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Funnily enough a customer brought me that article at work about two weeks ago.
 

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I read it without paying. Not much there though.
 

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That's behind a pay wall so I imagine most won't pay to read it...
WHEELS
The Little Hybrid That Could, and Still Can



Calvin Conover in his 2000 Honda Insight. “You felt all the bumps,” he said. “You heard all the noise. But the fuel economy trumped all that.”

Calvin Conover in his 2000 Honda Insight. “You felt all the bumps,” he said. “You heard all the noise. But the fuel economy trumped all that.”Credit...Christopher Jensen
By Christopher Jensen
  • July 25, 2019

GROVETON, N.H. — When Honda introduced the first hybrid vehicle in America, the 2000 Insight, there was technological wonder, but few would call it pretty.
Car and Driver magazine said it had “styling inspired by laxative suppository.” It was not clear what that meant, but it did not appear to be laudatory.
But in a tiny paper-mill town in northern New Hampshire, Calvin Conover was smitten. Appearances be damned. He saw a deeper beauty.
“I had to get one of those,” he said. “I saw a chance to reduce my pollution by a lot.”
But Mr. Conover wasn’t preparing for the day-to-day combat of an urban commuter. Nor was he a celebrity hoping to create a green aura.
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He was a nurse’s assistant living among 1,100 people in a town with rough roads and rough winters, where stout pickup trucks were the sensible and standard transport.
Almost two decades and 286,000 miles later, Mr. Conover, 67, is still in love with the little oddball hybrid.



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Calvin Conover’s records show he has averaged 56 m.p.g. over the years in his 2000 Insight. “It saved us so much money in gasoline and pollution,” he said.

Calvin Conover’s records show he has averaged 56 m.p.g. over the years in his 2000 Insight. “It saved us so much money in gasoline and pollution,” he said.Credit...Christopher Jensen
It began the second he saw an ad for the Insight in National Geographic in 2000. He remembers it well: “If you run out of gas in this car, excuses will be hard to come by.”
For most consumers at the time, hybrid technology was a mysterious and untried technology. And with a price tag of around $19,000, the Insight was expensive for a small car with only two seats. But Mr. Conover had to take a chance.
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He finally found an Insight in Vermont, paid the dealer’s asking price and became one of 3,788 Insight buyers nationwide that year. Twenty-three of those were in New Hampshire, according to Experian Automotive.

After all this time, Mr. Conover’s odd-looking two-seater has become a familiar sight in his neck of the woods, although appearances at gas stations remain rare. It wasn’t that way when he bought it. There was gawking and guessing.
“I walked out in the parking lot one day and there were two or three people looking at it. They were trying to guess” who had bought it, he said. “And somebody said: ‘It must be Calvin.’”
That Calvin, the environmentalist.
And there was plenty of curiosity. Mr. Conover remembers one woman coming over and asking whether it really got 60 miles per gallon.
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An ad for the first Honda Insight.

An ad for the first Honda Insight.Credit...Honda
“I looked at my gauge and said ‘No, right now I’m getting 74 miles per gallon,’” he said.
Some people even asked if there were solar panels on the roof.
His records show he has averaged 56 m.p.g. over all those years. “It saved us so much money in gasoline and pollution,” he said. “You felt all the bumps. You heard all the noise. But the fuel economy trumped all that.”
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And the Insight has not had an easy life.
“They probably intended for that car to be a city car for commuting,” he said.
His house is up a steep hill, on a dirt road that — he said with a smile — is “very, very rough.” And that’s by local standards, under which there is no category for “smooth.”
The roads “would shake the little car quite a bit,” he said. “You get your rattles, but nothing fell off.”
In its old age, Mr. Conover’s Insight is a little tattered. But it has had good luck mechanically.
“I haven’t had to do a lot of major stuff. I did have to have the transmission rebuilt two or three years ago,” he said. He found a guy in California with whom he swapped his old model for a rebuilt one (a five-speed manual) for $900 — including shipping.



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The look of the 2000 Insight earned some mocking reviews, but owners got the last laugh, at least when mileage was concerned.

The look of the 2000 Insight earned some mocking reviews, but owners got the last laugh, at least when mileage was concerned.Credit...Associated Press
The original battery lasted eight years. He has had to buy three replacements that are not from Honda. They’ve cost about $2,000 each and they didn’t last as long as the Honda part.
“It never left me stranded,” he added.
Honda says it sold just under 14,000 first-generation Insights, which it stopped producing in 2006.
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About 64 percent are still registered, including 40 in New Hampshire, according to Experian Automotive. Since Honda introduced a new Insight last year, it has sold about 25,000.
After two decades, Mr. Conover is considering calling it quits. The relationship hasn’t soured, but the anatomy has.
His wife, Kim, has been driving the Insight on her 90-mile daily commute, but a back problem makes getting in and out of the low rider a challenge, and the bumpy ride doesn’t help.
He’s not sure what to buy, although he’s been eyeing a Prius. His wife finds the seat more comfortable than the new Insight.
So, what to do with his old companion?
“I wouldn’t mind selling it for not a lot of money to someone interested in maybe restoring it, keeping it going,” he said.
 

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Great articles, and two in the space of eight months about a car that went out of production 14 years ago is testament enough to its longevity and likability. Honda created a truly unique automotive experience in the Insight, in that it made a futuristic-looking, fun-to-drive car with far and away better fuel economy than its competition, thus satisfying our egos that we can enjoy our ride while saving money and the planet at the same time. And mechanically, it has stood the test of time, as well, since my '06 model hasn't needed any major work (except repairing a rusty cat) in the five years I've had it and the engine still runs smoothly. Almost everything works as it did originally, and I trust its reliability very much. To wax poetic, it is a paragon of form (for those that like its styling outside and in, as I do) and function (with the futuristic look making it more aerodynamic), and a singular accomplishment in the automotive field. Now, if I could only find some more tire options :unsure: .
 

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Great find. I read the second one another person posted too. I'm an original owner of 2005 CVT. I tried to find a manual but couldn't at the time. I have just under 180K miles and it's been the most reliable car I've had (Mazda RX7, Honda DelSol, Toyota MR2, Toyota Celica, Nissan Pathfinder). I don't drive it nearly as much as I used to. I'm an old fart now so yes, it's not as easy getting in and out of it, but I like driving a car that's not what everyone else drives.
 
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