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2019 Honda Insight 4dr Touring Hybrid Review by David Colman + VIDEO - It's E15 Approved

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2019 Honda Insight Touring

A Green-vehicle review for car shoppers concerned with fuel economy, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and gasoline and diesel exhaust emissions.

SEE ALSO: Honda Insight News, Opinion and Feature Archive

Great fuel economy and realistic proposition for a long tour
with four adults and all their luggage

By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel

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2019 Honda Insight Touring
For 2019, the Insight returns to the market as a revamped, hybrid version built on the Civic platform Honda introduced in 2018. This amalgamation gives the Insight a fresh lease on life, with all new underpinnings. Insight shares the independent front and rear suspension systems of the latest gas powered Civic. With MacPherson strut front, and multi-link rear design, the upgraded Insight handles curves with the kind of aplomb you might expect from Honda's racier Civic Si coupe. Insight plants attractive turbine vane 17 x 7 inch alloys at each corner, wrapped in Continental ProContact rubber (215/50R17). The combination of excellent suspension geometry, premium Conti rubber, and crisp steering feedback make for a surprisingly responsive sedan, especially considering its 2,975 lb. curb weight. The hybrid's high voltage battery, which is stowed beneath the rear seat, is responsible for a good bit of the 230 lb. weight increase of the hybrid Insight over the gasoline engine Civic.

The Insight's power delivery is acceptable under normal driving, but leaves something to be desired when you floor the throttle. At that point the normally quiet powertrain issues a noisy moan as it struggles to provide more oomph. The electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission provides little direct oversight of power demand. The revolutions of the 1.5liter engine soar in number and noise as the gas/electric combo struggles to meet throttle demand. Although Honda provides the Insight with a pair of "shift" paddles, using them has little apparent effect on engine performance.

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2019 Honda Insight Touring
If you can accept these shortcomings, the Insight will pay off in spades over the long run. The EPA rates it a perfect 10 out of 10 on the fuel economy and greenhouse gas rating scale, and figures you will save $3,000 in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle. Insight substantially betters the Civic in the mileage department. Compared to the gas engine Civic, which records 34MPG overall, the hybrid Insight scores 48MPG overall according to the EPA. So good is the Insight at saving petro dollars that Consumer Reports flatly states, "The Insight is our fuel economy champ of vehicles that don't have to be plugged in, thanks to its 54MPG overall in our tests, which is 2MPG better than the Toyota Prius."

Not only is it more economical than the Zombie styled Prius, but it's also far better looking. It's understated design is more refined looking than its twin under the skin Civic. Where the Civic is all odd angles and overwrought details, the Insight looks more rounded, more graceful, and more pleasing to the eye and to the air rushing over its sleek surfaces. About the only aerodynamic deficiency is the flat planed rear window, which never clears accumulated rain drops and definitely needs a wiper blade.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2019 Honda Insight Touring
The Insight's interior benefits from the best leather covered steering wheel I have gripped in years. Nothing fancy, here, no deviated stitching, no wood inlays, no carbon fiber sections. But Honda has selected the perfect overall diameter, rim width, padding density and thumb indentations. Before airbags made steering wheel replacement virtually impossible, custom wheels were a popular aftermarket accessory. I bolted any number of Momo and Fittipaldi wheels into cars I owned, but none of them were better than the Insight's.

I wish I could say the same for the seats, but they lack sufficient support in the lower back area. Though the leather trimming is pleasing to the eye, they could stand to afford more lateral support as well. The back seat offers generous flop space for long legs, thanks to the Insight's 106 inch wheelbase. This interior caters to 4 adults in comfort, 5 in a pinch. Compared to the 2 inch shorter Civic's 13 cubic feet of storage, the Insight offers 15 cubic feet of trunk space. That's impressive considering the amount of room devoted to the storage battery. Thus, insight is a realistic proposition for a long tour with four adults and all their luggage aboard.

Best of all, you will almost never have to stop for fill ups, because the Insight's range is well over 400 miles - despite the fact that it carries just 10.6 gallons of fuel. You can thank the regenerative brakes and the electric motor for reproducing energy while you drive. It really is a lovely green concept.


    ENGINE: 1.5 liter i-VTEC in line 4 Cylinder gas plus electric motor
    HORSEPOWER: 151hp
    FUEL CONSUMPTION: 51MPG City/45MPG Highway
    PRICE AS TESTED: $28,985

HYPES: Subdued Civic Restyle, Exceptional Mileage

GRIPES: Loud Engine, Middling Performance, No Rear Wiper

STAR RATING: 8 Stars out of 10