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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would like opinions on why readers bought Insights and their experiences with the Insight. Living here in the Pacific Northwest, I am concerned with wind and rain and how the Insight performs. I do most of my driving on the freeway and was wondering about the big trucks and how they affect the Insight as they drive by. What about pick up and go? I really love the little car, but am concerned about whether it is practical; although the majority of the time it is just me commuting. The more I look at it, the more I like it. ... What about changing a flat tire? What has the reliability been? What is better, a stick or the automatic? Is Honda going to keep making the Insight now that they have the other hybrids? I plan to purchase a Hybrid in the next month or so and really would like to hear from owners of the Insight as it doesn't seem to get much advertising. Thanks for your input on a very important purchase. :D I also have read some reviews, some reviewers rate the Insight pretty low, however the consumer reviews seem to be higher, any insight on why that would be?
 

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I personally love the Insight, but I also see that the Insight is not for everyone. It is small compared to most other cars and that can be an issue for some, but it did get 4 stars in the gov crash testing showing that although small it is very sturdy! But when actually parked next to other cars it really isn't as small as it looks! There is just something about its design that makes it look a little smaller than it really is.

I have not driven a CVT Insight, but I love the manual. The manual can (and almost always does) get better mpg than the CVT auto. I have heard good things about the CVT, apparently the acceleration is butter smooth and CVT owners have done some raving about that. But you must reallize that to get up to the EPA mpg rating (or far far beyond it) you must drive the Insight in a very momentum and acceleration conscious way. Not that driving in such a way isn't fun, I personally have found that trying to get max mpg when driving the Insight is strangely addictive and suprisingly fun! (and I think most others on this forum would agree!)

I also feel that seeing how the Insight comes with a relatively small number of features, it is entertaining and rewarding to add custom features yourself. You can get cruise control systems, moon roofs, arm rests, upgrade your sound system, even add MIMA (which gives you manual control of the battery/motor assist). But adding features after the fact can be marginally more expensive than what you would pay for them as factory options, but you get to add them yourself so you can be sure they are what you want.

I think that it would help us help you decide if we knew whether you were planning on buying new or used from a value/option stand point. If you are planning on buying new than other hybrids might be a better option if you are concerned about seating space (the price difference b/w a new Insight and a new Civic hybrid is not much), while there are a whole other set of issues if you are planning on buying used. Although a good used Insight is usually the cheapest hybrid you can find!

Rain (and wet roads) can decrease your mpg (but not significantly unless you are going for hyper-mile stats 70mpg+), but even in a pounding rain the Insight will get the best mpg of any other car on the road! In my personal experience wind and "tail wash" from semi trucks on the highway is not that bad, actually not even as bad as I experience in my '94 4runner. I am not 100% sure on this, but I have heard that the Insight has the lowest coeffecient of drag of any car ever produced! And that fact will lessen the wind effect you feel from other cars/trucks on the road, although the Insight's very low weight will slightly increase the effect. So overall, there is not much difference one way or the other when compared to another similar or slightly larger vehicle.

Changing a flat tire is basically the same as changing a tire on any other car, except you have to remove the rear wheel covers which is NOT difficult, the Insight comes with a compact spare, jack and everything else you would need.

I think most non-consumer reviews are low because, in truth, the Insight doesn't really have many feautres. No cruise control, no leather seats, no higher trim package, no heated seats, etc. But I believe, like many other Insight owners, that the Insight is ALL about economy, low weight, small engine, HIGH MPG!!!

I have heard that the '06 model year will be the last for the Insight, I don't think they will be producing another 2-seat hatchback hybrid (at least not for a while). They are expecting the hybrid Civic to absorb any future "would be" Insight buyers.

So finally I would recommend that you really evaluate your needs, look at all the hybrids (Insight, Civic, Accord, Prius, Highlander? Escape? etc.) and their features. I personally don't think that a 2-seater is a bad option if you also have a 4+seat vehicle in the family as well. If like you said, it will usually just be you on the highway traversing your commute, then the Insight would probably be a good option.

Also, be sure to use the "search" option to find answers to any additional questions. We have covered just about every possible issue relating to the Insight on this forum!
 

