Honda is set to give the final production version of the new Insight hybrid its global debut at the New York International Auto Show opening this week, and has now revealed images of what the car looks like ahead of the official unveiling at the prestigious event.
While it’s not unusual for a manufacturer to discontinue a vehicle in its portfolio and then find market conditions have changed to a point where reintroducing it in a new form appears to be the thing to do, what Honda is doing here is unusual. Not only is it unusual for a manufacturer to make this turnaround in less than four years after first discontinuing the model, but for it to be a hybrid model that was taken out of production at a time when electrification was just starting to take off really does make one scratch your head.
To be fair to Honda, the images of the new production version of the Insight shows a car that’s likely to find much more favor with potential buyers due to how it looks than its predecessor could ever have hoped for. Unsurprisingly, the production model looks pretty much identical to the concept version unveiled earlier at the Detroit show.
The new Insight is based on the current Civic platform, and it will be built at Honda’s facility in Indiana where the Civic and CR-V are also built. At the moment Honda is insisting that there are no plans to offer the new Insight for sale in Europe, although its hybrid powertrain is likely to make the trip under the hood of a Civic.
That system is made up of a 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with a generator motor and a propulsion motor. Most of the time the propulsion motor is only used for forward movement, which means the petrol engine turns the generator motor to produce the electricity for the propulsion motor.
However, there are certain circumstances, such as motorway driving at speed where a lock-up clutch will then connect the engine to help the drive axles. This is a lot like the “range-extender” system already found in the American Chevrolet Volt, and could be a kind of hybrid system we might be seeing more of in the future. – AFP Relaxnews