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
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.
How do maintenance costs compare to a typical car?
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.
How much will it cost to replace the battery? What is its life
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.
What price should I actually expect to pay?
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.
Where is the Insight being sold, and at what price?
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
$26,000 with A/C
(+ $1100 freight, etc.)
on the road
($20,280 with A/C)
($21,280 with CVT)
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.
Are there any clean-vehicle tax incentives for purchasing an
Please visit our new Tax
Incentives page for updated information. The following
table summarizes the incentives available when the Insight was
- All Provinces
conservation tax incentive
appear on invoice at purchase time, resulting in $100
off the before-tax purchase price.
- British Columbia
sales tax rebate
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.
- All States
8834 (Qualified Electric Vehicle Credit)
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).
- All States
535: Clean-fuel properties deduction
x your tax rate
read details to make your own decision
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
We encourage you
to check with a tax expert before claiming this, or
any other deductions, for the Insight.
- All States
Economy tax deduction
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.
sales tax rebate
of July 1st, 2000, hybrid cars such as the Insight are
exempt from sales tax in the state of Maryland.
Where can I test drive an Insight?
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.