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Discussion Starter #1
Hi fellow Insight fans!

Can I ask your help with a potential Insight purchase? When I look on-line, all I see are the good things about the Insight. If there are negatives, would you let me know before I make an expensive mistake?

I'm wondering how insurance and safety compare with similar cars. My insurance company won't quote me a price until I get an actual VIN for them. Also I can't find any crash test results for Insight.

When I test drove Insight yesterday, I had a problem seeing out the side to change lanes. Does this continue to be a problem for you or do you get used to it?

I also found the steering wheel rode way too low and I had to crook my right leg around it to reach the gas pedal. Do other people have this problem?

Would you recommend the 6-CD changer and rear speakers? The changer seems so expensive, but if it's good, I wouldn't mind the cost!

Thanks so much for any help you can offer!
Carolyn
 

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Good car for around town travel. This car has a 4 star front end crash test rating. Insurance for me was very low. My only problem is the badly designed rear view. But others have stated that it is better than other Honda cars, since it has a bottom window. I don't know, it's my first Honda. I wouldn't buy the CD Changer, as it's over priced. I found a used one ebay for half the price. I hate the rear changer units and really wish Honda had an in-dash changer option. Then adding or removing CD's would be much easier.

I own a 2001 CVT Insight and drove it cross country. It did pretty good getting 60mpg average and driving 75 to 85mph. Surprisingly it had plenty of room for a passenger and luggage. The small tire footprint was almost dangerous on bad roads though. The tires would follow any grooves in the road and a few times I had to fight to keep us from being jerked off the road. The best mileage I've gotten on a short hop was 71mpg. Not bad for an automatic!
 

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Only negatives I can think of + a few positives

I bought mine last Friday, it's been exactly 1 week since owning it. The negatives I've found (positives do outweight them though) so far are:

Poor Stereo system. Extremely poor. Speakers need upgrading, head unit needs upgrading, a sub wouldn't kill the surround sound, and the cd changer option and/or the back speakers option is way overpriced. Just go w/ the basic stereo system and know you'll have to upgrade it later. Don't bother w/ the rear speaker or cd changer upgrade. You'll need to spend at least $80 on a good pair of speakers and $150 on a decent deck, so you're looking at spending an additional $200+ right off the bat if you just want to hear good tunes in your car.

Spotty gas mileage. I mean, I'm getting 40-41 mpg on the CVT (automatic) car which is great, but the sticker said 57mpg. No matter how much I try to not floor it or drive extremely conservatively, I can't get the dash to give me a 50mpg average read out. I can drive nice or mean, but I could never get it above 50, so don't expect 57 like the sticker said. But 40's not too bad.

Tires are low resistance. Remember these tires are designed for low resistance, so when making quick turns or driving in rain, I'd be a little extra careful. I always fear slipping all over the road. If I was getting 57mpg like promised I may have considered switching to Michelin or some other softer rubber/wider tire that would increase traction and make the ride a little smoother also. You'd lose gas mileage doing this. These tires aren't the "smoothest" of rides, you can feel bumps and train tracks and speed bumps. But harder rubber also means lower resistance and they last longer, and since this car is so light, you could expect a huge amount of mileage on these tires before they need replacing. Personal preference I guess.

Features. I mean, some aspects of this car are so technological, and others aren't. Like the car has sensors to monitor outside temperature, the computer can make decisions based on it. But Honda didn't bother to put a gauge on the inside to let the driver know the outside temp. Just little luxury features. No ash tray (you have to use a cup ash tray), I don't smoke, but how do you not include an ash tray? There's only 2 cup holders with not a lot of height, so big cups won't fit. There's a lack of storage compartments, like no compartments in the door or anything. If you like to hide a lot of things in a lot of compartments, you'll have to buy little accesories to make this car hide/store more.

This car may tend to get rear ended more because people like to stare at them and not tend to remember the red light. I've read 2 stories about others getting rear ended because of a "staring" driver, and owning this car 1 week I've managed to get rear ended too. Not sure if the driver was staring or admiring though.

