I stopped by the dealer to peek at the new Insight this morning. It is a beautiful car, well-executed inside and out.
However, my #1 concern... and the biggest complaint I found... is the nightmarish blind spots at the rear quarter panels. My Insight I had the same blind spots, and there wasn't a time I drove the car that i didn't feel uneasy because of them. I couldn't count the number of times I nearly missed seeing a car in those blind spots in fast SoCal freeway traffic where one's attention must be at peak performance all the time.
The rear design carries a high price tag in stress and safety, in my opinion. Luckily, the Civic Hybrid does not have this same problem.
This might be the nature of all aerodynamic hatchbacks. The prius has the same issue (similar body style so I guess it makes sense). One way I think they tried to get around this is the fairly large rearview left and right mirrors. I do not remember how big a current civics are, but the new insights are much larger than my old civic and are the same size as my wifes small SUV.
I typically do a shoulder look, and the pillar has been somewhat annoying, but in my week of owning one, I have not had a near hit on the highway yet.
...the nightmarish blind spots at the rear quarter panels...
Lots of cars suffer this nowadays; the "cheese wedge" / "rising beltline" design is very trendy. Not only does the body line slope up at the rear, the greenhouse height has been shrinking for some time. Apparently the value of being able to see out isn't nearly as important as the value of an SUV-like boxiness and an aggressive forward lean. Sigh.
It's the worst thing about the new Gen3 Prius (to the point that some folks on priuschat were wondering if the rear wheels were smaller than the fronts on a G3 Prius, because the front/rear body proportions are so out of whack it looks that way; note that the Gen2 isn't nearly so bad) and it's regrettable on the Insight II, but these aren't the only two current models that are so afflicted, not by a long shot.
One can only hope that this trend falls out of favor in the near future. I like my Insight I, but it sure doesn't have the rearward and sideways visibility of the '90 Geo Metro it replaced.
If you angle the side mirrors properly (such that you *can't* see any part of the car in them -- contrary to what most of us were taught in driver's ed classes), you won't have a blind spot (or if you do, it will be very, very, very minimal).
I changed my mirrors after reading a very informative web page about it (Setting Mirrors to Remove Huge Blind Spots) and while it took some getting used to, because you have to tune out a lot more peripheral movement input, I've been very, very happy with the visibility.
I still do a shoulder check, though, especially when I'm merging into an entrance & exit freeway lane.
2001 CVT Insight, 2000 manual Insight, 2006 Honda Ridgeline, 1967.5 Datsun Roadster, 1970 Ford F250... Definitely have too many cars now!
Last edited by flymuck; 04-07-2009 at 03:58 PM.
Reason: Added link to other forum page with instructions on how to set the mirrors properly
i went to autozone(or walmart, i dont remember) and bought the little stick on convex mirrors, and stuck them on the bottom, inside of my mirrors...my blind spots are gone! i cant even count the number of times i have seen someone in the little mirror and thought "wow, i would have hit them if i didnt have this mirror"
i still usually do a head check, and something my dad taught me, if you lean forward as your looking in the mirror, it will help check your blind spot
'00 Honda Insight. 207k miles
'94 Geo Metro, '06 Honda CBR600f4i, '93 Mazda MX-3, '91 Honda Civic
Hopeful Future Vehicles:
Honda CBR250r, Jeep Wrangler
The Car Talk website also has information on coordinating rear and side view mirror adjustments and setting them up perfectly. It really makes a big difference. In most cars, you will be able to literally see a car passing into the side view mirror just slightly before it passes from the rearview mirror. So there is a little bit of overlap to give you a margin for error and never a blind spot. Most people don't know about this simple and vital adjustment.
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