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Hi,

We're new on the list and this is our first post. We're considering purchasing an Insight or a Civic hybrid (really want the Insight but have a few concerns...). We would appreciate some input from some Insight owners on the following:

1). How does the car handle in windy conditions? Does the car get "blown around" to some extent or is this not a concern?

2). How does such a light car handle in snowy conditions (snow on the road)?

3). How comfortable is the car for long trips (greater than 3 hours)?

4). Are there blindspots when backing up because of the non-glass portion of the hatch ?

Thanks very much,
Mark & Heather
 

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Mark & Heather said:
Hi,

We're new on the list and this is our first post. We're considering purchasing an Insight or a Civic hybrid (really want the Insight but have a few concerns...). We would appreciate some input from some Insight owners on the following:

1). How does the car handle in windy conditions? Does the car get "blown around" to some extent or is this not a concern?

2). How does such a light car handle in snowy conditions (snow on the road)?

3). How comfortable is the car for long trips (greater than 3 hours)?

4). Are there blindspots when backing up because of the non-glass portion of the hatch ?

Thanks very much,
Mark & Heather
in my experiences:
1) hitting gusts head on (and a tad to the left) on the freeway at 65mph, the car was pushed about as much as a news van. not into the next lane, but if you weren't holding on to the wheel, expect to go for a ride!

2) don't know, i live in San Diego

3) the longest i've trekked is just under 3 hours. i was starting to fall asleep before i got sore, and my back is usually the first thing to give up in a car.

4) ehh... you can see everything you need to if you make an effort to do so. i back out extra slowly and franticly look in all directions around my car. better safe than sorry!
if you mean the non-glass portion where the car goes from slant to verticle, that's only a small piece. you can see through the glass in the rear of the car where it's verticle.
 

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Insight Driving Experience

1) It was fairly windy near Denver last week (or the week before?) - gusts near 70 mph, and, while I could feel the wind, I didn't have any trouble keeping the car in the lane.

2) I bought my Insight about 1 month ago, and the road conditions up Hwy 285 were bad (cars in ditches), but I was able to get home ok. It snowed several times after that, and I never felt like I was going to die.

4) I find backing isn't too bad, but sometimes motorcyles can disappear into your blind spot (this is partly their fault, as they should be aware of where they are riding), and you have to look carefully when changing lanes.

Randy
 

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Love the Insight...

1). How does the car handle in windy conditions? Does the car get "blown around" to some extent or is this not a concern?

No worse than my old Miata. The rear track is narrower than the front, so there is some "wandering" on crowned roads or where the pavement has varying levels. Put 50 pounds in your tires and 90% of it goes away, the rest is no sweat as long as you're aware of this very minor handling quirk.

2). How does such a light car handle in snowy conditions (snow on the road)?

Like it's on railroad tracks. Had no problem during an East Coast trip a few months back. Some drivers have reported "scooping" snow with a mis-installed panel under the car, make sure your dealer pays attention to this item if you live where snow is a concern.

3). How comfortable is the car for long trips (greater than 3 hours)?

Our longest drive was 12 hours. No worse than my old Miata, actually kind of comfy. Even if it IS a 2 seater, reclining the passenger seat is possible (within reason) when you move the seat up a bit. Basketball players are out of luck, though.

4). Are there blindspots when backing up because of the non-glass portion of the hatch ?

Not really. I have grown used to wide-angle rearview mirrors (got one from Brookstone a couple of years back, now can't drive without 'em), and when you back up, you can look out the little window below the hatch and see much more than you think. Go test drive one!

The Civic is more versatile, but the Insight is unique. If you can use a 2-seater, by all means go for it. Be prepared to answer a lot of curious questions from lots of people (I like to say our Insight couldn't draw more attention if it was on fire)...
 

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The only down side to long trips is there is no factory available cruise control. I haven't had mine on the road for more than a few hours at a time, but my foot and knee were the first and only discomfort. An aftermarket cruise control kit is available though.
 

