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Old 02-18-2010, 03:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default drove it HARD in MOUNTAINS

I went up to Lake Tahoe to ski and party last weekend. I decided to drive my Insight hard and see how it does in both mileage and handling. I drove about 80mph and then tried to keep my speed up as much as safely possible even once I hit the mountains.

From San Francisco to about Placerville, I averaged 43mpg. That's the 80mph part, some traffic, luckily coincidentally slowed down at the same times that I happened to pass cops with radar guns out (yikes!)

Those familiar with the Hwy 50 drive up to South Tahoe know that from Placerville on, it's a very windy and steep climb. It's about 60 more miles and up 7,000 feet with lots of twists, turns and peaks. It's a very fun and beautiful drive.

I had one friend with me and ski gear and luggage for 2 people. I pushed the accelerator pretty hard and kept speed 10mph over the speed limit and warning signs (ie. 30mph for this curve, so I would go 40-45 depending on traffic and safety).

Results: little engine was going EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE pretty loud, but did manage to keep the speed up and despite the sound, did not feel strained or incapable. Arrived at destination with total average of 37mpg for mileage. The car felt more rolly and didn't handle as well as my old Mazda, but it was OK. It wasn't too bouncy and the steering felt pretty good on some of the quick turns, nothing felt loose, no tendency to oversteer, no over-sensitivity - I was decently impressed. I figure with getting 43mpg for two-thirds of the drive in flat area and then 37mpg total, that I probably got about 30ish or upper 20s in the crazy steep mountains part. Even the 43 for the interstate seemed pretty good considering how aggressive I was pushing things.

On Saturday, we drove up to the resort Sierra at Tahoe and back. Drove a bit more normal (but not hypermiler) there without traffic (it's uphill) and got about 30mpg (a few thousand feet all up hill). Then coming back down to the lake that evening, I got 62mpg (most ever for me) because it's all downhill - maybe would've gotten more, but there was a ton of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The entire trip by the time I got back to San Francisco was 40.9mpg (drove fast on interstate, and the mountains part was downhill coming back). Overall, I'm more impressed with the mileage than I anticipated, and even more pleased with the handling and performance (relative to expectations, keep in mind - I still kind of wish I bought the Mazda 3s hatch).

Notes: In my normal daily driving around San Francisco and Bay Area, I've been averaging 38mpg. For this trip: Econ mode was never turned on. No "s" or paddle shifters were used either. My tires are inflated to 38 psi. Weather conditions were good, not snowing, no black ice - stunningly beautiful scenery and stars were brighter than firecrackers!

Last edited by Liberalguy; 02-19-2010 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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.........Results: little engine was going EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE pretty loud, but did manage to keep the speed up and despite the sound, did not feel strained or incapable. Arrived at destination with total average of 37mpg for mileage. ..
Great story thanks for sharing. Shows what the car is capable of once you forget about driving for the mpg.

By the way did you notice what engine rpm's were needed in order to maintain speed while climbing the longer or steeper hills? Are the mpg figures MID numbers or hand calculated / gas pump based?
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The mpg were from MID. i know it's probably not always exact, but i figure if i consistently go by the mid it will give me ideas of trends and such. i didn't look down at the rpms, but i don't think it was near the redline. i was focusing on the road , just glancing down at the speedo, which I really like its location (it's grown on me). Next time I do mountain driving and experimenting, I'll pay more attention to rpms and such. I also want to experiment with paddle shifters and S shifter position.

The whole experience made me happier with my Insight, for sure.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Good to know... will be going to Lake Tahoe next weekend but maybe just my truck for now, but will use the small one if just me or a friend. But, I drove mine towards Crater Lake in Oregon last summer and its a very high climb too like lake tahoe. And just got back from San Diego last weekend too... so my Insight hs been from South (San Diego) and North (Vancouver) ...
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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One of the things I wanted from my I2 was a car that could be driven for fun on occasions and still deliver decent mpg. I didn't get the Prius in large part because based on my test drive it did not seem like driving it could ever be much fun - that and the funky dashboard and the price.

I have yet to do a big fun trip in my I2 like the one described in the start to this thread, but I look forward to some this summer. Nice to hear that the I2 did well (though as we expected not spectacular) on the fun/handling factor and still delivered reasonable mpg.