High repair costs. This car is aluminum and no ordinary shop could just fix it. I think the repairs are higher and insurance costs may be higher. My insurance definately went up, I checked Nationwide and Geiko. Both said the real killer for the bad rate was comp and collision, so it appears they're aware of the high repair costs for body work and mechanical. Only a small handful of mechanics could actually mess w/ the electrical system of this car, most would be working at a Honda dealership, so insurance companies may be aware of the lack of qualified mechanics to fix this car. Most insurance companies prefer to use their own body shops or mechanics but with this car they may be forced to use the dealer which does entain higher repair costs. You're in the same boat, anything advanced goes wrong and you're not in warranty, joe's auto repair may not be enough, you may need Honda.

It does appear Honda may be discontinuing this car next year. 2003 may be the last year made. So that only makes this car produced for 4 years. It may or may not be a problem down the line when you need spare parts or repairs. It also may hurt your trade in value whenever you go to trade it in, discontinued cars tend to get less. However I heard there's a high demand for them in California so when trade in times comes I'm driving to California to trade it in :)

Trading it in may be necessary as the batteries only last 8 years or 80,000 miles, or that's the warranty/rating anyway. Once they go, apparently it's about $5000 to replace them, from what I gather, which in 8 years would be to expensive to put into this car. I wouldn't be counting on keeping this car 20 years w/ 200,000 miles on it like other Honda's are notorious for doing. I'll trade mine in within 8 years, probably between 3-5. Maybe for Honda's newest latest and greatest hybrid or hydrogen or whatever they have. I do know that Honda's resell value is better than other brand automobiles.

Price. I mean, $21,000 for a new Insight is a little expensive considering at around that same price you can get the Civic Hybrid and/or the Toyota Prius. The Prius/Civic are 4 doors and tend to come with more luxuries and features, which is great, that makes the Prius/Civic $21,000 cars, but the Insight only has 2 seats and far less luxuries, it also has smaller gas/electric motors, shouldn't it naturally be cheaper? I called Toyota first and learned the Prius was 21,000-22,000 which I thought was a ok deal. I then called Honda and learned the Insight was 21,000 and my first though was "wow, isn't the Prius bigger w/ a bigger engine, gas and electric?" I guess I expected the car to be down around $18,000
As it is though, the rumor is Honda loses money on these cars anyway, and that the technology is more expensive. They're being offered at this price to "soften" consumers up to hybrids. So Honda takes a loss now to make profit later when more Hybrids are common. So $21,000 may be high but it actually may be a great deal if the Hybrids of the future cost $30,000+ People will be like "You got a hybrid, brand new, 2+ years ago and it was under $25,000? wow"



Reading over that it's depressing. Let me stress that the positives about this car are awesome. Gas mileage is still phenominal compared to other vehicles. It's 0-60 is great (I believe the 10.8 sec 0-60 is for the stick shift, not the automatic like I have), it has a good stop speed of around 110 and handles itself quite well. It doesn't "feel" like a compact car. It's a great little cruiser. There's also the "kewl" factor. I've received so many compliments about this car in the 1 week I've owned it. Drive up tellers comment on it, co-workers come in and ask if that's my car and ask about it, etc. I've also been at stop lights and had other drivers look over at it, staring at it. One driver even gave me a thumbs up and nodded at me. Needless to say my ego was in outer space. You also get a since of well being, knowing you're saving gas money and helping the environment at the same time. Also, the user forums are awesome, Insight owners I've met through these forums have always been super-friendly and very open w/ their knowledge of any mods or upgrades they've done to the car. With a little bit of "tweaking" you can make this car awesome. I'm already upgrading the audio system to high end audio equipment, putting in a Super Shoebox sub for great added bass, putting amps underneath the seats, getting a nice tinting. I'm also planning on adding that mod that puts extra cup holders in the middle, it's a black thing that hovers over the emergency break lever. I also want the mod to the rear view mirror which will give it outside temperature and compass information. I also want Kenwood's heads up display so I can see radio station and other useful info on the windshield as I'm driving. I also want Kenwood's steering wheel radio remote control, so I can change stations while driving. Also noted is adding cruise control the car is planned. With a little bit of fun upgrading, you can get this car as luxury as you want. I hope that in 5 years when I do go to trade it in, it'll be almost a completely different car :) Except for the exceptional handling and gas mileage.
 

