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My 94 ford escort with 250k miles is too far gone and have to buy new car. I had a chevy sprint a few years ago with a 3 cylinder engine and when the transmission went was sorry to let it go and often wish would have kept it as always got 50 mpg.

Looking for a car and excited when found the older model 2001 insights with 3cyl. I am looking at 2 cars as mentioned. Both look pretty good but the silver gray with automatic is a bit nicer with only 68k miles and brand new hybrid battery, and extended warranty for another year. they are asking 7700 for it.

The 5 speed is blue with 220k miles and being sold by private owner rather than a dealer as the automatic. He was very knowledgeable and spent some time raving about the car on the phone. He is a mechanic and seems to think that the 220k is nothing to be afraid of. Has an extra set of tires for winter too. He put the front ones on and says it is handling well in the snow. He is asking 4800 for it. he says it has had 3 owners and that It checks out on carfax. The silver automatic being sold by the dealer was a single owner until they got it and he emailed me the carfax history.

One of the sites I was looking at said the insights are rough in high wind. Is this really a big problem?

Most of my driving is just me and not too concerned about not being able to carry passengers.

The other big question is on the 5speed vs automatic. Everything on the mileage forums suggests to go with the manual transmission. The chevy sprint I had was a manual and it was fun, but if I thought there were no drawbacks with automatic I might go with that. If it is a completely different animal as far as gas mileage goes than maybe should get the manual?

I was going to buy a new (used) car soon but now have no choice but to make a decision in a hurry. I drool over the new nissan and volt and prius but out of my price range. Am excited that I might be able to participate in the hybrid range with one of these used options.

Any help on making this selection is appreciated. 7 years ago when I bought the escort, I took it to my mechanic and had him check it out for 75.00. If the guy with the 220k 5 speed would do that, what should I have the mechanic look for? compression. what about the sensors? He has a good shop but wonder if I would be better to take it to a honda dealer.

Glad I found this forum on insights, and appreciate any help.
 

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The North America version of the manual transmission Insight is a very different animal than the CVT version. It isn't the transmission that makes the difference, but rather the emission standards that they decided to put the CVT version into. Honda wanted the car to meet Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle standards for the CVT version so they left out lean-burn and have a slightly lower compression ratio. The compression ratio doesn't make a very big difference but lean-burn really does. The MT has lean-burn which brings the NOx emissions up to where it meets ULEV standards.

In Japan the CVT version has lean-burn if that version was available here in the states, I'd grab one but they don't exist here because the Japanese emissions goals were lower since they weren't trying to meet certain standards that exist here in the states.

Lean-burn can be very picky though, you have to toy with it to get it to hang on to good gas mileage sometimes but it isn't too bad in warm weather with the tires aired up to sidewall max or higher with the standard 0w20 oil and a careful steady foot.

The difference between lean-burn and not having lean-burn is probably 55mpg with the CVT to similar driving getting 65mpg with the MT. The gap might be narrower than that but it all depends on your driving style. If you drive in the city alot, you need to be careful of 2nd gear because the synchro doesn't handle being downshifted to constantly like other cars can but if you are careful or rev match you might make it work or if you drive on the highway all the time you should be in good shape too.

I managed to drive at the maximum speed that I could maintain lean-burn on the highway and allowed my speed to sag up hills and managed to get 73MPG going from Rapid City, SD to the Twin Cities area which is a 630 mile trip. It's crazy going really far and having enough gas to go to work and back a few times. ...it takes diligance to get that good of MPG though. Driving the speed limit on a 75MPH interstate with cruise control(no lean-burn with cruise control if you add it) will get you around 55MPG if I remember right. I had a thread crossing the country with a few MPG numbers listed if this helps. I didn't really post my traveling speed though except for the 73.4MPG(car showed 70.2mpg) was stretching lean-burn to its absolute limits and resulting in driving 70-75mph most of the time and slower up some grades. It's under the speed limit but 630.5 miles with 8.592 gallons was something I wanted to do at least once. It took quite a bit of effort and I probably won't try that hard or have the patience on a long cross country trip to have a gas tank like that again on the interstate a trip taking more than a tank.
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/175819-post45.html

Stuff to look for(normally I don't post this sort of thing but you have a post better than the weekly "What do I look for" paragraph that some people post) ...however I still recommend that you search the forum for this sort of thread because there are plenty that have good details.

5 speed: Check 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear synchros, 2nd gear goes first and is usually the only one to have an issue if there is an issue.

Engine: These engines are noisy, valvetrain noise should mostly go away when the car is warmed up, if not get the valves adjusted before you buy it if you want the piece of mind that it can be quieter, otherwise its usually just a cosmetic noise issue.

