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New Honda Insight 5-passenger Hatchback

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  • I had a prius 2008 on which i installed winter tires Yokohama G20.
    I then had difficulty climbing hills on icy road in town.
    i now have a 2009 Prius with 4winter tire Blizzak W60.
    That is the best winter tire to drive a prius in Winter.
    I live in Sherbrooke quebec 20 miles from Newport Vermont.
    Its is very hilly in town and we have 4 2007 Prius as part of the taxi fleet.
    I also tried a 2010 Prius in the winter of 2009 fitted with 4 winter tires
    Dunlop aspic es13 and it is just as good.
    So the conclusion is to buy your Prius 2010 or 2011 and by your winter tires as soon as possible because they arekey to a good drive in Winter and they become out of stockretty fast in tne fall. Yhat is why I was forced to go with
    the G20 in 2008.8 :) Good Luck Pierre.
    As for the IMA Honda technology, It is far from being as good as the Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, that is why you do not see many on the road.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,941
    It is FALSE that all cars with ESC (aka "yaw-control" or "stability-control") have trouble driving in snow.
    But it's surely true that cars with crappy or buggy stability control systems have issues driving in snow.

    FWIW, properly-functioning ABS has a problem (increased braking distance) in some types of snowy conditions.

    Also properly-functioning traction-control can present issues unless it is disabled (inability to get moving, inability to rock the car back and forth).

    note that traction-control, ABS, and stability control are three separate functions. they use some of the same sensors however (wheel speed sensors for example) .
  • CapeCodCapeCod Posts: 117
    If many ESC systems are normally designed with the option to turn them off in wintery conditions, does that not suggest there is a winter problem?
    2011 Prius... will it have winter ESC problems?
    2010 Insight... will it have winter ESC problems?
    It really should not be an issue of individual cars (lemons)...
    either the Brands ESC system can handle winter or not!
    I drive on snow covered roads, often before plows are out,
    so it is a concern for me !
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,941
    These are valid questions and concerns.

    A thing which practically trumps all the below, is to get proper snow+ice tires for your worstcase driving conditions. FOUR snow tires. Blizzak for example. So please resolve to do that before worrying about any of the below!

    I think the specific answers to the concerns here depend on what ESC includes for each vehicle, and what exactly is disabled when driver pushes the "ESC" switch.

    If ESC includes ABS then yes there is a relevant problem in winter conditions, by design. All ABS systems will increase stopping distance in couple-inches-of-snow. The problem is not unique to Prius, although there are specific owner reports about the problem in 2010 Prius, and a specific recall/bugfix from Toyota. IMHO it remains questionable whether Toyota provided a useful/optimal recall/bugfix for this known-issue. I understand that a perfect solution may be impossible unless ABS can be disabled entirely, and I understand Prius mechanicals may not allow that due possible to their regen-braking and other integrated hardware. Please keep in mind that very few (no?) vehicles allow driver to disable ABS without pulling a fuse, so even non-Priuses are subject to this ABS-in-snow issue to some extent.

    If ESC includes traction-control then yes there is a relevant problem in winter conditions, by design. I understand that ALL traction-control systems will make it difficult to start from a stop on very-slippery conditions, or to rock back-and-forth out of deep snow.

    The third possible component of ESC is "yaw-control" or "stability control". I understand there is zero problem with yaw-control in snow or any other conditions - it enhances safety in ALL conditions except for "stunt drivers". Street-drivers would never benefit from turning off yaw-control. Some vehicles (Benz) don't allow yaw-control to be entirely disabled, no matter if the driver pushes the "ESC" switch.

    Also to address a specific point: I strongly prefer Honda to Toyota, and my recommendation of "insight vs prius" would reflect that preference, independent of the known/admitted-by-Toyota/specific issues for Prius in snow.
  • CapeCodCapeCod Posts: 117
    edited August 2010
    thank you Elias...
    You seem to be the best informed so let me ask a couple of specific question.
    (BTW Even though I am identified as 'Cape Cod' I actually live in Upstate NY, 50 miles north of Albany.)

    First:
    I have a specific intersection where there is a slight 20 to 30 degrees incline. Going WEST you must go up the incline and need 'traction' to get thru the intersection. Cars frequently fish tail at the intersection (going straight thru) because the roadway is icy from traffic packing the snow. Will this 'fish tailing' be sensed as loss of traction and cause ESC to kick in?
    What if I am stopped and start up from a dead stop? I would say 80 percent of the cars have some traction loss here regardless of snow tire traction. (BTW I recommend Dunlop Graspic...) What will the ESC do when it senses the tires slip?