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Owners Input

After 67,000 miles, here my imput.
1) The Insight does not get blown around in winds any more than "normal" vehicles. The problem is, people over correct when they feel a gust of wind and that makes it worse. Southern Ca. has high winds along interstate 8 and I have not had any problems. Keep the front end pointed straight and the rear will follow.
2) In snow, use caution as with any vehicle.
3) Long trip comfort is great. I've driven to Fla. and back (from Calif.) twice and have had no discomforts. Passenger seat could lay back further for sleeping though. Will modify the seat adjustment later.
4). Blind spots are there, but if you adjust your mirrors a little on the "outward vision" it's ok. As in any vehicle, use caution when backing.
 

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On the blind spots, I don't really find backing up is a problem, but I have noticed that you need to be careful when changing lanes because of the large buttresses between the hatch and rear side windows. Those present a fairly large area which can conceal a car that isn't yet up into the viewable sweep of the side mirrors. Not that this has been a huge problem, once you've driven the car for a while you know that that spot is there and learn to take the necessary precautions to keep from cutting off other drivers unintentionally.

Other than that, I second eveyone elses thoughts. No problems with wind, no problem with driving in snow or icy conditions, and have travelled 15 hours in one day in the car more comfortably than I ever would have imagined (plus, this is the first car I've had a car with a range per tank of gas that can far outlast my bladder!). I don't try to drive like a gas miser, in fact, I pretty much drive like a bat out of hell and I still easily get in excess of 50mpg consistantly. The Insight is easily the most amazing car I've ever owned.
 

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Mark & Heather said:
Hi,

We're new on the list and this is our first post. We're considering purchasing an Insight or a Civic hybrid (really want the Insight but have a few concerns...). We would appreciate some input from some Insight owners on the following:

1). How does the car handle in windy conditions? Does the car get "blown around" to some extent or is this not a concern?

2). How does such a light car handle in snowy conditions (snow on the road)?

3). How comfortable is the car for long trips (greater than 3 hours)?

4). Are there blindspots when backing up because of the non-glass portion of the hatch ?

Thanks very much,
Mark & Heather
1). Dosent get blown around any worse then my tundra used to.

2). Got around last winter better then my Tundra ever did. never got stuck and didnt slide around but the most we got was 6-8 inches

3). Havent been longer then 2.5 Hrs But the leg room and seats are better then my Corolla that I drove from st louis to baltimore with no cruse.

4). The only bad blind spot I have noticed, is just over the drivers left shoulder, (easaly corrected with a wedge fisheye mirror entire cars will disapear there), the hatch isnt bad as the side mirrors show everything that is not visable from the rear view.
 

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I have driven my Insight in high cross-winds and found it to be less of a problem than on a bigger car. The Insight is sleek and ducks the wind.

Snow is also not an issue for me... I'm very inexperienced with snow and getting to drive in a lot of it this New England winter and haven't had a problem. Front-wheel drive handles the snow nicely, and I haven't had any issues with the rear wheel skirts getting packed-up.

I drove this car across the country with my wife and packed the car almost to the roof. About the only time I got uncomfortable was on the horrid roads of Louisiana along the I-10 between Texas and Baton Rouge. The road there has buckled and it's like jumping off a curb every 10 seconds. Other than that, we were always comfortable. The car is spacious, the seats cradle you nicely as you drive and breathe well, and frankly I get motion sickness in soft-suspension Cadillac type rides.

The large C-pillar means you have to be careful backing up, yes. I haven't had issues changing lanes; widen the rear mirror view out and be careful -- it does take more than a quick glance back because of that large C-pillar.
 

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I have to disagree with most people's assessment of the blind spots. I have found that the entire rear of the car is a blind spot when the rearview mirror is used. The side mirrors compensate, but not as much as I would like. An unobstructed view of the rear would make me much happier.
 

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Can't see out the back?

