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Old 11-26-2009, 07:41 PM  
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Default What to buy? Manual VS Auto

Hello! I am looking to buy a used Insight. I don't know a lot about them, but I am being drawn to a hybrid and I am I leaning toward an Insight. I would prefer a manual, but would buy either or for the right deal. I like the idea of hypermiling, and frequently drive slow and smooth in my 02 Escort to improve mileage. I get a lot of drivers upset cruising 50 or 55 mph, but I do save gas and pollute less. I drive 85 miles round trip to work and back.
With an Insight, do you have to have a manual transmission to shut down the engine and coast? I mean to get it going again. Like we have a Vibe with a manual transmission, and I kill the ignition and coast, then I put it back in gear and let out the clutch to start the engine. I don't do it much in the Escort because it's an automatic and I don't want to keep using the starter.

Do I have to have a manual in my new Insight to do this?? It appears that coasting automatically shuts down the engine, is that so or does it just idle when coasting. Thanks for your help, I am still trying to learn. Perhaps I can find one in the Oklahoma City area to check out.


Best wishes to all
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Old 11-26-2009, 10:59 PM  
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Originally Posted by johnnymac View Post
Hello! I am looking to buy a used Insight. I don't know a lot about them, but I am being drawn to a hybrid and I am I leaning toward an Insight. I would prefer a manual, but would buy either or for the right deal. I like the idea of hypermiling, and frequently drive slow and smooth in my 02 Escort to improve mileage. I get a lot of drivers upset cruising 50 or 55 mph, but I do save gas and pollute less. I drive 85 miles round trip to work and back.
With an Insight, do you have to have a manual transmission to shut down the engine and coast? I mean to get it going again. Like we have a Vibe with a manual transmission, and I kill the ignition and coast, then I put it back in gear and let out the clutch to start the engine. I don't do it much in the Escort because it's an automatic and I don't want to keep using the starter.

Do I have to have a manual in my new Insight to do this?? It appears that coasting automatically shuts down the engine, is that so or does it just idle when coasting. Thanks for your help, I am still trying to learn. Perhaps I can find one in the Oklahoma City area to check out.


Best wishes to all
Well I'll take a shot at this.

First if ultimate MPG's are your goal then the manual trans model will get you a lot better MPG than the auto version. The manual transmission versions have "Lean Burn" which lets the engine run a lot leaner than a conventional engine at light engine loads. If your easy on the throttle and driving at moderate speeds than you can keep the engine in Lean Burn and increase your MPG figures dramatically. The automatic versions of the car don't have the Lean Burn feature so you can't get the extra high MPG figures the manual trans model will have.

The Insight only shuts down it's engine when your at a stop....or at 19mph if you have the clutch pressed in and you are braking (in the manual trans model). As soon as you shift into first gear again the engine will auto re-start faster than you can finish pushing the stick all the way into first gear.

On down hills just feather the gas pedal to keep it in Lean Burn mode or if there is no need for load the computer will enter a fuel cut mode...the car is still coasting down the hill (in gear) but the engine isn't receiving any fuel. This can happen till the RPM's slow down to 1000 RPM where fuel will once again be supplied to the engine to keep it from stalling. Your MPG gauge will remain pegged at 150mpg. No need to shut the engine down and re-start...if your super hyper mileing you might get some extra benefit from this technique but I'm not sure.

There is quite a bit of info in the knowledge base (on the left side of the screen) that might help you out also.

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Old 11-27-2009, 10:02 AM  
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That is great info, thanks for your help. I will definitely be looking for a 5 speed. Geez I can't wait.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:03 AM  
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A friend of mine just bought a CVT Insight and its lifetime mpg is in the low 50s. I have the manual and have done nearly 70,000 miles in it in 8 years of ownership from new. My overall average is 71.7 mpg, so I guess the info about lean burn is pretty important. We are in the UK, but I imagine the samer applies in the US.
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:21 PM  
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Your friends Insight would be a CVT import from Japan so i imagine its got lean burn aswell.

With the rpm optimisation and regen right to a stop the JDM CVT's really should be, on paper, the best on fuel consumption.
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Old 01-01-2010, 07:56 PM  
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one thing you can consider is maintenance costs (big ticket items only) in MT vs CVT.

The battery usually gets bad faster in a MT because of the semi-manual control of the Engine torques and IMA use depending on your gear. CVT's usually have better IMA management.

Also the Catalytic converters usually go bad more often on the MT versions because of the extensive use of lean burn. CVT's usually dont go through cats like the MT does. Cats are expnsive

But then again, a CVT transmission could go bad too, and is more expensive to replace/repair than a Manual Transmission.

So these might offset the savings in MPG, depending on if you face these problems. So when buying a MT, check to make sure when the Catalytic converter or the Batteries were replaced last. (Possibly also O2 sensors and EGR valve; 2 more things known to usually go bad in MT versions)
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:36 PM  
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Manual will be alot more fun to drive
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:10 AM  
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The CVT trans is makes the car much quicker than the manual trans as it holds the perfect RPM at full load as were the manual has such large shifting gaps that it can not as easily keep the power on. If you put the gear in low and hit the "S" button on the wheel the car is actually pretty quick.

If you keep the CT trans fluid changed the trans should last at least 200k, the problem with buying a used CVT car is that you don't know how the previous owner drove/maintained it. I have a CVT trans and I wanted a manual for a long time until I drove one but that's my take. Try both if you can.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:23 PM  
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Originally Posted by J-P View Post
The CVT trans is makes the car much quicker than the manual trans as it holds the perfect RPM at full load as were the manual has such large shifting gaps that it can not as easily keep the power on. If you put the gear in low and hit the "S" button on the wheel the car is actually pretty quick. .
If the IMA usage and engine horsepower and torque was the same between the two model types and vehicle weight was the same, the CVT model would be quicker due to optimal RPM as mentioned.

However, the MT model Insight has slightly faster 0-60 times due to:

1) two more horsepower and one more lb/ft of torque.
2) more aggressive IMA battery usage on acceleration.
3) Lighter vehicle weight.

I gladly give up that 1/2 second faster 0-60 time for the benefit of not having to shift gears (even more often compared to other manual transmission cars). The CVT makes this a smooth acceleration. Also, the CVT has SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) rating whereas the MT only has ULEV rating due to lean burn and a higher compression engine.

The MT does gets the best MPG and the CVT gets second best MPG of all gasoline powered cars that were sold in the US.

JoeCVT = Just your average CVT owner
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:12 PM  
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If the IMA usage and engine horsepower and torque was the same between the two model types and vehicle weight was the same, the CVT model would be quicker due to optimal RPM as mentioned.
I'm not sure about that, even. I have yet to see a CVT that can outperform a manual in terms of transmission losses. The higher drag inside a CVT would contribute to the lower fuel economy and slower acceleration.

Has anybody done a side-by-side chassis dyno test of a CVT vs a MT? Or even compared bench dyno vs chassis dyno results for both?
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