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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought an '01 5-speed Insight on e-Bay, and I have to fly down to Anaheim this week to pick it up. Problem is, I've never driven stick before. Is the Insight an easy car to learn on? It seems like the Auto-Stop function would make stalling impossible...am I right? Are there any other quirks and foibles I should know about manual Insights?

Much appreciated,

-Igliashon Jones
 

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Auto stop kicks in (I believe) when you have taken the car out of gear and are braking and get below a specified speed. Being a manual transmission driver for many years now, and also in the process of teaching my son to drive, I have found that most stalling is a result of forgetting to depress the clutch when decelerating. Therefore, I think that stalling is still possible, and even likely unless you remember to take the car out of gear when coming to a stop.

As for ease to learn on, what I have found in the two days that I have owned my new Insight, is that the car is very smooth from one gear to the next, and thus seems to give less 'feedback' to the driver as to whether or not you are in the right gear. Also, the dash indicator seems to want me to shift much sooner than I think necessary based on my previous experience. Then again, maybe I have been driving around 'wrong' for the last 25 years :lol:

Chris in Washington, NH
 

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Compared to all the other manual transmissions (we call 'em "straight drives" ) I have driven, the Insight is pretty forgiving.

I would practice in a deserted parking lot, or street, a long time before getting out on the freeway, if I were in your place.....

Good luck
 

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If you've never driven stick before ...

starting in 1st gear may be an issue for you... be prepared to stall your car.... which will most likely happen if you've never drivne stick before...and lastly... don't grind your gears!
 

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Hey,
Well I can attest to the fact that you can certainly stall the Insight. I'm still kind of a novice manual tranny driver myself, I still stall the thing from time to time... By the way, how exactly do you grind your gears?
 
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Hi Igliashon_jones:

___Do not go pick up a car and then learn to drive a stick. Learn to drive a stick locally with whoever’s automobile and then go pick up your car. There are times for safety’s sake (yours and everyone else’s) that you really need to know how to drive a stick almost by instinct. Please find someone that owns a 4/5 speed automobile at work, a friend, a family member, or go rent one and take a few hours in an empty parking lot with someone that knows how to drive one teaching you first. You do not want to be stopped on an incline as an absolute beginner driving a stick under any circumstances as just one example of why this is a bad idea that can only get worse.

___Oh … Congrats on purchasing the Insight as well ;)

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:p64g44r4][email protected][/email:p64g44r4]
 

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Grinding gears is difficult with a properly functioning synchromesh transmission as the synchro rings tend to match the speed of the gears before they engage, but if you are rolling backwards and try to engage reverse you may be successful. The "grinding" is actually the tips of the gear teeth bouncing off each other and is to be avoided.

First gear is the big deal as you have to work the clutch and the accelerator in harmony to produce a smooth take off. Forgetting to use the clutch when coming to a stop is another classic neophyte error. After a while it becomes as natural as walking or riding a bike. Once you get in to driving manual, driving automatic is like eating canned spagetti. Manual is only a pain in major stop and go traffic.

As manuals go the Insight is really sweet. In the unlikely case that the Insight has not been driven for several months, starting off in first gear will be more difficult than normal as you will not have much low rev power for the first 15 minutes or so, until the 144 volt battery charges up. Try to practice in some old beater in the next couple of days.

All the best on your first solo flight. :wink:
 

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Yes, do try to learn before you go pick up your new car. I like the idea of a rental, burn up it's clutch learning, not your own.

Anyways, as far as stalling the Insight is programmed to act like a normal car so stalling is possible. The car will only enter auto stop when shifted in to neutral while stopped. There is however a nice little easter egg in the software, if you stall it just push the clutch in, shift to 2nd real quick (clutch still pressed) then back to 1st and it will restart on it's own. If this doesn't work you can just turn the key, it will restart a lot quicker than a normal car anyways. I'm not 100% on that little trick because I don't tend to stall my car, but I do know that it will restart if stalled in 2nd because I use that little trick when it doesn't want to auto stop sometimes. Maybe it won't do it if stalled in 1st? Anyone know for sure?

As far as ease of learning every car will be different. With the Insight you have the IMA that will at least attempt to provide you some low rpm torque to keep you going. I've driven better, I've driven worse. It's gotta have one of the easiest to push clutches in the world though.
 

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My cruel friend proved to me that you can definitely stall the Insight. He said, "Hey, I wonder if I can stall it." and then just kept slowing in second gear and never depressed the clutch at all until she came to a halting shuddering stop.

The difference was that unlike a normal car, it didn't shut down completely.

I second the motion (third it) that you MUST PRACTICE before you go down to pick it up. You certainly don't want to wreck your new car the day you get it or worse yet kill yourself trying to merge onto another road or make a turn across traffic... There are a myriad of ways to kill yourself if you don't know how to drive a manual at all and hop into one to start off on streets with traffic.

It doesn't mean that you won't pick it up fast, but you are taking a big risk to do the first practice in your new baby!
 

