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  • 2019 Honda Insight Touring

    Posted on August 17th, 2018 ninarussin

    New hybrid sedan joins Honda’s green car lineup

    By Nina Russin

    2019 Honda Insight

    The first-generation Insight liftback was Honda’s first green car, coming to the states a year before the Toyota Prius it competes against. Over the years, the Insight maintained the five-door body style but grew-in-size and added more safety and convenience features.

    After twenty years on the market, the guys at Honda decided it was time for a change, introducing a sedan version for 2019. The newest Insight maintains the core values of its predecessors: affordable pricing and excellent fuel economy, but with styling that should appeal to a larger chunk of the American market.

    Pricing for the upscale Touring grade starts at $28,090. Honda loads the premium model with the convenience and safety features buyers want so they don’t have to add on expensive options. Keyless entry and start, leather upholstery, satellite radio, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth interface, 17-inch alloy rims and more all come standard. Final MSRP including destination is $28,985.

    2019 Honda Insight

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    Over the past week I drove the newest Insight around Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley as well as along some rural roads through the Gila River Indian Community to the south. Fuel economy fell far below the EPA estimated 48 miles-per-gallon: my average was just above 42. Part of this may have to do with high temperatures that made it necessary to run the air conditioning all the time, but still, it was a big difference.

    Aside from that, the Insight lived up to its promise of delivering excellent performance. The 1.5-liter gasoline engine coupled with two electric motors delivered strong acceleration off the line as well as in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers use merging onto high-speed traffic. Once on the highway there was plenty of power to pass slower vehicles at speed.

    Drivers can choose between several driving modes depending on their needs: normal, EV, econ and sport. In EV mode, the Insight can travel about a mile on electric power alone. The lithium-ion battery pack that recharges the electric motors is located beneath the rear seats so the Insight has a full-size trunk.

    2019 Honda Insight

    There is no conventional transmission: instead the Insight uses a drive-force transfer system that utilizes the engine and electric motors to transfer power to the wheels. The car’s on-board computer prompts the electric motors to drive and generate power, eliminating the need for a torque converter. The system works seamlessly, switching between gasoline and electric power in a manner that is invisible to the driver.

    Steering feedback from the electric power steering system is pretty-good: plenty of assist at low speeds for maneuverability with pleasantly heavy response on the highway. On-center response is a bit soft, but drivers should feel well connected with the wheels and capable of performing an emergency evasive maneuver.

    A MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension keep both rows of occupants comfortable on bumpy roads, while four-wheel disc brakes stop the Insight in firm, linear fashion.

    Visibility around the perimeter is good. A standard rearview camera eliminates any blind spots around the rear pillars and beneath the rear glass. The conventional rear glass makes visibility out the back considerably better than the Toyota Prius that the Insight competes against. Honda’s LaneWatch system utilizes a camera in the passenger side mirror to monitor traffic in bicycle lanes to the right of the car. It is one of my favorite active safety features on the market.

    At night LED lighting delivers long, bright beams of light to illuminate dark suburban surface streets. Standard daytime running lamps make the Insight more visible to other drivers in low light conditions.

    Spacious interior

    2019 Honda Insight

    The Insight’s well-appointed interior has plenty of head, hip and leg room to keep adult passengers comfortable in both rows. Keyless entry and start saves the driver from having to fumble for the key fob after dark. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust with plenty of lower lumbar support.

    Living in this part of the country I would have opted for cloth upholstery over leather, simply because leather gets so hot here during the summer months. But most buyers will probably enjoy the upscale option. The front seats are heated: something drivers in four-season climates will appreciate.

    A push-button shifting system replaces a conventional lever, freeing up room in the center console for additional storage. Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to read in bright sunlight and after dark. Infotainment controls are easy to reach from either front seating position and intuitive to operate.

    Honda’s navigation system is one of the best in the industry, with easy operation and fast recalculations when necessary. A thin-film-transistor screen on the instrument panel includes real-time speed limit displays.

    Standard safety

    The Honda Insight comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control and tire pressure monitoring. Active safety features include a rearview camera, Honda LaneWatch, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and autonomous braking.

    Honda builds the Insight at its Greensburg, Indiana assembly plant.

    Like: A stylish gasoline-electric hybrid with excellent performance, affordable pricing and a high level of comfort, convenience and active safety features.

    Dislike: Fuel economy on the test drive fell below the EPA estimate of 48 MPG

    Quick facts:

    Make: Honda
    Model: Insight Touring
    Year: 2019
    Base price: $28,090
    As tested: $28,985
    Horsepower: 107 HP @ 6000 rpm (gasoline engine only)
    Torque: 99 lbs.-ft. @ 5000 rom (gasoline engine only)
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 51/45 MPG city/highway

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