With the Mugen suspension (which I would love if the price goes down enough), the fun factor could probably be boosted quite a bit without sacrificing the mpg. I wish Honda offered Mugen suspension as a factory installed option - it should be quite a bit cheaper that way than as a rebuild/replacement.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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pandisal, crater lake is way up there. if you take your insight, let us know how it goes.

waterdog, sounds like you and i had similar shopping preferences. I too would love to get the mugen suspension, but $1300+few hundred dollars for install is just too much money for me. If I could do the whole thing for half that, I'd probably get it.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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pI too would love to get the mugen suspension, but $1300+few hundred dollars for install is just too much money for me. If I could do the whole thing for half that, I'd probably get it.
That's about my price point too. Or maybe I'll just wait a few years to see what the CR-Z type R is like. I don't need rear seats very often, so that could be an attractive alternative for me.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ya I'm keeping my eye on the CR-Z too, although the post I read about the spec-r version sounded not-so-likely. I rarely use my rear seats, but I admit it's nice to have them there once in awhile. Couldn't Honda just toss some uncomfortable ones back there in the CR-Z? Of course a big thing for me would be the interior look - if Honda made the CR-Z all black interior, I'd like it better than the light gray like ours that I see in a lot of pictures of the CR-Z.

I'll be curious to test drive the CR-Z compared to like the new Mazda 2 coming out (and Ford Fiesta).
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Liberalguy View Post
The mpg were from MID. i know it's probably not always exact, but i figure if i consistently go by the mid it will give me ideas of trends and such. i didn't look down at the rpms, but i don't think it was near the redline. i was focusing on the road , just glancing down at the speedo, which I really like its location (it's grown on me). Next time I do mountain driving and experimenting, I'll pay more attention to rpms and such. I also want to experiment with paddle shifters and S shifter position.

The whole experience made me happier with my Insight, for sure.
When I first got the Blue Bird the MID ran around 2 mpg higher than gas pump. Currently with engine broken-in some (7.5k miles) and my incresed use of ev mode the MID runs 3.8 - 4 mpg higher. So the pump numbers for your 40.9 mpg round trip would be (40.9 - 4 =) 36.9 mpg. This compares very nicely with my prior car ('06 Saturn SL1) which is of similar size and weight. If I had done similar hard driving I'd get around 34 mpg (pump numbers), although I ususally drove it for top mpg and would get 39 - 42 mpg on the highway.

Paddle shifters are a real blast! Especially for hard driving, and work well when teamed up with rpm "shift points" for maximum acceleration or engine braking! I believe the I2 on engine only, produces max. torque at 4200 rpm, and engine with assist will find max. torque at 1000 rpm or was it 1500 rpm? Don't know the number for max. hp. The manual was a great help in figuring out the hard to learn but easy to use paddle shifter system, and detail on "S" mode.

After lots of experimenting I found my paddle shifting for top mpg was = to CVT shifting, so gave up on using them. Currently I just use the "more aggressive speeds" of "S" to warm a cold or cool engine for better overall mpg.
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Principles supporting my driving style for even higher EX mpg:
Have the engine operate as little as possible, especially when standing still or moving slowly; while also meeting my demands for power and maneuvering. This means most battery charging while cruising city streets and rural roads, max regen from slowing down and downgrades, and only using heater or A/C when the engine is on for other purposes.

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Old 02-19-2010, 09:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterdog View Post
One of the things I wanted from my I2 was a car that could be driven for fun on occasions and still deliver decent mpg.
Me TOO! I also wanted to better my Saturn, and equal my wife's I1, if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterdog View Post
I have yet to do a big fun trip in my I2 like the one described in the start to this thread, but I look forward to some this summer. Nice to hear that the I2 did well (though as we expected not spectacular) on the fun/handling factor and still delivered reasonable mpg.
Last summer I did alot of experimenting with the handling at different tire pressures. In my testing I compared handling with VSA off as well as on.

VSA off was much more fun!
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Principles supporting my driving style for even higher EX mpg:
Have the engine operate as little as possible, especially when standing still or moving slowly; while also meeting my demands for power and maneuvering. This means most battery charging while cruising city streets and rural roads, max regen from slowing down and downgrades, and only using heater or A/C when the engine is on for other purposes.

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Last edited by Moviemike; 02-19-2010 at 09:52 PM.
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