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Discussion Starter #1
After a lot of reading here, I've come to believe that the great fuel economy, engineering and ecological factors really seem to be guilt-free excuses for buying a car we mostly bought because it is so fun to drive.

SUV drivers are basically driving around in mobile living rooms. They are insulated from the driving experience by every means engineers can devise.

Meanwhile, we are sitting close to the road, made all the more aware of the subtleties of accelleration and braking with mpg and electric charge/boost guages and a tachometer. My Civic, also a 5-speed, does not have a tachometer. The Insight has one because it is one more thing to engage you in the experience of driving. It's like driving a vintage British sports car, only quieter and you don't have to fix it so much.

The human/car interface in the Insight is even more impressive than the rest of the engineering. Just replace the stock speakers and maybe the radio and everybody passionately loves the car. I don't have to do that because instead of listening to the radio, I listen to my wife read our current shared book... It's one of the ways being married saves me money. 8)
 

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Not necessarily true in my case. :) I bought my Insight because:

-reliable
-cheap to operate
-better for the environment
-neat

The "neato" factor is far down on the list. Basically, I wanted a good daily driver. While I am not saying that the Insight is not fun to drive (it is!), I can't agree with the idea that it's an engaging experience any more then any other limited production car. If I want to be aware of the road and the details of driving, I step into my RX-7 turbo. Just doesn't compare.
 

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I bought mine because our daily drive is 70 miles round trip and straight and flat. It just made sense. We got rid of a GREAT car- Acura CL Type S, but the saving per month on fuel and car payments made financial sense.
 

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I have to admit that it was the "neat" factor that first caught my attention, followed by the fuel economy. However, it was definitely the "fun to drive" that sold the car in my case.

I don't believe in love at first sight when it comes to people, but I'm a believer with test drives! :D

In a bizarre way, the Insight is more like a pet than a car - seems so eager to please.
 

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Agreed WillM, I find the ergonomics and interactivity of the car to be very pleasing; most other cars (like rental cars) annoy me with their dash readouts, or physical levers etc on their A/C or other panels.
 

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Physical levers are good! :) Try hitting a button on the track. While I certainly have no beefs with the Insights controls, I do much prefer something I can grab on to. Also, on the subject of instrumentation, it would be very nice to have an oil pressure gauge, and perhaps some actual numerical readouts for RPM, temp, etc. And that shifter....something has to be done about the feel of the shifter.

But these are all minor complaints, and certainly don't detract from the fact that the Insight is a fun car.
 

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I replaced my shifter handle with a ball. It goes down a lot more on the rod and kinda shortens the throw. Also it has a little more weight to it, which kind of just makes it feel better. It's a lot more natural for me to put my hand on top of it than to grab a handle. Overall, a very worth wile $35 spent.
 

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My Beloved wanted it because it LOOKED neat. As we posted on another area ("what type of people drive Insights?"), unlike many of you, my wife (highly intelligent in many areas, cars not being one of them) fell in love with the LOOK of the car first, having seen a silver one on the highway right after New Year's Day 2002, and having no clue as to the technological prowess contained therein. She came home and said "I saw my next car" and described the car... a "Honda Hybrid" (as in "Hybrid" being the model name). I subscribe to many technical and car magazines, so I (kind-of) knew what she was talking about, and described in detail what we would be getting if her initial impressions resulted in our acquiring a new toy. We've been married 17 years, known each other for 10 years longer, no kids (2 seats OK), consider ourselves adventurous, fun-loving, and looooove to travel (have also a Saturn SW2 and a Dodge conversion van [the "Big *** Van"], which I readily admit "counts" as another SUV). The BAV doesn't see a lot of miles (I work from a home office mostly) but it's ideal for hauling me, my Beloved, and our 4 other closets friends or clients around. It's 15 mpg-16mpg, but I like to say, it now gets 30 mpg when I average the BAV and the Insight :wink: ... That very weekend, we went shopping, saw a Silver 2001 CVT in our dealer's lot, drove it, looooved it (hey, opal), and she wanted it more than ever after learning of the uniqueness of the car. They were having a huge sale ($5000 discount!), the salesperson knew next to nothing about the vehicle (I educated HIM on the car), and the knowledge I had of the vehicle convinced me this was a cool deal. I cut him a check for $16999 + TTL, plus (yes I know but hey, it's new technology and all that, and my peace of mind is worth the few extra bucks) an extended 100K/7 yr warranty, with no deductibles.

From the beginning, we knew this car was capable of outstanding mileage and performance. But as my Beloved, as explained above, has little patience with things mechanical, and I know better than to try to challenge her many charms, we knew the car would be driven as a normal car. No concern for extra-special LMPG, no extraordinary attempts to extend MPG in ordinary driving. We would just drive it as though it was a Civic.

