The Honda Insight Prototype has been unveiled, ahead of a full debut at the 2018 Detroit motor show.

As with earlier prototypes, including the CR-V Hybrid and Civic Si coupe, the design of the production Insight should differ slightly from the car seen here, with any changes likely confined to the tail-lamp graphics, bumpers and alloy wheels.

While the original 1999 Insight was an aerodynamic, but otherwise compromised, three-door hatch, and the 2009 follow up was a five-door hatchback in the mould of the ever-popular Toyota Prius, the third-generation Insight is a slinky sedan.

Both externally and under the skin, the Insight seemingly owes a lot to the latest-generation Civic, and will be produced alongside it and the CR-V in Greensburg, Indiana.

Honda North America describes the new Insight as "a hybrid vehicle without any inherent compromise", with "styling, packaging, premium features and performance desired by mainstream car buyers".

The first- and second-generation Insight models featured cost-effective, but less fuel efficient mild hybrid drivetrains. Honda says the new version will have the company's latest two-motor full hybrid system, and "fuel economy that is competitive with other compact hybrid models".

Drivetrain, pricing and other details are being held back for the Insight Prototype's in-the-flesh debut at the Detroit motor show, which kicks off in January. In the US, the new Insight will be "positioned above the Civic".

Australia

The new Insight hybrid will go on sale in the States from the third quarter of 2018. It's not known at this stage whether the Insight will be sold in Australia, or whether it will produced and marketed in countries outside the USA.