The Honda Insight Is Dead, Long Live the Civic, Accord, CR-V Hybrid
Electric vehicles might be newsmakers, but hybrids are a key part of many brands’ electrification plans. For example, Ford has the Maverick and F-150 Hybrid as well as the Lightning. And while Honda has some ambitious EV plans, it’s not neglecting hybrids by any means. But though it’s expanding its hybrid lineup, it’s also removing a long-running one: the Honda Insight.
The Honda Insight dies after 2022 so the 11th-gen Civic Hybrid can live
Toyota might’ve popularized hybrids with the second-gen Prius, but Honda invented the modern hybrid with the 1999 Insight. And while the current third-gen Insight isn’t as innovative as the first-gen model, it’s still a fantastic fuel saver. Unfortunately, it’s also an outdated one, at least where its platform is concerned.
See, the current Insight is based on the 10th-generation Civic. However, the actual Civic just entered its 11th generation a few months ago. Admittedly, automakers have sometimes continued ‘legacy’ platform production. And theoretically, Honda could redesign the Insight so it could ride on the new Civic platform. But that’s where the other problem comes in.
Viewed in a vacuum, third-gen Honda Insight sales are decent: over 70,000 sold since its 2018 introduction. Yet while Honda’s hybrid sales have grown year-over-year for five straight years, the Insight wasn’t the sales leader. In 2021, the first year Honda sold over 100,000 electrified vehicles in the US, the CR-V and Accord Hybrids outsold the Insight. Basically, there isn’t a strong-enough financial incentive to keep the Insight around.
However, Honda isn’t stepping away from hybrids. Instead, rather than building ‘spin-off’ models, it’s expanding its “core model” lineups with hybrid variants. So, rather than turning an 11th-gen Civic into an Insight, it’s bringing back the actual Civic Hybrid. Considering it sold almost 264,000 Civics just last year, this decision makes a lot of sense.
If you are an Insight fan, know that Honda isn’t discontinuing it right this second. But it is shuttering production in June 2022. So, if you want a brand-new one, the clock is ticking.
Honda is updating the CR-V and Accord Hybrid, too
The Civic isn’t the core Honda model getting a hybrid update, though. As noted earlier, the CR-V and Accord are already available in Hybrid trim. However, the current-gen Accord Hybrid debuted back in 2018. And the current-gen CR-V Hybrid dates back to 2020. That might not seem like a long time, but in the auto industry, that means it’s almost refresh time. Or indeed, in the CR-V’s case, a full-on update/redesign.
As of this writing, Honda hasn’t released details about the upcoming Civic Hybrid’s launch. But it claims an “all-new” CR-V Hybrid is coming later this year, followed by a new Accord Hybrid. Furthermore, Honda expects these new hybrids will eventually account for 50% of their respective model’s sales.
Will any of these cars be plug-in hybrids?
Speaking of sales, Honda eventually wants all its cars to be fully electric by 2040. Hence why it’s introducing these new hybrids and partnering with GM to co-develop affordable EVs. But there’s something seemingly missing from these plans: plug-in hybrids.
Although the current Honda CR-V Hybrid is a solid crossover, it doesn’t offer a plug-in option like the Toyota RAV4 Prime. Neither does the Accord Hybrid or the Insight. So, will the upcoming updates address this potential shortcoming?
As of this writing, it’s too early to tell. However, it’s worth noting that the European 2023 Civic Hybrid isn’t a PHEV. But thanks to its dual electric motors, it’s almost as powerful as the current Accord Hybrid, MotorTrend notes. In addition, Honda also includes fuel-cell EVs in its plans, so it might not see the need to pursue PHEVs.
Regardless, even though the Honda Insight is headed to the chopping block, the hybrid ball it started rolling isn’t stopping anytime soon.
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