Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Honda Insight

Extremely tiny tires. Extremely good fuel consumption. Extremely radical.

The last time I drove a Honda Insight, I was laughing all the way. Not because the car is comical, but because it - in a word - rules.

So, on the weekend we decided to go into a local Honda dealership and order a new 2006 Insight. They list for $26,000, which, according to the sales guy, is a few thousand less than what it costs Honda to build one.

But that is what's so great about the Honda company. They want the title of the most fuel efficient car in the world, or at least North America. And they're so committed that they are willing to build the Insight at a loss.

How awesome is that?

During the buying process we learned one thing we were not expecting. The Insight, in Canada, is only available as a 5-speed. Had we gone through with it, our 2006 Insight would have been partially hand-built in Japan in the same plant that builds the NSX supercar. But Suz wasn't sure she could drive a standard, so we postponed the special order.

2 days later we found a used Insight at a distant Honda dealership. With only 58,000 kms, it was a steal at $12,950. We immediately took the 90-minute drive to the dealer to test the aluminum wonder.

We hopped into the immaculate silver hybrid and were impressed with it's cleanliness. It appeared as though it was pampered. However, a minute into the test drive we were overcome by an intense, grey, prickly cigarette smell.

I drove down the country road with the digital speedometer displaying 100 kph until I noticed I was still in 3rd gear. A quick jab into 5th shut off the "shift up" light.

Yes, the Insight tells you when you're being bad.

Suz and I took turns driving it around a tiny residential neighbourhood. I paid attention to our fuel consumption gauge the entire time, recognizing an average of 3.9 litres per 100 km. With a 40 litre tank, we could travel 1,025 kms (or 636 miles). Yet even with my right foot straight to the floor, and tires squealing, we never exceeded 5 and a half litres per 100 km.

In the end, Suz didn't feel comfortable driving standard so we decided not to buy one.

We drove 220 kms round trip, and burned about $25 worth of gas, to test-drive one of the rarest cars around (Only 344 in Canada). And it was worth it, even if we didn't buy it.

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Blogger ms. creek said...

ohhh, come on suz! i learned on a 1969 chevy suburban standard! you can do it! how awesome would it be! it's easy....

although, after a beetle/standard, i like my toyota auto camry just fine@!

11:55:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

She did alright, and only had one small panic-moment. But that was enough to scare her away. Which sucks, because the Insight is, by far, the easiest standard I've ever driven.

12:13:00 PM

Blogger Rowan said...

ok....some day within in the next couple years...I want to buy a really fuel efficient, cheapo car. What (since you seem to know cars) would you recommend? Keeping in mind we're a family of 4.

1:45:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

New? Most definitely the Civic Hybrid. At $29,000 Honda was building them at a loss. They have now lowered the price to $25,800, so they're taking an even bigger hit. But that hybrid system is the most advanced one on the market and the batteries are supposed to last approximately 12 years.

Used, it's possible to find the older Civic hybrids. The VW Golf TDi is quite awesome as well. You can go very far on Diesel fuel, plus, because it's diesel, oil changes are few and far between making it cheap to maintain.

2:22:00 PM

Blogger Ham said...

Who ever thought that I would think about going back to beloved Honda? I haven't ridden in one since the days the boys use to spend all their hard earned grocery-clerk money on systems, tints and rims.

2:34:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

I, myself, have never been a fan of Honda. However, with their hybrids, they have convinced me that they're worthy of my hard-earned money.

But, until the day comes that I buy one, I'll stick with my Mitsubishi clone.

5:58:00 PM

Blogger Rainypete said...

My old 4cylinder 80's mustang used only burn about 10.00 a week in fuel. That was, of course, because it kept breaking down and I had to take the bus, but it was still helping out the environment!

12:43:00 PM


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