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Old 06-27-2019, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Best Honda Hybrid?

Apologies.

I have been lurking on and off for a few years and have now begun a search for the ideal Honda hybrid for my needs. I commute 200 miles round trip once or twice a week and need to find a better alternative to my 1 ton diesel truck that gets 16 mpg.

I believe I have narrowed it down to either an Insight or a Civic. I think I am mostly trying to decide between comfort and efficiency. Not educated enough yet to say what year range I'm looking for.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-27-2019, 08:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've got a diesel truck put trailer tires on it. Aired them up to 130 psi and doubled my mileage I get 26 mpg. Plus carry 200 gallons of diesel and other tools. As far as cars go I like the 2000 Honda insight. I was getting 100 miles to gallon today at 51 to 55 miles an hour. Before I leveled up my car. . It did better 30 minutes ago on a test run than it ever has. Get an insight just for the thrill of it.
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Old 06-28-2019, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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On this forum you will probably get advice to buy the Gen 1 Honda Insight with a stick shift. There are serious high-milers on the board. I am not one, but I get 62 - 65 MPG without much effort. The Peter Perkins OBDIIC&C gauge helps a lot. And because it helps so much it has more than paid for itself. Plus, plus, by buying it from Peter we keep him from a life of crime.
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Old 06-28-2019, 12:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Unless you need a rear seat, here's why I would recommend the G1 Insight. These are some of the reasons that made me choose the Insight over the HCH1 when I was mulling the choice last year.
- Insight is all aluminum. No rusty body, ever!
- Better fuel economy
- Storage space is better than HCH1 if you remove the hybrid battery, less if you keep the hybrid battery.
- You can literally park anywhere. Okay, the Civic is small too, but the Insight is quite compact.

Reliability-wise both have reliable Honda L-series engines. Manual is a must IMO due to Honda's early CVTs being unreliable compared to the automatics of the day.

When it came down to it, and from about 7 months of Insight ownership, a rear seat is really the only reason to get a HCH1 over an Insight. But as always YMMV.
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Old 06-28-2019, 12:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When a hybrid is new, it has a very low maintenance risk and high potential for benefit.

With a used hybrid, it flips. It has a high maintenance risk with low reward potential.

The need for a hybrid battery or other major component will rapidly erase any fuel savings. Yes, you can get lucky, but I've personally met over 100 people over the last 3 years that needed major hybrid-specific maintenance within the first year of ownership - many within the first week or month of ownership. Just last weekend, I met someone who purchased a high mileage Prius for more than it was worth at auction. 1 month and 1K miles later, they need a new transaxle - about $2K.

A cheap Civic, Corolla or other small 4 banger may be the more practical solution.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S Keith View Post
A cheap Civic, Corolla or other small 4 banger may be the more practical solution.
Don't let the stars get in your eyes

The above statement is and accurate assessment IMO. If I were going to say anything differently, I substitute "will" for "may."

So why do we have so much interest in Insights? Because techie folks like me, and hundreds of others love the technology, and many of us love to tinker, BUT those considerations don't relate to transportation costs, or only tangentially.

S Keith's statement on maintenance cost is also spot on. If you are going to own a Gen1 at this point, be prepared to do all maintenance yourself. If you put it in a professional shop, especially a dealership, be prepared to buy the car again, or maybe even 2X the purchase.

Still, to your point, I love hybrides quite irrationally. One of the best used buys IMO is the 3rd Gen Civic hybrid WITH THE LITHIUM BATTERY. It will do 55mpg at 55mph, and 40mpg still at 70mph on the highway. There weren't a lot of them sold but they can be found. I've had my 2013 for a year and a half, and it has been bullet proof. That's just one story of course, so do some CU research on their reliability numbers. Your experiences may vary.

