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The Honda Insight became the first hybrid to launch in the U.S. when it hit the scene in 1999. Originally a two-seater, the Insight evolved into a more practical four-door hatch as it entered its second generation. In 2014, Honda discontinued the slow-selling model in the U.S. to focus on electrified versions of the Accord and eventually the Clarity series. Few predicted this year would see the return of the Insight, now positioned as an upscale, five-passenger sedan. It’s pretty clear that the 2019 Honda Insight is the sleekest and most modern iteration yet. But the better question is: Has the Insight strayed too far from its roots, or is it finally growing into its own?
The new Insight takes many cues from other sedans in the Honda lineup. It gets similar headlights and a familiar thick silver bar atop the grille. The front end of the previous-generation Insight is much more rounded, and the grille is less gaping. A distinctive blue accent bar indicates the Insight’s hybrid technology. The original Insight has the simplest-looking front end of them all, with oval-shaped headlights flanking the Honda badge.
By comparing the side profiles of these three Insights, you can see just how much the model has grown. The 2019 Honda Insight measures in at 183.6 inches long and 71.6 inches wide. Compare that to the second-generation hatch, which was only 172.3 inches long and 66.7 inches wide before it was discontinued. The first-generation model is a mere 155.1 inches long and 66.7 inches wide.
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The new Insight is clearly a sedan. Honda was going for a coupe-like roofline, but the lines of the Insight look pretty conventional. Special window trim, sharp wheels, and a strong character line at the bottom of the doors give the Insight a more premium look. Looking at the side profile of the second-gen Insight, you can see the model has an egg-shaped look much like earlier Priuses. The first-gen model looks downright wild: a regular coupe up front and what looks a little like a Pontiac Aztec in the back.
In the rear, the new Insight features a subtle lip on the trunk. It doesn’t get the C-shaped taillights from the Accord and Civic. This helps provide some nice differentiation from the rest of the model line. From this angle, the second-gen model appears boxy and features triangular taillights. The rear end of the original Insight looks very narrow, and it also has triangular taillights.
Now onto the interior. Inside the cabin of the new Insight is an eight-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also features a modern electronic shifter instead of a traditional gear stalk. A digitalized instrument cluster, perforated leather seats, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot are some of the other modern amenities available on the new model. The previous Insight had an infotainment screen by the time it went out of production, but it was small, and obviously, more primitive. Circular air vents are arranged haphazardly on the dash along with other controls, and a display for the speedometer sits on top of the instrument cluster. As you can see, the first Insight was in a league of its own with comparatively few modern amenities.
Is the new 2019 Honda Insight refreshing or revolting? Has the model line evolved gracefully over the years? Let us know on Facebook.