised that Honda isnt rethinking bringing it here.

11 January 2018

Agreed. A few years ago Honda stubbonly stuck to its IMA hybrid technology, resisting the trend towards diesel in Europe. Now, just as the market is beginning to reject diesel, Honda is about to introduce its newest oil burning Civic. OK, this will help reduce its fleet average CO2 figure.... if it manages to  sell any, that is. 

It would  be interesting to know more about this new Insight's hybrid system. The fact that it can run in purely electric mode suggests something completely different rather than a development of IMA, which kept the engine running at all times (because it was integral with the electic motor). Although this system couldn't match the efficiency of Toyota's hybrid system, IMA was relatively simple mild hybrid alternative that offered low weight and cost as well as the option of manual  transmission.  A pity if Honda has abandoned it.

15 January 2018

I think this is a move to the engine as a generator and the motor as the permanent primary propulsion. This gives the opportunity to decouple engine speed from road speed and 'possibly' gain some efficiency by running the engine at a peak efficiency speed rather than trying to suit road speed via a gearbox. With and electric motor drive (at least up to a certain speed at least) it means no need for clutch or gearbox either.

15 January 2018

What you have described is a series hybrid. This configuration undoubtedly has advantages, but it is less efficient in steady speed cruising than a non hybrid (simply because the electric transmission losses (charging/battery/motor) will exceed those of a direct mechanical drive). Maybe Honda has managed to replicate Toyota's HSD system which allows the petrol engine and electric motor to be decoupled under certain conditions while minimising transmission losses while cruising?

We need to  know more about what Honda is up to on the technical front!

15 January 2018
LP in Brighton wrote:

What you have described is a series hybrid. This configuration undoubtedly has advantages, but it is less efficient in steady speed cruising than a non hybrid (simply because the electric transmission losses (charging/battery/motor) will exceed those of a direct mechanical drive). Maybe Honda has managed to replicate Toyota's HSD system which allows the petrol engine and electric motor to be decoupled under certain conditions while minimising transmission losses while cruising?

We need to  know more about what Honda is up to on the technical front!

Yup series hybrid, but with direct engine drive at higher speed to dodge conversion loss and where the Atkinson engine is happier as it lack low speed torque.

All that matters to me is they put just enough battery in to get a low official CO2 rating and it does a realistic 40mpg'ish, then its future in the company car market looks great, I would be interested. I like the Kia Niro but its just a bit too small. 

15 January 2018

What a shame they won't bring it to Europe, looks good and would no doubt be excellent as a white goods, rush hour grind long commute car.

Always thought the Accord was an under appreciated sales rep car.

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