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Most of the challenges you'll face with a G1 insight will be due to the age and the miles, not anything specific to the design of the car. Stuff breaks on cars of this vintage and mileage. I haven't seen anything to suggest the Insight is abnormally difficult to work on in the time I've owned it. On the contrary, the engine compartment is generally well laid out with ample working space and there's tons of documentation - which is not always the case with obscure older vehicles.

I'd plan on a half dozen minor repairs a year with a car this old, and a major one every year or two. If you're not comfortable getting your hands dirty and doing regular maintenance and repairs as stuff breaks, it's probably a poor choice for a vehicle.

Of course, an old Miata will have the same issue, with the added factor that most of the cheaper ones out there have been absolutely thrashed because that's what people do with Miatas. Many Insights were driven very gently by eco-minded commuters, so they've been used relatively gently. YMMV.

The biggest hurdle I've had with mine is finding affordable replacement parts. Many OEM parts are still available, but they're staggeringly expensive. Some aftermarket parts are available, but they're often of dubious quality and many listed aftermarket parts simply don't work.
 

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I had a customer/friend by the shop yesterday and took a picture of his odometer. One transmission build, one radiator, a couple hybrid batteries.
84663
Just barely broken in.
Scott
 

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2002 Honda Insight [manual]
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Discussion Starter #23
So I've been thinking for a coupe days and still have not made up my mind. As far as I have seen; the car is in quite good shape and comes with a grid charger. Like I said I drove it a bit and it seemed quite fine, I will need to really test drive it if I do think I'm going to buy it to see how it does with freeway speeds and on-ramp uphill acceleration. I have been looking over FB Marketplace and Craigslist and 2k doesn't get me much; I would need twice that for anything decent. If say the Insight needs an overhaul in a year or two, I would have some funds I saved not buying something expensive set aside for maintenance. Am I talking myself into this? Haha
 

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buy it, drive it until the IMA is completely toast and then do an LTO conversion. We're gonna keep these cars on the road for a long time, all the information you need to know is right here.
 
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Hello; I am in the market for a newer car to replace my hot garbage Saturn sedan. My friend is willing to sell me his 2002 Insight since he has been collecting cars and honestly doesn't need to keep multiple cars sitting around now that he has been driving his most recent purchase all the time and is willing to help me out for $2k. He taught me manual in it recently and despite me having a prosthetic leg and no ankle movement as my left foot, it was simpler than I thought and much more engaging than simple automatic.

On to the car:
As you guessed it's a 2002 Honda Insight (Gen 1) manual variant. It's silver, still has both rear wheel covers, gets 60mpg, and seems to drive fine. It has about 250k miles and although I'm sure that's not a ton for these cars, it's almost twice that of my current car and I have concerns over future maintenance; but not necessarily of the battery; I'll get to that more in a second. Anything to look out for or ask about?

Battery: I will ask about this more from the owner. My thinking is once it's on it's way out I would replace it with a lithium-ion pack of my choice. I have some experience with Lithium battery packs because of my background building electric skateboards. Usually around the 50 volt, 50-200 amp packs. Obviously I'd have a lot of learning to do creating a 144 volt insight pack but it can be done.

So is there anything you would recommend asking about or something I should know more of before I buy? I pulled a Carfax report and it looks ok but I honestly would not know what I'd look for in it. Honestly I really liked the car when I drove it a bit and the efficiency is a strong pull since I ****ing hate carbon production. I don't drive a whole lot and when I do it's usually around town or occasional freeway trips. Thank you for your suggestions and comments!
 

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Where are the CVT Insight groupies ? Hold your head up, and maybe the
manuals won't stone us. I've had both, and for my needs ( old ) the CVT takes
care of me. Power, gas mileage, style, and breezes through mountains. And,
the clutch issue is gone, and no more hill holding acrobatics. You won't be a
fully bon a fide Insighter until you have owned or driven a manual, but you can
still chat here and be accepted by most. ;)
 

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So I've been thinking for a coupe days and still have not made up my mind. As far as I have seen; the car is in quite good shape and comes with a grid charger. Like I said I drove it a bit and it seemed quite fine, I will need to really test drive it if I do think I'm going to buy it to see how it does with freeway speeds and on-ramp uphill acceleration.
I bought my 2002 MT Insight a little over a year ago. It has lived in Wisconsin its whole life and thus been exposed to road salt a quarter of its life. At the time, it had 246k miles on it. Now it’s at 260k+

The sum total of maintenance required: about $50 and two hours to replace the front brake rotors and pads easiest brake job I’ve ever done), and regular oil changes. I just finished building a grid charger to recondition the battery.

The car is a blast to drive in either of two modes. You can game the car for maximum fuel economy - it has been aptly compared to playing a video game with all the info the dash provides. Or you can drive it hard, in which it is surprisingly sporty once you rev the engine into its power band. A healthy IMA feels like a low boost turbo.

The car is built to very high standards of quality and is generally easy to work on. This support community is fantastic. The aluminum body will never rust. And most Insights have been gently driven their whole lives.

Most Miatas in your price range have been beat to death.

YMMV, but I’d buy a nice condition Insight in a heartbeat.

Either way, enjoy!

