Sleeper Turbo K20 Honda Insight! (video)

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This Honda Insight has just enough imperfections to really sell the “sleeper” look.

We came across a fun video from That Racing Channel on YouTube that promised some sleeper Honda Insight action. Sure, we’ll take a look. There’s a pretty good spread of cars in there actually! The Insight, as promised, but also a pair of Bimmers and a GT-R. The Insight lines up against both BMWs, but not the GT-R. Too bad. While we’d love to see that face-off, you’ll understand why they didn’t put this guy up against someone with an automatic.

From the outside the 2001 Honda Insight sells the sleeper look pretty well. The giveaways? Up front you’d probably spot the chunky drag-strip inspired rubber, and out back a simple dump exhaust pipe hints that all is not stock. Inside, to our horror, the Insight really sells the look of “this isn’t a racecar”. The windshield has a crack running across it, the steering wheel is aligned off center, and neither the tach or speedo works. Oh boy. Turbo power cover a lot of automotive sins, however. And boy, does this Insight have plenty of that.

Honda Insight K20 Turbo

Under the hood is a K20A2, with a 60mm turbo and 2,000cc injectors. At 10 psi on pump gas the owner estimates it’s putting about 400 hp to the wheels. If you’re thinking 400 hp in a light Honda is a recipe for Spin City, you’d be correct. “I have no idea what my speed or RPM is … my check engine is my shift light,” the owner tells TRC. Ouch, it hurts to hear that. Despite the questionable recipe, the lack of instrumentation isn’t what slows him down.

The first race between the turbo Insight and a 1JZ-swapped BMW E36 is pretty darn close. They come around the track to the straight and go 60-150 mph. The Insight starts in third gear, gets a clean shift to fourth, but misses the shift to fifth, losing the one-car lead he had. The E36 pulls ahead hard and stays there.

ALSO SEE: This ‘14 Honda Civic Si is the Ultimate Sleeper with 500 hp Hiding in Plain Sight

Pretty closely matched cars, with the Insight being the faster machine, yet the BMW driver being the better driver.

The second race is between the K20 Insight and a BMW 135i with a big single turbo (about 700 hp at the wheels on an E85 blend!). The driver of the Insight misses his three-four shift. Hard.

But don’t think we’d leave you without a solid race! Here the Insight gets a second crack at the 135i.

The best run by the Insight puts him hard on the tail of the BMW. No missed shifts here, though maybe a little too much time on the rev limiter. That Insight is quick! Towards the end of the run the hood gets a little loose too. Time for hood pins, a tach, and some back road rowing excercises.

What do you think about this sleeper Insight? Tell us what kind of sleeper you’d rock in the forums.

Austin Lott is a longtime auto journalist who loves writing about cool cars and hearing the stories behind them. He is a regular contributor to popular Internet Brands Auto Group websites, including Honda-Tech and 6speedonline. Although he's partial to Japanese imports, he'll give anything cool a shot.

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