Honda Insight: History

The 2019 Insight is the third Honda vehicle to wear the Insight name. Arriving nearly two decades after the launch of the first Insight Coupe – which was also the first mass-produced hybrid available in America – the newest version is an entirely different vehicle, with dramatically expanded comfort, performance, technology, utility and safety. This broadening and heightening of features takes the Insight nameplate from its origin as a niche vehicle straight to the epicenter of Americans’ needs and desires for a highly efficient, environmentally friendly, “no compromise” compact sedan. In doing so, the new Insight offers all the advantages of a hybrid without the compromises of reduced passenger and cargo space, or diminished ride and handling qualities that burden some purely electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids or fuel-cell vehicles.

Insight U.S. Model History

2000 Honda Insight.

1st Generation (2000-2006)
Assembled in Japan, upon its debut the first-generation Insight was the first hybrid car available in the U.S. Its lightweight, all-aluminum unibody featured a highly efficient aerodynamic design, incorporating an aggressively tapered exterior form and rear wheel skirts resulting in a low 0.25 coefficient of drag (Cd). Power came from a 3-cylinder, 67-hp engine with Honda’s proprietary crankshaft-mounted Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), helping the 2-passenger, 3-door hatchback achieve an EPA-estimated 53/47 city/highway fuel economy rating. In emissions performance, the first generation Insight earned an ULEV rating for the initial 6-speed manual transmission model and an even better SULEV rating for later CVT-equipped models. In all, some 16,000 first-generation Insights were sold.

2014 Honda Insight.

2nd Generation (2010-2014)
For the 2010 model year, Honda introduced the second-generation, Japanese-assembled Insight based on an all-new, 5-passenger, 5-door hybrid platform. This new generation Insight was designed to make hybrid technology affordable to a wide range of buyers. Coupled with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), it was powered by Honda’s fifth-generation Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system with a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor for a combined rating of 98-hp. It offered an EPA-estimated City/Highway rating of 41/44, and a ULEV-2/AT-PZEV emissions rating. In all, 73,000 second-generation Insights were sold.

2019 Honda Insight

3rd Generation (2019-)
For its third-generation, the American-assembled, all-new 2019 Insight shares its basic platform architecture with the highly-praised 10th-generation Civic. As a premium compact sedan, Insight is positioned and priced between Civic and Accord in Honda’s passenger car lineup. The latest Insight is unique in providing universally appealing styling, with the packaging and refinement of a premium compact sedan and fuel efficiency competitive with leading hatchback hybrid models. Powered by the third-generation of Honda’s innovative and efficient two-motor hybrid system, Insight’s 151 net system horsepower combines with a lightweight structure to deliver the best power-to-weight ratio in its class as well as up to 55-mpg in the city. Under most conditions, Insight operates as a series hybrid, in which the gasoline engine, connected to the generator motor, produces electricity that is supplied to either the electric propulsion motor and/or the 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack. The 2019 Insight carries a LEV3-SULEV30 emissions rating.

Insight Exterior Dimensions by Generation

Exterior Measurements 2006 Insight 2014 Insight
(change from previous generation)
2019 Insight
(change from previous generation)
Wheelbase (in) 94.5 100.4 (+5.9) 106.3 (+5.9)
Length (in) 155.3 172.3 (+17.0) 183.7 (+11.4)
Height (in) 55.4 56.2 (+0.8) 55.5 (-0.7)
Width (in) 66.7 66.7 71.7 (+5.0)
Track (in, front/rear) 56.5/52.2 58.3/58.0
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