Honda is reviving the Insight, a hybrid from the 2000’s, in an attempt to take on the Prius, but can it compete?
Could a brand new Honda Insight finally bring down the haughty Toyota Prius?
If you were to ask what car would be the least likely to come back from the dead, the good money would probably go to the Insight, Honda’s twice-failed foray into the strange world of hybrid-electric cars.
It’s easy to forget since very few of them were ever sold, but the original Insight was revolutionary for its day. Featuring a tiny one-liter engine that magically produced 70 miles to the gallon (or 3.4 L/100 km if you prefer more complicated math), people just couldn’t get past the compact car’s bizarre appearance; it looked like a Reliant Robin from some Star Trekkian future.
Not being able to see the back tires evidently makes people nervous.
The first generation Insight ended in 2006, with the second generation appearing in 2009. Listening to the complaints of the original—complete lack of power, space, and performance—Honda created an entirely new car that managed to look exactly like a Toyota Prius. And if you wanted a Prius, you’d just go buy a Prius.
Honda managed to confuse enough people into buying the Insight to justify its existence until 2014, but by then their sales had tanked and they stopped making them.
Flash forward to next week, when Honda plans to unveil the all-new third generation Insight. This time they decided to make their car look like one of their own, giving it styling reminiscent of their vaunted Accord. But unlike the Accord, this 5-door sedan comes with an absolutely minuscule 1.5-L 4-banger that Honda says doesn’t even connect to the wheels.