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Service in Australia

4884 Views 28 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  ghillie
This message will not be of interest to just about all of you happy Insighters, but spare a thought for this outpost of enlightenment.

I need to find a Honda dealer service department in Melbourne that has an interest and expertise with Insights. Is there anyone who visits this site who has experience with Insight ownership in Melbourne and the performance of any service department?

I would be grateful for any information or suggestions.

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Dear No.166

Welcome to Australia! (though Cape York is a long way from Melbourne). As you no doubt know July is the right to time to go to the Australian far north - if you come during the wet season (summer) you are at risk of "going troppo" and nothing (no nothing) will stop you feeling thirsty except cold beer.

Thanks for your offer to keep a lookout - but I doubt that there are any Honda dealers on Cape York and almost certainly no Insights - you might just see a Prius or two.

My request for any information about experience with Insight service in Melbourne is a long shot - but not as silly as it may sound. This ain't no one horse town. There are 15 Honda dealers in metro Melbourne. If I don't get any helpful feedback (not saying you didn't try) I will just use my local Honda dealer (Courtney & Patterson in Heidelberg - that's Heidelberg in Melbourne not Heidelberg in Germany). I think that they service at least two other Insights - which given the tiny numbers sold here probably qualifies them as experts in this corner of the global village.

Hope you enjoy the holiday(?) in the far north.

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Thanks - it was taken in good humour as was intended.

I would be very interested if you did see an Insight anywhere on your travels - but given the very small numbers sold here it's unlikely. (See my post "buying an Insight from afar")

I'm not surprized that you saw an Insight at a Sydney Honda dealer in 2001, as that is when they were first brought into Australia. Because of lack of interest Honda stopped selling them new here in 2004. As far as I know all the "new" stock has been sold. There are currently no Insights advertised for sale in Australia (new or old).

I too have an Australian Insight brochure. Interestingly, it lists the available colours as red, silver and black. However, between the printing of the brochure and building the cars black was changed to citrus. No black cars were brought here. I don't know how many citrus ones there are. When I was looking to buy, I saw three red and three silver Insights. I saw (and almost bought) one citrus car. It had been owned by the Brisbane City Council. There was also another citrus car briefly for sale in Canberra. Another citrus car was used for a record FE run between Brisbane and Melbourne (average 2.2l/100km or 107mpg). I think it is unlikely that there are only three citrus cars in Australia - but I don't really know.

Only 5 speed manuals were sold new here. However, there is one CVT in Melbourne that was privately imported. It was for sale last year but I don't know what happened to it.

Let me know if you change your plans and are coming to Melbourne.
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No. 166

Curses! Now you've done it - everyone will want to travel the Outback.

But the black Insight is interesting. I thought that the black option was substituted by citrus - but maybe I'm wrong. I'll see what I can find out from Honda Australia and let you know.

It would be an interesting project to try and create a register of all Insights in Australia - have to give that some thought.
No 166!

I woz wrong and you wuz right! I got around to mailing Honda Australia and here is the Ausralia Insight sales figures broken down by colour

Berlina Black - 2
Citrus Yellow - 7
Silverstone - 20
Formula Red 16

That's it - 45 cars! Pathetic isn't it. When offered the opportunity to buy the world's most fuel efficient car at the same price as a Toyota MR2 and slightly more than a Miata (MX5 here) Australians have bought gas guzzling SUV's in record numbers - some used in the outback but mostly adopting the "up yours" approach to road safety.

Honda says yellow was available in the 2001 model and was replaced by black for 2002/2003. Which blows another theory of mine which is that the only Insights brought into Australia was the initial load in 2001.

So, two black cars - one of which you saw in Canberra. I wonder if its still there. And where is the other one? I have only seen red, silver and one yellow in Melbourne - and even then only very occasionally. I don't think there are any others that regularly travel in my end of town.

There is also one red private import CVT in Melbourne that I almost bought (I really wanted a manual).

There haven't been any Insights for sale in Australia for months. Petrol hovers around $1 per litre. Two cents less right now but up to $1.05 in a day or so I'm sure.

Cheers... and go the Roos

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No 166.

Pleased you had a good time. We are off to Port Douglas in a couple of weeks - to get away from Melbourne's late winter greyness.

Interesting that you spotted a Civic hybrid. I don't think they are selling that many of them here. The Prius II has caught on much better but I have been told that sales have slipped a bit on those also.

