Let's start with the Insight. We honestly didn't know that Honda would be recycling that nameplate until this morning. We did know that Honda would reveal a "compact dedicated hybrid" at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We don't know what platform will underpin the new Insight — and "dedicated" could just refer to the nameplate, not the platform. So perhaps it's on its own platform, or it shares with another compact Honda: the Civic.
Then why not call it the Civic Hybrid?
Our guess is that Honda wants to separate the sporty from the "upscale," the latter being a used to describe the Insight in its press release this morning.
But Clarity is also being called "upscale," yet there's no traditional hybrid under that nameplate. What's that about?
That's a separation of segment, and possibly also powertrain technology. Insight is compact, Clarity is mid-size. The Clarity nameplate might also be reserved for cars with plugs or fuel cells, which the Insight doesn't have. The fact that Honda chose to make its midsize PHEV a Clarity rather than stick with the Accord nameplate could be evidence of that.
Oh yeah, the Accord. What's up with that?
There is a new Accord Hybrid on the way. It'll be roomier than the Insight. There won't be an Accord Plug-In Hybrid, because Clarity has that covered. Clear enough?
One more time?
Honda compact ICE: Civic
Honda compact hybrid: Insight
Honda compact EVs: None, right now. (But you can get the sub-compact Fit EV in certain places.)
Honda mid-size ICE: Accord
Honda mid-size hybrid: Accord Hybrid
Honda mid-size EVs: Clarity Electric, Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
So what would Honda call a compact plug-in or fuel cell vehicle?
Who knows? But probably not Civic. We'd guess they'd either start growing the Insight family or give it its own nameplate.
You're welcome. Thanks for reading.