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When I told a friend I was considering buying an Insight, he wrote back: "I was looking into buying the Insight, but I read the attached and changed my mind."

Attached was a review from Consumer Reports, apparently around 2000. The negative parts of the review were generally about subjective matters (how the brakes "feel," for example). But reading it was a sobering experience.

An excerpt:



I still plan on a test drive to decide for myself about how the car feels, but I wondered what the response here would be to this review.

My thoughts:

--I don't plan on transporting any children, so I don't care about that.
--I'll judge for myself the "feel" of the car, but the CR opinion seems to contradict those who apparently *race* these things
--I'm concerned about the "large blind spots" in rear visibility
 

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This "review" is generally CRAP. Probably paid for by Detroit! :wink:

Handling:

Get a ride in one. :wink:

1. I have been a passenger with both Guillermo and Opal on the track, and trust me, you want to have that seat belt snugged up tight! and get ready to SMILE!
2. The Insight is so quiet on the track that they call it the refrigerator. :roll:
3. The engine is so quiet when cruising, all you hear are the wheels on the pavement. You can't tell if you are in 3rd 4th or 5th. Granted, road noise is louder than some other cars as there is little sound deadening matterial used in the car, and the tires are high pressure.

Accelleration:

This car accellerates about 0.2 seconds FASTER from zero to sixty than the average North American vehicle.

Comfort:

I've had 80+ year olds, and my neighbor with Elzimers in the car on trips of 100 to 200 miles. They liked it. I put in spacers to raise the seat about half of an inch.

The Insight has a stiff choppy ride if you and your passenger are heavy weights or if you are carrying heavy loads in the back. ( the rear springs are highly compliant and tend to bottom out). Again spacers can solve this.

The steering Does feel different. It was one of the first cars to have electric steering assist and this combined with the LRR tires and the differing tire track widths gives the car a different sensation to others. It feels normal after you get used to it. :roll: Others have simply changed the tires.

Fuel economy:

Real world economy for the 5 speed is reported at GreenHybrid @ 65 MPG average not 51!

Mirror:

The vanity mirror IS covered on mine!

Capacity:

400 pounds not 365, but see above comment on loading. I'm 160ish and generally travel alone, but sometimes carry a whole lot of tools and equipment, and/ :lol: or food.

Interior:

The thick doors do come up rather high but give me a feeling of security, as do the aluminum beam behind the seats and the sturdy built in roll cage. People have commented how roomy it feels inside. LOTS of room to move your legs around on a long trip.

Personally I thank God for the priveledge of owning and driving this exceptional vehicle, but then love is blind. Don't take my word or anyone else's for the truth. Check it out for yourself.
 

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I agree with a lot of that report. One thing I definitely disagree with is the comment about the blind spot. If anything, I feel I see behind me better in the Insight then in any other car.
 

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What's ironic about it is that in the good old days you could read a Consumer Reports review of a car and a Road & Track review and they would be completely different. Since when does CR care about the "feel" of the steering and brakes? There are a number of reviews out there that comment on the Insight's poor "feel" but then report good slalom performance.

If you care about economy, there are tradeoffs. If you want performance, buy a WRX. I did, and sold it six months later because its performance was so far beyond any practical use it was no fun.
 

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What do you expect from a magazine written for the average American citizen? Big, squishy and excessive seems to be the name of the game over there...Not that most Canadian drivers are any different (sadly...).

If you want that sports car experience of 20+ years ago (think MG, RX-7, 240Z) then the Insight is a great car. The Insight is not a fast car, but it's a pure car.

If you want to float around on a cloud, then I'm sure that Detroit offers something more to your tastes. ;)
 

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I bought my insight because I give a damn about my impact on the world around me. I expected I'd be sacrificing a few things (acceleration being the big one). When I took posession of the car (I bought it without ever having even sat in one) I was pleased to discover that I could not only easily keep up with traffic in town or on the highway, but even beat most other cars off the line. The handling is impressive. Even with overinflated LRR tires, the car is quite nimble, though there's some understeer because of the tires. It outperforms the Honda S2000 roadster on slalom courses. Poor handling, indeed! :roll: Visibility is no worse than average, and certainly better than a big ol' SUV. I moved my side mirrors out a little farther than I did in previous cars (I don't need to see my own back bumper) and my visibility is great. The cabin is a bit noisier than most, but it isn't that bad. The cocpit is not tiny. In fact, I swear the car is dimensionally trancendental (bigger on the inside than the outside). I have plenty of room for two people and all the stuff they'll need for a 4 day camping trip without blocking the view out the hatch glass. I find the cockpit layout fits me perfectly. When I got back in my previous car (a Saturn SL2) before I sold it, it felt totally awkward to me. In the Insight, all the controls are in just the right place. The gear shift does NOT block the cupholders at all.

I will say that the car is not as much fun in the winter. I live in the midwest, and park outside. My commute is really short. The engine does not warm up quickly.

Other than that, I'm absolutely thrilled with this car. I would love this car even if it didn't easily get 60+ mpg.

It would seem Consumer Reports took a page out of Microsoft's FUD spewing playbook (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) and I would agree that this report was influenced in some way by Detroit.
 
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I bought my Insight purely for the economy of it, I was doing 160miles a day at the time so it was MUCH cheaper to run than my Civic.

However, now I am only commuting 10 miles a day (when I don't ride my bike) & I still intend to keep the Isight, even though I have my heart set on an NSX.

How cool is will that look, a garage with an NSX & an Insight in it.
 

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In my opinion, the only accurate complaint in that review is the rear quadrant visibility, which is pretty poor if, like me, you prefer to turn your head rather than rely on what you can see in the mirror. And yes, the transmission would have done better with another gear or two.