As our "cool" car, my Beloved does not use the Insight as much as the SW2 (which has virtually no trade-in value, so we're running it into the ground on her 40-mile daily commute, until it dies... but as reliable as it has been, this may be a long ways off). Compelling reasons: The parking situation for my beloved is hinky (lots of door dings and scrapes on normal cars, no real problem outside of cosmetic damage on the SW2 with the "plastic" sides), the mileage is pretty good (she manages 30-35 mpg), and every mile she puts on the SW2 is a mile she doesn't put on the Insight. So I've encouraged her to stick with the SW2 as much as possible. The Insight remains our neatest toy, the best travel car, the coolest kid magnet (and adult magnet too) in all our social interactions, and since we have the luxury of not having to drive it daily, we hope to maintain it in "like new" condition longer than our other vehicles. Plus (biggest reason): I get to drive it more that way! Heee hee hee hee... Aside to Will M: Yes, the fun factor does remind me of both my old (lamented) unreliable MGB/GT and my old and VERY unreliable (sooooo glad it's gone for twenty years now) Sprite... but without the gamble factor, it's grins every time...
 

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Will M- I bought my Insight as I have always been drawn to unusual cars.I have owned an AC Aceca that I had to send to England for parts as I never saw another one on the road, a Lotus Europa the first year they came out, an NSU RO80 (years ahead of it's time). My Insight was used by the local Honda dealer as a promotional vehicle and had advertising plastered all over it! I just had to rescue it. No regrets, it is fun to drive and the great gas milage is just a bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I almost bought a used Lotus Europa as my first car, around 1970, but while I sat in it (or more accurately, lay myself into it), I became concerned that other cars might run over me. I considered putting flags on it, like on recumbant bicycles. It was a tube-framed, high-speed go-cart with a fiberglass body. Being a teenager, I wanted the option of more than one other person in the car, and room for at least one bag of groceries.

I then almost bought a used Porsche 914, but the dealer said that turning on the heater brought exhaust fumes into the car and they were trying to figure out why. I noticed that the battery platform was broken and the battery was tilted to about 30 degrees off level and under that there were rust holes in the heater box around the exhaust manifold. The expensive Porsche transaxle was right under that, so I decided not to buy the car.

I got 1967 Pontiac Tempest with about 90,000 miles on it instead. V-8 with a 2 speed automatic transmission. Reliable and boring with really bad gas mileage.

I got a first year (1974) Volkswagen Rabbit (one of the first front-wheel-drive, McPherson Strut hatchback cars -- a design I still love) with serious mechanical design flaws: Valves burned up because the valve guides were poorly aligned, so I had to replace the cylinder head (and have the scars on my knuckles to prove it). I went through five clutches because they were glued together by transmission fluids through leaky seals it took five years for Volkswagen to identify (they kept replacing the wrong seals). Brakes failed twice from sudden ruptured brake lines from corrosion because the floorboards filled with water when it rained. Ultimately, the floor literally fell off. The junk yard charitably gave me $75 for it. If reincarnation exists, I will try to carry forth to my remaining lives a hatred for Volkswagens.

Being poor and adventurous, I got a new 1983 500cc Yamaha Virago in 1985. (It apparently sat in a warehouse for two years.) I loved it, except when it snowed. Right after a snowstorm during my second winter on the bike, I bought a car.

I got a first year (1987) Subaru Justy. At 1600 pounds with a 1200cc three cylinder engine with no hybrid boost, it was lighter than the Insight, but only got about 33mpg. Remarkable oversteering brought new meaning to the term "panic braking", and my posture suffered because it was built for people shorter than me. I drove it 100,000 miles, then my closest friend's old Toyota died and she couldn't afford to replace it, so I sold her the Subaru, which lasted another 100,000 miles before it died.

I got a 1992 Honda Civic. It's the first car I've ever loved. I mean really loved. I've hauled everything I own in it (multiple loads, of course), including an impressive, oak office desk with drawers on one side and a fold-out typewriter desk on the other -- with the hatch closed. It gets 40mpg and has gone 210,000 miles without a serious mechanical problem. I've replaced the distributor when the bearing got really noisy, and an oil seal blew out once. That's it. Otherwise, it has never burned any oil, never refused to start (except when I leave the lights on) and generally been a jewel of a car. I put a hitch on it and bought a trailer for it, so it acts as my pickup truck and second car, because in 2000, I bought an Insight.

The Insight was the SECOND car I've ever loved, for all the reasons you guys uniquely appreciate. Within a week of the 45,000 mile maintenance, that car sacrificed itself in order to defend my wife from an assaulting Toyota Pathfinder. Whether or not it was actually damaged enough to total it is a moot point, since some gear-happy rescue workers destroyed it with the Jaws of Life.

Today, my 2003 Insight is supposed to be rolling off the assembly line and loaded onto a ship. The dealer says it should take 2-3 weeks. I'm told on this list that I should probably expect it to take 4 weeks. Yesterday, I bought a pair of Pioneer GS-G1647 speakers (that I learned about on this list) and a Blauplunct "New Orleans" radio/Mini-Disk player. I prefer carrying minidisks, which fit in a shirt pocket, rather than CDs, and the unit is half price at Crutchfield, anticipating a newer model. I know the speakers fit. I'm less certain about the radio, but that will go to a different thread.

I look forward with delicious anticipation to the delivery of my new, red, 5-speed Insight with air conditioning. I just want it to be as good as the old, silver 5-speed without air, except that it will be red, with air. And newer.
 

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Ro 80

Jerry said:
I want to hear more about that one, too!

I almost bought a Ro80 many years ago when I was still in Berlin, Germany. I loved the design of the car! Everything was way ahead of it's time! (not just the rotary engine)

Do you still have yours?
 
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