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Hi,

Am thinking real hard about getting an Insight. The main problem though is cost. So really would like to find out a bit more about this car.

It seems to me that the incredible fuel efficiency of the car is tied directly to the IMA and the battery. If the battery is flat, fuel efficiency will probably take a dive. So, my first question is, how long does the battery last before extra effort needs to be taken to regenerate it? How easy is it to recharge via regenerative braking? I have nightmares about driving along for about 30 min, then realising the battery is going flat, then turning over to forced 'regenerative drive mode'.

For the veterans of the insight, does the battery run a little flat after a few years? (ie, don't recharge as fast, gets flat easily)

If you leave the car in the garage, how long does it take to flat? When the battery is flat, approximately how long do I need to (comfortably) drive the car to fully regenerate the battery?

I've read that the insight runs on a minimum of 89 octane!!!!!! (I've never even seen 89 octane available at a gas station here) But Honda recommends about 91. Is this true? Do you have any problems with the use of such low octane fuel?

Thanks a lot.

To put things in perspective, the primary reason why I have to think three times regarding the car although I'm terribly interested is the incredible price of cars here. I'm in Singapore. Here, cars are taxed 100% + before handed to the dealer, who makes a profit on us, and after that, we need to purchase a 'certificate of entitilement', which is about S$30,000 (about US 18K). That puts the cost of an Insight to about 100k sing (about 60K US). On the other hand, cost of 1 litre of fuel is getting close to 1 US dollar nowadays ... so having an Insight will really help when the cost of fuel gets higher and higher.

SS
 

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$60,000 for an Insight ? You must be joking ! If I were you I'd buy a used one in the US and have it shipped over. The tax you are paying is probably less for used cars. Let's say you find a 2002 with 50,000 miles on it for $13,000. Then you pay $2,000 to have it shipped over to Singapore. They will likely tax you less that way.....

......wait a minute. I just looked up the car tax laws in Singapore on Google. Boy do I feel sorry for you ! Well, since you would pay $60,000 for other cars too, I'd probably reccommend you not get an Insight. They are extremely reliable but you might want to get something else for your money. Good luck !
 

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I think you will be pleased with the Insight.

Four years and 65,000 miles (104,000 kilometers) later it runs as well as when it was new.

I have used 87 octane gas with no problem whatsoever.

If the Insight is idle at least two days, the hybrid battery may start losing it's charge. Note: if your 12-volt battery starts to go bad, the hybrid battery will drain in an attempt to save the 12-volt battery. I figure to get 150,000 miles (225,000 kilometers) on this hybrid battery, but that's a guess.

I'm assuming that Singapore has fairly level land like Dallas. If true, the hybrid battery should have a long life because it won't have much hill climbing to do. Rarely does my hybrid battery completly discharge more than once a month. When it does, it's typically from agressive stop-and-go in the summer, or just a lot of stop-and-go. Twenty minutes of freeway driving charges the battery back to full, but the acceleration is much weaker. Again, this does not happen often.
 

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Re: 4 questions regarding the Insight before I take the plun

FongSS said:
It seems to me that the incredible fuel efficiency of the car is tied directly to the IMA and the battery.
This is not true. The incredible fuel efficiency is due to the fact that the car is EXTREMELY light, and very AERODYNAMIC. Lots of other goodies help too .... like thermostat controlled A/C. Every aspect of the vehicles compents and design have been designed and redesigned to improve fuel effeciency. The battery only helps under certain conditions. When the vehicle is attempting to propel itself, it relies on gas first, and electricity second -- a distant second.

Actually, on tests I have performed, I have gotten the highest MPG when electricity wasn't used at all. It's called electric ASSIST, and is a very nice feature, and the assumption you made is very common. I found out different after purchasing it.

Given that, I really don't care how the car gets great MPG. The fact is that it does. ASSIST will help you in a big way when pulling out of intersections, and when you require rapid accelleration on the highway. I am thankful it's there, but it's function is often misunderstood by non Insight owners.
 

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I will disagree with DonWatson just a bit and also partially answer another of your questions at the same time:

My car sat for about 3 weeks without being driven, which apparently allowed the battery to "go flat". It also confused the charge guage and the car did not realize the battery was flat.

This resulted in my driving the first round trip without assist since it did not force a recharge.

My mileage dropped from a usual approx. 75 mpg to 65 mpg, which is not huge, but not insignificant, either. I fixed the problem by resetting the system.

This is the key: If your drive is mostly constant speed, AND on flat terrain, the IMA is not that important. If you have a lot of stop-and-go, or even more importantly, moderate HILLS (meaning hills not steep enough to use up the battery) I think the IMA does play a bigger factor, especially if you want to maintain a reasonable speed.
 