No new Insights for sale here anymore of course. There are two used for sale on a "Carsguide" website. They've been there for some time (although one is at the ridiculous price of A$32,000). Fuel is now A$1.20 per litre for standard in Melbourne (although it was as high as A$1.25 a few days ago), but it doesn't seem to be making hybrids any more popular. Sales figures for new cars show large SUV's and sedans losing out to smaller cars - presumably at least partly on the basis of fuel prices. However, it seems that most buyers do the sums on the higher price of hybrids compared with the amount saved with lower running costs and still find insufficient savings to justify a hybrid purchase.

No hint from Honda that a hybrid Accord is on the way to Australia. I would not be at all surprised if Honda thinks that the expected volume of sales does not justify the cost of Australian compliance.


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How nice to hear from you - I didn't think that anyone else from Melbourne posted on this forum.

I have had a service done at Courtney & Patterson in Heidelberg. I was pleased with the service and the result so I will keep using them. I am in the north (Alphington - just across the river from Kew) so I will stick with C & P as they are convenient. But I will keep your recommentdations in mind - thank you.

I don't come any further south-east than Glen Waverley except rarely, so there is not much chance of you seeing my insight. I have seen 2 or 3 red insights and one silver in the past year or so - around Richmond and Hawthorn. I have never seen a green one except the one I tried to buy in South Road. Someone else got there first - maybe it's the one you have seen ? According to Honda only 7 citrus Insights were sold in Australia.

Interesting about the black Insight in Perth. No.166 is sure that he saw one in Canberra. Honda told me that only 2 blacks were delivered in Australia - so maybe the one you saw in Perth is the other one! I have not seen it advertised on the web. I would be interested to know if it has sold. Do you remember which dealer you saw it at?

Also interesting about your IMA replacement. How many Km's had your Insight done when the battery failed? Was it replaced under warranty? What were the symptoms? Did Honda give you any grief about replacing it under warranty?

Cheers and happy insighting
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Mate! The area known as the Kimberley Ranges is in the far north-west of Australia. It's almost diagonally across the continent from where I live (sort of like from Florida to Oregon). Its a long way and I've never been - like most Australians. I would like to go but Australia is the land that not only time forgot (the rest of us did also :D ).

I can't tell you anything about organizing a trip there - probably five minutes on the net would make you more knowledgeable than me! But it's hot, I know that - and bloody wet during the monsoon. I would be very careful about going "bush" on a survival basis - did I mention that it gets hot? Also there is likely to be restrictive laws a bout what you can hunt, kill and eat.

Have no fear about hijacking an aussie conversation on this site. There's so few of us we're always pleased to have the company :wink:

Cheers cobber

The citrus Insight you have seen is the one that I tried to buy. Rego was SZM 369. It had been owned by Brisbane City Council and seemed in good condition (I think it was allocated to one person rather than being in a pool) and had only done about 28,000km. It had been serviced regularly even though the km milestones (or should that be kilometrestones?) had not been reached. The service book had all services up to the 40,000 km (or even 50,000km - I'm not sure now) done!

It was being sold by "Melbourne's Cheapest Cars". I had in fact bought it - but they did the dirty on me. Called me back 2 days later to say they had made a mistake and that when it was sold to me it had already been sold to someone else. I crunched them on price because it had been for sale for months and I believe that when I said I would buy it they called someone else who had expressed and interest and said it had been sold unless the offered $X (some amount more than they had agreed to sell it to me for). The other buyer said "yes" and I missed out. By the time they told me the car had already left the lot - so what could I do?

It turns out they did me a favour - a week later I saw Yarra Honda advertise the car I eventually bought. It had only done 6500km and was immaculate and not much more expensive. That was in February this year which partly explains why the Kms on my car are so low The other reason is that I have not had a commute until recently. I expect to be piling it on from now on.

I contacted Honda in Melville - the car sold some time ago and the person I spoke to didn't seem much interested.

Thank you for the information about your battery pack replacement. It is good news to hear that Honda in Australia has come good on the warranty - I hope that do the same for me if the worst happens.

Happy driving.
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Gabriella - The citrus insight I tried to buy was in Moorabbin. I'm sure its the one you enquired about - there is not many of them in Australia. I did buy the low km car from Yarra Honda. It is red. I'm sure they only had one so the reference to a silver car in their advertising was a mistake.

