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Thanks to this website I have bought the Insight. Took it home Tuesday and brought my daughter to horseback lessons 100 mile round trip-64.8 mpg. It included a BFH(big hill) up to the soaring airport (average was 74 before hill). Then on Wendesday I went to MA 700 mile round trip- 56 mpg. but traveling 65-75 with air on most of the time. I just got back from WV 1000 mile round trip with super big hills and - 55.8 mpg. The car now has over 2400 miles and it's the best thing I ever drove. I'm going back to the dealer on Thursday to look at a 5 speed. I'm going to give the cvt to the kids for college. Much difference in the two? What to expect?
Thanks again. (I still haven't seen another one on the road)
 

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With the 5 speed there is even more driver and car interaction because you want to keep it in lean burn (something the cvt doesn't have). The 5 speed is more fun and 10% to 20% more fuel efficient then the cvt.
Go for it!
 

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I noticed that even on the longest hill the battery charge didn't get below 30-40%. When it got that low the car seemed to charge the batterys more readily and aggressively. (My imagination?). Do you use up the battery pack more readily with a 5 speed because you are more in control? Does this have an effect on battery life? I know there are many times with the cvt that I wish I could use the assist more.
 

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congrats!

Congratulations, Rick!

Looks like you're enjoying the car!

While I have a 5-speed myself, here is a quick summary of what has been said about CVT and battery use:

The CVT will rev the engine higher on acceleration and uphill driving. That gives more gasoline power and uses less electric power, conserving battery charge. With the 5-speed, I can go up a steep hill in 5th, at just over 2000 rpm. Full electric assist will keep my speed up, but the battery will be empty or recalibrate when I get to the top. The CVT in the same situation would probably rev higher and use less battery charge.

Talking about recalibrations: They are a nuisance in many 5-speeds, but unheard-of in CVTs. Do a search on this forum and the yahoo groups to learn more.

In summary: the 5-speed allows you to use more electric power, but you pay for that with recalibrations.
 

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I test drove an auto but was never considering it at the time of my purchase, it was the only thing on the lot to drive so that's what I did. I enjoy the act of driving and have most of my life had smaller hi-peformance cars. Truth is most people with a car of any potential never push the cars past 4 or 5 tenths except maybe in srtaight line stop light gran prix. Such was my case, fast car that once a week would get loose and sliden' on my favorite s-bend off ramp. I mean that was it, once a week at best for a five second thrill (now don't even start on about what else that sounds like but, keep in mind have stupidly money gets spent for that also) Anyway the 5spd invloves the driver and you are required to participate if you want to get the most out of the vehicle. For me it is performance driving with a different mind set. Jeez, I never thought I'd be in the slow lane and liking it! You can of coures dive it any old way and still get better mileage and pollute less then almost anything else on the road with you but, if you pay attention you can can have fun and blow the doors off anything on the road with you in the arena if economy.

Be well, AJ
 

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The CVT is an impressive little car. While I'm sure it is a lot of fun to drive, I'm also sure that the 5 speed is even more fun to drive, if you like the additional power and control a manual transmission gives you.

You asked about the difference between CVT and 5-speed in regards of running out of battery charge. The CVT has a more gradual shift, revving the gas engine up more for more power from it and less boost from the battery. The 5 speed basically lets you use all that is there and then rapidly shifts its boost down through its four or so stages until you have no electric boost whatsoever.

Your natural response is to downshift to rev up the engine. Go down two gears (sometimes 3). Downshifting one gear is never enough on a hill. The engine has plenty of power when it is revved up. It needs the electric boost for the lower RPMs, so when there is no boost, you can't drive lower RPMs.

Note that this only happens in the more extreme East-coast mountain climbs, or when you drive with excessive speed up long hills into the wind or just accellerate like a maniac at every opportunity, or if you always declutch before hitting the brake. Regenerative braking only works if the clutch is engaged.

West coast mountains are a whole different matter. The battery on the Insight seems almost perfectly tuned to the Appalachian mountain range. If you have that much or less climbing to do and you drive reasonably, you should not typically have to deal with hitting the bottom of the charge in a 5-speed Insight.
 
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