Honda has officially taken the wraps off the all-new 2019 Honda Insight ahead of its world debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The Insight moniker makes a return as a sedan now, filling the void created by the absence of a proper Civic Hybrid. The Insight joins the Clarity series and 2018 Accord Hybrid as the fifth new electrified Honda vehicle introduced over the past year.

Positioned as a premium compact sedan, the Insight will be priced between the Civic FC and Accord in Honda’s passenger car line-up. In the US, it will be available in three trims – Insight LX, Insight EX and Insight Touring.

All three variants share the same powertrain, that is Honda’s third-generation Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) two-motor hybrid system. It features a 1.5 litre Atkinson cycle engine, an electric motor and a 60-cell lithium-ion battery pack. Output is rated at 151 hp and 267 Nm of torque (best-in-class power-to-weight ratio), and it has a claimed fuel consumption rating of 23.3 km per litre.

Under most driving conditions, the Insight operates as a series hybrid, in which the petrol engine – connected to the generator motor – produces electricity that is supplied to either the e-motor and/or the battery pack. Trust Hondas with good packaging – the hybrid batteries are located under the rear seats for a full-size 427 litres of boot space with available 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

There are three driving modes as standard – Normal, Econ and Sport, and all Insights have steering wheel-mounted deceleration selectors to choose among three levels of regenerative braking performance, depending on driving conditions.

In normal mode, the Insight is capable of all-electric driving for about 1.6 km. Unlike rival systems, Honda says its two-motor hybrid tech works without the need for a conventional automatic transmission, with the electric motor directly powering the front axles. At higher speeds, a lock-up clutch connects the engine to the drive axles to provide the most efficient operation while driving.

The new Insight shares the same basic platform architecture with the Civic FC. Being the more premium offering of the two, the Insight gets additional enhancements to further improve ride quality, cabin quietness and efficiency. Wheelbase is the same at 2,700 mm, but Honda claims the Insight features best-in-class rear legroom space of 950 mm.

The body now features Honda’s Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. To reduce weight, the bonnet is made of aluminium, whereas the engine bay, front fenders, front firewall, and front and rear floor all get more sound insulating materials to improve cabin quietness.

Ride is managed by a fully-independent suspension system – MacPherson struts up front and multi-link rear – with liquid-sealing compliance bushings at both ends (Touring model only). Like the Civic, the Insight also features variable-ratio dual-pinion electric power steering, and the much-lauded electro-servo brake system, which is also fitted to the City Hybrid and Jazz Hybrid, continues braking duties here.

In terms of design, it boasts far sleeker styling than the preceding Insight, with a low and wide stance highlighted by Honda’s signature “flying wing” grille and familiar front fascia. Standard items across the board are the full LED headlights, lower-mounted LED DRLs, LED taillights and heated side mirrors.

The base LX trim ride on 16-inch alloys shod with higher profile tyres. Inside, there’s a seven-inch digital TFT meter for the driver, push-button start, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and Pandora support, as well as folding rear seats.

The Insight EX adds Smart Entry, two additional speakers, SiriusXM radio and an eight-inch Display Audio touchscreen with smartphone-like features and functionality, including customisable app tiles and shortcuts. This infotainment system also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities.

The top Insight Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, powered moonroof, LED side-mirror turn signals, perforated leather seating, heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver and four-way power for the passenger and dual-zone climate control.

The Insight Touring gets the same eight-inch touchscreen unit as the EX, but adds Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, Honda HD Digital Traffic, 4G LTE Wi-Fi with mobile hotspot capability and Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates, next-generation HondaLink subscription services, a 10-speaker premium audio system and HomeLink Remote System.

For safety, the Insight will of course get Honda Sensing, which includes Forward Collison Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance System, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Traffic Sign Recognition.

The EX and Touring trims get Honda LaneWatch, and standard for all is a multi-angle rear-view camera. The Insight is also structurally safe – it gets an NCAP five-star Overall Vehicle Score and IIHS Top Safety Pick with a “Good” rating in all crash test modes and a “Superior” rating for front crash protection.

“The Honda Insight shows consumers that the efficiency of a hybrid car doesn’t mean sacrificing style, refinement or performance,” said American Honda Motor senior vice president, Henio Arcangeli Jr. “The Insight is another symbol of a new era in the evolution of Honda electrified vehicles, where customers can have everything they want with no compromises.”

The 2019 Honda Insight will be manufactured alongside the Civic and CR-V at Honda’s plant in Greensburg, Indiana. The hybrid battery unit will be assembled at the company’s Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio, whereas the 1.5 litre Atkinson cycle engine is manufactured by Honda’s Anna, Ohio engine plant, which also produces the engine for the Ohio-made 2018 Accord Hybrid. What do you think of the Insight?