WE LIKE Smart style and packaging, excellent ride, lane centering technology WE DONT LIKE The roaring, thrashy powertrain With the Insight, Honda makes the bold statement that an affordable, smartly packaged hybrid need not look dorky (ahem, Clarity). But our judges were puzzled by the decision to bring back this nameplate and not just badge this five-seat sedanwith its cleverly hidden batteries and proper-sized trunka Civic Hybrid. After all, the two clearly share a lot more than identical wheelbases. I really like the interior, Christian Seabaugh said. Its a Civics for sure, but if it aint broke, dont fix it. He was also among the judges who commended the Insight for its other Civic characteristics: thoughtful style and storage solutions, seamless/silent adaptive cruise control performance, and beautiful road manners. The way it gently, silently floated through town in EV mode was a unique experience. It made rippled, uneven pavement disappear; this car perhaps has the best ride and ability to soak up impacts in the finalist group. So why isnt it our winner? Rousing the hybrid from EV mode reveals its Achilles heel. Frank Markus applauds Honda for not faking CVT gear ratios and just letting the engine hang at its power peak, but all of the judges noted the clatter of this process, and most denounced it. Simply put, the calibration of the CVT is unacceptable, Chris Theodore said. Hondas engineers need to sacrifice some efficiency and recalibrate for the customers peace of mind. Added Angus MacKenzie: The CVT transmission calibration has it roaring at high rpm under relatively modest acceleration events such as hill climbing and freeway merging and passing. It's loud, grainy, and obtrusive enough to annoy even the least discerning customer. READ ABOUT 2019CAR OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: Buick Regal Ford Mustang Ford Transit Connect Hyundai Accent Hyundai Elantra Honda Clarity Kia Forte Lexus ES Lexus LS Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Nissan Altima Toyota Avalon Toyota Corolla Hatchback Volkswagen Jetta READ ABOUT 2019 SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS: BMW X2 BMW X3 BMW X4 Cadillac XT4 Ford EcoSport Ford Edge Hyundai Santa Fe Infiniti QX50 Jaguar E-Pace Jeep Cherokee Lexus RX L Mercedes-Benz G-Class Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Nissan Kicks Subaru Ascent 2019 Honda Insight Touring Base Price/As tested $28,985/$28,985 Power (SAE net) 152 hp @ 6,000 rpm (gas)/129 hp (elec)/152 hp (comb) Torque (SAE net) 99 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (gas)/197 lb-ft (elec) Accel, 0-60 mph 7.7 sec Quarter-mile 16.0 sec @ 85.4 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 121 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.80 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 28.2 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb 51/45/48 mpg VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE/TRANSMISSION 1.5L Atkinson-cycle DOHC 16-valve I-4 plus front electric motor/1-speed auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,068 lb (61/39%) WHEELBASE 106.3 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 183.6 x 71.6 x 55.6 in ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 66/75 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.40 lb/mile The post Honda Insight: 2019 Motor Trend Car of the Year Finalist appeared first on Motor Trend .