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Warranty Information

The Insight has a typical Honda warranty for most of the car, with a much longer (8 year) warranty for many of the new technologies included in the car. Here is a brief summary of the warranty that applies in the United States:

Full warranty coverage: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Conventional portion of powertrain: 5 years / 60,000 miles
Hybrid Battery Pack: 8 years / 80,000 miles
Various computer, control and power modules: 8 years/ 80,000 miles
Catalytic converters: 8 years / 80,000 miles

In Canada, the motor rotor, stator, commutation sensor and wiring are also covered under the 8 year warranty.

Q: How do maintenance costs compare to a typical car?

A: As far as scheduled maintenance is concerned, this doesn't differ much from a typical Honda. One difference is that many Hondas use timing belts that need to be replaced from time to time. The Insight uses a timing chain instead, eliminating the need to replace the belt.

The special 0W20 engine oil is a little more expensive than other oils. Honda's recommended oil change interval is every 7,500 miles or 12,000 kilometers for "normal" driving conditions, and every 3,750  miles or 6,000 kilometers for "severe" driving conditions. "Severe" driving conditions include frequent short trips, driving in dusty or mountainous terrain, and winter driving.

As far as unscheduled maintenance goes, it is really too early to say for certain. The biggest question mark is whether the NiMH battery (covered under warranty for 8 years) will last the life of the car, or if it will need to be replaced at some point. For more information on this, see the question about battery cost & replacement.

Q: How much will it cost to replace the battery? What is its life expectancy?

A: The battery pack - along with almost all of the IMA system - is covered for longer than any other components on the car (8 years). At least one Insight article quoted Honda as saying the battery pack is expected to last the life of the car, but Honda hasn't committed itself to this publicly.

The battery pack is part of an assembly that includes the battery cells themselves, along with temperature/current/voltage sensors and some other components (e.g. the junction board). This assembly is replaceable as a single unit, which estimated to be around $1226.75 USD.

Q: What price should I actually expect to pay?

A: With there being such high demand for the Insight in some areas, some dealers have been charging a premium above the MSRP. However, this is fortunately the minority of cases. In a survey of 60 owners when the Insight was first available:

  • 60% paid exactly MSRP
  • 12% paid below MSRP
  • 28% paid above MSRP

Of the 28% that paid above MSRP, about one third paid more than $1000 U.S. above MSRP.

When the dealer puts a markup on the price, this is typically on a car that has been delivered to the dealer and is sitting on the lot. Insights ordered for a particular customer typically sell for MSRP. In the years following the Insight's launch in the U.S., owners have for the most part reported paying MSRP and below.

Q: Where is the Insight being sold, and at what price?

A: The chart below shows information we have about Insight availability and prices, for the 2000 model year. We don't believe the Insight will be initially offered in any countries not listed here.

Country Introduction Date Vehicles per Year Price Special Notes
Australia Mid 2001 - $48,900
Canada May 1, 2000 200 ~ 320 MSRP: $26,000 with A/C
(+ $1100 freight, etc.)
1
Germany Unknown 40 Unknown
Japan November, 1999 Unknown Unknown
Switzerland Unknown 100 Unknown
U.K. September 1, 2000 200 16,000 on the road
U.S.A. December, 1999 6500 MSRP: $19,080
($20,280 with A/C)

($21,280 with CVT)

Notes:

1 We are told that Honda Canada will only be delivering the car to dealers upon receipt of a signed order for the car. We believe that only models with A/C will be available in Canada. For 2001, cargo net is standard equipment in Canada.

Q: Are there any clean-vehicle tax incentives for purchasing an Insight?

A: Please visit our new Tax Incentives page for updated information. The following table summarizes the incentives available when the Insight was launched.

Jurisdiction Tax Incentive Value Status Details
Canada - All Provinces fuel conservation tax incentive $100   before tax Qualifies Should appear on invoice at purchase time, resulting in $100 off the before-tax purchase price.
Canada - British Columbia provincial sales tax rebate $500 Qualifies -
U.K. Powershift program 1,000 Qualifies In the U.K, there is a 1,000 incentive offered to the first 200 purchasers. This reduces the price on the road from 17,000 the 16,000.
U.S.A. - All States Form 8834 (Qualified Electric Vehicle Credit) $0 Does not Qualify The rules of 8834 specifically say "Gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles that are not powered primarily by an electric motor are not qualified electric vehicles."

While one can argue about the semantics of "primarily powered by an electric motor", it would be very difficult to make the case that the Insight - or the Prius for that matter - is primarily powered by electric motor.

The Insight and Prius are both charge-sustaining hybrids in which the only external energy source is gasoline. Both cars use their electric systems to improve overall efficiency by doing two things: 1.) by allowing the gasoline powertrain to operate more efficiently, 2.) by capturing excess energy by regenerative braking, that can later be used to help propel the car.

Although the Insight & Prius differ in when they draw upon the gasoline engine as opposed to the electrical reserve, in all cases every bit of energy used from the batteries will ultimately have to be replenished by burning gasoline (either directly charging from gasoline engine, or charging from the car's momentum, energy which ultimately originated from burning gasoline).

U.S.A. - All States Form 535: Clean-fuel properties deduction $2000 x your tax rate Unclear: read details to make your own decision UPDATE: The IRS has officially announced that 2000-2003 Insights qualify for a $2,000 deduction. Previously, the Insight's status had been unclear:
  • Under IRC Sec. 179A, the "clean-fuel properties" deduction from gross income is available for the clean-fuel portion of a vehicle, up to a maximum value of $2,000, in the year you purchased the car. Gasoline is not considered to be a clean fuel, but electric propulsion is. The question then seems to become what the value is of the electric population portion of the Insight: the battery storage, motor, control circuitry, etc. We believe it is safe to say that the value of the electric technology in the Insight exceeds $2,000. This implies that the Insight should qualify for the full value of this deduction. However ...
  • Honda feels that the federal law is too ambiguous for them to take an official position, and has told us that they will not be issuing any written statement saying that the Insight qualifies for this deduction.
  • Many owner are claiming this deduction, and waiting to see what will happen.

We encourage you to check with a tax expert before claiming this, or any other deductions, for the Insight.

U.S.A. - All States Fuel Economy tax deduction $750 - $3000 Proposed In the U.S. there is now a bill in congress (H.R.4270.IH) "The Advanced Technology Motor Vehicle Fuel Economy Act", that will provide an (additional?) $750 to $3000 tax deduction for hybrid cars. This bill can be located at http://thomas.loc.gov.
U.S.A. - Maryland Sales tax exemption Full sales tax rebate Qualifies As of July 1st, 2000, hybrid cars such as the Insight are exempt from sales tax in the state of Maryland.

Q: Where can I test drive an Insight?

A: Because the production levels for the Insight are still very low, and because they are being snapped up by eager customers very quickly, a lot of interested people are having trouble getting a test drive in an Insight. Here are some suggestions:

  • The Insight Owner's Registry may list someone in your area who has an Insight. Because many Insight owners are eager to show their cars to interested parties, if asked nicely they may be willing to give you a chance to see and drive their car. :-)
  • You may have to phone all of the dealers in your local area and surrounding areas until you find one that has an Insight in stock.
  • Many people who have purchased an Insight placed an order for the car and then had to wait some time for the car to arrive. If you are reasonably certain that you are wish to purchase an Insight, and only want to test drive it "just in case" you don't like it, your dealer may be willing to accept an order for one, with the purchase conditional on a satisfactory test drive.
  • If you live in or are visiting the L.A. area, and would like to try out an Insight for an extended test drive, www.EVrental.com (877-387-3682) have a number of Insights available for rental.

 

 
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