Texarkana, TX 57° View Live Radar Fri H 54° L 41° Sat H 57° L 38° Sun H 60° L 40° Weather Sponsored By:

FEELING INTROSPECTIVE

FEELING INTROSPECTIVE

A good-looking hybrid? Thank you, Honda

December 1st, 2018 by Tribune News Service in Features

2019 Honda Insight (Honda)

Doesn't it seem as if you're always being told what to do?

When you're growing up, your parents tell you what to do. So do your teacher, your preacher, your high school coach, your scout leader and any number of authority figures. Then you grow up, only to discover that your boss and spouse tell you what do. And technology has only made this worse.

 

Your computer nags you to upgrade it, your mobile phone hounds you to answer it, your email demands that you read it, while Alexa chides you to do your chores. And now, even cars are correcting your behavior by correcting your driving while scolding you with a flurry of flashing lights and annoying beeps.

Even the federal government tells you what to do by insisting automakers build cars that meet hundreds of different requirements, and it's why cars like the new 2019 Honda Insight Hybrid exist: to meet federal fuel economy mandates that dictate that an automakers fleet average 54.5 mpg by 2025. But this is one case where being told what's good for us is actually good for us.

Slotting between the Civic and Accord, the new Insight doesn't look dorky or odd like most other hybrids. Its eloquent elegance is striking. It's not merely the best-looking sedan in the Honda line-up; it's the best-looking hybrid on the market, wearing a sophistication that was once common on all Hondas.

Similarly, the Insight delivers enough power to tackle the Pokey Parkway Grand Prix, but not so much as to make a Middle Eastern oil minister happy. Honda's two-motor hybrid system, similar to the one used in the Accord Hybrid, employs a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors. One motor drives the front wheels while another produces electricity. The result generates 151 horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque while returning an EPA-rated 55 mpg city, 49 mpg highway, on base LX and mid grade EX models, 51 mpg city, 45 mpg highway on top-level Touring models. In a mix of heavy-footed suburban and highway driving, the Insight returned 43 mpg.

Obviously, your mileage will be better if you listen to the Insight scolding you to drive efficiently.

2019 Honda Insight (Honda)

2019 Honda Insight (Honda)

Uniquely, the Insight doesn't use a conventional transmission or a continuously variable transmission. Instead, a clutch connects the gas engine and electric generator motor to the electric propulsion motor. This results in power being supplied directly to the front wheels without a conventional transmission, saving weight and space.

As with any electric vehicle, throttle response is strong off the line, feeling sprightly, yet delivering a driveline response. But release your inner Andretti, and/or increase your speed, and you'll find the gas engine starts droning unpleasantly. Once it does, you'll find the Insight does not like being pushed around; smooth gradual inputs are rewarded. The regenerative braking, which captures energy during deceleration, is satisfactory, and the amount can be adjusted through paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

The Insight offers selectable driving modes, with Sport providing more punch thanks to extra battery assist, and the throttle seems more responsive. But it doesn't make the Insight a corner carver. Instead, you'll find driving it to be akin to a well-engineered mainstream sedan, with a quiet cabin, roomy interior _ even in the rear seat _ and the usual array of technology.

The roominess is especially notable. Unlike other hybrids, engineers placed the Insight's hybrid 60-cell lithium ion battery pack under the rear seats rather than in the trunk, allowing for a generous 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space and a folding rear seat back. What's also notable is the car's incredibly low seating position, which makes getting in and out of the car a test of core strength.

As you'd expect, the Insight coms with Honda's suite of driver assistance and safety features, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Of course, the technology most drivers care about is the infotainment package. The bottom line? If you want the larger eight-inch touchscreen, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you'll need to pop for the EX or Touring. Bluetooth and USB ports are offered on all models. Similar to the system used on the Honda Accord, there's a power/volume knob but no tuning knob, and while user interface looks more sophisticated, in reality it's not. And Honda's infotainment software issues continue, with Apple CarPlay freezing and the car unable to locate my iPhone 8 via Bluetooth; it had to be plugged in.

Is it a deal breaker? It depends your priorities. Nevertheless, the third-generation remains the best one Honda has yet produced, with handsome styling, a beautiful interior and quiet demeanor that lent it the aura of a car that belies its price.

And that's something you'd never say about a Toyota Prius.

___

Stats

Engine: Atkinson-Cycle 1.5-litre four-cylinder

Motors: AC Synchronous Permanent-Magnet

Horsepower: 151

Torque: 197 pound-feet

EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 5\5

Observed fuel economy: 42 mpg

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches

Length: 183.6 inches

Cargo capacity: 15.1 cubic feet

Curb weight: 2,987-3,078 pounds

IIHS rating: xx

___

ABOUT THE WRITER

Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. Readers may send him email at TheDrivingPrintz@gmail.com.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com