    Second:
    Going thru the intersection headed EAST you are going down what is probably a 30 to 40 degree incline. You often have to creep down the hill to the intersection... and even then you often slide into or thru the intersection. Will the ESC help with the 'creeping' mode? WHAT IF you decide to speed up while sliding (this gets you thru the intersection safely when there is no traffic) will the ESC try to override my attempt to accelerate ???

    I tried to be specific as there are numerous spots like this during our winters. Hopefully you can give me some insight before I purchase. BTW It was interesting to me that my salesman brought up the winter issue... which I really had no knowledge of. Almost like he was reading a disclaimer to me...
    thanks. :confuse:
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,941
    you are most welcome and too kind, CapeCodder!
    answers to your questions
    first.
    1. Mostly yes. fishtailing is yaw and will be eliminated by the stability-control portion of "ESC". It's not quite the same as loss-of-traction by drive-wheels that is controlled by traction-control portion of "ESC", and sensed via wheel-speed-sensors. yaw is additionally sensed via gyroscope and/or accelerometers.
    2. When you are stopped in slippery conditions where wheelspin is required to get moving, the traction-control of ESC will render your car immobile. This is an example when you would need to disable it. BTW, I understand Dunlop graspics are great snow+ice tires.

    second.
    1. yaw-control portion ESC will prevent car from going sideways down that hill. ABS will pulse brakes if the hill is icy and you've braked, which will reduce your braking distance. If hill is deep-snowy, ABS will hinder your braking ability down the hill and will increase your braking distance.
    btw, some folks might consider ABS part of ESC. others might not.
    2. YES the traction-control portion of ESC may hinder your attempt to accelerate on slippery conditions down that hill - it will not allow you to spin the drive wheel(s).

    I think you are seeing the crux here, and that your very specific questions are quite helpful. The safety-systems prevent drivewheel(s) from spinning/losing-traction, but in winter it is sometimes crucial to intentionally spin the drive-wheel(s), whether it/they are front or back. (did you know that most cars have one drivewheel?)
    For example, if your car starts getting dragged off the road at 30 mph due to deeper snow on the right, the solution is to point front-wheel-drive-wheel(s) back onto the road and FLOOR IT to spin the drive wheels madly. The traction-control portion of ESC would indeed prevent this approach from working - it will not allow you to intentionally spin the drive-wheels if they've lost traction.
  • I just got my 2010 Honda Insight at the beginning of Dec 2010. Within a few weeks the snow started falling here in Pa. I went from driving an SUV for the last 10 years to the Insight and have not been disappointed. I knew that I would have to drive differently in the snow since I no longer had 4 wheel drive. The Insight gets me to and from work with no worries. I am not able to drive up some of the steeper hills I used to climb easily in the 4wd but that is OK. The stability control has been a great help especially in the last few weeks with the freezing rain.

    My commute is 50 miles round trip city/highway driving. I'm getting between 38 and 41 miles to the gallon with each tank and the econ off. I also like to keep my car warm and tend to keep the heat around 78. As with other posters in the other topics I've noticed the auto stop doesn't stay on long unless the car is warmed up. But going from getting 22 miles to the gallon and $43 each time I filled the car to getting 38-41 miles a gallon and $25 each fill I am not too worried about it. I'm looking forward to the summer to see the difference between winter and summer driving. I've read through the different topics and have used some of the tricks to try to keep my mileage as high as possible. I love that the Insight teaches you how to drive as economically as possible. I laugh when I start from a light and get passed because I'm not accelerating as fast as others. I just think look at all the gas you are burning. I also like the plant/flower display when I turn off the car. I was very excited about a month ago when I got two leaves on my plant.

    I also find the Insight to be very comfortable and has plenty of room for all of my stuff. My skis fit perfectly when I have the seat folded down and my 75 pound coonhound finds the back seat to be very comfortable. I also drive with passengers who tell me how comfortable the back seat is.
  • Congratulations on driving youR new Insight. I live in eastern canada and we get low temperature and plenty of snow here With my 2010 Prius I have no problems going up hills in ECO mode and I do 55 mpg in the summer but now I am more around 43-46mpg.

    Once that you have driven and hybrid I find that i would not be able to go back to a regular car doing 28 mpg like a Corolla or Matrix 4x4 at 20mpg.