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Hi, Sue,

I have a 2001 that I bought new, a manual transmission. I now have 157,000 miles on it. No problems. I mainly do highway driving in a state that has hilly terrain, wind, etc.

I knew that I was going to be in the car normally by myself. So size of the interior was not really an issue. However, I do occasionally have a couple of saddles and a golf bag or two in it.

I have had no problem with truck traffic. I think the low profile of the car has been a help.

My mileage has improved as I have learned how to drive it, but then again the higher mileage rating was, I found out, for city driving which accounts for less than 5% of the driving I do.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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Other than the Insight, the best hybrid would be the new Civic, although some would make a case for the Prius. It probably comes down to what you transport and whether you drive city or highway. Either one is more practical than the Insight. :roll:

Personally neither would have done it for me, because........... I don't need the extra seats and I really prefer a stick shift as I really like to feel as though I'm doing something other than steer. Yup, I feel like an old guy when I drive a four door. I suppose I'm in denial :wink: I find the drivers floor area is quite roomy on the Insight. The Insight often attracts interest, giving me a chance to promote hybrids. I like the way the insight handles, as those who are racing them would attest to. Mileage is really important to me and nothing else is capable of the outstanding results of the Insight. The likelyhood that the Insight will become a collectors item that appreciates in value doesn't hurt either.

The above reasons are good, but the best is the fact that the Insight is made of aluminum. If you have never had a favorite car rust out on you and had the experience of trying to save it with body work and rust treatments, then you probably won't understand why I like aluminum so much.

That said, the best car choice is the car that "does" it for you. :D
 

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"What about pick up and go?"

Better than most, but you do have to learn to drive it the way it wants to be driven. To pass on the freeway, for instance, you don't just step on the gas in 5th, you have to downshift to 3rd. But it's quite happy doing that: I dare say that if you weren't concerned about fuel economy, you could drive all day in 3rd :)
 

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Hi Sue, my apologies for responding so late in the game.

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Living here in the Pacific Northwest, I am concerned with wind and rain and how the Insight performs. I do most of my driving on the freeway and was wondering about the big trucks and how they affect the Insight as they drive by.
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Like with any car, sometimes trucks and SUVs passing in freestanding water with throw it up on the windshield. This has been a problem with every car I've owned and isn't any different with the Insight. The only areas particularly vulnerable to this are I-90 westbound just past the Rainier bus stops in the fast lane and by the lake in Snoqualmie pass. I cope with it by watching the mirrors under such conditions and staying out of the fast lane.

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What about pick up and go?
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I have a CVT, and with the "S" mode you can change the gear ratios with the transmission, so the engine will rev higher before upshifting and provide more power at the wheels.

Mind you, I hate automatic transmissions in general, but the "S" mode is a good compromise, and moves the car out of the way of trouble just fine.

The car's pickup never seemed anemic to me until I started motorcycling, but I understand that would be true even if I had a Corvette. :lol:

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What about changing a flat tire?
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The same as any other car. Some people have trouble buying replacement tires, but in Seattle we don't have that issue.

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What has the reliability been?
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My car, which used to live in Nevada, has presented no real trouble.

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What is better, a stick or the automatic?
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That depends on your freeway driving. If you're going across the 520 or through downtown Seattle or Everett on I-5, you might be happier with a CVT, since there are a lot of variable speeds. That said, manuals get better mileage, but the difference between in-city mpg and freeway mpg appears to be less in the CVT.

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Is Honda going to keep making the Insight now that they have the other hybrids?
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I vote yes. Every year since 2002 or thereabouts there are rumors about it being the last year. Five model years later, we still have Insights. IMHO it's like the Prelude or the CRX. It's not their biggest seller, but units still move just the same.

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I plan to purchase a Hybrid in the next month or so and really would like to hear from owners of the Insight as it doesn't seem to get much advertising.
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In my opinion, that's more a function of it being a two-seater than anything else. Del Sol's didn't get advertised much. Neither do BMW Z4s or Mazda Miatas. Most of the marketing dollars are directed towards two-income families for SUVs that cost upwards of $50k or more.

