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Discussion Starter #1
I have the opportunity to purchase a used Honda Insight. Here's the important information:

2001 Red Honda Insight
28,089 miles
Purchased in June 2001 in Las Vegas for personal use
Sold at auction in Las Vegas in Sept 2003; was described as "former fleet vehicle"
No maintenance records available
Has sat on dealer lot since October 2003
No noticeable wear, no obvious signs of accident (mis-aligned doorframes, etc.)
Drives very well, auto-stop works great in 40+ degree temps as far as I can tell
Considerable butt-wear and wear on floor mats inside
No CD, just tape
5-speed
Lifetime MPG reading shows 48.7... I guess test drivers don't know how to drive it, and didn't drive it long :) On my test drive on the highway, I was pulling 54 pretty consistently within sixteen miles (yeah, I drove it a long time for a test drive, wanted to see if i was really all that -- and I think it is. Amazingly powerful for a 3-banger, particularly compared to a Geo Metro).

Engine idles very quietly, smooth ride, tight handling, but tires definitely underinflated. I'm not sure if they are underinflated because the dealership is completely uneducated about the car they have on their hands, or if they are underinflated to reduce noise.

$11,999 (not including taxes, tags, title, freight, etc.)

I inspected the car, sighted down the sides, hood, and rear to ensure it had never been in an accident. It has a few small chips symptomatic of a vehicle driven bra-less in the desert. Passenger rear wheel cover is also slightly out of alignment with the side panel. It looks really, really good. I mean, like brand-new good on the outside :)

NADA shows the list price about a thousand dollars higher. Kelly Blue Book lists retail as much higher (over $13K), with person-to-person sale at $11,500. However, in "feeling me out", trying to convince me to purchase the vehicle the day I test drove it, the sales manager wrote down "$7,999" and asked me if I'd drive it away that day for that price. I said "no" because I'm in a job transition right now and we never make big purchasing decisions while I'm unemployed :) However, if one of these interviews pans out, I'll have a new job starting soon now...

I guess what I'm wondering is, is $12K a good deal for the vehicle in "good" condition? Given the scratches, large smudge on the front bumper, and wear in the cockpit, I don't think it's "excellent". But I really, really want a Honda Insight. I've wanted one for four years.

Also, the insurance company quoted me $840 a year for insurance on the thing (gack, cough, sputter... compare this vs. around $500-600 a year for similar year & mileage subcompacts). And there don't seem to be any Honda dealers in the area that are competent working on Insights... heck, only one even carries them in stock, and they admit they know little about them (tiny, tiny dealership). Is an Insight going to be a royal pain in the neck to keep maintained and in good shape here in rural Utah by a computer geek like me?

I'm no mechanic, but I plan on taking extremely good care of my Insight, and forums/sites like this one have really, really helped me understand what I'm getting into if I get one. I find myself really wondering if the joy of driving such an efficient, fun, sporty, unique vehicle is worth the hassle of repairs for a rare vehicle, massive expense of insurance, and a commuter car that simply can't carry a substantial portion of my family of six around in an emergency.

I did the math, and for every 10 mpg difference in vehicles, for the amount I'm driving, I'll save about $250 a year in gas. Subtract about $200 of the total in additional full-coverage insurance cost vs, for instance, a Civic HX (much lower insurance cost for me). It's kind of a wash, really, as to which is cheaper to run long-term, with points going to the Civic because it's cheaper to fix.

I guess what I really want is excellent gas mileage, a car that doesn't require a lot of maintenance, a little power to get out of tight spots, to help improve air quality in smoggy Salt Lake City, and to score a few geek points with a little "ooh" and "aah"-factor rather than "huh, another Focus/Echo/Civic". What are your thoughts on the risk & expense of an Insight? Is it worth it to you, now that you've owned yours a while?

Pardon my constipated musings. Maybe in a few days I'll be in the happy, but small, throng of Insight owners, or maybe another geek in town is going to pick this one up before I land that job...

--
Matthew
 
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Hi Redgiki:

___I don’t quite understand your questioning? They offered it to you for $7,999 and you want to purchase it later for $12,000?

___From the limited description, it is not in “excellent” condition but a “Clean” rating sounds about right … What does butt wear really mean? In an automobile with less then 30,000 miles, the seats should be practically pristine. The wear you described seems a bit suspicious to me? Did you run a CarFax on it?

___This may help as I have been tracking used Insight pricing over the last few months myself … These are for a 5-speed although I don’t know what you were driving?

2001 Honda Insight 5-speed w/ 30,000 miles:

***********************************************************************************
Edmunds TIV (Clean):_$ 9,482____Private Party (Clean):$10,980_____Dealer Retail (Clean):$12,420


KBB TIV (Good):______$10,190___Private Party (Good):$11,270____________Dealer Retail:$13,230


Black Book TIV (Clean):$ 9,980________________________________Dealer Retail (Clean):$12,325
***********************************************************************************

___Paying “Used Retail” for an Insight is about as close to burning ones money as I can imagine so be careful out there.

___If the seat wear you described was a bit exaggerated; I wouldn’t mind owning the car myself!

___As for its smog reducing qualities, if it’s a 5-speed, it’s no cleaner then a brand new ULEV rated Corolla or Civic and it’s definitely not as clean as a PZEV anything. If it’s a CVT, it’s a SULEV … CO2 wise; it will beat everything out there if it is a 5-speed in particular.