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Replacing the factory stereo was one of the easiest things I've ever done. If you're considering getting an in-dash CD changer or MP3 player, definitely give it a shot; you only need to remove four small bolts (to remove the glove compartment) and snap off the panel covering the stereo head unit. The standard Honda Civic wiring harness works quite well when installing a new unit.

I replaced the two front speakers with some Eclipse models (82641), which helped a lot. I was so impressed with them that I decided to get another pair for the rear, but although the new rear speakers don't seem to hurt the sound at all, they aren't really much better than using just the front ones alone (I can't recommend enough replacing the front speakers, though).
 

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Insight...

Like Glitch, I just got my Insight a week ago. I've only driven mine for a couple of days, but have a pretty good feel for it and researched the purchase well before buying.

As to the stereo, you can get the Eclipse 8263 speakers new right now on eBay for about $63 (originally $139). (I am not the seller, I just found them last night and bought a pair.) It seems everyone agrees they are one of the best replacements. The stereo head unit is easily replaced as it is standard size (unlike the Prius which you can't replace at all--a front and center cassette deck becomes a permanent part of your life). The Wayland Shoebox Sub seems like a great option, too.

As to Glitch's insurance concerns, my rates didn't go up significantly. Very reasonable with USAA. And USAA requires all of their affiliated body shops to be trained in aluminum welding, and the shop I've had to use after a minor bumper-thumper (yes, already :( ) assures me that most good shops can do aluminum work now. But as far as mechanical work goes, the dealer is going to be the best option for a while.

As to Glitch's storage and the ashtray comments, it is my understanding that storage in the door panels wasn't included so they wouldn't have to be reinforced--to reduce weight. And they look good as they are. As for the ashtray, it is about time auto makers stop putting them in cars. This car is aimed at young people and environmentally-minded people, most of whom don't smoke. An ashtray and cigarette lighter is just an invitation for passengers to light up. They might as well put a spittoon in there in case you want to enjoy a good chew.

While Glitch is right about the mileage--I've found the same thing in about 200 miles of driving--I understand it improves significantly after engine break-in. As to the batteries, I think there is every indication they are expected to last at least 150,000 miles, and perhaps the life of the car. The rest of the car (and all Hondas) is only warrantied for 3 years or 36,000 miles, but you don't expect it will wear out then!

Glitch is also right about the ride. A bit harsh, but not terrible. Just takes some getting used to. As he says, I imagine it would be pretty hard on really rough roads.

As to the parts, availibility also concerns me. But many are shared with the S2000 and other Hondas, and it isn't certain the Insight will be discontinued yet.

Like Glitch, I intend to add cruise control and the upgraded rear-view mirror, but only the cruise control will concern most people.

Overall, I really like and recommend the car. It is a chance to own something extraordinary, instead of an ill-conceived economy box like the Prius (just sit in one and play with the controls) or a relatively boring Civic hybrid.[/list]
 

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Thanks Insighter

:)

Actually I'm glad you posted counters to my negatives. Was afraid I was going to scare off a potential insight owner but I just wanted him to be aware of what he was getting into.

I don't smoke, so I didn't need an ashtray, I just wanted him to be aware of it. I only used the ash tray in my old car for straw wrappers whenever I got drinks, receipts, little things like gum wrapped in paper, etc. I used it like a small trash can and miss that about the insight. I didn't want to buy the cup thing as it was kind of dumb so I'll find another solutions, maybe a nice place to mount a little bag.

As for the stereo I agree. I just wanted them to be aware of it. Even if it had a great audio system, I'm an audio lover so I'd probably find ways to upgrade anyway. I do like how the standard deck can be upgraded easily thanks to it's standard size, so I do want a nice kenwood deck for it w/ heads up display and steering wheel mounted remote. Just initially owning the car I have to deal w/ the stereo, but it's a definate planned upgrade that won't concern me once the upgrade is done. I'm also getting Mr. Waylands super shoebox sub for a little more bass whenever I need it, for the most part i'm going to keep it toned down, but I'd like to have the option to really boom if I ever felt the need to. Hidden power, I like.

Insurance is probably just a matter of finding the right person. I have to call around more, Geiko and Nationwide and a local insurance agent who searches hundreds of generic insurance companies are all I've done. So far it's bout set at $280/month for me. Geiko went down to $247 if I agreed to a $1000 comp and collision deductible and a $2000 PIP (personal injury) deductible. Still, it's a bit high. Gonna try esurance.com next.

