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Friday, July 31, 2009

MUGEN tunes the 2010 Honda Insight

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An exciting piece of news for hybrid sports car fans: MUGEN, the experienced Japanese tuning firm responsible for years of Civics and Accords miles in front of their stock counterparts, has developed and released a tuning program for the as-yet-unreleased Honda Insight.

While the Insight is similar to the Prius in nearly every way, including styling and powertrain, the very idea of a TRD Prius sounds completely ridiculous. MUGEN's relationship with Honda is longstanding, think Ford and Roush here in the States, and you can bet that if a MUGEN-tuned Honda Insight is making such a loud entrance, it is fully sanctioned by the Insight's builder.

Specifics under the hood are nothing fancy by tuner car standards. A new performance intake is paired with an oil cooler to supposedly keep the gasoline and electric motors stoked and cooled, and larger, wider alloys should make a huge difference on the road.

If Honda's current product line is any indication, a factory Insight should prove more agile and spirited in driving than its Toyota hybrid counterpart. MUGEN would not be putting their name in front of the car without some degree of confidence that the Insight tuning package makes a tangilble performance difference.

The new MUGEN Honda Insight even features an aero kit MUGEN claimes significantly improves the Insight's already-stellar aerodynamics, complete with rear spoiler. What?

The MUGEN-tuned Honda Insight is not expected to be offered as a standalone model in the United States, but enterprising tuners will of course get their hands on the parts. A Ronn Scorpion, Tesla or Fisker is one thing, but a sub-$20,000 hybrid car with real tuner potential?

Depending on critical reception to the 2010 Honda Insight's driving dynamics, the MUGEN Insight may seem like one of the greatest business decisions in the entire energy efficient car industry, or a big joke.

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