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Discussion Starter #1
I am ready to buy an Insight, but I'm wondering if I should buy a new one, or shop for a used one. There are pros and cons to each, of course, but I would like to hear opinions on the subject from seasoned Insight owners.

A week ago I rented a red automatic Insite for a day (from Budget EV at LAX), loved it; gave my wife a ride in it, she liked it pretty much too. She didn't want to drive it since it was raining, but she liked it!, thought it had plenty of room, nicely equipped, etc.

The rental had 47.000+ miles on it and still drove quite well, no problems except some missing interior trim pieces. So this past weekend I went to Weir Canyon Honda (Yorba Linda) to check out a used one, listed in autotrader at $13,999 with 9,200 miles on it.

You guessed it, already sold. However, they do have two 2003 Insights, both blue, automatic. They were marked $21, 500 but the salesman said he could do better. "How much better?" I asked.

"Ah, let me talk to my sales manager" . . . blah, blah, etc. A few minutes later he comes out with $17,900. I asked "Is that the best you can do? (insert best incredulous tone of voice here)."

"Well, " he added, "Our new sales manager, see, she's new here, and I think the boss really wants these Insights out of here. I'll check with him because I think we can do better for you." I took his card, he took my card. The other "new" advantage is the $1,500 CA tax credit, so that makes the "real" price $16,500 before tax/license.

That was Sat. this is Mon. I haven't called him, he hasn't called me, but I am curious as to exactly how much his boss wants to see those Insights gone. Or is that just a car salesman's trick? I've been a used car buying guy (from private owners) all my life, so I'm not hip to car sales-guy jargon.

Used Insights in the LA area are all over the board miles/price wise, but if I got one like the rental (~40 - 50 thousand miles), it's going to be about
$11,000 - $12,000.

So the question is, . . . is the fact that it's a NEW car really beneficial in terms of getting the most Insight for my dollar? Or would patience and a good hunting instinct most likely lead me to a better value in a used Insight? Are there other factors I should be considering? Please advise.
 

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New is always better...

Brand-new warranty, no dings, no unknown service history, nothing to know outside of the owner's manual, and worth (at least my) peace of mind. Also: The federal "clean fuel" gimme ($2,000 for us on the 2002 tax filing, I believe it's less now... check with your CPA). I also believe some states (CA?) may help subsidize your purchase with other incentives... ???

We bought our 2001 CVT with all the creature features (cargo net, floor mats, a/c, etc., but no CD changer) for $16,995. It had been on their lot for approximately 4 months and had 250 miles on it, with a LMPG of 31. They were having a "blow-out" sale and everything on the lot was marked down, with aggressive financing ("nobody walks!"). We paid by check, and our only extravagance was an extended 7/100K warranty for about $1,200 (new technology and all... normally I don't get that through the dealer... but since I would have used WarrantyGold and they went down the toilet last year, maybe that was a good thing).

My two cents. Of course, used Insights are a heck of a deal now if you can find one that appeals to you, equipped like you want it, because apparently resale values are not that great. But if you truly love the car, it shouldn't much matter (I didn't marry a virgin, either) :roll: ...
 

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I believe that is a tax deduction, not a tax credit. You aren't saving the full amount because it offets your income reported, not your taxes paid.

On the other hand, if you want an automatic, then that isn't too bad a price for a new one.

You should test drive a manual before you decide - and beware unscrupulous used car dealers down there!
 

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Welcome Richard-

Do you like to shop for cars? If so then take your time. It seems like you can do better (judging from the recent posts here.) Check out EBay for listings in your area.

You may want to check:
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=1113 , and
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=1008 for recent relevant discussions.

Personally, I paid for a new one (slightly off list) but I believe in supporting the technology and I dislike shopping for cars.

I agree with Figgy on all three of his points.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Dan, Figgy and Boogetyboogety,

And yes, I do enjoy shopping for a car, so I will continue shopping the "used" section, while keeping an eye on the new Automatic at Wier Canyon Honda. I haven't tried a manual shift Insight, but I would like to. My prev. car ('80 Corolla) and present car ('97 Miata) were/are both
5-spd manuals, so I prefer that to an automatic.