Hey, Aaron, try a wide-angle rear-view mirror (I got mine from Brookstone, but I bet there are others). They clamp/clip on, are inexpensive, and make a huge difference in any car. I have them on all our vehicles...
 

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I would ask myself this both the Insight and the Cvic hybrid cost about the same.

1. How often will i need room for more than 2 people.
2. Is this your primary vehicle.
3. is it cost effective for you to sacrafice space for extra MPG.

The car handles better than my previous car which was a Hyundai Accent. I also think it handles much nicer than my Dad's 98 Civc HB

In an Urban envrionment Parking is soooooo easy! They call SUVs Stupid Urban Vehicles for a reason.
 

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Mark & Heather said:
1). How does the car handle in windy conditions? Does the car get "blown around" to some extent or is this not a concern?
The car is very sleek and very light. These each have effects that cancel each other out. It is more stable than you'd expect a car this light to be in wind.

Mark & Heather said:
2). How does such a light car handle in snowy conditions (snow on the road)?
Overall, it is good in snow if you know how to drive well in snow. It has the disadvantage of very low road clearance, so if you can't drive in deep, unplowed snow. Meanwhile, the front wheel drive gives you stable steering, and the anti-skid brakes are nothing short of amazing on plowed snow and ice. They actually WORK. The car slows down very controlably when you apply the brakes in slick conditions. You can steer comfortably, even during hard braking on uneven, bad traction conditions.

One effect to look out for that I learned in other small, front-wheel-drive cars:

Normally, these cars are extremely stable because the back tires very passively follow the front. Meanwhile, since your car is light and others are more heavy, sometimes other cars leave deeper treads then you and your back tires can fall into those treads and start weaving around, following the tire treads of the other driver instead of your own front tires. Note that the Insight leaves FOUR tracks, not just two, because the rear tires are more than a tire's width closer together than the front ones.

The point is, watch for ruts and don't be baffled if your rear tires want to follow them. They normally don't do this, but it can happen and you have to watch for it.

Mark & Heather said:
3). How comfortable is the car for long trips (greater than 3 hours)?
The seats are the two most comfortable chairs I own. The seat positions are low, but quite comfortable. I'm 48 years old and I have no problems getting stiff sitting in this car for long trips.

Mark & Heather said:
4). Are there blindspots when backing up because of the non-glass portion of the hatch ?
Rear vision in this car really sucks until you get used to really using that passenger side mirror. This took me a few weeks to really get used to, but that fish-eye-view right mirror helps a LOT. So long as I use both side mirrors and the rear view mirror, I have no problems with rear view. Properly adjusted side mirrors eliminate any blind spots for me.

The problem with the rear isn't the vertical non-window part. It's the narrowness of the back, and the wide blind spots in the rear (if you aren't using the side mirrors) because of the overall shape of the car. I do better backing up using the three mirrors than I do turning my head around and looking out the back. I still look out the back to judge distances when I'm very near while parallel parking, but other than that, scanning the three mirrors gives me a better idea of what is around the rear of the car than I generally get driving any OTHER car.

I particularly appreciate the electric side-view mirrors. Aiming them so the edge of the car is barely visible in a view from a normal driving position pretty much eliminates blind spots. Don't give into temptation and look at the car in the sideview mirrors. You already know what it looks like.

Mark & Heather said:
Thanks very much,
Mark & Heather
 

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I have had no problems in windy conditions. Had a Civic before and I think the Insight handles the wind better. As far as snow, we just had a terribly snowy winter, and it always seemed to snow in the early morning hours, and the plowing around here is terrible. I drive 60 to 70 miles to work and didn't miss one day of work. We got 28 inches over two days, I got to work, and I don't drive slow! One day I was one of the only vehicles on the road. Snow = no problem! Bought the car on EBAY and flew to Texas to get it. Drove to Myrtle Beach, SC, about 1300 miles, and was very comfortable, at least as comfortable as you could be on a 1300 mile drive. Then drove 500 miles home to WV with no problem. I do have some problems backing out of my driveway at night. I need to stick my head out the window to make sure I don't go in the ditch. During the day the side mirrors are a big help. I wouldn't trade the car for anything, except a brand new Insight.
 

