Honda has made some confusing moves when it comes to the Insight and Civic Hybrid. Those confusing moves continue, as the company has announced that the Insight will die to make way for the return of the Civic Hybrid. We should’ve had the Civic Hybrid all along.
To look at what makes this confusing, you have to take a look at the Insight’s history over the years. The first-gen Insight was a marvel, a full-on fuel sipper with pinky extended. It was the first vehicle for sale in the U.S. to hit 70 mpg. But being a two-seater hatch, it was impractical, and it went away in 2006.
In 2009, a second-gen Insight debuted as a full-blown Prius fighter, right down to its weird, wedge-shaped body. Honda claims it was done in the name of aerodynamics, but the design really came across as a knock-off of the Prius’ design (looking at you too first-gen Hyundai Ioniq). Sales sucked, with criticism hitting the cheapness of its interior and its inferior gas mileage compared to the Prius. Honda only sold 67,731 over its four-year run.
This is where things get confusing. Honda introduced a Civic Hybrid on the seventh-gen Civic in 2001 (2002 for the U.S. market). From then on, there was a Civic Hybrid for sale every year through 2014. Then 2015 rolled around, and Honda introduced a 10th generation Civic, but no hybrid. Honda decided to make the Civic Hybrid its own model by calling it, you guessed it, Insight. The current Insight has been on sale since 2018 and is essentially a Civic with a familiar name. Even their exterior dimensions are nearly identical.
But now Honda has reversed course again. With the company’s recent announcement of a $40 billion investment in EVs, the company thinks Hybrids are a way to bridge the gap to full-on electrification. The company has announced that it will focus on three models to drive hybrid volume: Accord Hybrid, CR-V Hyrbid, and a new Civic Hybrid. Insight production will end this summer, marking another end to a nameplate that was once influential in making hybrids mainstream in the U.S.