BTW, click "quick links" above and edit your details to show a location. It is traditional on IC and it helps everyone, especially yourself.
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Old 06-28-2019, 12:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am *not* a fix-it-your-selfer, so let me chime in. I bought mine almost 3 years ago and have been pleased with it but have not had any trouble beyond what I would consider regular maintenance. I have a very good and seemingly honest dealership nearby—that seems to be a rarity.

I bought a charger for the ima battery and use it twice a year, on the suggestion of people here who are much smarter than me.

I adore the car, but if I started having any ima-related trouble with it, I would sell it without a 2nd thought. Also... these cars are getting old. They are over-designed and well-built, but they are old and old mechanical things wear out.

If I absolutely needed to depend on the car and had nothing to fall back on, no way would I own a G1, or any other car that was 17 years old. But that’s my opinion.
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Old 06-28-2019, 03:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What is your DIY skill level? Never done an oil change or have rebuilt an engine? These hybrid Hondas can get expensive to repair if you have to rely on a shop, but if you have a high tolerance for pain, there are some repairs that can be delayed or skipped. If you can tolerate slow acceleration you can avoid spending $2000+ on a new battery. If you can double clutch you can avoid spending $1500 on a transmission rebuild when it grinds on downshifts.

Do you need 2 or 4 doors? If 4, diesel alternatives might be better options. My Jetta is getting 55 mpg average without the hybrid complexity.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jime View Post
Still, to your point, I love hybrides quite irrationally. One of the best used buys IMO is the 3rd Gen Civic hybrid WITH THE LITHIUM BATTERY. It will do 55mpg at 55mph, and 40mpg still at 70mph on the highway.
That's it? I got 40-45mpg with a 1995 Geo Prizm 5-speed 1.8l going 70mph with the AC on. I think the 3rd Gen Civic hybrid probably would be the longest lasting Honda hybrid battery because of the lithium pack. ..but I think I'd rather aim for a 2003 or newer Toyota Corolla. I think the 2003-2008 Toyota Corollas with a manual transmission are the best bang for your buck on initial purchase price, reliability and gas mileage of any non-hybrid.

Apart from the hybrid battery, which can be removed with instructions on this forum if you don't want to pay to replace it and are willing to go with reduced performance, the Honda Insight has been the most reliable car I've owned.
I've done the basic maintenance that any gas engine car needs and the only unscheduled maintenance I've needed to do was replace a sway bar, replace a wheel bearing, and replace the belt tensioner.

I think I've spent $500 on parts and labor for unscheduled maintenance in 10 years and about 140k miles of driving a 2000 Honda Insight. My battery has been shot for three years now but I don't care too much, even though I'm working on rebuilding it right now. Apart from that, it's been fluid changes, a single set of brake pads which I replaced just before hitting 200k miles, and tires.

Oddly enough even though it's a high mileage car and I'm getting great gas mileage with it, even if I add in all of the rest of the costs including purchase, fluids, tires, insurance, and registration/tabs, the gas costs are still more. I think aiming for the best gas mileage vehicle you can own is the best way to go.

I bought my first Insight from someone who was driving a round trip from Madison to work in Milwaukee. Eventually he moved to Milwaukee and bought a Toyota Celica but the car saved him money.
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Old 06-30-2019, 08:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I like the Honda Insight so much I bought five of them. And have tried to buy two more unsuccessfully. You get so many benefits from the car. Women find you more attractive! You get to read insight sensual.net. You meet people online who are smarter than the average bear. Sometimes two bears . One of the nicest people I have ever met that I'm not related to is own here and Mr.Echy is nicer than he is. I have also learned even when you're wrong it's all right these bears will share the honey with ya. And women really do find you more attractive when you're in an aluminum car with a boat tail with yellow space savers with the under tray no muffler SPONGEunder your gas pedal no windshield wipers and 150 psi tires. And last but not least cool wHip hub caps and no bra front brake rotors. TRUST ME------- I would send pictures but my picture sender is BROKEN p.s. You can send your friends pictures of your car and your dash display when you get 150 miles to the gallon. They never get tired of it! 🤓
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