Tires: The best tires on this car are the Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires, if it doesn't have those, you might want to swap them out for them if the tread is low. If they are fresh tires and not the Potenza RE92 tires, you might be frustrated trying to hold lean-burn or get MPG like others on the forum.

Battery: Drive the battery up to the top(lots of regen with foot on the brake just enough to trigger the charge gauge to the left) and back down (lots of gas pedal) and it shouldn't stop assisting or charging unexpectedly followed by a jump of more than 4 bars on either the top or bottom range of the battery gauge. It is normal for the battery gauge to hang at 3 bars for a little bit while providing assist and then drop down after stopping the assist, if it does the same thing at, say 8 bars, the battery has reduced capacity and will need help sooner than a battery that isn't doing that.

Check engine light: If it has this, go to Autozone or some auto parts store that checks the code for free. Could be a P0420 or P1420 which means catalytic converter is getting old or it might need the software update to reduce the sensitivity to the issue. Could be something else. Bring the full code back to us if there is one. IMA light: If this is on, there is an issue with the battery. Get the check engine code and bring it back and search the forum for the code to find out what it means and if you create a thread, please provide the trouble code.

Hope this helps!
 

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Thanks MN Driver!

I am going to look at the MT with 220K miles tonight and made some notes based on your reply to specifically check on and will post back.


Talked to the owner of the MT again and he gave more me more info. Am still a bit shy of the difference in mileage between the vehicles 220k vs 68k the MT and CVT, and that the CVT has a brand new battery and extended warranty for another year. Do like the silver color better on the CVT vs blue on the MT. the carfax for the CVT showed it was corporate vehicle and likely quite clean.

Wondering if there are any members here who drive the CVT version that are happy with them?

By the way, I am from northern MN and usually take 2 or 3 trips up there each year 600 miles RT. My escort used to get 34 mpg. Looking forward to seeing what the insight can do.
 

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the guy selling the 2001 MT insight told me that the car's new price back when it first came out was 41K! Now they are going for 20K msrp brand new. Is this for real? Did they really go for that price 10 years ago? wow!
 

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the guy selling the 2001 MT insight told me that the car's new price back when it first came out was 41K! Now they are going for 20K msrp brand new. Is this for real? Did they really go for that price 10 years ago? wow!
The gen1 Insight (2000-2006) sold new for $19-$20K. The current Gen1 (4-door) 2010- insight sells for around 20k new.

The 41k figure may have come from when he might have been telling you about how much more it cost to manufacture these cars compared to how much they were selling them for.

The price for the CVT you found seems fine for the mileage, but the MT one you found seems to be a little expensive for the miles. I have seen manual insights with more than 200k miles sell for around 3000-4000 or less on ebay
 

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They are both fine cars, but:

Check to see if there are records for the CVT ("auto") transmission's fluid change. They tend to be sensitive to lack of maintenance, especially if incorrect fluid is used. I read some posts about Honda using the wrong fluid for the first few years of CVT production.

I drive a 5 speed, and I can tell you that the clutch should last a couple of hundred thosand miles. So if that was already changed on the blue car, than you will be good for many years.

Good Luck!
 

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Looking for a car and excited when found the older model 2001 insights with 3cyl. I am looking at 2 cars as mentioned. Both look pretty good but the silver gray with automatic is a bit nicer with only 68k miles and brand new hybrid battery, and extended warranty for another year. they are asking 7700 for it.
(Re: CVT Insight) Is this car being sold by a Honda dealer? If not, who would service the car during the warranty period and what kind of a reputation does he/she have? You should be able to deal on that 7700 price, all dealers have a cushion in their price. $7700 is a whole lot for a 2001.

(Re MT Insight) $3000-$4000 for an EXCELLENT 2001 California car w/200K plus miles maybe but $4800 for a Wisconsin car with 9 or 10 hard Wisconsin Winters of wear with that kind of mileage is not the same. Warm highway miles compared to wet cold stop and go is no match. Don't buy snake oil, 220K miles is a lot and the "small" repairs will eat you up. $200 here, $500 there and pretty soon you are talking real money and lots of grief. Three previous owners sold the car for a reason.

Forget about the gas mileage differences between the CVT and the MT advantage for now, those high mileages reported by some Insight owners take a lot of time, experience and skill to attain. Forget about those extra tires; tires are cheap compared to repairs, like clutch, converter, etc..

Do take either car to a Honda dealer and ask them how much it would cost to bring it up to a carefree driving condition. Both the CVT and the 220K mile MT cluth/transmission could have problems. Be sure the dealer warranty covers these before you buy.
 

