Being featured as an enforcer car on the Ultraman show in Japan really shows the futuristic if not cartoony design of Honda Insight. Honda’s first hybrid vehicle might not be as popular as Toyota Prius, but just what happens when you put a high output motor into a body of a purposed built efficient hybrid shell? Sheer unadulterated fun… More witty comments and pictures after the click.
If you know Honda, then you might know that this small Japanese automotive company chants fuel efficiency as their daily prayer. Being the top American automotive brand that has the highest Corporate Average Fuel Economy/CAFE (or the total average fuel consumption of cars currently sold), Honda, along with Toyota, doesn’t just talk the talk, they also walk the walk. Toyota Prius and Honda Insight both are pioneers in its own right, both delivers a real hybrid car solution before any other automotive brands. However, as the status imply, a hybrid car is, from the perspective of enthusiast are super boring cars. It whizzes not snarl, and it scoots with less than enough push. Well, this is because hybrid cars trying to save fuel, not burnt it, so there goes all your manly sound and the car equivalent of pelvic thrust.
Honda Insight in particular, tries to achieve fuel economy by the means of aerodynamic efficiency and weight savings. As we can see, the Insight has a, how to put it… A peculiar shape, it looks like a bad “year 2000” car from a bad 1980s film… If you didn’t catch my drift, watch Knight Rider 2000, and witness how bad the 80s envision KITT of the year 2000. The clean tear drop profile of Insight is made purposely to minimize turbulence and air resistance as the car moves along, especially in cruising speed. Like a true teardrop, the rear part of the car slopes down and creates an area worthy only to sit capuchin monkey or an oversize golf bag. Talk about shapes, the wheels used a boring decision, almost a complete round plate so air moves along the side of the tires, especially the rear wheels are covered in half by a body kit to further streamline aerodynamic on the rear end of the car.
The overall trick to make the car more aero efficient however, makes it one of the least desirable looking car in the new millenia, well, at least probably the 80s crowd will appreciate this retro-futuristic looking car. Compared to Toyota Prius, the Insight almost looks like a toy than a proper car. To make matter worse, Honda has discontinued the Insight to make way for a hybrid akin to Prius, more space and more practical. But truth be told, the magic of Honda Insight design has been proved time and time again, and this news story is just another page in the magic of Insight.
Introducing LHT Performance, a Florida based (America) tuner that manage to breathe a new life to Honda Insight and steals some breath from yours truly. Like Honda intended, the Insight is a light weight car, to save fuel of course, but this advantages was offset by the fact that the car carries battery which itself was quiet heavy. Now, LHT Performance removes all this battery and in fact, they remove all the hybrid power train of the Insight and replacing it with a tuned K20 producing 200 wheel horse power. Mind you, wheel horse power is output rated at the wheels, not at the engine, the engine might produces more than 200 break horse power. So? A fast Insight, there’s a dragster Insight, that’s definitely more than 200 wheel horse power. But how about that this latest Insight incarnation is a daily driver with power rivals that of current Honda latest “sport” model, the Civic Si, and it returns 55+ MPG (highway)? Well that certainly took my attention. For comparison sake, the 2008 Civic SI returns only 29 MPG (highway).
What makes this car special is that it is created with OEM in mind. Every parts used are as close to original Honda parts available for the Insight. The fuel tank, the engine mounts, all are Honda’s, with few custom braces and wheels. Like a functional car that is the Insight, LHT Performance manage to properly installs creature comforts such as power steering and air conditioner.
The K-Sight, as it is affectionately called by the LHT guys, features the same shape and body kit from the original Honda Insight. In fact, the car look sooooo much like the original Honda Insight, you might accuse LHT Performance only changed the wheels and installs a slotted disc brake. But that’s the whole point I guess, and it works like a charm. As it uses parts from original Honda parts, there are no “teething” problem for the K-Sight, everything is running smoothly from the get go. Although 48 MPG is reported from the first 3500 miles, it is expected after further tuning that 55 MPG+ will be easily achievable… 55 MPG… About 20 MPG less than the actual hybrid engine, amazing…