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
). 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.
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.
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.