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HI Latimer, fuel prices are on the rise nationwide. If you plan to drive alot of miles and if very high mpg is vital to you, then you would be greatly advised to purchase an Insight 5MT and avoid the CVT. Believe me, I have purchased 3 of them new over the years and regularly participate in high MPG contests and events. When carefully driven for highway economy the manual is good for 22 mpg or more over the CVT.

For example, I drove summertime from Seattle to Chicago (I-90 & I-80) and averaged 107.6 mpg for the entire route. Also, I posted 181 mpg in Oct 2010 in Richmond, CA on a 34 mile course in a MPG challenge contest. The value of LEAN BURN in highway cruising can hardly be overestimated. It is a super technology! In addition, manual trannys afford flexibility thats just not possible with automatics; ie, bump starting and long coasting.
%0
 

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When carefully driven for highway economy the manual is good for 22 mpg or more over the CVT.
That's about right: my sister has a 2005 CVT Insight-I and gets 62-63mpg on long highway trips when she tries for economy. I have a 2006 MT and am averaging 84mpg overall, mostly highway. MPG for the MT varies a lot summer (100mpg) vs winter (80 mpg) and also depends strongly on how it is driven. As Billy says, lean burn is amazing but it drops out at higher speeds where more power is needed. So driving more slowly, say 50-55mph, is key to getting really good mpg in the MT.

And as Billy points out the MT offers a lot of options in terms of coasting (at speed) that save even more gas.
 

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either way...

I have a CVT and love the car. I have achieved 63 mpg on a tank with out to much effort.

As much as I would recommend a manual, Im always worried about that high of mileage car for all the little things that might nickel and dime you. Many look at the motor, trans and battery...but little things can add up to a lot. Id go with the CVT...but thats just my opinion.

better grab what you can now, if gas hits $4+ this summer you wont be able to find a Gen 1 for sale ( well at a reasonable price anyway ).
 

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I think everyone is basically well aware that the MT Insight will always provide better MPG compared to the CVT when driven in the same conditions by an "average" conservative driver trying to get good MPG.

In my opinion, both models are great for what they are designed to do.

However, saying that you can get 107.6MPG on a long trip from Seattle to Chicago is not normal MPG for the MT. I believe that this MPG can be accomplished in an MT model but you should be a bit fair to the person looking for opinions and disclose what you had to do on that trip to get that remarkable MPG. There are people that have MT Insights with Lifetime MPG near 100MPG but it is not from "normal" driving or even conservative MPG driving. Shutting engines off while driving (manually or with FAS) is really a hypermile technique....

I'm not trying to say that hypermilers should not post what can be accomplished but they should also include how they get that amazing MPG so that the OP can determine if that is something they are into.

Basically, I wouldn't want someone to be convinced to drop one model over another and "only" get 60MPG when they drive 70MPH thinking that they should be getting 100MPG like other people get.

I love my CVT and based on the descriptions of both cars, the CVT appears to be the choice that may have less problems in the future (a new IMA battery is a huge plus). But that reliabilty comes at a higher price tag and you will get less MPG.

If MPG is very important to you and you plan to drive the speed limit (or slightly lower), the MT model is a no-brainer but there should be a concern with clutch history, Input shaft bearing history and synchos on the transmission and IMA battery replacement history.

Just my 2 cents....

JoeCVT = Just your average CVT owner
 

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Driving the speed limit on a 75MPH interstate with cruise control(no lean-burn with cruise control if you add it) will get you around 55MPG if I remember right.
I don't understand why MN Driver states that there's "no lean-burn with cruise control if you add it". I added cruise control to my 2000 Insight last spring and took a 4,000-mile trip during which I used cruise control whenever possible. I saw lean-burn mode entered as often with cruise control on as with it off.

What MN Driver might mean is because cruise control will attempt to maintain a constant speed, lean-burn mode might cease on an incline due to greater load on the engine. If one were driving without cruise control and kept the accelerator position constant up an incline causing one's speed to drop, then lean-burn mode could be sustained. However, with MIMA installed and in PIMA mode set to assist and regen aggressively, a slight incline will result in assist which can sustain lean-burn mode as well as one's speed.
 

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I don't understand why MN Driver states that there's "no lean-burn with cruise control if you add it". I added cruise control to my 2000 Insight last spring and took a 4,000-mile trip during which I used cruise control whenever possible. I saw lean-burn mode entered as often with cruise control on as with it off.