Incidentally, since the Insight is a hatchback, don't worry too much about cargo capacity. I've yet to buy anything at Home Depot that I couldn't bring home in the car, and it carries my fendered commute bicycle just fine.

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Thanks for your input on a very important purchase. I also have read some reviews, some reviewers rate the Insight pretty low,
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They beef about its size and lack of a back seat from what I've read. Seems silly since Insights are a little larger than CRXes and the size wouldn't have been remarkable twenty years ago.

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however the consumer reviews seem to be higher, any insight on why that would be?
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Recently I spent $30 on a tank of gas for the first time. Two weeks earlier, I'd bought a tank for my father's Mercedes two-door; it was $52. I buy fuel so infrequently sometimes I still forget which side the gas cap is on. Oil changes cost the same as any other car. Driving and parking is a lot easier.

Another factor to consider is that only the Insight and the Prius 2 are exempt from emissions testing in Washington. The Civic still needs to get tested and pay the fees.
 

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Oh, and on purchasing pre-owned...

I carefully plotted my car purchase. The Insight turned up on the lot and I let it sit there for at least two weeks (granted, I was gambling on noone else buying it). Dealers don't like to keep pre-owned inventory on the lot very long, the ROI really reduces after a couple of weeks. Also, thanks to new laws about price publishing, I was able to Carfax the vehicle prior to ever walking into the dealership, as well as my own as a trade-in.

Even though my Insight was the only pre-owned one for miles around and Priuses were still underproduced, I didn't walk into the dealership until I had a maximum price in mind and was fully prepared to happily come home with my Celica. In fact, I was so certain it wasn't going to happen I didn't even bother to clean my car out.
 

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Sue in Seattle said:
I also have read some reviews, some reviewers rate the Insight pretty low, however the consumer reviews seem to be higher, any insight on why that would be?
It might be because most reviewers are idiots :twisted: I'm sure most reviewers get in the car and drive a few miles, get lower mileage than advertised, don't think the car has any zip, and give it a bad review. I think Consumer Reports got about 55MPG when they tested it. They obviosly didn't have a clue :? They fail to realize you don't get in the Insight and drive it like any other car. I love this car and wouldn't trade it for anything else on the road right now :!: I have a manual, and you'll get better mileage with a stick. I have 117,000 miles and no problems. Trucks go by me with little effect on the car. I think my Civic got blown around more than my Insight. As far as being practical, we don't have kids, and it is the car we use whenever we go anywhere. We packed it up and drove to Yellowstone, Colorado, Vegas, the Grand Canyon and back. Only got 61MPG though since I was mostly doing 75 to 80MPH :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I've been calling around to find Insights and they are pretty scarce. It's nice to be able to get owner's opinions because it seems like the sales people don't get enough of the cars on the lot to become real knowledgeable. Since I will still have another vehicle to carry more than one other passenger, this seems like it would be the ideal commute car ... then I won't have to carry a bunch of other people around. Thanks for all of the input! :) :lol:
 

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"...eems like the sales people don't get enough of the cars on the lot to become real knowledgeable."

Keep in mind that sales people don't have to know much about cars. They know about how to sell cars to people, which often includes telling the buyer what s/he wants to hear, regardless of whether that has any relation whatsoever to objective fact :)
 

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Another thing you might want to consider doing before buying is to see if you can find a knowledgable dealer in your area who you will trust to do work on the Insight. As witnessed by many posts on this site, there are a large number of dealerships who have almost no maintenace experience with Insights.
 

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...looks like I missed the "I bought a Red Insight" post, but here is my post anyway....

Hello,

I purchased my used manual 2001 Insight last April. At the time I could not find one I wanted locally for a decent price so I found one in Monterey, CA for a good price and drove it back up to Renton. This road trip allowed the car to train me up pretty quick and I learned how to anticipate hills and valleys to maximize MPG and battery use. Lots of good terrain between CA and WA to get you thinking about how to drive this unique vehicle.

For me, the Insight is a commuter car for getting to work and back. Driving the backroads from Renton to Bellevue, Renton to Seattle, and now Fife to Seattle I have been able to get 53 MPG from Renton and 60 to 63 MPG from Fife. Since the Renton commutes involved lots of stop lights and hills, I was pretty happy with 53 MPG. Moving to Fife has bumped the average up quite a bit since the stop and go is now slow and go at worst.