    Cheers!
  • I've been involved with cars as a hobby for some 50+ years, and most of that time was spent owning, racing or restoring mostly British sports cars, new & old, with a few notable exceptions. These include a string of Saabs, the occasional VW, Alfa, and more recently Land Rovers (certainly British but in no-one's mind "sports cars"), both old & new. Up until now, my concerns centered around performance, design & fun to drive issues. However with gas now hitting $5 a gallon (still cheaper than European prices but considering how much we drive in the States a big increase!) I finally had to admit defeat & take a look at the latest & greatest...meaning hybrids, all of which get several times the mileage nearly all the rest of my cars can deliver (my '66 Mini Cooper S being an exception, but then again I rarely drive it). So finally, after talking to a LOT of owners and reading a LOT of reviews, I chose a 2010 Prius. The day after we bought it- it already had over 22K on the clock- we drove to the Mojave Desert for a week, a nearly 1000 mile round trip for us. I love it! Frankly after reading the reviews of the Prius that somewhat criticize the (to them) less than sporty handling and lack of feedback from the electric assist steering, I have no idea what they're talking about! Speaking of steering the very small turn radius is amazing...it can nearly turn around in a narrow alley, much less a normal street, without backing up (try that in your Land Rover...good luck!) Maybe the reviewers only have experience with small, cheap cars they consider "tossable", I don't know... to me the driving experience, whether to the grocery store or 500 miles away, has been a most pleasant one, and I've owned (as I mentioned before) a LOT of cars, ranging from Lotuses and Jaguars to Minis, VW's, and more. The car is far more quiet on the road than I thought a fairly small car could ever be...the only real "noise" is that of the tires, because there's nothing else to drown it out! In regards to comfort... The seats fit me fine, and I'm 6' 5" and very large overall. Lots of leg room (important to me as I have degenerative arthritis in both knees) and enough room on the side to not feel cramped. We have a grown daughter that will be home from college shortly, and so rear seat room will be important to her, too...my wife is 5' 8" tall, and my daughter is 5' 9". Mileage? just as advertised; maximum city/highway (over 100 miles +) is 51 MPG; minimum (over 1000 miles combined driving) is around 48+ MPG. So far. And, to get such numbers on the highway I don't have to crawl along at 55, as I do in my Land Rover Discovery to get slightly better mileage (18 MPG vs. 15) either! Just set the cruise control at (usually) 65, where safety allows. I haven't really tried cruising at a less average speed on the open highway yet but if I do I'm sure mileage would be even better.

    Now on to the 2011 Honda Insight. After reading about it... a supposed "Prius-Killer"... I went to the local dealer & tried one on, especially after reading such positive reviews about it, and the lower price compared to a Prius. After getting into one, I immediately realized where they saved $$$ to build it: it's made for SHORT people, not to mention either kids only or else double leg-amputees in the rear seat! This is a SMALL car, inside & out (but not as externally space saving as a new Mini, of course!) Frankly I didn't drive it. as there simply isn't enough room inside for me to feel anything but stuffed inside a sardine can! Better than the antedeluvian Honda 600 of many years ago (but then again, nearly EVERYTHING is) but not by a whole lot! However even reading a description of the Insight's "hybrid" system is enough to convince me... unlike the Prius, the Honda has the electric motor & anemic 1300 cc gas engine working together all the time, or not at all, apparently. Of course the thing shuts off at stops, along with the AC, apparently, until you move out again. Good Job, Honda! With the Prius, it starts off in electric only, very quietly. VERY quietly, so much so that pedestrians may not hear you coming! As soon as either more power is needed, or else the batteries (twice the battery power of the Honda, I might add) need recharging, the 1800 cc gas engine kicks in. Also pretty quiet, not unlike the Honda, which as are nearly all such teeny motors, anything but quiet, since they need to rev a lot more to produce any noticeable power, as compared to larger engines.

    And, not that it matters particularly, but I found the Honda layout of controls a bit busy, especially as compared to the Toyota. That in itself wouldn't deter me from buying an Insight, but one wonders about who was in charge at Honda, when it came time to design the beastie... cramped, noisy, and less fuel efficient ( somewhere between 12% and 15% less, in fact) than the Prius, even though it's a smaller, lighter car with less frontal area. Ought to be the other way around, but it isn't! BTW at $4 a gallon, if you drive 15,000 miles a year, the Honda will cost you something like $200 a year more than a Prius, so in 5 years that's $1000. And at higher prices ($5? $6?) that much more. So unless you don't drive much, or else gas prices fall a lot, where are the true savings???

    So what's my take? If the most important thing to you is the least possible purchase price for a hybrid, with decent mileage (for a hybrid) even if not the very best, and you're not very tall (this means maybe even short!) and you could care less about any adult ever sitting in the back, or trunk space, and you don't mind a noisy drivetrain, then the Honda Insight is certainly worth a look. On the other hand, if bottom line price isn't quite so important, but a well designed, comfortable interior, the best currently available gas mileage for a 4+ seater, and a quiet, comfortable ride are the highest things on your list, then a Prius is a far better option, especially the "gen 3"- meaning 2010/2011 model. In my opinion.

    Lastly...if you must have a Honda, for whatever reason, why not opt for a different, standard gas-engined model, with less compromises in design for the money, simply to produce a competitor to the Prius? They all get fairly good mileage, though not quite 40+ MPG. Of course you'll have to smog anything except a hybrid or electric car, but that's only one consideration.