What MN Driver might mean is because cruise control will attempt to maintain a constant speed, lean-burn mode might cease on an incline due to greater load on the engine. If one were driving without cruise control and kept the accelerator position constant up an incline causing one's speed to drop, then lean-burn mode could be sustained. However, with MIMA installed and in PIMA mode set to assist and regen aggressively, a slight incline will result in assist which can sustain lean-burn mode as well as one's speed.
Correct, with MIMA you can make it work. For everyone else, there is no way that the Rostra will engage or maintain lean-burn. If it engages it, you got lucky and it will lose it quickly. With MIMA running out, soon enough there won't be an option for those who can't build one DIY so the option for many is going away. I'd imagine that a highway drive at 70MPH would deplete the battery though rather than manually controlling it to hold it in the 70-75MPH range cruising the flat, right?
 

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Correct, with MIMA you can make it work. For everyone else, there is no way that the Rostra will engage or maintain lean-burn. If it engages it, you got lucky and it will lose it quickly. With MIMA running out, soon enough there won't be an option for those who can't build one DIY so the option for many is going away. I'd imagine that a highway drive at 70MPH would deplete the battery though rather than manually controlling it to hold it in the 70-75MPH range cruising the flat, right?
Even with MIMA off, I don't recall having any problem engaging lean-burn mode with my Rostra on as long as the set speed is less than 70 mph, the terrain is flat, and any headwind isn't too strong. It's easier to force lean-burn mode with the cruise control off by decreasing accelerator pressure ever so slightly, but my experience is that lean-burn mode will engage with the steady accelerator position that occurs with a cruise control on.

A highway drive at 70 mph in PIMA mode with the cruise control on would drain the battery if PIMA were adjusted with too much assist. I always run PIMA adjusted so that no assist or regen occurs on flat terrain, but a slight incline will engage assist and a slight decline will engage regen, thus keeping the battery charge constant, on average. I do have to fiddle with the PIMA adjustment if I see the battery charge level gradually increasing or decreasing or if driving conditions change. I have depleted the battery completely several times (i.e., charge level 0) when I wasn't paying attention, but I was amazed that mild assist still remained available.

I think one reason PIMA with cruise control results in such good fuel efficiency is because lean-burn mode can be maintained on slight declines even with mild regen occurring. During my 4,000-mile trip with 2 adult occupants and luggage for 5 weeks of travel (i.e., probably exceeding the Insight's maximum vehicle weight), roads varying from 120 kph freeways to windy roads through the mountains and fjords of Norway, weather ranging from the 80's running the A/C at freeway speeds to cold rain, and driving the speed limit with no hypermiling techniques (just set the Rostra and PIMA and enjoy the scenery), I averaged just under 80 mpg. I don't think that would have been possible without lean-burn mode engaging much of the time at highway speeds.
 

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Maybe the Rostra is adjustable and I haven't found the adjustment mine seems to take any minor incline even if I don't see it or pretty much any change that it makes to the throttle position is far too harsh to maintain lean-burn. Turning it on when I'm in lean-burn and it will romp the peddle into assist and it releases the pedal enough to regen which causes it to lose lean-burn there too. I've tried a ton, I took my car on a vacation and back and couldn't get it to stay at any speed between 50 and 78 where lean-burn is available. Of course I don't expect it to work above 70mph because its hard enough to keep it manually unless its completely flat, hot out, and no wind. Whenever stepping it down or up a single MPH it would kick out too. Is my Rostra setup wrong?
 

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....One of the sites I was looking at said the insights are rough in high wind. Is this really a big problem?....
It seems that the others have already answered most of your questions.

I can say that driving in high sidewinds up to 50 mph is not an issue with my Insight. The center-of-pressure is towards the front of the car, and even with the tail, remains that way, so when sidewinds occur it tends to put the front end first and then the driver corrects for the push.

I have noticed in snow that the Insight tends to "hunt" more than other cars I have owned, but it just takes a while to get used to, especially after the first drive in snow various tire tracks in the snow.

Jim.
 

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107 might be achievable, but with normal driving, keeping with the flow of traffic on an 800 miles I got 55mpg with an MT. on the return trip i drove a little slower and got ~58 mpg.

It was a little disappointing, but at that time I chose to complete my trip in 14 hours, if I could have 20 hours to do it and no other traffic I could get 75 or even 80mpg, but my speed would have to be around 45mph to achieve that .. ..

It is an extraordinary car, but most probably would not make everybody happy. The driver will have to accept some sacrifices in the name of the fuel efficiency,

and 4.8k for a 2000 mt with 220k is a rip off in my opinion. at this mileage a good running car should be priced at ~2k-3k (this is my private opinion and I am not an expert in car prices) . May be in 5 years if they become a collectible item that will be a good price. but right now if you check oodle .com or auto trader.com you probably will be able to get a much better deal.

Today I saw a MT at craigslist with some damages for 3.5k and it is ~ 105k miles or so the poster said..
 
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