I purchased my 2004 Insight CVT on July 20, 2004 (2 weeks ago as of this message date) in Atlanta, GA and drove it back to Boston, MA. I have read hundreds of posts in this system. I have tried all kinds of driving styles, etc. I love the car. However, I am confused. I have found I get the best MPG when I NEVER use ASSIST. If i climb hills slowly, pull out from stops slowly, I get great gas mileage (as shown on the segment display instant mileage meter). By the time the ASSIST kicks in, the instant MPG is right down the toilet already. It seems to not kick in fast enough. The gas engine has to get into trouble before the ASSIST helps. Also, when it does kick in, it kicks back out before I am finished accellerating (such as up an incline). The battery always stays fully charged.
With this, I am still getting 66MPG highway, and about 57 City (I inflated tire pressure to 42psi).
So, what is the real purpose of the electric engine? I have done several test trips (resetting FCD each time). When I drive using ASSIST, I get low 50's or even 40's. When I avoid it (as best I can), I get high 50's in city and 60's on highway.
I love great MPG no matter how it comes ... but I am confused over all the emphasis on HYBRID ELECTRIC. Honestly, I don't see how it adds much of anything significant to the car. It also seems a stretch to really call this a Hybrid (yes, technically it is, but practically, it does not seem so).
Don't mean to sound like I am complaining, but I guess I am disappointed. Clearly, the high MPG comes from incredible engineering on aeordynamics, alluminum alloys, remarkable gas-engine design, etc. Anything light enough could get 100 or 200 MPG without an electric ASSIST. Since ASSIST is rarely used, is it possible it costs more to carry around those batteries than it saves? Could you image what kind of mileage it would get if you put a Prius electic engine (all-electric at lower sppeds, and much more helpful at higher speeds) in an Insight? WOW! It seems to me the INSIGHT gets great mileage for non-electric reasons, and it appears "HYBRID TECHNOLOGY" is just flare.
Where's the beef?