• Mar 11th 2008 at 3:25PM
  • 22

There is a huge aftermarket contingency turning small Hondas into performance cars by replacing their engines with larger versions from other vehicles. We're sure that you've noticed the various Civics and Integras buzzing around town, and soon those Civics could be Insights if this vehicle starts a new trend. Created by LHT Performance in Florida, this particular Insight features the K20A engine featured in various Honda and Acura models in both the U.S. and abroad. The conversion, of course, removes the Integrated Motor Assist that made the Insight a hybrid in the first place.

The same thing that makes the Insight such an efficient vehicle, its light weight, also makes it an ideal performance car. According to LHT, the car has close to 200 horsepower and scoots along very quickly. Fuel mileage isn't quite as good as a stock Insight, as you might imagine, but is still quite respectable at nearly 50 miles per gallon on average. We hope that removing the IMA engine from the Insight doesn't become a common sight, but we can appreciate the work that went into making this one.

[Source: LHT Performance]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      #10. The Insight looks the way it does for aerodynamics, it is the most aerodynamic production vehicle every made, The Prius II is the second most aerodynamic. The Prius is more popular because it's WAY more practical, but the Insight gets 50% better gas mileage. Even with more efficient engines, a car with better aerodynamics will use the available energy more efficiently, especially at speed. That will never change.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The original Insight with the manual transmission was good for a real world 70mpg+ on the highway.

      I always admired the engineering of these cars and would have bought one if I could have found one used, even though they are ugly, they have the most efficient car bodies ever in production.

      People say Honda couldn't move them. Truth is, Honda didn't want to move them. All aluminum construction meant these cost way more to build, Honda did almost no advertising and just built them to say they have the highest MPG car in America.

      I seldom see one used because they were rare to start with and anyone who has is probably enjoying the crazy gas mileage.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am big fan of the insight and this conversion, but you need to be somewhat accurate about mpg figures and where they come from.

      First the Fit gets 34 mpg Highway, the civic gets 36mpg highway, not 40mpg. The small difference comes not from the engine, but the aerodynamics. The fit is brick shaped, the new civics are very aerodynamic. Same reason the Insight does so well. Putting a 1.8L in the Fit would not have improved mileage.

      Running lean is also nice, but it gets harder to pass emissions when you do.

        • 8 Months Ago
        Sorry bro, Motorweek recorded 38 mpg highway with the 2006 Honda Civic and aired it on Speed Channel. If you use hyper-miling techniques you could easily top 45 or 48 mpg without even touching the engine. In case you did not know, hyper-miling is the practice of driving techniques that maximize fuel efficiency. I've read that hyper-miling has been a thing in Europe for quite some time now. As far as the Fit getting better gas milage (I'd be willing to put money on it!) from a 1.8, maybe if it was just any 1.8, but the R18 engine that I am speaking of is as efficient as some of Honda's 1.6 D-series engines. Engines that were producing just about the same fuel efficiency numbers as today's civic, in chassis' that were FAR lighter. Oh, and the Fit is far from a brick dude. Try bullet.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I've heard that the wheel covers add supposedly one mpg.

      You can look at the Insight without wheel skirts here: http://www.insightcentral.net/KB/photos/pictures-styling.html
      • 8 Months Ago
      I keep wishing I could go back to my 86 CRX Si. 41MPG HWY on regular, 8 secs 0-60. A 91HP, but it weighed in at 1945lbs if I recall.

      It was safe as hell and never needed airbags or those other several hundred pounds of safety features because I never got in a wreck.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The tuning of production cars is a compromise between power, emissions, fuel economy, long-term reliability, all-weather drivability, and other factors. The 14.7:1 gasoline stoichiometric ratio is a compromise between emissions and economy. In my days tuning my old Mitsubishi Eclipse one of the topics on a tuning discussion group was running leaner than stock for fuel economy. With a wideband air/fuel sensor and careful monitoring of the knock sensor people were running 15.5:1, 16:1, and even leaner on 20-year-old Mitsubishi 4G63 engines under light load cruise conditions. Being able to run 19:1 afr at 40 degrees timing without knock is a testament to the engineering in the much newer K20 engine. However, there is a trade-off in the form of increased emissions. My memory is a bit rusty, but I believe that below 14.7:1 unburnt hydrocarbon emissions increase, but above 14.7:1 oxides of nitrogen (NOX) increase. So along with the other reasons listed above, emissions forces OEMs to compromise. There are strategies to get around this problem, some of them advanced by Honda themselves. I remember reading about an engine with direct fuel injection and an odd "pocket" cast into the piston- I think it may have been a Honda project. Under light load conditions fuel was injected into this pocket and ignited before it could migrate out of it. The local AFR in the "pocket" was more nearly stoichiometric while th total AFR in the cylinder was very lean- 19:1 or 20:1. I'm sure we'll be seeing advances like this as fuel economy becomes ever more important in the days of 4, 5, and $6 gas.
      • 8 Months Ago
      And just think what you could do with a Civic HX's motor.

      And, as for the Prius II being the second most aerodynamic production car... both the 3rd-generation VW Jetta and the 5th-generation VW Passat were more aerodynamic. Frontal area is important, too.
      • 8 Months Ago
      steven--"never needed airbags or those other several hundred pounds of safety features because I never got in a wreck."

      HAHA! That's like saying you don't need homeowners insurance because your house never burned down.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Trust me it looks worse without the wheel covers.

      Honda should have offered this from the start.
      • 8 Months Ago
      No, it was a attempt at humor.
      • 8 Months Ago
      If you want an efficient car, you need to make sacrifices. Said sacrifices are often power, space or handling. And sometimes they're cosmetic. Personally, I'd take funny-looking if it meant better mileage. Of course, I drive a Saab, so I'm already one foot in the water, as it were.

      What I don't understand is why people complain about styling. Aerodynamics that benefit fuel economy are very similar to those that benefit sportscars, and generally a high-performance car isn't particularly ugly. I also wonder how much better mileage one might get out of, say,a Tahoe hybrid's powertrain if it wasn't pushing that brick of a body around.
      • 8 Months Ago
      this car would look so much better without the covers over the back wheels. does anyone know how much they actually increase the mileage?
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