Yes, I will be getting a block heater definitely, no matter what I end up getting. Have to be prepared for even the coldest weather as best we can!
I don't have a problem bundling up for cold weather and leaving the cabin temperature inside the Insight very cold. I don't think I'd be driving too much around in wintertime once I get to Anchorage. That might keep gas mileage decent during the cold weather. It would be the summer months that I plan on putting quite a few miles on the car.
I'd rather trade ease of driving for better mileage, in all honesty. 4x4 trucks might be better suited for a snowy Alaskan winter, but I can't afford 2 vehicles, so I want something that gets good gas mileage during the summer too. It's a difficult tradeoff that I'm contemplating right now.
I want to get an Insight because I plan on driving up to Anchorage from St. Louis next spring. If gas prices are ~$2.50 a gallon across the board (US and Canada average), and I can get 625 miles per tank on the Insight, which holds 10.4 gallons per tank, that means I can drive across the continent on 6 tanks of gas, costing me about $160. $160!!! I was budgeting $500 in gas to get up there, but if I can save hundreds, well.... there are always other things I can do with the money.
At the moment, I'm driving an 88 Jeep Cherokee, and it gets ~200 miles per tank, if I'm very lucky. I don't think it'll pass inspection when the plates are due at the end of March, so I want to get something a *bit* more environmentally friendly, something that looks good, and is economical for me. I don't need much space to haul anything.
I might end up going with a 4x4 truck, but it would be great to hear just one success story in Alaska. That would go a long way in helping me decide. I'm not sure of the snow and ice history up there. I hear the arctic is changing though, so maybe nobody really knows how the climate will be from year to year anymore...