Personally I love the driving experience of the car. If you want to go fast, you simply shift later. This car can climb a mountain pass at 70 or 80 MPH easily, just do not expect 50 or 60 MPG since you will be in 3rd or 4th gear. I test drove a CVT before flying down to CA to pick up my manual and the CVT was really nice, but I wanted the ability to get better MPG if I wanted to try for it and felt the CVT would limit my MPG too much.

I do not feel like trucks or SUVs are a problem when passing or being passed. Ruts in the road seem to grab you and wiggle ya around a bit, but nothing to get concerned over and over time you learn to drive around the road features that bug you. Road noise could get to you if that bugs you really bad, but that can be fixed.

If my Insight were totalled tomorrow, I would by another one to replace it. There is not another affordable car out there that can offer the performance this car has delivered for me in the past year and a half. For the money I spent on it, I feel like I am stealing from the previous owner and he from Honda before that. This is a truly exotic car offered at economy car prices. Is there another aluminum car out there for double the price even? I hope Honda keeps showing off the Insight for many years to come so I am can buy another one if this one ever gives out.

Good luck in your research and go test drive one or two to see how fun the Insight is.
 

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bpapa9013 said:
It is small compared to most other cars and that can be an issue for some, but it did get 4 stars in the gov crash testing showing that although small it is very sturdy!
It only got this for the front end crash test. Side and rear is another story. It's not built like a truck but it isn't bad for a small car.
 

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jsanford said:
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What about changing a flat tire?
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The same as any other car. Some people have trouble buying replacement tires, but in Seattle we don't have that issue.
compared to the other cars i've changed flats on, the insight *is* more of a hassle. i would venture to say that if someone mentions only the wheel skirts as an obstacle in changing a flat on the insight, they haven't had a flat yet <G>. the donut spare is underneath the black fibrous liner of the "trunk". you have to first unvelcro the interior carpeting from the body ( in my case, the right hand side velcro strip came unglued from the body and rode along with the inverse part of the velcro... ) and then get the trunk liner out. it seems pretty resilient to bending/smooshing, but it is not easy to get out ( it is not very difficult either, but a tad cumbersome ). maybe there's a trick i just don't know...

anyway, after that you take out the donut spare, which is a hideous yellow monstrosity ( i think i've seen subarus with yellow spares too ). personally, i would've *gladly* paid an extra $500 for the car if it had a full-size..

after you actually achieve access to the spare, the rest is like any other car.

be tender with the area around the snap on the pleather toolkit too; i ripped mine a bit.

all told, it's probably not *much* worse than dealing with changing a spare on a truck ( lowering the spare down ), but imo, it is marginally worse. given the frequency of having to deal with this tho, i don't find it detracts from my enjoyment of the insight at all.
 

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I've not had to use the spare in three years, but I was impressed that the rim was aluminum, not steel. It is the same as the other rims except for the color, so if you wanted to you could just have another standard tire mounted on it and repaint it with clear coat. (This would add only a little weight to the car, but it would be heavier getting it out.) still if you can't get the spare out you probably will have trouble getting the flat back in. Time for the cell phone. :lol:

Getting the "skirts" off is no big deal but you probably want to familiarise yourself with the location of the fasteners. If they have been on there for a while they will probably be covered in dirt. They should be clean to reclose properly. :idea: If you can not clean them on site, I'd suggest to keep the skirt off until you have a chance to clean the area properly. ( if you loose a skirt they are expensive to replace.)
 

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Resist said:
bpapa9013 said:
It is small compared to most other cars and that can be an issue for some, but it did get 4 stars in the gov crash testing showing that although small it is very sturdy!
It only got this for the front end crash test. Side and rear is another story. It's not built like a truck but it isn't bad for a small car.
Not sure where you got your info from, but I see 4 stars for front and both sides, with no data for the rear passenger, since there isn't one. I'm not sure there is a "rear crash test". But feel free to post your results. Here are mine:
http://www.automotive.com/2005/12/honda/insight/safety/
 
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