If you’ve been wishing for a 55-mpg Civic hybrid, Honda has a deal for you. But the company is calling it the Honda Insight, evoking its memorable first hybrid and a not-so-memorable attempt later to revive the name for a stand-alone hybrid, a mild hybrid that never quite competed toe to toe with the Toyota Prius.
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The 2019 Honda Insight works because it starts out as an appealing compact car with most of the attributes that have made the latest Honda Civic hugely successful — even as demand for cars has gone south — and then it adds a new Insight exclusive: fuel economy estimated by Honda at 55 mpg in the city — the only fuel-economy estimate available so far. The Honda Insight has a version of the two-motor hybrid system that’s in the 2018 Accord hybrid.
The new Insight also is handsome in its own more conservative way, with styling that keeps the Civic proportions but smooths out some of the edginess for a premium look better suited to what will be a higher price (exact pricing has not yet been announced, but Honda says it will slide in between Civic and Accord). The look also is a better fit for buyers who, regardless of age, probably think of themselves as mature and responsible rather than young and sporty.
Overall, Honda’s Insight formula should to be enough to lure a slice of buyers considering a conventional compact sedan. It’s also a good-looking and comfortable alternative to a Toyota Prius, the hybrid leader, that ought to get a share of shoppers searching for a high-mileage hybrid.
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