But the rest? Well, it depends on where you're coming from. If your car-owning experience has been SUVs and "full-size" sedans, I suppose it will seem low, noisy, and small in comparison. If you've preferred sports cars, it will seem fairly quiet and roomy.
 

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Fenrir said:
It outperforms the Honda S2000 roadster on slalom courses.
I want facts posted about this claim before I believe it.
 

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gomarlins3 said:
Fenrir said:
It outperforms the Honda S2000 roadster on slalom courses.
I want facts posted about this claim before I believe it.
I agree. My MINI can out perform an S2000 in the slalom but the Insight just doesn't have the right handling characteristics for it. While the Insight does out-handle most cars on the market here in the US, the S2000 is a pretty pure sports car.

BrianT, as for noise level, you don't want to do anything to reduce it. The extra weight you'd have to add is not going to help your mileage. Noise isn't very bad and it's nothing to keep anyone in my family from comfortably driving it for hours on end. Consumer Reports guys might think otherwise after driving around in 6000 lb beasts all day.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
kapps,

-JVC El Kameleon HU, JVC 12 disc changer, Infinity Kappa 3-ways up front and Alpine 2-ways in the rear
Looks like you've taken your own measures with regard to noise. :wink:
 

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I can see where the CR folks are coming from, but I think most of the criticism is based on (a) insufficient experience with the car and (b) a comfort zone centered on squishy, family-oriented large sedans (a.k.a. "boats", grin). There's a grain of truth in their subjective judgments, but they ARE subjective; what they like in cars isn't necessarily a guide to what YOU might like.

I'd agree about the poor visibility rearward; those fat C pillars obstruct rear-quarter views. The suspension may be "harsh and choppy" for those used to driving wallowing luxo-boxes, but I like it for its precise road feel. It's tight and responsive and there's no body lean; the car goes around turns like it's on rails.

If you treat 2nd as your acceleration gear, and 3/4/5 as steady-state cruise gears, you won't find the Insight sluggish. Even at highway speeds, if I need to add a bit of delta-V I'll drop from 5th to 2nd, then go right back into 5th. Until you suss out this rather unusual mode of operation, yes, the Insight can seem a bit unresponsive.

While the Insight isn't a full-on muscle car, it ain't an anemic econobox, either; it's somewhere in between. It's *fun* to drive. I wouldn't trade mine for anything except another Insight; it's the closest thing I've found to my ideal car.
 

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BrianT said:
kapps,

-JVC El Kameleon HU, JVC 12 disc changer, Infinity Kappa 3-ways up front and Alpine 2-ways in the rear
Looks like you've taken your own measures with regard to noise. :wink:
WHAT? HUH, I CAN'T HEAR YOU :lol: . Yeah, adding a nice audio system is a great way to deal with road noise. The great thing is that you don't add too much weight. My setup is probably 5 lbs heavier than stock...and those Infinity's are BIG.
 

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Aaron, right on the mark! "but it's a pure car." Yes a pureblood indeed

Pureblood: Noun A pedigreed animal of unmixed lineage; used especially of horses. :D
 

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adamwilt said:
While the Insight isn't a full-on muscle car, it ain't an anemic econobox, either; it's somewhere in between. It's *fun* to drive. I wouldn't trade mine for anything except another Insight; it's the closest thing I've found to my ideal car.
Amen brother :)
 

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I remember this from the original issue. Before I retired I worked for Ford Motor Co. A few weeks before I was set to retire our Product Development guy asjked me to drive the Insight they'd gotten for executive evaluation. The long & short of it, I thought the car was a hoot to drive and something of a revelation, but I doubted it would ever be a commercial succes because of all of the practical limitations CR points out in its evaluation. Face it, the Insight's not for everyone. However, for those of us that just want transportation to get us to work, the store, etc. and back it's a great lttile piece of ingenious engineering.

I also own a Ford F350 PowerStroke diesel and two Jeeps I use for rockcrawling and exploring backcountry roads & trails out here in the west. The F350 gets 17 - 22 MPG and can run on bio, not too bad for what it is and what it's capable of doing. However, it's a moose and a complete PITA to use for in-town driving. For what I wanted the Insight is perfect.

I wouldn't call the CR review "scatrhing", but rather "brutally frank". CR always seems to test cars as though they're going to be purchased by your typical couple with 2.5 kids and a golden retriever. The "niche" user that can live with the Insight's lack of seating & cargo carrying capaqcity gets a superbly engineered, fun to drive, economical bargain. Too bad it looks like '06 is the end of the run.
 

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Aaron Cake said:
The Insight is not a fast car, but it's a pure car.
I guess if you want real speed, you could always get a Saturn.

Bad jokes aside, I passed a few people at 110MPH on Friday. When I got tired of going fast, I settled in behind an LS400 that was in a hurry. I doubt anyone who saw me thought an Insight was a slow car and I've not even installed my MIMA system yet. (for the newbies; MIMA is an additional computer that lets you control the electric motor directly for more power or more efficiency)

I agree with the comment about downshifting but 2nd gear is only good for 72MPH so you have to settle for 3rd gear if you're not in the slow lane. Still, most cars don't have 4 highway speed gears to choose from like the Insight does so you're more in control with an Insight.

The tires just don't work at the factory recommended tire pressure, they won't last and don't feel right but at 50 to 55PSI, mine have lasted over 100K miles and they handle great at low speeds or over 100MPH.

Chisight
'00 Red 4453 AC 100K miles 80.8LMPG Zero Recals
Record: 140.2MPG for 6.2 miles! flying start, hot engine, no wind, no
net altitude change, no net charge change. (not down a mountain and not MIMA mileage)
 
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