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I would love to own a honda insight and am completely ready about once a week to buy one, But I have been told that they can not perform (keep up with traffic in the mountains). I live in denver and need to drive through the rockies regularly. Does anyone have experience as a regular mountain driver in an insight? thanks so much.
 

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Lots of low gear driving

Most of the folks around the forum will say that they don't have much problem with mountains, just downshift to 3rd and keep on trucking. It will tend to pull your battery pack down but it'll charge back up on the return trip! And you won't be getting 60 mpg until the return trip either, I suppose.
But consider, the rest of the time around town, you'll be doing fine with untouchable gas milage! 8)

Snow boarding? Might have to get a bit original with your equipment storage, no known supplier of Insight roof racks and such.
 

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I would recommend that you get a CVT Insight. They deal with steep hills much better, because the transmission will use exactly the gear ratio that it needs. The CVT is also much better at managing the battery charge, so you'll be less likely to deplete the battery on mountain roads.

I never drove my Insight in the Rocky Mountains before. However, I drove it from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe once. I believe it was something like an 8000 rise, and the Insight did very well. The battery charge dropped to about 1/3 and quickly recharged. I even found myself passing people going 75 MPH uphill (and there was a fair amount of power left over for acceleration). I felt like I could have gone 80 or 90 uphill. Don't get me wrong, the Insight is no sports car. However, I was surprised how well it did in the mountains.

The CVT does some pretty smart battery management. When it's almost fully charged, then the battery only recharges when you take your foot off the gas. However, if the charge is around 2/3's, then the Insight gets more aggresive at charging, and starts to charge when you are cruising at a constant speed. If the charge is even lower, perhaps around 1/3, then it charges the battery even while driving uphill, and only stops charging when you are significantly accelerating.

The end result is that it's pretty hard to deplete the battery. Most uphill climbs consist of steep sections mixed with flat or less-steep sections. If the battery is low, then you'll be able to pick up some charging on the less steep sections. I was surprised how well it works, and have never been able to deplete my battery.

Disclaimer: As I said, I haven't done any Rocky Mountain driving in this car. I have a hunch that driving east through Vail Pass might deplete your battery. I seem to remember a 10 mile stretch where it's all 7% uphill. Fortuantely, the car still works when the battery is depleted. It just has less power.

Good luck with your decision. I hope you buy an Insight!
 

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155,000 miles with most of it in the mountains of Southern Calif. Live at app.. 2500 ft. elevation. daily runs between 2500ft to 4000ft to sea level. Keep the engine around 3200 rpm and sacrifice the mileage but keep your IMA battery full.
Trying to recharge the IMA battery takes a lot of mileage from the final results.
70-75 mph in third gear is "no sweat" for the Insight engine. It loves to "hummmmm".
 

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Willie Williford said:
155,000 miles with most of it in the mountains of Southern Calif. Live at app.. 2500 ft. elevation. daily runs between 2500ft to 4000ft to sea level. Keep the engine around 3200 rpm and sacrifice the mileage but keep your IMA battery full.
How do you "keep your IMA battery full"??? Especially when driving in on mountain roads?

After I had my IMA system replaced a few months ago, I noticed a distinct difference in how it worked. It now uses the electric assist MUCH more freely, including during very mild acceleration. I haven't been to the mountains yet, but my feeling is that it's going to be quite impossible to prevent the assist from being utilized most all the time when climbing, and I'm going to have a fully discharged battery in pretty short order.
 

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I have not gone on I70 into the mountains yet, but I have driven up Ute Pass west of Colorado Springs. It's easy to keep up to the speed limit by shifting down to third or second gear, and it's not hard to stay completely out of the battery while doing so. This is not an interstate highway, though. I don't know if the Insight would be able to go 70 mph up I70 west of Golden...

Fourth and fifth gears on this car are quite extreme overdrive ratios, and it frequenty makes sense to use third gear. Maybe I'll try I70 this weekend...
 

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I just took my '03 west on I70 to Silverthorne for the first time today. I was pretty thoroughly impressed at how well it handled. The only issue I had at all was on the return trip at the stretch before the Tunnel. I was completely out of battery power by the time I got to the top. But everything was back to normal by the time I got back to town. ;)
 
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