___A small and final tip … Read up on some of “Rick’s” past used Insight purchase posts. You will find them very informative as far as a Used Insight purchase is concerned.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:132ay3x1][email protected][/email:132ay3x1]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
$7,999 vs. $11,999

No, I think the sales guy was toying with me about the $7,999 price, basically feeling me out to find out if I'd budge on my "I'm not buying today" stance.

However, another part of me thinks that, if he put that number down on paper in front of me, that means that he couldn't have totally been yanking my chain.

And from what I've read now on the honda-insight archives on yahoogroups, with an average trade-in value of somewhere between $5K and $7K on this model with similar mileage... guess $7999 may not be too far off! I think I'll know what to push for if I decide to buy it.

Thanks for the "used retail" advice... it really seems like used Insights hold their value like a sieve holds water. If you're into one, it seems you're probably into one for the life of the vehicle.

"Butt wear" is that it looks like someone with a wide butt and velcro flaps on their pants or coat sat in the driver's seat frequently... it's "fuzzy" if you know what I mean. It just looks more worn compared to the passenger's seat, and the floor mats show a few small stains and look more worn than the passenger side. Carfax came up clean on this, but it seems odd to me that the vehicle would have one reported owner, for private use, then show up at an auction two years later listed as a fleet vehicle.

It's a five-speed manual. I had no idea the new Corrollas were just as clean! It's kind of irrelevant anyway... in rural Tooele county, we have annual safety inspections, but no emissions inspection.

Thanks for the tip on looking for "Rick's" posts. I had run across a mention of some other "used insight purchasing tips" stuff, but I must be searching for the wrong keywords. I've spent the last three days (hey, I'm unemployed, I have a little spare time!) just surfing all the posts here, but didn't find those specific mentions. Back to hunting...

So, to recap: $7999 for this car == good price. $11,999 == pissing money away. About right?
 
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Hi Redgiki:

___If you decide not to purchase that Insight, would you mind taking some digital pics of the problem areas and passing them and the VIN back to me? I might be interested given I am in the hunt for my own Insight right now as well.

___What’s a 2,850 mile round trip between friends anyway? If I remember correctly, there is some great skiing out there as well, right ;)

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:jaxwv7by][email protected][/email:jaxwv7by]
 

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The "butt wear" is probably typical. I bought a used 2002 Insight with about 12K miles on it a couple of months ago, and the driver's seat shows noticeable wear in the "wallet" location. I think it's because the seat fabric is lightweight and pretty vulnerable. I've been planning to post a question asking if anyone knows of custom-fit seat covers, because I suspect I'll want them in another year or two.

I also had some carpet wear, but I bought rubber heavy-duty mats at WalMart that are almost a perfect color and size match. I like them better, especially in winter in New England.

The mis-aligned rear wheel skirt is probably no big deal -- there are a number of tabs that have to be lined up perfectly before you screw in the bolt that holds it in place; if one isn't quite in its hole, you see a slight misalignment of the skirt. My passenger-side skirt is in that state today, but I broke my left shoulder just before I took delivery of the car, and I haven't been strong enough to shove the tab back where it belongs. I should probably try again this weekend, now that I'm pretty much recovered.

Good luck!

MF
 

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I would have taken the $7,999 deal - I paid about $1K more for my '00 5-spd, and thought I was getting a bargain :)

Resale values I think depend a great deal on where you are. Areas with a lot of technical & environmental types have a lot more potential buyers than Las Vegas - which, BTW, was where I bought mine.

Insurance will depend on what sort you carry. If (like me) you just carry liability, it will cost about the same as any other similiar-sized car. Mine is about $25/year less than what I was paying on my CRX. Collision is steep because of the Insight's aluminum body. Not many shops have experience working with it, apparently, so cars wind up getting totalled from comparatively minor damage.
 
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Hi James:

___Have you been happy with your Insight purchase? Has it achieved the mileage, performance, and utility that you had expected given it was used? Picking up an Insight for $9K w/ as few miles a while ago was darn good deal if you ask me!

___I am still looking …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:r270ii63][email protected][/email:r270ii63]
 

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We'll if anyone knows where i could find an insight in citrus yellow for sale let me know i need one!
I will go anywhere to get it, They are hard to find.
 

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You just missed one on eBay in Colorado with a buy it now of $8,500. It had only 36,000 miles on it. Try autotrader.com, there are a few around for sale and they are hard to sell usually because of the color. You might be able to find a good deal on one.
 

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"___Have you been happy with your Insight purchase?"

Very. I haven't had this much fun with a car since my Austin-Healey Sprite.

"Has it achieved the mileage, performance, and utility that you had expected given it was used?"