Park
 
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Discussion Starter #28
Well I bought a car... and it's the Insight.
84712


Honestly it feels sportier than my Saturn. Still need to get a hang of the manual transmission but I'm getting there. Needs a bit of a clean inside and out so that's this weekends project.
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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Please include your Location in your Profile.
Thank you.
Welcome to the ELITE family.
 

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Looks like mine. I love mine. Once you get that clutch under control it will be 100% pleasure to drive. Welcome aboard and good luck.
 
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Congratulations! Despite driving a MT car every day for nearly a decade it took me a few weeks to get the hang of the Insight’s MT.

The gearing is very tall with big jumps between gears, and the car needs to be revved much higher than I was used to for city and hill driving. These little engines are super happy at 4000+ rpm, and waiting much longer than you think you need to before shifts will make the driving a lot more enjoyable and less taxing on an aging battery. On a nearby mountain pass I’ll drive for 15 miles in third gear doing 65+ at 4000+ rpm which seems insane the first time you do it!

The clutch also doesn’t give you much feedback on its engagement point. You can feel it if you really pay attention, but it’s almost imperceptible, especially compared to a truck or SUV. It’s a little further out than you’d think.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
@dfhut This is my first manual and the clutch contact point is very easy to feel. Doesn't mean I pull away every time smoothly yet lol. Today on my way to work I almost didn't grind any gears!

One thing with manual I'm not sure about is long stops vs short; like stop signs vs stop lights. If it's a short stop like at a sign I've just been leaving it in 1st and holding the clutch for a sec 'till it's time to go. Stop lights on the other hand I'll coast to in neutral and switch to 1st when it goes green. I've read you should stay off the clutch when you can, and for sure don't stay on it for prolonged times. Seem like a good way to stop, or do you have suggestions?
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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When siting in neutral at a stop light, as you go to put the trans into 1st gear, blip the throttle just a little at the same time. It will go into gear better, and quieter.
 

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These are not high torque V-8's. And the engine itself is designed as a low torque engine with the motor adding torque to the mix. IIRC around 3500 RPM is where the variable valve technology kicks in and you are in four valve territory with more pep. 67HP and 66Ft Lb of torque is not a lot. But 65+MPG is and if you put the after market springs and GAZ shocks in the back you will have a sporty gas miser on your hands. And that is fun. Yeah, I've rowed mine up hills in third a lot of times. It's a very useful gear.
 
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Discussion Starter #36
Day 2 and I already got a parking ticket. Don't have handicapped plates on it yet and I lost my placard so I received a $30 fine for parking at a meter I didn't pay enough at. Car came with a couple quarters in the change tray and I used 'em but not enough.
 

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Ask 10 drivers and you'll get 10 different opinions on 1st vs neutral at a stop. There's reasonable arguments either way. Depressing the clutch for long periods of time does put some extra wear on the throwout bearing. I see this as the main argument against sitting with the clutch in all the time but I'm not sure if it's a real issue or something blown out of proportion by internet experts. Perhaps one of the actual professional mechanics on the board can weigh in. In the other camp are people that say it's safer to be in gear in case you need to move quickly - which is pretty valid in places with heavy and fast moving city traffic.

Personally I've never really given much thought to 1st vs neutral at a stop light - usually neutral if it's a long light, keep it in gear if it's a quick one, and it doesn't seem to have caused any problems for me. My other vehicle is 13 years old, 170k on the original clutch and about 50k of that hard city driving (plus three people learning to drive a manual on it) with zero clutch issues.

When people say "stay off the clutch" they mean you shouldn't be slipping the clutch as little as possible and that you shouldn't rest your foot on it when you're not using it. They're not really talking about sitting with it in. Other than that, just drive and don't worry about it too much. It's a system with multiple wear components, eventually things wear out and need to be replaced or repaired even if you're super careful. Just drive it and don't stress.

One last thing - you mentioned coasting to stops in neutral. You should try to leave the car in gear as long as possible when gradually slowing to a stop, as you won't get any regen coasting in neutral.
 

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The main reason to put the car in neutral at a stoplight is the auto-stop engine feature.

If all conditions are right...

1) Speed is below 20mph and you are slowing down
2) Car is not in 1st or reverse
3) Clutch is depressed
4) Outside temp is 40F or above
5) Climate Control is off or in econ mode
6) IMA is healthy

... then the car will shut off the engine to save gas. The tachometer will drop to 0 and a green light will come on at the bottom of the tach.

The engine will restart immediately if you put the car into first gear or reverse, or do something else to violate the conditions above.

Auto stop is a great gas saver. It's pretty common now, but the Insight pioneered this feature.

- Park
 
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Discussion Starter #39
Not sure where to post this so I'll just put it in my thread.

Drove Dad home today and he said I corner too hard for the tires. I admit, it's a bit more aggressive than my last car. I try to keep what speed I can through bends as per the efficiency rulebook but never thought I was too hard on them. Obviously I corner safely at said speed and that generally defines the limit. Just put new tires on it too.

Thoughts? Do you drive them hard around corners?
 

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^ Unlike others around here, I think the RE92s corner great relative to other tires of similar size. Just keep them inflated to at least Honda spec, and rotate them when you change oil... I've cornered hard on my RE92s for like 80k miles now, no issues whatsoever... Of course, maybe you don't have RE92s?
 
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