Two points for the automatic are: 1. My work-day commute is a lot of stop-n'-go on the 105 freeway, and 2. My wife prefers an automatic (though she can drive a manual). I've read that the Insight manual shift is really sweet, so if it's dramatically better than my Miata (for example), I may still go with that version. I also understand that there's a trade-off, with better milage on the manual shift version, and cleaner exhaust from the auto.

Color, I don't really care, silver, blue or red. Not real crazy about the yellow-green color, but neither have I seen any of those for sale.

Thanks for the tax note; you are quite correct, Figgy, it is a deduction and not a credit. So I can't simply subtract it from the selling price! Ooops!

I've always had really good "luck," if that's the word, when dealing with private parties on used car purchases in the past. So I feel much more comfortable in that setting, whereas I feel a bit intimidated by the whole dealer thing. Probably senselessly paranoid, but I always feel like I'm playing mental chess with the professional car salesman, and I'm not very good at chess, really!
 

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Well, if you can find a 04 you could get, in my opinion, a better interior (less the hole in the head rests). I know of a blue 04 automatic in Phoenix.

Then again, there are some deals on used Insight's out there.
 

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Hi,

I second the "Used" option. The money differential will outweight the future maintenance costs related to having a higher mileage vehicule.

Go find a good deal!

I bought mine new just because there where no used (and almost no new) here in 2000.
 

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Oh, don't forget the tax deduction is only if you buy the Insight new.

But, if you buy used you can get a good enough deal that will beat the $1500 tax deduction as being an incentive.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tax Incentive vs. Instant Depreciation

Yes Sparky,
I look at the tax incentive as a way of off-setting the "instant depreciation" of a new car. Whenever I think of buying a "new" car, I hear the words of my long-dead grandfather telling me that "When you drive a new car off the lot, it's like throwing $2,000 down the drain."

I should probably adjust that for inflation, since its been a lot of years since I heard that tid-bit of wisdom! He'd also advised not to buy the first year of a new model's production ( . . . they gotta get the bugs worked out, don't you know), which is why I drive a '97 Miata.

But I want to save the Miata for top-down weekends, and use the Insight for my daily driver/commuter car. I'd like to stay with the 2 Seat, small, agile theme! An Insight would be perfect, a Prius too large!
 
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Hi Richard:

___Whether you purchase new and receive the Tax deduction or Used and don’t, do not let a Honda dealership Sales person bring it into the overall cost or discussion of the vehicle purchase. They don’t dole out a nickel for the deduction so it has nothing to do with their profit/loss.

___As you probably have already seen, new Insight’s take a beating in depreciation and the hit is a monster. Because of this, many past Insight purchasers have picked up their Insight’s for as low as $13,900 brand new. I think it was on the East Coast where that one steal of a deal was acquired and there is definitely less demand this side of the Mississippi then in your locale. In either case, that kind of savings is worth shopping for. With no more Insight’s being made for the 04 MY and gasoline prices still climbing, it will be tougher to find a deal on a new one but there are plenty of dealerships selling brand new 02’s and 03’s w/ Auto and they aren’t asking sticker if you know what I mean ;)

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:3ff36jr0][email protected][/email:3ff36jr0]
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In our last episode, you may remember . . .

The sales guy from Weir Honda never called me, so I called him back (this is Tues. 3-09-04), and at first he said he couldn't do better than the prev. offered $17,999.

"But wait! A different manager is here now, I'll ask him and call you back. I think I can do better!" I was leaving work, however, and didn't want to give him my home number, so he said he'd call me back tomorrow (Wed.).

In the meantime, I'd gotten some emails from an Insight Forum member who is selling his 2003 automatic with 9,800 miles for $15,000. Since he's local, I have a meeting set up with him on Thur. evening.

So . . . I wait to see what Weir offers, check out the local Insight, and I still need to check the one in San Diego with a manual transmission. In the meantime, thanks to everyone for all the good advice. I'll let you all know how it goes as the plot thickens, . . . or dissolves completely as I write the big check!

To paraphrase Henry Manney III, "Ain't cars fun!"
 
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