I'm so glad to hear you have the same results w/ gas mileage and it's not my car per say. I will give it the break in time to see if it improves, I love the car to much to get rid of it :)

I also like to hear that the batteries can last longer than 8 years 80,000 miles. I also have the extended warranty so I can guarentee that at least in 5 years 50,000 miles my car should be running smoothly. I will probably want to trade it in, but in like 5 years, and maybe for another great Honda Hybrid. But maybe after all my mods and sweat and hard work, I should just keep the thing til it dies.

The ride is a bit harsh but acceptable. My Dodge Durango, being a truck, had stiff suspension. I also had "harder" rubber high warranty tires on it as it ate through tires to fast if they were softer. So the Durango ran a little harsh on bumps and such, about the same if not a little harsher, than the Insight. So I'm used to it.

Parts scare me also. Probably the #1 negative I can think of. Hope they make them in '04. Ohh well, if '00 '01 '02 and '03 are all that's it, that's still at least 4 years they made it, so parts may be hard to find, but not impossible.

Good luck with your decision!
 

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Re: Thanks Insighter

glitch said:
I don't smoke, so I didn't need an ashtray, I just wanted him to be aware of it. I only used the ash tray in my old car for straw wrappers whenever I got drinks, receipts, little things like gum wrapped in paper, etc. I used it like a small trash can and miss that about the insight. I didn't want to buy the cup thing as it was kind of dumb so I'll find another solutions, maybe a nice place to mount a little bag.
did you notice the little pull down box to the left of the steering wheel, under the window buttons?

it's my change drawer right now (i probably have about $40 worth of coins in there :lol: ) but you could put all kinds of crap in there
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the "Insight" - groan!

Thank you SO MUCH, everybody, for your input - this is the kind of gory detail you can only get from an owner.

Boy, that stereo system must really be horrible as everybody has the exact same complaint about it! I'm trying to get my brother to test drive Insight with me and we'll be sure to bring a cassette along. I sure wish somebody could tell me why they even PUT cassette decks in cars anymore!

Best of luck with your own Insights, and thanks again!
Caroly
 

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....

Carolyn--Don't let Glitch and I put you off the stereo too much. I'm sure it would be completely acceptable for many people. And if you upgrade to the Eclipse speakers, even with the same head unit, I'm sure you'd be more than happy.

Glitch--You know there are 2 versions of the shoebox, the regular and the super. I'm probably going with the regular version. I'm sure its more than enough bass for 99% of the population. The super is new and is really for annoying the person in the cars beside you!

Allnighte--$40? Hmmm...that's at least 1000 miles worth of gas. Where do you park that car?
 

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hehe

heh. Sometimes I like to annoy the person in the car beside me. If it's one of these kids that come up with a system and they think they're all that, I like to crank mine up, hopefully it beats theres, and then I like to floor it and take off. Since the Dodge Durango I used to drive had a 5.9L V8 it wasted a lot of these kids who thought they were kewl. The insight is ok at take off also. When I was away from them I put the volume back to normal and drove normal. I just really like to show up these other kids sometimes. Other times I don't care, personal preference of what mood I'm in I guess.

At stop lights, even with a moderate bass system, I always turn it down, as I don't like to annoy others. I think if you had a little bass in your car you should be considerate when at stop lights and in neighborhoods.

I had a mechanic friend of mine modify a Lincoln Mark VIII. He added custom headers, posi-traction, all kinds of junk to it. It was a mechanics toy, it had all the mods and it was gorgeous and luxury. He used to drive normal but sometimes he'd come up to a enhanced (souped? up) civic that thought it was all that and that big old lincoln mark VIII would lay waste to them. It was fun to see a big luxury car lay waste to a hopped up little civic or toyota supra or whatever. Then the mechanic friend of mine got bored and added nitrous, needless to say he was untouchable. To bad he had to sell the car, I wanted it but it's gas mileage sucked and it's tranny was starting to slip. But I got to borrow it a lot before he sold it.
 

