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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2001 Insight in great shape, which I love. It has about 135K on it, and still running great.

BUT.

I am about to move to Connecticut. Here in Michigan I live close enough to work that I can usually just walk when there are heaps of snow. But each year it seems like the snow gets bigger and my car gets smaller. Nearly every year I have to replace the bottom plates because I get something in a snow drift stuck and bend them.

I will probably have at least a 20 minute commute to new job--can't afford to live closer.

I am considering selling "Jerry Lee" (she shakes, rattles and rolls) and getting a Prius, which at least will have more snow clearance (and weight).
But...it's my baby!

Advice? I can't afford two cars, and won't accept anything that gets less than 50mpg.
 

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Depends, where in CT?? Coastal CT usually gets a lot less snow than inland CT. Also, in really heavy storms traffic gets tangled up, so may be a good idea to stay home rather than try to get to work and sit in a traffic jam.

Along the southern shore of CT from Old Saybrook westwards to NYC, there's commuter rail as a backup option. Also a couple of branch lines running north, one from Stamford and one from Norwalk I think. If you are in these parts of CT, maybe get a place within walking distance of a station or use commuter parking at the station. Of course sometimes in heavy storms the trains get stuck too!!
 

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The underbody panels getting torn off in snow seems to be a really common problem. It happened to me just a few months after I bought my car in late 2007.

Would be worth fixing them so it can't happen. Isn't there someone that has replaced the all of them with aluminum? That would be cool.
 

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Hi , The insight is difficult as a single car, I still keep my pre-insight car which is to be used when the insight cannot go (in unplowed snow) ....
This winter I used it for 1 day and my heart still hurts as it gets 20mpg only....

For the moment there is no car that is guaranteed to get 50mpg on average other than the Insight 1...

as you see from the below the bulk of insight 2 get 40-50 mpg and 50 is a small percentage, as it includes insight 1,

Browse All Honda Insights | Fuelly

As you see the bulk of the priis is the same so your chances of a 50+ prius are very slim....

http://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/prius

I would go with a KIA soul which combines low price(~13k-14k new) with close to SUV profile and good gas mileage ~27 mpg

Browse All Kia Souls | Fuelly

the 10k difference in the price is worth ~ 2860 gallons of gas at today prices, which would give you 77k free miles to drive.

to make it even with a prius that gets 54mpg (on fuelly there are 8 that can do 54 mpg - out of 530 total) it will take 154k miles ....

So the KIA does not look like a such bad deal for me after all....

Anyway if you decide to get rid of Jerry Lee, please consider me as a buyer, (my wife will enjoy a CVT very much...)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Connecticut snow :(

I'll be at Storrs, so no trains, lots of secondary roads, alas. I thought about getting a second beater just for winter, but the insurance on two vehicles would be killer.

My friends with Prii get >50 mpg--and they are hauling kids and dogs, not hypermileing. So I'm eyeballing Toyota. Being able to transport a 50 gallon aquarium *easily* would also be a bonus. (When I drive with my snake, it's safest for everyone that she be...contained.)

Anyway, I knew folks here would have an opinion about what I should do :)

Mostly I'm considering timing--at some point gas will go over $4, and suddenly everyone will want an Insight or some other hybrid. And prices will go up--both on my older car and the hypothetical next car that I'll need to buy. I'm wondering if there will be some sort of sweet spot where I should sell/buy. And, of course, if I will recognize it when it happens!

If I do decide to sell her, you guys will get first crack at her. I'd want to keep it in the family.
 

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Secondary roads in that area can be nasty. I have a friend who commutes to Storrs from Dayville, and she uses a 4WD Toyota pickup most of the time and a motorcycle in nice weather.

My 2 cents: when gas prices shoot up, prices of 4WD's drop. So wait until gas skyrockets and then grab a cheap one to use as a winter beater/snake hauler. Get minimum insurance on it (no collision or comprehensive), bet it's cheaper than you think.

Because you may want a beater anyway if you get a Prius. You may not want to risk it on snowy roads, and don't forget they're steel and salt will rust them.
 

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Don't sell.
You could easily remove your underbody spoilers at the beginning of the snow season, when mileage suffers anyway.
Or you could reinforce the leading edge of the spoiler and rivet it to the bumper cover.
Keep the car.
 

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On the topic of the Prius getting 50mpg without trying I would seriously question that. I know many people with Prius's and they aren't seeing 50mpg without trying. I think if you go and look at some of the reviews that have been done you will find the figure of 44-45 mpg is closer to real MPG for the average driver who doesn't hypermile. Here is an article comparing a Prius and VW TDI. Both great MPG getters if your trying, but if your careless or inattentive the mileage is just OK. Both the Prius and the TDI are capable of getting 50mpg plus if your trying very easily.

New VW Jetta Diesel Tops Prius in Fuel-Economy Marathon Test - Popular Mechanics

Some of the other suggestions here to look at inexpensive cars that get decent fuel economy might not be bad, but I like the comment about just removing the panels for the winter season better if you expect your going to be driving on roads that haven't been plowed. If you really are looking for the space then of course then you will need to look elsewhere.

I don't know if I could part with the Insight so I know this must be a conflicting feeling. We also have a VW TDI and love it. Again if not for the diesel and getting great fuel economy I don't think I would own the VW, but that TDI is wonderful. Awesome fuel economy is addicting and there is no going back once you are hooked.

Longsnowsm
 

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If you look at the data on Fuelly, of the 500+ people on there, most get between 43 and 48MPG. Not very spectacular number wise, but when you realize what you can do with a Prius.. it's really not that bad. I also second a TDI if you don't want a "boring" Prius. They get amazing fuel economy for how much power they have and how.. normal (read: fast) you can drive.

Browse All Toyota Priuses | Fuelly

It really just depends on what you need. If you can get by on the Insight, it's paid off, etc.. keep it, IMO. If gas really does go up, you'll thank yourself.

I also believe that these cars will be collectors cars some day. My Dad is always constantly talking about (what are now) awesome cars that he used to have that he wishes he would have kept. I don't plan on making the same mistake. ;) I plan on keeping the two Insights we have forever. I hope to have the first million mile Insight.. lol.
 

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Having just weathered a Maine winter with serious snow, running 80 miles round trip, I can say don't sell. If the snow is unplowed enough to hit your underbody you shouldn't be on the road..... the critical variable is how soon and how well plowed are the roads that you run on. My personal solution is the beater 4 wd truck with a snowplow on it, which I only had to use for the run maybe 4 times.

And the insight is vast amounts of fun on the secondary roads if you accept only 50 mpg and make like a sports car.
 
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