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I own a 2004 prius (which I love) but unfortunately I was attacked by an SUV who backed into me and the prius is in the shop :( I rented a 2001 Insight to drive while my prius is in the shop to see how the other half of the hybrid drivers live! So far it is a very sweet car. Unfortunately, as with many rental cars, there is no manual in the glove box!! You site is very helpful, and I have figured out the all of the questions I had but one. What are the "S" and "D" buttons on the steering wheel? At first I though cruise control. Wrong (or my cruise control doesn't work!) Then I though engine breaking, but the insight has low gears like a normal Honda. Then I though, "stop pushing buttons on a car that you don't understand while you are over 60 miles from home!"

Any help would be appreciated!
 

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D= Drive (3rd gear equivalent)

S= Second Gear

L = Low (aka first gear equivalent)


By shifting down to lower "gears" you gain more power. Of course it's a cvt, so it doesn't actually use gears, but Honda wanted to use terms familiar to automatic transmission drivers. The Civic HX CVT has the exact same arrangement.
 

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A bit of a misunderstanding above. The 'S' and 'D' buttons on the steering wheel stand for Sport and (normal) Drive. The Sport button allows the engine to rev higher before shifting gear ratios.
 

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Oh okay... (shrug)

...what does the "D", "S", and "L" stand for on the gear shift?
 

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I test drove a CVT, and I found that you really want the 'S' mode enabled when you are merging onto a freewary or passing.

CVT folks can comment, but I have been told that those CVT type people use the button all the time when called for as if it were the super jet pack activator button (of course they don't quite reach orbit).

Then when the urgency is past, they immediately drop back to impulse drive... yuck yuck yuck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It wasn't easy

I looked everywhere, called all Toyota dealers (they have their own Toyota Rentacar service) and was totally striking out until I found http://www.evrental.com/ . They rent through Budget rentacar. I called the Reagan Nation Airpoprt guy and he got an Insight for me the next day. Here's where you pay top dollar for wanting to do the right thing. They charge you the luxury car rate. So I drove 60 jiles to pick up a car and I'm paying twice what the insurance company will cover just because I don't feel like putting 9X the pollutants in the DC region air if I don't have to.
 

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Chart, you're a saint! Hope you enjoy driving the Insight. Sorry to hear about your Prius. There should be an extra fine levied for hitting a hybrid. :wink:
 

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There is no "S" on the gearshift in a CVT. Only L-low, D-drive, R-reverse, P-park. S on the steering wheel is sport as noted earlier.
 

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Hmmm... I thought there were three gears there... L, S, D. (shrug) Maybe that was the Civic CVT?
 

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Figgy, in the one year and 20K+ miles I've had my CVT I have used the "S" mode exactly twice. And then, only one time passing did I feel it really helped. I guess I never really have the "urgency" to use it. In all the situations I drive in, the IMA "electric turbo" is more thatn enough!
 

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figgy said:
Good for you! The less you use the "S" mode, the more you save in gas.

That's debatable. Many owners (including me) think:
(a) full-throttle acceleration & minimal battery use is more efficient than
(b) draining the battery & refilling it later

...due to the losses in motor/battery resistance losses. That would mean shifting to "Low" to redline the engine in a 0 to 60 burst will yield higher MPGs over the long term.
 
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