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I have wanted an Insight since they came out. Since I will be needing a new car soon - my timing has finally come - I think. Here's where I need some advice. I live in Oregon, near Portland. It's wet, and cold sometimes. I have a long, steep (no, I mean STEEP) driveway that is gravel and bumpy at the bottom, paved on the steep (sorry, I mean STEEP!) part. My concern with the Insight is that with those little tires it will not make it up my wet driveway. Then there's the gravel bumpy part. Anyone got a driveway like mine? I suppose chains are out of the question in winter - do they make snow tires? Also - the heater needs to work, as does the defroster/wipers (I've read up on this - sounds like it's OK with the A/C on). That's part one.

The second part is that I commute, basically, between Portland and LA. I often ride my motorcycle (45 mpg) - but I'm thinking, hey, I could do this in a CAR and get 70 mpg!! Is it comfy enough for such a long trip? I know there are some over 100,000 milers out there - what do you say? And I know the space is limited, and there is a weight limit also. I would be pretty maxed on both.

Thanks!
 

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Gravel, comfort, rain?

I haven't had mine for a long time, and have yet to drive in serious rain (give me two days and it will be raining here so I'll know then).

I have driven 3-4 hours non-stop a couple times and not found any problems at all as far as comfort goes.

I have driven on bumpy gravel roads without any problem, including up hills and down hills that are unpaved. I was actually very surprised at how well it behaved. They are not heavily rutted, however.

I have not been on a really STEEP gravel road, but I have had no problem as far as the ability of the engine and IMA to go up steep inclines. The only issue you need to worry about is if it is crazy steep and you'll lose traction. Other than that, 2nd gear should do you fine or 1st if need be for the incline aspect.

I believe they do sell chains somewhere. Others will know that.

Heat seems to work fine.

There are lots of posts about doing easy fixes to make it still get the super mpg in cold and/or wet. I am working on that myself (I am in Northern CA and it is wet/cold in winter time like for you up there). Don't worry at all about that aspect.

The good part is that every time you go down your hill, you'll get your energy back. Can't do that on a motorcyle! Yet...

Weight limit is not really an issue. I've had over the 365 and it was still peppy and got good mpg. Just make sure you get the 5-speed so it will be fun and better mpg.
 

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Gravel and steep road

I would go to a dealership and take a test drive in a new insight up your drive to make sure. Although the tires are small the insight is very light so I wouldn't expect any traction problems. As far as comfort I make 8 to 10 hour trips on a regualr basis and have no problem. I would recommend an upgraded sound system. Have fun, Rick
 

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Knightspirit said:
<snip>

I have a long, steep (no, I mean STEEP) driveway that is gravel and bumpy at the bottom, paved on the steep (sorry, I mean STEEP!) part. My concern with the Insight is that with those little tires it will not make it up my wet driveway. Then there's the gravel bumpy part. Anyone got a driveway like mine? I suppose chains are out of the question in winter - do they make snow tires?

<snip>

Thanks!
It would appear from your description that a CVT (automatic) would be the better choice. Most automatic transmissions by design yield torque multiplication via the torque converter. Which would allow for slow creeping up and past your hazard(s). But for the life of me I can't remember if the CVT transmission has this "feature" (torque multiplication) and my service manual is currently loaned out.

Snow tires are available with a STEEP, no I mean steep MPG penality (10 MPG+-). <g>

As for your other questions looks like a up close inspection and road test is your next step.

HTH! :)
 

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The mpg penalty from snow tires isn't so steep. I put some OEM-sized snows on this winter, and now that the weather is a little warmer (high '30s/low '40s F) I'm back in the 62-65 mpg range which is all I was getting on the Bridgstones last fall. I bought the car in October, so my mileage was probably low at the beginning due to cold weather and novice driving technique. But if I can do better than 60mpg on snows, I'm happy.

The snow tire discussion I used to pick my tires is here:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=819

Good luck,
MF
 

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Chains are available for the Insight. I use regular cable chains that I got at Walmart or some such place. Goes nicely over 8900 ft pass (between Reno & Lake Tahoe) in a snowstorm.

As for the mud & gravel, my friends have such a driveway. Visited them yesterday, no problems. The Insight isn't a 4WD, but generally seems to do better than the average 2WD drive in mud & snow.
 

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Steep should not be a problem. Bumpy may be; clearance is tight. I would expect the Insight to make it up most anything a road/touring bike to make it up as long as you don’t have to do too much maneuvering to make it around the big craters. The 2004 tires are rated “mud&snow” (M+S) but I can’t vouch for the previous years.
 

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dan said:
The 2004 tires are rated “mud&snow” (M+S) but I can’t vouch for the previous years.
Yeah, the OEM tires are the same year to year. But Oregon has weird requirements on its roads (highways mainly) for chains -- they will actually stop you if there is snow and require you to put chains or studded snow tires on car. Either comply or turn around and go home.
I carry chains in the back of my Insight but have not yet used them.
 
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