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Encouragement

I learned to drive on a stick shift, and learned to depend on "feel" and the engine "sound" to know when to shift. I am a non mechanical person and I can drive one like a pro. So you can do it, I am sure, with a little practice. I test drove a manual Insight, but it is different than others I have driven. The engine is so quiet. I couldn't "hear" when to shift. I was unsure when to shift. I used what were the gears and mph I thought to shift, but didn't feel certain I had it right. I think think 1st and 2nd have a wide mph range, but 3rd, 4th and 5th were narrower than I remember other cars having. So I was in 2nd going 25mph on a side street, rather than 3rd. I bought a CVT which is on it's way, instead, but for different reasons than the transmission.

I found a forum to read about how to drive a standard/manual shift car. It's http://www.standardshift.com. Maybe reading will help with the reality. Good luck!
 

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Hi igliashon_jones:

Welcome!

I agree with the other folks that said it is best to learn under lower pressure conditions than when you know you have to transport yourself across hundreds (thousands?) of miles before you can take a long break. That said, I think you will find the insight’s manual transmission easier to drive than whatever other car you may find to gain experience on. Mostly this is due to the insight’s light weight. It is relatively easy to get up to an adequate speed for first gear, so it is fairly forgiving of less than optimum throttle/clutch coordination.

3 other ways to grind gears: Shifting while forgetting to use the clutch, shifting without the clutch being completely depressed, and inadvertently trying to put the car into reverse when you meant 4th. Although grinding gears is not a good thing it is not the end of the world. You will do it sooner or later. Just don’t make a habit of it.

“Burning the clutch” is another neophyte pitfall, although it is not such a problem with the insight’s light weight. Just don’t make a habit of making smooth first gear starts by revving the engine and letting the clutch out sloooooowly (let it out only moderately slowly while bringing the engine up to speed. You’ll get the hang of it). A burnt clutch smells like burnt brakes.

Be patient with yourself! Learning the finer points of high mpg takes a while and will come as you get more confident with the transmission.

Don’t worry about the shift indicator arrows at first. They are only guidelines for optimum mileage. They don’t know as much as you know about the upcoming conditions and you won’t hurt anything by letting your RPMs get higher than those lights want to let you. If you try to follow them you will find yourself making too many needless (and inappropriate) shifts.

Expect to have to downshift to 4th or even 3rd to get much power at freeway speeds.

Have a good adventure! Once you get out of L.A. the hard part should be over! :D
 

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I believe that reverse is locked out unless you hold the shifter in neutral for a couple of seconds - so I don't think that you can grind the gear by going to reverse when you meant fourth. At least, that's been my experience.
 

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Foxpaw-
You are probably right about the insight. I have never tried it. Thanks.
 

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The lockout is only from 5th to reverse so you don't try to grab "6th". You can see this while the car is sitting there not running. You can shift to reverse from any gear except 5th. From 5th all you have to do is go over to the natural neutral position before going to reverse. Still, reverse is so far over that it would be highly unlikely to try and go in to reverse, and you'd hear the grind before you even got remotely engaged anyways.
 

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I was wondering which Insight you bought and how much you paid. Was it the blue one in Anaheim Hills from DC Motors? Just curious, good luck learning the 5-speed, I have found the Insight to be a very user-friendly 5-speed.
 

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One car, two or three ads.

In my search for an Insight I have noticed that a dealer will list the same car, at two different places (autotrader.com and usedcars.com, for example). Additionally, the prices can be different, (2k+) and some of the ads says the car is Certified, some not. Does anybody know what is going on here, is this an honest selling strategy? Can I somehow use it to get the best price? Let me know what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all so much for the advice. This forum has been invaluable in my decision making processes about buying an Insight in the first place, and even more so now.

I've done lots of reading up about manual transmissions (how they work, how to drive them best), but there's no way I'm getting behind the wheel of that Insight without getting some sort of feel for manual driving first. Now I just have to track down someone to teach me....

brpeterson, that is in fact the car I bought! How ever did you know?

Regards,
-Igliashon
 

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From Holicow's post on the first page:

Compared to all the other manual transmissions (we call 'em "straight drives" ) I have driven, the Insight is pretty forgiving.
I'm not sure I'd agree. My previous cars were a Dodge Neon, a Jeep Wrangler, and an Audi A4, all manual transmission. For some reason, I tend to stall far more often in the Insight (usually while in reverse) than in any of those cars. And I've annoyed myself by grinding gears two or three times since I bought the car last September (also while travelling slowly in a parking lot). Maybe I'm losing it, but I don't think so.

On the positive side, the ability to trick the car into restarting after a stall (see previous posts) is awfully nice.

Yours,
MF
 

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Re: Encouragement

Flora said:
... I test drove a manual Insight, but it is different than others I have driven. The engine is so quiet. I couldn't "hear" when to shift. I was unsure when to shift. ....
Wow, what did you drive before? A Harley?

Rick said:
The car will only enter auto stop when shifted in to neutral while stopped. ....
Well, mine will autostop in gear with the clutch depressed... :p
 

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The Insight is my first stick-shift car. Before I bought it, one of my dearest friends let me ruin his Cavalier learning to drive a stick. When I picked up the Insight (my husband drove it home :) ) I learned pretty quickly that I like my own clutch and everything better than the Cavalier's!

:wink: But that's probably because he's 6'3" and I'm five even!
 
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