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Mark & Heather said:
1). How does the car handle in windy conditions? Does the car get "blown around" to some extent or is this not a concern?
Like others mentioned, one does just have to grip the wheel a little tighter. Michigan doesn't have that many truly windy days (I used to live in Boulder, CO - married on a day with 100+ mph wind gusts - so I don't really consider it "windy" unless the gusts are pushing 60 mph), but I do find that I have to restrict myself to the speed limit or a little below on the freeways when the wind is gusting. It's really not that bad in wind though (although anything but a tailwind is going to mess up the MPG a bit :D ). Nothing like driving a van (or a bicycle!) through 80+ MPG crosswinds, which I used to do sometimes growing up in Colorado.
2). How does such a light car handle in snowy conditions (snow on the road)?
I haven't found snow to be too much of a problem, but the Insight's tires don't corner really well in heavy rain or on icy roads. However, I've found that knowing that has made me a safer driver - I used to take more chances in my Tracer, but now I just slow down. When there's that much rain or ice on the road, it's worth slowing down anyway!

Another Ann Arbor Insight owner puts better snow tires on his car for the Michigan winters. Depletes the MPG a bit, but gives him better cornering. Winters have been pretty mild the past few years, so I didn't see a strong need to do that.
3). How comfortable is the car for long trips (greater than 3 hours)?
I'll back Will M up here. These seats are extremely comfortable. I'm 6'2", 250 lbs., with long legs and relatively "normal" length arms. The back of the seat is quite comfortable, while the seat in my Tracer always aggravated me if I was in it for more than a half an hour (which was a problem, since my commute is longer than that each way). Most car's bucket seats seem to be designed to lean back even in their most upright position, while you can get the Insight's seats pretty close to perpendicular to the floor. I need those seats fully upright - in order to push the seat back far enough to accommodate the legs, I need to be able to sit up straight so my hands can reach the steering wheel comfortably. In the Tracer, I either had to make my knees slightly uncomfortable or stretch my arms or bend my back a bit to reach. Also, most bucket seats (and most chairs in general!) are designed for people nowhere near as tall as I am, so the lumbar support, shoulder support, head support is always too low (or non-existent) for me. The Insight's support is spread around a bit more, and I am supported. :)

A month after I bought my Insight, I did three three-hour (one way) trips in short order and every one of those drives was comfortable. I never felt a need to stop and get out to stretch. :D

Another secret: I've mostly driven two-seaters in my life though, as the seats can be pushed just a bit further back. Nice for us tall folks. :D The Insight comes through there too.
4). Are there blindspots when backing up because of the non-glass portion of the hatch ?
I have not had any problems with blind spots with the back hatch. What I do have problems with are the perennial left side blind spots. It's problem a little worse in my case, because I have to duck my head slightly to turn my head to the left to look. (That was the one real advantage of the Civic for me - I could turn and see to the left without difficulty.) I have no difficulty to the right or behind.

But then again, the two-seater I drove for most of the first ten years I was driving had "different" blind spots, and I got used to those pretty quick. (It was weird for me to learn the Tracer's blind spots, which most people would consider "normal".) You really just have to learn your vehicle, as every one has unique blind spots.


joe4ska had good advice though. Insight vs. Civic really does depend a lot on who's going to be riding in the car and how much storage space you need. Since my wife is now driving the Tracer, we have one four-seater in the family. We only have a third person in the car about once a year (usually if one of our mothers is visiting), and we have no plans for children. After checking out both cars, she put the ball in my court. While the extra storage space in the Civic would be useful to me a handful of times per year (mainly hauling stuff the first day of school and the last day of school), the extra MPG on my long commute were more important.

Plus, the Insight is just so much more of a physics geek's car. :) I was never "into" cars before this one, and a physics friend of mine who doesn't drive rather enjoyed his peek under the hood. :)
 
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