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i think i'll play devil's advocate about the stock speakers

i do like my music to sound good (ie. mp3's at anything lower than 128kbps make baby jesus cry). and the stock speakers do miss out on good bass and mid range, but they're still fine for me.

i have a CD player with a casette converter that i use and it's fine for me.

i mean the sound is NOT horrible, but if you really really do like music, then yeah you should upgrade 'em.

maybe i will someday. i am kindof reluctant though because i don't want to mess up/have to tear up the car.

Insighter:
i've never thought about actually spending that money on gas... hmm..
i just use it when i go through toll roads and drive throughs to give exact change. which i'll do right now at Wendy's (#6 biggy size, dr pepper, $6.23 :lol: )
 

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Speakers...

Allnighte:

Those speakers are really easy to replace with no modifications or damage. I've seen the whole process laid out on a website.

If you are interested, you should really buy a set like I did on eBay. Terrific price. Just search "Eclipse 8263. I'd be happy to help you put them in if you wanted to drive down to North Park.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Automatic carwashes

Hey guys, is it true that you have to remove the antenna and the (not sure what you call 'em) painted wheel covers when you go through a carwash? How and how easily do the wheel covers come off? From the outside, hopefully?

Carolyn
 

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Re: Speakers...

Insighter said:
Allnighte:

Those speakers are really easy to replace with no modifications or damage. I've seen the whole process laid out on a website.

If you are interested, you should really buy a set like I did on eBay. Terrific price. Just search "Eclipse 8263. I'd be happy to help you put them in if you wanted to drive down to North Park.
have you noticed anything different with the battery/electrical system since the upgrade? like recals or dimming lights with the volume up?
 

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Re: Automatic carwashes

Carolyn said:
Hey guys, is it true that you have to remove the antenna and the (not sure what you call 'em) painted wheel covers when you go through a carwash? How and how easily do the wheel covers come off? From the outside, hopefully?

Carolyn
my antenna is in my trunk all the time. i don't really like the look of it and i never use the radio anyway :)

the wheel covers are VERY easy to remove (almost too easy). just get your head near the ground and you can see 2 oversize screws that you can use anything flat (i use quarters since i have so many in the car) to unscrew them. just a few twists and then yank the covers down

i don't know if the car wash can really damage them, but better safe than sorry
 

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Dual...

Carolyn: Yes, I believe you have to do that with any cloth or regular carwash. But I use a totally touch-free carwash. More and more of these are cropping up in San Diego. Only spray touches the car, so you don't have to remove anything. I ran mine through 3 times the first night I had the car. I ran over a skunk. I had some really bad luck those first two days. But I guess the skunk's was worse.


Allnighte: I haven't put in the speakers yet, only ordered them on eBay (the seller had 800 feedback with no negative comments). Speakers alone won't increase the electrical load. They can't. They might lower it, in fact, if they are more efficient (as they probably are). Only turning up the volume pulls more juice, and that is negligible. Even with the amplifier setup Wayland recommends, you are fine. But speakers alone are no problem at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, allnighte!

When I test-drove the Insight at the dealer the other day, I was worried about it riding so close to the ground. The exit from the dealership onto the street was down an extremely steep grade and I just KNEW the car'd scrape when I pulled out onto the street! I was really pleased to see that it didn't at all, not even when we pulled back in.

Carolyn
 

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The stereo in the Insight was NEVER meant to be quality. That isn't the selling point of this car! But it is fine for the average driver. Certainly no worse than the one in the new Corvettes.

The mileage gets better as the engine is broken in. Plus you have to learn how to drive it for maximum fuel economy. You can't drive this car like regular cars if you expect to get the rated mileage numbers. Took me a bit to learn that one. I have just under 10k miles on my 2001 CVT and have an average 50mpg. That's darn good! Show me a non Hybrid gas car that gets an AVERAGE of 50mpg. Some spout off that they do, but when you do the math it's not true. We get true readouts of what the gas mileage is actually doing with the Insight and you can see how it changes constantly with driving habits.
 

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Resist said:
The stereo in the Insight was NEVER meant to be quality. That isn't the selling point of this car! But it is fine for the average driver.
Exactly. I guess that given the two-seater's price, new owners do expect more of their stereo. I was perfectly happy with the base system but found that the rear speaker kit greatly improved sound quality. I know John Wayland and the other true audiophile Insight owners would disagree with this.

Benjamin
 
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