The silver car you bought may be the same one that I looked at in Sandringham when it was a private sale. That car had 55,000km on it. I wonder if the owner ended up selling to a dealer? I think it was the only Insight I looked at for which an extended warranty had been taken out. It had been serviced by a Honda dealer somewhere south of Sandringham - Travis Honda in Frankston rings a bell - but that seems too far away from where the owner lived????

I don't remember seeing the red 23,000km car from a Honda dealer that you refer to. There was a car in Tasmania without about that distance on it that sold late last year I think (private sale).

The only Insight currently for sale is in Sydney advertised on It's red and seems not too far from a reasonable price. But its been for sale for months so I don't know what's wrong with it - I would have thought someone in Sydney would want a cute red Insight??? There was a very nice sounding Insight on the Sunshine Coast that sold within a week about a month ago - so what's wrong with the one in Sydney?

I really wanted a red Insight but would have been happy with a Silver or Citrus one if the right car had been available at the right price. In fact I would have ended up with the citrus car in Moorabbin if the dealer had been more honest.

Will I ever sell my Insight? Posters on this site from the US report Insight withdrawl upon selling their cars. And what would I replace it with? I think that in the next few years some very interesting fuel efficient cars will come onto the market - but will they ever make another Insight?

Happy Insighting
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Gabriella - The Prius is not as much fun to drive as the Insight. However, we need a family car and the Insight obviously cannot do that job with only two seats. The Insight is a great second car for us and I drive it as often as I can.

The Prius is ok to drive. It's safe and predictable - we bought the upgrade model with stability control and curtain airbadgs so it's very well specified. It has been a very practical and reliable car for us. We get about 4.8 - 5 l/100kms which I think is excellent. The hybrid system in the Prius is more advanced than the Insight and gives great economy for the size and weight of the car. Much of the Insight's economy comes from its light weight.

But I love my Insight. I laugh when reading the Australian reviews of the Insight which typically described it as "impractical". Well, yes, if you need 5 seats it is completely impractical. But for a two seat car it is great. I have carried many things in the hatch back including a bicycle - with the front wheel sticking out the back. If you don't go over any big bumps, for short distances it is not even necessary to tie down the hatch - as it rests lightly on the bike without popping up.

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Gabriella - I'm surprised at your fuel consumption. My Insight does considerably better than the Prius. My Insight lifetime is 4.4 l/100km. It was 5 l/100km when I bought it at 6,500 km. It's now done 12,500 km. I use the two trip meters (A and B) to keep my long-term fuel economy - 3.6 l/100km - and current tank fuel economy which is 3.4 l/100km. One push of the FCD button gives acces to these two plus the lifetime reading. (Use the button just below the speedometer to move between lifetime, trip A and trip B.) Push it again and you get a seperate trip meter - which I sometimes use for a particular journey. I'm probably not explaining this very well - but if you look on Insight Central there is some good stuff that explains how to access the different options for tracking fuel economy.

There's also lots of good stuff on Insight Central for improving fuel economy. There are several possible reasons for yours being relatively poor. Driving style is a likely culprit but other contributors from my experience are: lots of stop/start commuting (I don't do much of this), airconditioning use and even mechanical problems.

If you are reasonably careful with your driving style (lots of information on Insight Central) my guess is that commuting conditions is the most likely reason. I have noticed that my fuel economy can get quickly worse if I am in a slow moving line of stop/start traffic.

It's also important to keep the car in "lean burn" as much as possible. You need to be gentle with the accelerator to do this. You should be able to cruise along a flat freeway at about 95km/hr with the instant fuel consumption read out showing a little over 2l/100km. If the freeway goes into even a very slight incline, extra load will go on the engine even if you don't press the accelerator and instant fuel economy will deteriorate to over 4l/100km. This is the effect of coming out of lean burn. There is lots of discussion about this on Insight Central also.

I am very happy with the Prius. From what little I have read it seems that the new model Civic Hybrid is very similar in many respects. It would be very interesting if one of the motoring journalists did a back to back comparison. My guess is that you would be happy with either car - although I do find the hatchback on the Prius very handy.
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Gabriella - Your technique sounds pretty much the same as mine - I'm sure that with practice you will get even better FE even in stop/start driving. My FE has improved from about where yours is now to my current 3.4 l/100km (or even better sometimes) due partly to experience and practice. However, some is due to the nature of my travelling (more longer trips now) - and there is nothing much you can do about that.

Just did my first 1000km on one tank the other day!

Happy travelling!
Thanks John. I have noticed that with practice I am much better at maintaining the SoC and now almost never require forced charging - although I hadn't realized how much this affects FE.
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