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Hi folks. I'm considering buying a used 2000 Insight with under 50,000 miles on it. I took it for a test drive and found that it really seemed underpowered when going up hill. The current owner says that steep hills can really slow it down and that when the car is cold it sometimes doesn't even want to climb hills and she has had to turn around and go down.

Is this a common problem? Is this typical? Is the driver doing something wrong?
 

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Kick down to 3rd

Going down to 3rd gear is the only way you'll keep speed on some hills.Maybe even second for some, depending on how slow you've gotten down to. It also seems to be 85% uphill everywhere you go, at least in GA. :wink:

If you gotta turn around and go back, how do you see over the hood on a hill that steep?
 

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I never turn around, I just crack the door open and push with my left foot. :p

The only other thing that comes to mind is that its a good thing that "she" lives in San Fransisco. There's public transportation available and its not a good place to learn to drive.

Underpowered on hills :?: Yes somewhat. What are you trying to compare it to :?: And if fast hill climbing is important to you, then get a 60's muscle car. ;)
 

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I-17 from Phoenix Towards Sunset Point (if anyone is familiar with this highway) is a 6% grade and my Insight climbs it at 70 mph with no problems. You just gotta ride it in 3rd gear.
 

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"The two steepest streets in San Francisco are 22nd Street between Church and Vicksburg, and Filbert between Hyde and Leavenworth. Both streets have a 31.5% grade and are one-way; down only. The steepest street you can actually drive up is Jones between Union and Filbert with a 29% grade." (http://www.coolbeans.com)

...and yes, I've been up Jones before in my Insight, in first. No problem. As for climbing highway grades I think there are still lots of Insighters that aren't aware of the strategy of using third gear rather than fourth or fifth. I learned from insightcentral.net that one can drive over 80 mph in third if needed, and I routinely downshift to third to climb grades while driving between 55 and 70 mph. I also learned here that this way I'll actually get better milage, not worse, as I reduce dependence on my IMA charge.
 

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3rd is good to 113 mph where it redlines and cuts out. Although it won't let you go any faster than 113 anyways, but that's a topic for an older thread.

2nd is good to 72 mph also so if needed for a really bad grade or in the event that you have to slow down on a hill don't hesitate to down shift even more speed permitting.
 

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Yes. Most cars seem to be designed for people who don't know how to shift--so the engine is sized to give you sufficient power for most situations no matter what gear you are in. I have yet to come anywhere near using the maximum power avaiable from my Insight (which would be 2nd gear at 72 mph).

Charlie
 

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I've never had any problems going up and down mountain roads in California with my 2001 CVT. It should be easier with a 5 speed.
 

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no problems w/ sf hills here either - 57k miles

I drive an '03 CVT with 57k of miles under her belt and face the aforementioned hills of san francisco on a near daily basis and have no problems with power. I don't think i've EVER had to turn around defeated by an incline, so it sounds like something might be wrong there.

I've also driven this car from chicago to san francisco and back twice in the past year even once with a car load and never had issues coming up the mountains, despite my initial fears.. almost ran out of battery just before crossing the nv/ca border.

if it's a cvt put it in low gear when you go up steep hills. also to save on your breaks, use low gear going down the hills too, depending on how steep. this has been discussed but there are a lot of cvt drivers who don't know the power of a downshift on hills as well.
 

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I think the CVT feels like it has more power, to novice Insight drivers anyway. That's because the transmission kicks up the RPMs when needed.

However, manual Insights have the same amount of power, if not a little more. It just takes some getting used to. You have to downshift when you really need the power. Don' be afraid to use 2nd gear (unless your going 70 or more.)
 
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