Making its official debut at the Detroit Auto Show, the Honda Insight hybrid makes its return to the stage redesigned and repositioned for better performance on the highway as well as the showroom.

The first Honda Insight came in 1999, a groundbreaking hybrid car with an aluminum body and an EPA rating of 70 mpg. The next generation was more mainstream in 2009, more akin to a Toyota Prius in its form but being a mild hybrid with uncompetitive mpg, it never really…competed.

Coming in 2019 is the third-generation Honda Insight, now more mainstream than ever. In fact it should look familiar as it is based on the wildly popular Honda Civic. Sharing its basic body shell with the Civic, the Insight however gets a significant styling makeover to set it apart.

While we haven’t seen the 2019 Honda Civic yet, the Insight boasts unique sheet metal in the front fenders, hood, the doors and trunk lid, all with a more premium appeal. This makes sense as the Insight will be slotted price wise above the Civic and below the Clarity family of cars.

Styling is sleeker in fact with a face more upscale and similar to that of the larger Accord sedan. Generous chrome on the sculpted grille is book ended by slim LED headlights. The hood sets down in the fenders for a unique look.

At the rear, the LED taillights are also slimmer than on the current Civic sedan with a more formal trunk lid and a unique rear fascia tidied up for a cleaner living life as a hybrid.

The interior while very similar to the Honda Civic will have unique trims and appliques along with premium features like an 8-inch display audio infotainment system, a digital instrument cluster and of course leather seating will be available.

Because its lithium-ion battery pack will reside under the rear seat, trunk space will be unaffected and 60/40 fold down rear seats will carry over from the Civic sedan.

The big news is that the Honda Insight should boast segment leading EPA fuel economy from its 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, its powerful electric motor drive system and the aforementioned lithium-ion battery pack.

Honda tells us the Insight is expected to achieve in excess of 50 mpg combined. This comes by way of its powerful electric motor that will motivate the Insight most of the time, sometimes assisted by the gasoline engine as a generator, only providing direct motive power under extreme power output.

While the car you see here is billed as a prototype, Honda tells us the 2019 Insight will go on sale late this year. It will be built here in the United States at the Greensburg, Indiana production plant alongside the Civic upon which it’s based.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet but expect about a $3,000 uptick over comparable Honda Civic sedans trim grade to trim grade.