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Honda Insight
Owners and drivers interested in hybrid cars have sent in the following comments, grouped here in two categories:


Hybrid car owners' comments - observations from user experience
General comments - from those interested in hybrid cars
 

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Hybrid car owners' comments: observations from user experience


My parents have had their Honda Insight since 2001, when it came out. On average, it gets about 55-65 MPG on the highway under reasonable conditions (light wind, no rain). They usually only spend about $30 to fill it up at the current gas prices and a full tank lasts them for about three days, seeing as how they have to drive around 100 miles a day to get to and from work. Right now, five years later, their only setback with it is that, with 244,000 miles on it, the main, rechargeable battery is about to go out, and, unfortunately, that'll set them back about $800. But, other than that, they love it!
Michael

I have a 2005 Toyota Prius and it is my second hybrid car. The first was also a hybrid, a 2002 Prius. These cars are exceptionally great to drive. I've had absolutely no problems with either of the cars. Prius drivers know we don't have to charge the batteries but people who don't drive these cars seem not to know this. Also, these cars have plenty of power and speed. I could easily exceed the speed limit here in Central NY State if I wanted to and found myself once going 80mph when I passed cars. I was surprised when I saw how fast I was going because I didn't feel I was that fast.
As far as mileage, in winter here in upstate NY, it gets quite cold and I find I obtain about 40 mph during very cold weather. In summer, I get easily over 50mph, as much as 53mph. I will never buy anything but a hybrid as long as I am driving.
Bob-Central NY

I’ve been driving a Toyota Corolla (1999) to commute to work for 8 years. It’s a 5 speed manual transmission. In the summer I get 40 to 42 MPG. I paid $14,000.00 for the car new in 1999. I guess I want to see a Corolla Hybrid, that get 50+ MPG and costs less than $17,000.00 Then I’m in. Otherwise I don’t see the economics.
Marc

Hello Eartheasy,
I've had my 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid since March of 2005. As of July 22, 2006 I have put 30,000 miles on my car. Since I live in south Florida you can image how much I need the A/C. When I drive up and down I-95 with the A/C off at 60 MPH I can easily get 53 mile per gallon.
What is the secret? It is simple. I drive 55 or 60 miles an hour in the slow lane (trying not to get run over by all the huge SUV's going 80), and I put nitro fill in the tires. Nitro fill allows me to run a higher PSI in the tires and it doesn't expand and contract like regular air. It's used in Nascar tires so they don't get hot and explode. Another benefit, I don't have to add air as often. Nitro is a bigger molecule than regular air so it doesn't escape as easily.
I waited 8 months before adding the Nitro fill and I'm sorry I did. I was running 35 PSI very consistently and averaging 42-46 mpg. When I added the Nitro and started running 44 PSI in the tired... wow, what a difference. I change my oil every 3500-4000 miles and I always use the 0W20 as recommended by Honda. Many oil change places try to convince me that 05W20 is the same. I don't buy it. It's heavier and I live in a hot climate.
Another tip: Keep the car clean and "waxed". If a full can of Pepsi slides down off the hood you know air is slipping past the car with little resistence too!
I agree with the other comments in this blog... If everyone followed some simple rules we could all save fuel, lower emissions and even have safer roads.
1) slow down (55-60 mph saves gas and lives)
2) keep your tires topped off - I see people every day driving around on very low tires
3) wax your car before a long trip. It makes a difference.

I check my Nitro fill about once every 2 months. I never lose more than a total of 2 lbs (total loss for all 4 tires combined! That's awesome considering I drive almost 4,500 miles in a 2 month period).

