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Discussion Starter #1
I'm seeking info/answers/comments/opinions from experienced Insight drivers in southern California. I'd have to say one of my main concerns is the Insight's performance heading north (uphill) through the Cajon Pass (I-15 Freeway), or comparable mountain passes.

I'd appreciate if anyone experienced with this issue please give me feedback. I have seen a red Insight a couple times on my regular (M-F) south-bound (downhill) commute to the "Inland Empire" from the "High Desert" (and it's been one of the fastest vehicles in the traffic flow), but I've never seen one on the return trip.

I've been considering the Insight for a few years now, but haven't yet felt financially ready for a new vehicle (plus, I moved into a house from an apartment a few months ago, which is no help on the $$$ side of things...). I test drove an Insight a couple years ago at a Honda dealership in Huntington Beach, and was very impressed with its pick-up (high torque/weight ratio possibly?). Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance for any freeway driving, but was impressed with it on the side streets.

Any feedback is valuable...

Thanks,
-cfylling-
 

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By all means get an Insight. I live in AZ but have driven the Insight all over the USA. There isn't a mountian I wouldn't climb. I didn't climb Pikes Peek when we went by, but only because we didn't have the time. Other people in the group have climbed it in both the 5 spd and cvt.
The Insight was designed for optimum mpg and not mph or climbing, but it does all three very well, but not all at the same time. In a long climb you will deplete the assist battery so that you get no assist at all. The engine by it's self puts out 67 hp and with the IMA assist 73. So you only loose 8% in hp. It has a high reving little engine, so just down shift it several gears and go. Even in second gear it will go amazingly fast, even up hill.
Louis
 

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I have to agree, I was quite suprised with the car the first time I went up a big hill. The only thing is don't listen to the car if your on anything of a decently long hill. If you do you'll deplete the battery before you get to the worst part of the climb and be stuck wiht just the engine. I did this once and only once, then I learned. Actually recently I drove from phoenix up I-17 to junction 69 (cordes junction to prescott for anyone who knows the area). I had been cruising at about 80 most of the way there and a civic pass me at probably 85. Well a few minutes later I hit the hill and guess what was lugging up it in the right lane as I passed on the left. I did catch a glimse of the drivers face, priceless indeed. I then hit full assist and pulled away.

I think the trick though for mountains is to know what your climbing and save the battery for when you'll need it. I can get up that hill, which isn't all that long, using less than half of the battery charge. The only complaint I can say I've had in hills was going up that hill when I got a thermal recalibration, not fun. A turbo might have come in useful right about then. All well.
 

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My daily commute takes me over a small pass of 2.2mi and a 720ft elevation gain (just over 6% grade). I'm a new Insight owner and am still learning but here is how I handle my daily "hill". I ignore the shift arrow and stay in third keeping the engine well within the sweet spot of it's powerband. My speed is 50mph to 53mph and there isn't lots of assist happening but some, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the avalible electric assist. I can still accelerate if needed and the mpg for just the climb are usually over 35mpg. I've experimented with different speeds, gears amount of assist and so far this has yeilded the least battery drain and best mileage.

If anyone has suggestions I'm all eyes here, like I said I'm a newbie.

Saw my first fellow Insighter on the road this morning. 5:30am at a light and up beside me pulls an Insight of the same color. It was a crack up of a drag race as we both crawled away from the light trying for the best economy. Ahhh... new age drag racing.

AJ
 

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I agree, it will do just fine on hills, especially the freeway type where you can do a steady climb at pretty constant speed. Just drop into 3rd, or maybe 2nd if it's really steep (say I5 south over the Grapevine, if I recall my Southern California geography).

Where it sometimes gets a bit irritating is on winding mountain roads, where you're constantly changing speed. It handles them ok, but it just irks me to see it charging while accelerating uphill. (I live near Reno, so get plenty of both sorts of climbs.)
 

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Mountains? WHAT mountains?

We have driven our CVT extensively over many mountain passes (and yes, we took our CVT to Pike's Peak, and drove the little sucker to the 14,100 level at the very tippy-top). OK, OK, OK. If you floor it all the way up, the assist eventually depletes the IMA and eventually it goes away. But if you drive it like a normal person, ICE power is no problem, the battery assists if required, and life is peachy.

Like sno779 so aptly put it, "the Insight was designed for optimum mpg and not mph or climbing, but it does all three very well, but not all at the same time." It's like the old "you want it good, fast and cheap? Pick two and call me back..." joke... :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks...

Hey, I appreciate the feedback guys, thanks.

Feel free to continue adding your input. I hope to keep this post running a while to gather more facts and opinions...

P.S.: If I decide to purchase the Insight, I'll definitely choose the manual transmission.
 

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I drove my Insight cross-country and I agree with everyone else who has posted. I was driving to put miles on, so 80 MPH was my driving speed. Hit a long hill with that speed and you see how small that IMA battery is. That said, I drove in the Sierras in driving wind and rain and my Insight kept up it's speed in third, then second gear. It was peachy coming down into California for I topped off my battery in no time in third gear, coasting, letting the regen and enging drag keep me from gaining speed on the long descents.
 

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I have driven the Cajon pass several times in my Insight and there is not a problem. I have a 5 speed and you do have to down shift, but with that you can keep up with traffic without a problem and pass most any car you want.
 
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