The first-generation Honda Insight was the first hybrid to appear on the American market. It was a two-seat, two-door hatchback that weighed less than 2,000 pounds and achieved around 60 mpg. Under its hood was a small 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine that only made around 67 hp. As you can imagine, that minuscule motor made it pretty slow. But can a first-gen Honda Insight be modified to go faster?

The aftermarket support for the first-generation Honda Insight is almost non-existent

honda, insight, modifications

A side view of the 2001 Honda Insight. | Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

While you can technically modify the first-generation Honda Insight, its aftermarket performance support is basically non-existent. That means that any performance modifications would most likely need to be fabricated. While other popular platforms like the Honda Civic have off-the-shelf performance parts like cold-air intakes, exhaust systems, and tuning software, the Insight does not.

That being the case, plenty of first-gen Honda Insight enthusiasts have resorted to completely swapping out the hybrid powertrain in favor of a K-Series swap from an Acura RSX. A few manufacturers – like Innovative Mounts — make engine mounts to swap the larger engine and transmission. Also, a custom wiring harness, exhaust, fuel, and cooling system are necessary.

Why would anyone want to swap a K-Series engine into a Honda Insight?

Honda spent a lot of time and effort making the Insight’s chassis stiff and lightweight. When you mix that featherweight chassis with an engine that makes 200 hp and is mated to a close-ratio, six-speed manual transmission, you get quite the pocket rocket. According to many K-swapped Insight owners on K20a.org, this performance combination is good for quarter-mile times in the 10 and 11-second range.

For reference, that’s as fast as a BMW i4 M50 and a Chevy Camaro ZL1. Both cost around five times as much as a K-swapped Honda Insight. That said, you can look forward to spending around $10,000 to $15,000 for a properly swapped Honda Insight. However, that cost can add up if you add more performance modifications to the engine.

There are some fuel-efficiency modifications for the first-generation Honda Insight

honda, insight, modifications

The view of the battery pack on a first-generation Honda Insight. | Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images

Although engine swapping a first-gen Honda Insight is fun, it may not be for everyone. In that case, the Insight can be modified for fuel efficiency instead. The battery pack on the Insight is made up of 120 D-sized nickel-metal hydride batteries for a total output of 6.5 amp hours. However, that battery pack can be swapped out for an 8 amp hour battery pack from aftermarket companies like Greentec Auto.

This modification alone can lead to better fuel economy and greater performance. There are also aftermarket electronic controllers available, which allow the user to control the Insights regenerative braking and battery output for better efficiency.

Modifications aside, the Insight is great for what it is

honda, insight, modifications

A view of the engine bay on a red Honda Insight. | David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

While the first-generation Honda Insight can be modified to be faster and more efficient, it’s still a good car for what Honda meant. If you can find a clean example, you’ll have a car that can achieve over 50 mpg and operate reliably for many years. However, if you want to swap the engine, you can have a race car that will beat nearly anything on the streets.

TECH NEWS RELATED

What Are the Cons of Owning a 2022 Ford Ranger?

One of the most well-reviewed midsize pickups on the market is the 2022 Ford Ranger. As a popular model, it’s no surprise if you have questions about it. Although the majority of reviews are positive, there are always cons to owning any vehicle. Before you buy the midsize truck, what ...

View more: What Are the Cons of Owning a 2022 Ford Ranger?

Senate improves EV tax credit in largest climate bill ever

The Senate has voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes nearly $400 billion over 10 years in funding for climate and energy related programs, and an extension and improvement of the US electric car tax credit. The bill passed with a vote of 51-50, with all Democrats ...

View more: Senate improves EV tax credit in largest climate bill ever

Senate Passed Inflation Reduction Act; what it means for EVs

Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, and included in that bill are changes to the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit. BREAKING: The US Senate has just passed the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which contains the $7,500 EV credit. The House is set to reconvene from ...

View more: Senate Passed Inflation Reduction Act; what it means for EVs

Nissan Navara-R Is a Pickup Truck With the Heart of a GT-R

Nissan is an automaker that has made a wide variety of cars, from practical work trucks like the Nissan Frontier to extremely powerful sports cars like the Nissan GT-R. As a result, Nissan has quite a few fans, and like any other fans, some Nissan fans have begun modifying their ...

View more: Nissan Navara-R Is a Pickup Truck With the Heart of a GT-R

Luxury and Performance Go Hand-in-Hand with a New Italian Car

Nothing is better than shopping for a new luxury car that offers incredible performance. Some of the best cars available that offer that combination are Italian. There are some tremendous new Italian cars every year, which will provide drivers and passengers with a driving experience that is out of this ...

View more: Luxury and Performance Go Hand-in-Hand with a New Italian Car

Quartararo: ‘We made a mistake not trying the hard compound rear tyre’

Fabio Quartararo reckons the fact he and Yamaha neglected to try the hard compound rear tyre across the British Grand Prix weekend was a “mistake” that ultimately doomed his race. Having won the race at a canter 12 months ago, the Yamaha rider was expected to fight for victory ...

View more: Quartararo: ‘We made a mistake not trying the hard compound rear tyre’

Paretta Autosport expands schedule with fourth IndyCar event

De Silvestro’s best finish with Paretta has been an 18th place run in Mid-Ohio. Photo: Kevin Dejewski Paretta Autosport has announced an extension to its 2022 IndyCar plans, and will now contest a fourth race at the end of the season. Originally announced as an single entry in this ...

View more: Paretta Autosport expands schedule with fourth IndyCar event

Lundqvist Dominates Nashville For 5th Indy Lights Win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Linus Lundqvist proved why he is the class of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field this season, leading all 35 laps from pole Sunday to win the Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville. Lundqvist earned his series-leading fifth victory ...

View more: Lundqvist Dominates Nashville For 5th Indy Lights Win

3 Ways the 2023 Chevy Tahoe Beats the Toyota Sequoia

Wayne Taylor Racing Acura Wins Road America, MSR Acura Crashes

Filipe Albuquerque take the checkered flag at Road America.

Dave Cuell’s 355-cube HZ Premier - AANGRY

4 Potential Major Downsides of a Cheap Auto Insurance Rate

4 Advantages of Buying a Dodge Charger Over a Toyota Avalon

Just How Safe Is Your SUV’s Infotainment System?

Final AMA Classes Crown Champions

Fifth Third Bank Extends Rahal Sponsorship Through 2025

UK: Plug-In Car Sales Down Again In July 2022

Want One of the Safest Cars in the World for 2022?

The Owner of Mercedes-Benz Also Made This Brand No Longer Sold in the U.S.

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News