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incredible fuel efficiency of the car is tied directly to the IMA and the battery
Common misconception... fuel efficiency of the Honda Insight is more directly tied to how often you can stay in lean burn. Just like any car, the lighter you are on the gas pedal, the better the fuel economy. The main purpose of the Integrated Motor Assist system is just as the name states (assistance to the engine).
As far as fuel octane goes, the Insight should do perfectly well with 87. It's what most people use. Higher octane is just a waste of your money.

Martin,
Recycled
2000 5 spd,
Sora
 

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Just read the manual cover-to-cover Saturday night and the minimum octane is listed as "86 or higher" for a 2003 CVT.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks a lot for all the input. I'm totally convinced from the website (the most informative I've managed to find on the insight, I must say) and from the forum that the Insight's the car for me. Unfortunately, the sole Honda distributor in Singapore has just quoted me a price I'm not prepared to pay. The car is going to cost me S$140,000 (thats about US80K).

Saving the world from global warming is one thing. Going bankrupt in the process is quite another :(

Ah well. I'll just stick with my little Honda city, which isn't too bad on the kilometers per litre scale actually (I can average 18.5 kilometers per litre, or 5.4L per 100km). Maybe in a coupla years hybrid prices in my hometown will go down far enough to be affordable to the ordinary gent.

Thanks again for the feedback.
 

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Hello Fongus, how much did your present car cost with all the certificates, taxes,... like you wrote above.

From what you explained, costs not being directly related to the Insight like "certificate of entitilement, which is about S$30,000 "
I would expect that the cost is similar for both cars

I tried to find what was a City (Google "Honda City") and found moslty review sites which saied:
"I get around 11 Kms per liter ...no where near what Honda claims as the mileage you get" and "Expensive to maintain"

Could it be what we have here, a Civic, with a smaller engine of 1.5 L
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sadly, things don't look good for car owners in our beautiful tropical island.

You are right. The certificate of entitlement for both cars are the same, approximately S$30K - only if I were to buy both of them now. Singapore controls the number of cars strictly by releasing only a certain number of COEs every month (approx 90, we're a small island nation of 4 mil people), and demand is about 1.5 X that. So bidding occurs. Managed to get COE for my current car at a steal of S$24K (due to the psot SARS situation last year, when supply met demand instead of greatly exceeding it), so that's one reason.

The other reason is that even with COE, my current Honda City costs S$63K (including COE) by virtue of being a no frills car assembled in Thailand. This is less than half the price of an Insight. If I were to replace the city for an insight, due to depreciation, I will have to fork out 90K easily.

The Honda City is a 1.5L I-DSI (intelligent dual sequence ignition) engine which puts out about 86HP (pretty low for a 1.5L car), based on the same engine design as the Honda Jazz. The city was designed for the south east asian market to compete with the glut of cheap korean cars, and isn't available almost anywhere else (in Japan, it's known as the Fit Aria). The engine technology is similar to that in the Civic Hybrid, without the IMA, and Honda boasts a mileage of 21 kpl for the manual transmission which I've never managed to achieve. (note this is kpl is not from an independent observor, such as the EPA like in the US, but from Honda themselves)

I don't know how this other person drives his Honda City, but with just 86 HP, built for performance it ain't. Gunning the accelerator all the time will not result in very good fuel economy, in fact it would probably result in the opposite. Don't know how a 1.5L civic drives, they don't offer that in Singapore.

I chart my fuel consumption religiously, by monitering the odometer, amount pumped to full and cost in an excel spreadsheet in my pocket PC. Apart from the first 30L or so, when I averaged 12 kpl, I've never since dropped below 15 kpl. My best mileage was 20.46 kpl, and my mean is 18.4 kpl.

Admittedly, I drive without air con when it isn't too hot, I cruise (gear in neutral) when able, and I try to maintain my rpm below 3000, and my boot, a good 49L, is always empty. It helps that the weight of the City is just a little above 1000kg.

I suppose if I throw out the floor mats, my MP3 player, instruction manual, breakdown sign, spare tire, watch, spectacles, clothes, I might just make 21 kpl <heh>

For a decent review of the Honda City I own, check this out:

http://asia.vtec.net/article/2003City/index.html

(Malaysia's a country north of Singapore. Very close culturaly and historically)
 

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Great review site and also looks like a great car, do keep it then. Thanks for the informations

And I have always said I would trade in any 'sunny' contry for my winterish/coldish/iceish/darkish (not enough sun hours per day in winter) contry.

Now I know better and would need to take in account more than just tempature/weather.
 
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