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So I've had the tires on my Insight pumped up to 50 PSI on each corner since the day I bought it. I've enjoyed the gas mileage, but have noticed that performance was very poor over snow and ice, and even taking corners it felt a little slippery.

Before heading out on our near-disaster New Year's trip in our family van, I deflated the Insight's tires back to factory-spec 38 PSI front, 35 PSI rear so that my very-pregnant wife, who was remaining home, would enjoy a smoother ride and better traction.

What I didn't realize was exactly how much of a difference it makes.

Nine hours after we left, we limped back home due to a blizzard forcing closure of the freeways. I was tired and despondent, and decided to take my Insight out for a shopping trip to help me feel better. Getting 14 MPG in a big van against a sixty MPH headwind can make you feel down like that after driving the Insight :) Anyway, within a few moments of driving it out of our driveway over the left-over slush on the roads, I was amazed to find it seemed to actually handle slush well! Better than the van I'd been driving for nine hours, as a matter of fact. I was surprised!

Snow was threatening on the horizon in the darkness, blotting out the stars, so I decided to test how my Insight handled dry, windy conditions, with patches of ice and water.

Oh. Wow.

I accelerated from a dead stop and did 180's in an empty parking lot at twenty miles an hour without going more than two parking stalls wide. I whipped around 90-degree corners at nearly thirty miles an hour -- hard enough to smash my shoulder against the driver's door, yet not a squeal or complaint from my tires. I floored the car from an icy entrance to the highway in "S" mode, and only one tire skipped for a second before gripping hard and shoving me in the back of my seat. I slammed on the brakes at fifty, and seemed to stop almost immediately -- easily hard enough to kick in the seat belt restraints and push the air out of my lungs. I was really impressed.

Realize, the only performance vehicle I've ever driven was a 2002 8-cylinder Ford Mustang convertible as a rental on a business trip one time. Of course, that one had more power, but I was just flat amazed at how a simple change in tire pressure can transform this little red buggy from a genteel commuter vehicle into a fun, sporty toy.
 

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Ahh, now you can see why Guillermo and I get such a kick out of taking our Insights to the race track. :)

Keep it safe. Respect the snow. Enjoy your Insight. :)
 
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