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Discussion Starter #1
I'm obsessed with gas mileage, so I've been reading a lot about the Insight recently because it interests me. I'd love to drive one, but I can't afford to own a newer car.

So I just bought the next best thing -- a '94 Civic VX. The VX model was made from 92 to 95 and is supposed to get 55mpg freeway.

I can't find any other VX owners online. I was wondering if any of you Insight people are current or former VX owners as well?
 

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Civic VX

There are a few Civic VX owners here. I still have my 94 red VX with 218K miles. It still delivers 50+ mpg with fairly aggressive driving (With no FCD to keep me restrained I tend to do too much speeding not to mention the 0-50+ 1st gear accelerations when pulling into dense traffic). Even though I bought a 00 Insight I couldn't let the VX go so I use it when I need a little more room and during the Winter when you pick up a lot of paint chips from the roads being sanded. In the 10 years that I have had the VX I have had no problems other than a ventilation fan moter that died at 30K miles which was replaced under warranty. I assume the Insight will deliver the same typical Honda reliability since it is a refined Vtec-E engine. I tracked the Insight with its first press releases in 99 but couldn't justify the need for an additional car (50 vs 70 mpg just wasn't enough incentive although the digital dash was certainly making it tempting). Eventually the supply exceeded demand and I bought a new 00 (#4738) with factory AC and dealer installed cruise from a Honda dealer on Ebay for 16,800. The autostop feature, quieter interior, digital dash, sleek styling, and Electric assist soon were modifying my driving behavior. I averaged in the low 70's for my first 10K miles but soon learned with a constant engine load and lower speeds values in the 90-100 range were very achieveable.
In regards to the Civic Hybrid and how to improve it now that the 04 Prius is offering greater fuel economy perhaps Honda should pull out the VX design and put the updated power train in it. I know the EPA rating system has changed but the VX did have a 57 mpg highway rating so with autostop and the electric assist it could certainly be improved. Have fun, Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Rick,

Quite ironic as mine is also a red '94 but has 118k miles. Good to hear that the VX has been a solid car for you! Thanks for posting!

I haven't actually driven my VX yet, since I purchased it on Ebay. I'm taking greyhound to go pick it up and then will drive the 2300 miles back home.

Are there any tips you can offer me to achieve the highest mpg possible? I already drive slow (never more than ~62) in my other car (Geo Storm) and routinely beat the posted EPA number. It is realistic to shoot for 60mpg average from Ohio to SoCal for my first trip?

I am a little perplexed as to why Honda hasn't revived the VX hatchback and included the hybrid powertrain. One would assume it could achieve mileage close to the Insight (maybe 10-15% less?), but would comfortably seat four and have increased cargo capacity. The old hatchbacks as you know can actually hold an impressive amount of stuff for such a small car. Such a car would alleviate most of the public's concerns about the Insight (two seater, lack of cargo room, and the questionable attractiveness of the rear wheel covers).

-Mike
 

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Honda puts the battery and controls in the Civic Hybrid between the back seat and the trunk. That's why they don't make a hybrid hatchback. Notice how high the rear deck is in the Insight.

Basically, hatchbacks are so good at offering you all available interior space that coming up with a hatchback with room for batteries would require redesigning the frame of the Civic. They could adapt the 4-door design without this expensive total retooling, hence the 4-door. Only the high-performance Civic Si has the hatchback.
 

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VX

In regards to getting 60mpg in the VX it would be no problem at 62 on the Interstate unless they have poor tires. In fact Car and Driver got 67 mpg on the VX in an attempt to go roundtrip from San Fran to LA (They fell a bit short). The original LRR tires for the VX are no longer made so it depends on what they were replaced with as to how good you will do. Secondly the VX gas guage is not nearly as consistent as the Insight. The VX guage will change on hills, curves, speed etc. If you want to push it put a small gas can in the car.
In regards to hatchback hybrids the new Prius is a hatchback so I guess they put the battery under the deck. I took the rear seats out of my VX years ago and have a flat cargo deck (Two seats are fine with me). As a last note their are plenty of Honda options that can be added to the VX such as clock, body side moldings, audio console, center storage armrest. Have fun, Rick
 
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