A Honda Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) system powers the Insight. Comprised of a 1.3-liter i‑VTEC® gasoline 4-cylinder engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor, the combination develops 98 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 123 lb-ft. of torque at 1000-1700 rpm. To maximize fuel efficiency, friction-reducing measures are used throughout the engine and the transmission.
Fully automatic in operation, the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is an advanced unit that substitutes the gears found in more traditional transmissions and replaces them with a metal push-belt running between a pair of variable-width pulleys. Combined with the Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system, the CVT constantly adjusts to provide the most efficient drive ratio possible depending on torque load. Honda's CVT provides better fuel efficiency and acceleration when compared to a conventional transmission. On EX models, the steering wheel includes paddle shifters, which allow manually shifting though a range of seven fixed ratios for a sporty driving experience.
The Insight comes equipped with fuel-efficiency enhancement technology called Eco Assist™. A push of the dash-mounted ECON button modifies throttle control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and cruise-control operation (if so equipped) to minimize energy use and increase fuel efficiency. A sophisticated feedback system uses ambient color behind the speedometer to indicate overall driving efficiency. An Eco Display provides feedback on braking and acceleration. Plus, Eco Score provides ongoing support of an efficient driving style.