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Out with the old, and in with the new. That is certainly what Honda has done for the model year with the totally revamped 2019 Honda Insight. If you think this first installment in the third generation of Insights looks different, that's because it is. Gone is the old hatchback style, and in its place is a chic new hybrid sedan. Although the very first Insight was on the market just months prior to the Toyota Prius, the Insight got overshadowed. This model year, the Insight emerges from the shadows to challenge its competitors.
What's New for 2019?
Virtually everything is new on the 2019 Honda Insight. From the build structure down to some of the nitty-gritty interior details, Honda has made huge changes on this vehicle. Since the second generation of the Insight was canceled back in 2014, Honda has pulled more from its newer sedan models (particularly the Accord) to make the Insight contemporary.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Honda Insight – The Pros
1. Rapid Acceleration
Most hybrid vehicles are not known for getting swift acceleration. In fact, some of them can seem quite sluggish. This is not the case for the 2019 Honda Insight. The electric motor has a surprisingly snappy response time and is able to power up the front wheels from a stopped position without hesitation. Combined with the 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine, the hybrid powertrain provides ample power to get this sedan hybrid moving, even on the highway.
2. An Excellent Fuel Economy
Fuel economy on a gasoline-only Honda is typically excellent, so you can be sure that the Honda Insight's hybrid powertrain yields some strong numbers. The heavily-equipped Touring trim is able to get a combined 48 mpg (51 mpg city and 45 mpg highway) while the lower trims levels get an astounding 52 combined mpg (55 mpg city and 49 mpg highway). In other words, you are getting an Accord with an even better fuel economy. Competitors are going to have a tough time besting the Insight.
3. A High-quality Interior Design
Nothing about the interior of the 2019 Honda Insight seems low-brow or even average. The cabin itself is set up a lot like the one you will find in the 2019 Accord, and this is a good thing. All of the materials seem durable and are pleasing to the eye. The line-topping Touring trim features stunning leather upholstery that is well-stitched, and the cloth upholstery that comes on the lower trims still looks nice and feels soft to the touch.
4. A Sedan Style With an Advantage
Making the leap from a hatchback to the sedan style is clearly a smart move for Honda, who are probably best known for making some powerful and long-lasting sedans (the Accord and Civic). Long-time Honda lovers are already finding themselves impressed with this hybrid's similarities to the Accord, and those looking for the utmost in fuel efficiency are also bound to be attracted to the spacious Insight. This clearly gives the Insight the advantage over many hybrid competitors who lack the space and style.
5. Smooth Braking Capabilities
Switching between regular brakes and the hybrid system's regenerative brakes is remarkably smooth. Many hybrid vehicles struggle to make such a feat, resulting in a shaky uneasiness for drivers. Those who drive the 2019 Honda Insight will likely appreciate the confidence the brakes inspire. The brakes feel similar to what you find on the Accord and Civic, two sedans that evoke a sense of reliability and security while braking.
6. A Huge Cargo Capacity
The cargo capacity on the Insight is massive and well-designed. Honda plays it smart by placing the battery pack beneath the rear seats as opposed to in the cargo area where it would eat up a ton of precious space. Although the subwoofer on the Touring trim takes a little bit away from the available car space, it is not a huge loss. With all seats in place, the Insight's lower trim levels get 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space, and the Touring has 14.7 cubic feet available. For a hybrid vehicle, this is pretty substantial.
7. Features Are Easy to Use
In the past, Honda struggled with making some of its tech features user-friendly. On the 2019 Honda Insight, they have been vastly improved. Not only are many infotainment features standard (such as smartphone app integration, music streaming via Pandora, a multi-angle camera for the rearview, and Bluetooth connectivity), but they are displayed on a well-functioning and easy-to-use 8-inch touchscreen display screen. It seems that Honda has truly listened to their customers and made a significant effort to improve their technology.
8. Numerous Advanced Safety Features
In addition to having a long list of tech features, the Honda Insight also boasts a number of helpful advanced safety features. This includes a forward collision warning and mitigation system, automatic high beams, lane keep assist, a driver attention monitor, adaptive cruise control, and a feature that reads traffic signs. Some of the vehicle's competitors do not offer these as standard features across their line-ups, and adding them on can come at a price. The fact that Honda wraps them into the price tag is a nice gesture.
9. The Virtual Slider For Volume Control is Gone
One of the most annoying features that Honda used to slap onto its vehicles was a virtual slider for volume control. This feature was finicky and far from being user-friendly. Thankfully, Honda has given the virtual slider the ax this year, so you will not find it on the 2019 Honda Insight. Instead, you get a physical knob that lets you control the volume with ease.
10. Comfortable Seats
Taking a long ride in the Honda Insight is enjoyable thanks to the comfort that drivers and passengers alike can derive from the well-bolstered front and rear seats. There is plenty of lumbar support to be found, and the seats are wide enough to accommodate people of all sizes. With plenty of head and leg room in the rear, the seats feel even more relaxing to sit in.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Honda Insight – The Cons
1. Engine Can Get Loud Under High Acceleration
There are not too many qualms to be had with the 2019 Honda Insight. The biggest one is probably the fact that the engine can get noisy when it is forced into high acceleration. The engine tends to drone, and this noise does seep into the cabin. The Insight can also give off the impression that it is powered by a slightly obnoxious CVT. The engine droning takes some getting used to but is not noticeable during normal driving situations.
2. The Base Trim Lacks Split-folding Rear Seats
One of the oddball issues that can be found on the Honda Insight is that the base LX trim does not have 60/40 split folding rear seats. You have to upgrade to the EX trim level to get these seats. This puts a damper on cargo space in the LX and will likely lead to a lot of consumers spending extra money to upgrade to the EX trim just to get folding seats. Since many competitors have standard 60/40 split folding rear seats, it is puzzling that Honda has restricted this to its higher trim levels.
3. LaneWatch Can Become a Distraction
While Honda has finessed many of its safety and infotainment features, LaneWatch is still rather flawed. The LaneWatch system will go so far as to override whatever visuals you have up on your center screen. Having that much important information get blocked by an overly-sensitive system is quite the distraction for most drivers.
4. The Lack of USB Ports For Rear Seat Passengers
Although the 2019 Honda Insight offers several USB ports up front (and the EX and Touring trims do get an extra USB port in the front of the cabin), there are none available in the rear. This means that rear seat passengers will either have to pass their devices to the front of the vehicle or forego plugging them in altogether. Since quite a few competitors are now offering rear seat USB ports, it does not make sense that Honda would skip out on such a simple and attractive addition.
How it stacks up to the competition:
2019 Honda Insight vs. 2019 Toyota Prius
The biggest rival for the 2019 Honda Insight is undoubtedly the ever-popular Toyota Prius. The Prius was the Insight's original competition and has sustained over the years while the Insight has been off the market. The 2019 Prius has a great return on fuel and has a quiet cabin that isn't intruded upon by the engine. However, it has a sluggish acceleration and infotainment setup on the center console that seems a bit distracting.
2019 Honda Insight vs. 2019 Kia Niro
The Insight's other big competitor this year is the 2019 Kia Niro. The Niro is competitively priced and has a battery being stashed underneath the rear seat. Unfortunately, this does not give the Niro the advantage over the Insight when it comes to cargo space. Also, the line-topping Touring trim is not as fuel efficient as the Insight's top trim.
The 2019 Honda Insight marks an exciting change in the hybrid market, proving that the sedan has not gone out-of-style. With an amazing fuel economy and strong powertrain, the Insight is sure to shake up the hybrid competition for this model year.