In general it's done better than I thought. I'd expected 65-70 mpg, but until it got cold was getting about 73. I'd also expected a little less performance than I get, though I certainly wouldn't mind more :)

As for the used thing, I don't think I'd ever buy a car new - though I might make an exception if Honda does build the IMAS. In fact, the Insight was a newer used car (00 bought in 03) than I would usually consider buying. Driving a new car off the dealer's lot seems too much like tossing a fistful of hundred-dollar bills out the window. Even though these days I could afford to do that, I spent too much time being dirt-poor to ever feel comfortable about it - and if it doesn't make me feel good, why should I?
 
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Hi James:

___Thank you for the reply and the Insight into your Insight experience ;) I am sold as well … Now if I can only find one for a decent price myself?

___Redgiki, any news yet? I found a one way Amtrak ticket to Portland for just $26.00 and can Greyhound or rent a car from there back to the Salt Lake or the Las Vegas area …

___Thanks to the both of you …

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:ubn7eytx][email protected][/email:ubn7eytx]
 
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Hi All:

___Just one tip as far as what to look for thanks to Rick … One of the easy items to spot can be shown in this frontal pic of an Insight currently being auctioned and shown here. The CarFax lists 8 items although I do not know what they are. In any case, this isn’t an Insight you would want to bid up or have in your possession more then likely …



___Have you figured out what the problem is yet?

___Look for the missing Honda emblem. It appears to have been left off after an accident repair. I haven’t spoken to the lister yet but I can just imagine the glowing history about this car given he didn’t mention the damage repair in the auction listing itself …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:2dn2n6kw][email protected][/email:2dn2n6kw]
 

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And it might be the photo, but it looks Pink too me!
 

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I agree that the shade of red is a little off from the factory version. Makes me wonder if it will peel after a year or so.
 

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I noticed that, hehe, good you are learning well. If you look at the picture under the hood they do not show the under side of the hood at all. The guy either just didn't think it was relevant or knew the stuff was missing so he didn't take a picture of it. From what I see there it looks like there are no vin tags on the front fenders either. Likely it was in a fairly light front end hit because the radiator support still has the AC sticker on it, but it was probably enough of a hit to get the front bumper, hood and fenders. I've seen these things get hit, it usually takes all of that with it in even a light tap.

Ironically as of this morning the item is invalid. I have had experience with this, if you list something as clear title and it is salvaged they check and if there is a conflict they will remove the auction. I listed a Jaguar for a friend once that had a clear title in his hand to the car, but upon doing a carfax... well yikes! So it makes me wounder if it even may have a washed title.

And as far as the paint.. ehh could be the exposure of the picture, but it does look a bit off. The worst one is Monte Carlo Blue pearl though. It is really really hard to match just right. Best was with it is to look for inconsistencies with the pearlesence.
 

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Maybe, but if you'll look through the old posts, you'll see several from people who have taken the emblem off to save weight and/or improve looks.
I had my emblem deleted on my Insight. Well, while the front end was replaced cos it got crunched. So, who knows on this one. And yes it saves all of 2 ounces weight. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No go on the Insight...

The one I wanted was at West Valley Suzuki in Salt Lake City Utah.

I got a hard-*** sales manager named "Big Al" Tofua (no joke, that's what his tag says, and he must be six foot six and three hundred + pounds) that wouldn't budge from $14,450. I gave him an offer of $8000. He said he was insulted by that low offer, that he had paid "full price" for the Honda (since he's a Suzuki dealer, and he said he's the buyer for the dealership), and said "that won't do. Make another offer."

I offered $9,000.

He pointed at the price they had written down (they don't post prices ON the cars at this dealership), and said "No, I won't do that; how close can you get to this number?".

$14,450 is a complete joke on a 2001 Insight with 28,000 miles. Sorry, those of you who've bought it new... This one had been sold at auction in Las Vegas. Two things: heat like Las Vegas is death on batteries, and the lifetime MPG of the vehicle was only 48.1 -- both of which tell me it was driven hard, despite the pristine body condition (the black smudge had been rubbed out at some point).

I said "make a counter-offer".

He said "We need to keep a roof over our heads, the lights on, and I gotta give this guy" (pointing at the salesman) "his $50 for selling this car. I can't do that at that price."

I said "I'm not paying nearly that much for the car." And under my breath, I though "you rotten liar, I know your salesreps make more than $50 a sale".

He said "then we're not interested in your business".

I bid them good day and walked out of the dealership fuming. There was actually more to it than what I paraphrased of the conversation.

So now I'm surfing ebay and autotrader... there seem to be a few decent deals, but finding a used Insight at a good price is kind of tough!
 
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Hi All:

___That Red Insight is back up on Ebay … I received an E-mail from the guy with only this:

“Im working on your request.thanks peter.”

___Something is fishy about this one given the damage that must have occurred and as to why the auction was pulled and then reinstated with a fresh 7 day clock …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:5rll67ua][email protected][/email:5rll67ua]
 

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You can pull auctions on eBay for no reason without any problems as long as there are no bids.

I agree w/ the others. The red on that car does not look like the factory paint.
 
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