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A few quick questions about airbag, cruise control, etc

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Hi guys,

I'm on the waiting list for a new 2004 Prius, but have been considering a used Insight instead.

A few questions:

1) Can the right front passenger airbag be disabled? Hopefully this is with a factory switch so the airbag can be turned on at any time...I really wouldn't want to permanenty disable the airbag.

I have a 5-year-old who would need to ride with me quite a bit in the Insight.

2) Is it easy to install an aftermarket cruise control? I'd have a hard time living without cruise on my daily commute.

3) I'm looking used...did the car have any upgrades over the couple years it's been out? Is there a particular model year that would be a better choice (not including new).

4) How much storage is in the back? Can I go shopping and throw a few bags of groceries back there? Or do you guys wind up using the right front seat for most of that kind of stuff?

5) Has the car been crash tested? What kind of ratings did it get?

Thanks a MILLION for taking time to answer what must be very common questions.
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Welcome to Insightcentral!

Just a general comment: The manual gets significantly better milage than the CVT Insight. The CVT seems better for hilly terrain or using cruise control. This is a ball park estimate but the mpg for the manual is about 15-20% better.

1) It turns out the airbag on the passenger side can be disabled - correction. See next post.
2) Someone has installed a cruise control on the CVT (automatic) Insight and says it help get better milage. Don't know, but the manual Insight would probably not work that well with a cruise control.
3) The Insight has not changed significantly since it's introduction. Honda has changed the colors and factory stereo, but that's about it.
4) The storage is about half of a CRX - enough for groceries.
5) The Insight does well in the crash tests. While the size and weight is a concern, the head-on collision I had it glanced and bounced. The several I had were not enough to damage the main body or chassie. Most of my collisions were from the rear. In fact I have had six involving another vehicles in my life time - four of them were from the rear. I think avoiding silver is a safer idea, as most of my collisions were sunset or dawn. Will M had a pretty bad collision but he was OK and got another Insight. While the Insight is not a Volvo, I feel safe enough.
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The passenger airbag can be disabled, but there are a couple of steps that must be accomplished first and the only switches available are aftermarket, Honda does not provide any factory switch or information concerning disabling the switch. Honda does not want to be involved in that type of liability.

To get the airbag switch installed, first you have to get a waiver from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (go to their website, you should find a link to get the waiver paperwork, which you send in and they send you the waiver back).

Once you have the waiver, you can find either the parts and do it yourself or have the install done by an installer. I used Sensible Solutions, LLC. In Maryland they'll come and install the switch whereever you live (or work), with the charge for parts and labor coming to just under $400.

I use my switch so I can transport my son in the passenger seat, and have had no problems. I did this because I did not want to have to get rid of my Insight just because I have a child, and I'm glad I did.
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Crash safety

I looked up the crash data before I bought mine, they had two primary measurements: Safety of driver and passenger when the Insight strikes an object, and safety when a vehicle strikes the Insight. The Insight recieved high marks (almost top of the list of 20 or so light cars tested) for crashing INTO an object because of the low vehicle weight. However it did below average (although not the worst) in tests where a vehicle stuck the Insight. I seem to recal that the 'car' they crashed into the insight weighed more than twice what the Insight does - that was their 'average vehicle' I think.
On crash ratings the Insight gets 4 stars (or "good") on front and side impact tests as reported by NHTSA.
Delta Flyer said:
1) It turns out the airbag on the passenger side can be disabled - correction. See next post.
Actually the passenger side airbag can be permanently disabled quite easily. You just have to live without a switch that can turn in on/off.
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