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My wife and I are looking at a 2010 Honda Insight with 133k miles. The price is good $<5K but I don't have any experience with hybrid vehicles or CVT transmissions. The thought of having to drop another $2k on a battery in the next 6 months to a year have me worried. We test drove it yesterday and it seemed nice. Get up and go seemed really slow. What should we be looking for with this car. Are we just asking for battery replacement based on age and year? Any way to test the condition of the battery? Software Updates? I noticed that when I was stopped at a light for maybe 15 seconds that the car shut off, is that normal? What maintenance items would be needed at 133k or in the near future.

Thanks.
 

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133K miles shouldn't be a worry especially if the service history is OK.
The 2nd gen hybrid battery is pretty much bulletproof; failures are very scarce indeed. However, the 12V battery is often weak - but those are cheap.
If the 12V battery is bad it will cause all kinds of strange behavior, so the first thing you do when something is out of the ordinary is put a Volt meter on it and if it drops below say 10.8 Volt before you start the engine there's the bad 12V battery.

The CVT is a gearbox like no other.
It allows for very low revs if you stay off the throttle, and allows it to spool up and maintain about 6000 RPM for maximum acceleration, making the most of the tiny engine.
So if your pootling along at 35 MPH and you floor it the revs will jump from 1100 RPM to 6000. This is normal behavior and nothing to worry about.
If you worry about the jump in revs and keep it below say 3000 RPM it might feel sluggish.
It simply needs the revs to accelerate in anger.

When you test drive it look for the following:
- A full service history with regular oil and CVT fluid changes.
- See if the revs go up to 5,500-6000 RPM within 2 seconds when you floor it (it should)
- If you feather the throttle anywhere in the 10 to 30 mph range, you may feel bumps when EV mode kicks in or when the clutch engages or disengages. These should be mild, not savage.
- At certain wind condition a whistling or burring sound may occur from the top of the windshield around 50-60 mph. The rubber window seam then has a gap. It can be kitted so it won't burr anymore.
- Some Insights (mine, f.i.) have a subtle whining sound from the dash area around 60 mph. See if it has it and if it bothers you.
- Check the tire pressure. I like them at 40 PSI (3 bar) minimum; this gives a slightly harsher ride but better economy and control, and noticeably reduces side wind sensitivity, I frequently encounter stormy conditions and it ceased to be an issue at 40 PSI.
- The 16 inch rims give a much more direct ride than the 15 inches, so having those is a plus. They are slightly less economical though - cost you about 1 mpg.
- I don't like the output of the standard halogens. I have replaced them for cheap HIDs: I'd highly recommend those. If it already has HIDs that's a bonus.
- Push the horn. Swapping it for an Accord high horn is easy. Just saying so you know there's a solution for that.

Grosso modo the Insight is a good, reliable and economical car with some minor improvement points which are easy to fix yourself.
 

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I would just add that the CVT takes some getting used to. To me it seems like a rubber band when you are used to a transmission going through gears. That said, I am often surprised at how fast I get going even though it seems like acceleration is slow. The truth is, of course, that acceleration is slow. This is an economy car all the way. Crappy seats, lots of noise, kind of a hair shirt of a car. Honda set out to make the least expensive hybrid and it shows. That said, it is a Honda and way more fun to drive than a Prius for instance. (The speedometer is in front of the driver as well, I always have to get that little dig in)
Our Insight has about that many miles on it, so far no issues at all. Ours is a California car, so the IMA warranty is 10years/150k. But there is no difference in the vehicles themselves no matter what state they were sold in. We have folks reporting here with IMA packs at over 200k. The main thing one has to do is keep using them. If this is a second car that will sit around a lot, i would not recommend it. Bad for a college student to let sit all week. Or an airline worker leaving for a week or two. Used every day and the battery stays alive.

As an FYI, Insights in the 2012-2014 model years have an issue with experimental piston rings Honda used. Those years suffer from excessive oil consumption. There is a service bulletin and a warranty extension, but one does have to hassle a dealer for a fix.
 

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It's a Honda. 'Nuff said.
Welcome to this strange world. Goo for it, but throw away everything you are used to - especially concerning the gearbox.
It's a very clever box that just does what it thinks is best and usually that is.
Read the forum here for more Insight - pun intended.
 

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With cruise&climate control, 6-speaker audio system with USB thumb drive and iPod support, Bluetooth phone pairing with voice control, auto detect wipers, auto lighting, AutoStop, VSC, curtain airbags, etc NONE of which I had in any of my previous cars I cannot seriously call it a hair shirt kind of car.

But is not perfect.

In all fairness, it is based on the Fit platform. So it is every bit as good as a Fit. If you compare it to more expensive cars you'll find it lacking in details.
For the money this may be as good as it gets if you don't have a Fit.
 
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