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NY LIVE: 2019 Honda Insight

by Byron Hurd

Honda\'s hybrid is back with a Prius-rivaling 55 MPG city rating.

The original Prius alternative returns for 2019 with the debut of the production Honda Insight in New York City. Still warm from its debut in Detroit, Honda's hybrid concept is ready for the showroom.

Honda is known for "concept" debuts that are little more than production models with some one-off exterior touches, and this is no different. In fact, we challenge you to spot the changes.

The meat
What's important about this announcement is that we now have some numbers. When the concept was shown, Honda said the target for combined mileage was in excess of 50 MPG. This debut is accompanied by the announcement that Insight will get 55 MPG in the city--an excellent start. That puts it between the Prius (58 MPG city) and Prius Eco (54)--not a bad place to be.

Insight packs a third-generation Honda two-motor hybrid system with 151 net horsepower and 192lb-ft of peak torque. It's based on a 1.5L Atkinson-cycle engine paired with an electric motor (no specs available) and both juice a 60-cell lithium ion battery. The Insight is capable of roughly a mile of all-electric driving, which seems kind of low for a modern hybrid until you consider that this is not a plug-in.

The potatoes
The new Insight has been packaged as a good, old-fashioned sedan. Unlike the larger Clarity (and the last-generation Insight), the new model is not an in-your-face hybrid design that goes out of its way to scream "ECO-FRIENDLY FUTURE-MOBILE!" at you whenever it passes by. Depending on who you ask, this may be a good or bad thing. Those looking to make a statement may have to take their search elsewhere. Those who prefer to keep it low-key are in lucky.

The interior layout is also conventional. It's a five-seat compact which Honda says will be priced between the Civic and Accord. LED headlamps are standard, as it Honda Sensing (the company's active safety suite). Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available on higher trims.

The future
Insight will go into production soon and be available later this year. Stay tuned for more on its final fuel economy numbers and pricing structure.

Live photos by Brian Williams.