    Honda can make pretty good cars, when they want to. Sorry to say, though, the latest Insight is not much more than a cheap, cramped, underdesigned copy of a Prius, external appearances aside. Try harder, next time, Honda!
    (And, I might add, I hope you do, as Toyota is then sure to come up with an even better Prius, as they have in the past!)

    Cheers to all,
    Rich
  • Thank you for a great post!
  • dnatechdnatech Posts: 21
    I looked in the booklet but I haven't found where to refill the rear window washer fluid. Is it shared with the windshield tank in the engine?
    Thank you!
  • I got my first oil change after the alert notice at 8012 miles.
    I drive in the ECO mode at all times and follow the speed limit (YES!).
    The real mpg is 52.4 since I got the car, and I learned during the service (oil change) that the rear window washer fluid is pumped from the tank in the engine compartment.
    I love the car so far!
  • twartedtwarted Posts: 5
    I have a 2010 Insight with 99950 miles with full kit (Nav the works) and extended warranty and all service records and no scratches. I went to Pompano Honda to trade in against an Accord last night.... and Guess what? I discovered the error of my ways.
    Its worth maybe $7,000 after paying $24,500 for it new.
    Had I not listened to the Honda Sales Pitch I would have bought a Toyota Prius which with the same mileage would have been worth a LOT more. Perhaps Consumer reports might like to take a look at depreciation between the two?
    I no longer drive the car in case the battery dies and BTW the fuel consumption has been between 35 and 37.5 MPG. Is it true Honda have been sued in a class action law suite for lies about fuel consumption claims?? Have I a case?
    Better they be sued for a pretend Hybrid system that has a massive loss in value as a result. Any Lawyers reading? - Look at my records if you wish!
    As we say in Ireland it has not got the power to "Pull the socks off of a dead man" and the only redeeming quality is I can drive it in the HOV lane!!!
    Reliability was excellent but for a full assembly replacement of GPS - CD-Radio at 41,000 miles. Service department at Pompano Honda puts my Lexus Department to shame - They are excellent in all ways.
    Silly me for buying one - All you happy owners .... Your time will come! - The car was rushed to the market and "Under Engineered" (Never saw so much painted metal since an Alfa in the 60's!) and you will pay the price in resale value.
  • spunjornospunjorno Posts: 45
    Is it a case of the car not retaining its resale value, or a case of an un-savvy negotiator getting taken by a car dealer on his trade-in? It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. Or was it a high mileage vehicle or in poor shape (with exception of not having scratches)? I wonder...

    Your comments about resale value are not supported by Consumer Reports and other publications. So I don't know what to tell you.

    You were only getting 37.5 MPG!!!? I also have a 2010 and I'm getting mid 50's -- the same as my Prius friends. I've never had a single tank anywhere near as low as the 43 MPG that Honda claims. I'm wondering about your driving habits -- what are you towing a boat?. It seems to me that Honda's "lies" about fuel economy have been that they are underselling the fuel savings.

    And what was that about being afraid the battery dies? The hybrid batteries are warrantied for 10 years. What are you talking about? Nothing about your post makes any sense.
  • spunjornospunjorno Posts: 45
    Woops -- just reread your post and noticed you did tell us the mileage was almost 100,000. Okay that explains the low trade in. Nuff-said.
  • dweiserdweiser Posts: 288
    I traded in my almost new Honda Insight and was offered a low trade-in from a Honda dealer I'd dealt with before. I like Hondas and have owned two Fits. When I asked why so low an offer they said, "Because no-body wants one". I could understand why - not great mileage, poor ride, worse handling, the car actually shook at red lights and stop signs, uncomfortable, shall I go on? I bought a Ford C-Max in November (my first American car in something like 40 or 50 years!) and comparing the Honda Insight to the Ford C-Max is like comparing the worst hybrid in the world to one of the best.
    Sorry Honda, you failed.
  • rookie60rookie60 Posts: 39
    I was one of the first in Minnesota to get a 2010 Honda Insight. I wanted to try a Hybrid. My experience with it is:

    I have 55,000 miles on it since June 4, 2009 when in first came out. Mileage has been consistently 44-46 during my normal driving. I have gotten 50 twice. I put over 4,000 miles on it last October to a trip to Florida and back. City and highway "total" combined was 42. It likes 55-60 mph. That is when I got 50 mpg. At 70-75 mph, I get around 40. Ride was fine on highway. (Not a Lexus). Handled "OK" on "Tail of the Dragon" in North Carolina. (Not a Corvette). With heater off, car shuts off at lights, so no shaking. (Can't understand that statement). CVT is noisy on acceleration. Great city car. Ford C-Max supposedly getting high 30's in mileage. My wife loves her Insight. We will keep it for at least another 5 years.
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