On a straight highway run at 55 MPH with no airconditioning running I'm sure I could get 55-57 MPG because I've done it! My dashboard computer is extremely accurate (I check it with a calculator each time I fill up because I'm so amazed at my mileage).
I had a pickup truck before the purchase of my Honda Civic Hybrid and I was only getting 18-22 miles per gallon on any given tank full. I have more than doubled my gas mileage!
Jay M, FL

I have had a 2006 Prius for about 2 months now and it is absolutely the best vehicle I have ever owned. I am getting 50-56 mpg on my 110 round trip commute daily (traveling 75-80 mph) and about 48-50 mpg around town on the weekends. I have found that I don’t have to slow down to get great mpg, just have to learn how to drive the car.
Anyone who is complaining about this car is not driving it right.
William L., NY

We are glad that other Prius owners are getting good gas mileage. According to William L.,NY, he is getting excellent mileage with his. For us, we have not. The car has 18K miles on it and has never gotten better than 42 MPG on the highway OR in the city. We have checked this when we have filled with gas, thinking the average MPG was incorrect on the computer-generated reading. Further, we have taken the car back to the dealership 3 times because the fuel gauge does not operate correctly. The last time, they installed a new gauge and it still does not work. We have actually run out of gas because we depended on the gauge to be accurate. We now have to keep up with miles since last fill-up to avoid being stranded on the highway. I did not see any negative things said about the Prius. Surely we are not the only ones having problems.
W. C., AR

I live in SE Pennsylvania and use the car (Toyota Prius) for regular commuting. We have just hit 10,000 miles and have kept a mileage log for the first year. We have averaged, for the year, 46.8 mile per gallon. On non-stop turnpike trips, we have attained as high as 53.5 and as low as 50.1, nowhere near the 60 that the EPA suggests. We find that the ideal highway speed is 67 mph.

The car is a dream to drive; comfortable seats and a good ride, excellent visibility, wipers, and a GREAT a/c system.

If the price is right, we will be buying a Camry hybrid this fall; if not, then another Prius. What a car.
John L.

My wife, son and I all have been driving Honda Insights since 2000. We have a combined 170,000+
miles. In the beginning, wow! Silent, fast, comfortable, super handling (stop, turn, high speed (95mph)-no wind, electric ABS good in snow), trips with 60, 70, 80 MPG, one 740 mile fillup. Now we're so used to it that a Honda Accord seems like a big boat.

And we've developed a new respect for the cars because they have been very trouble free for a long time. We are beginning to understand, other than getting 60MPG, cost wise these are normal cars. Quality Hondas. We rarely calculate the gas savings although we are proud of having bought over 2,800 less gallons of gas in a time which Oil has caused so much trouble for so many people.

Hybrid technology in the Insight saves gas not by the little 6hp engine alone. It's only 11% of the 65hp total, how could it? It's the engine tuning the electric motor allows. The cylinders can be optimized for the higher gears while the electric motor takes over the instant demand. Also the cars are very light, the engines shut off/restart automatically at stops, are super aerodynamic and have long rolling tires.

Using these KNOWN technologies car companies could cut world fuel use in half, TODAY.So my real point isn't that our experience has been great, it's the more existential "what if everyone did it?"
Insight owner # about 4000

I have heard about the new Hybrid cars but really never paid much attention to them because I can't really afford one as of yet. Until recently I was involved in a car accident that has made my car not safe to drive. I got a renter's vehicle....and lo and behold it was a 2004 Toyota Prius Hybrid. The representative was showing me the basics of the vehicle, and other things that I needed to know. Like (very important) starting the car. I sat there with big eyes and my mouth open, she asked me if she was moving too fast....I told her no.....but there seems to be alot of buttons to push for things (radio, climate control, shifting gears, etc..) that we are not used to. She reassured me that if I felt uncomfortable over the weekend to call her on Monday and she would switch me out. I have driven the Prius all weekend here and there and I highly enjoy it. It's a very comfortable, smooth and easy car to drive, not to mention the gas mileage. I am saddened to have to give this car up, and it's been a privilege to sample it under the circumstances. I would definately recommend this type of vehicle to anyone that I know. I know there is a waiting list for this car and other models but I do look forward to the day when one will be mine.
Julie Stevens

We bought a Honda Insight about a year ago and love it. We get regularly get 65-67 mpg and occasionally get up to 75 mpg. We hardly ever have to fill up the tank, and when we do, it doesn't cost much. It is comfortable and safe and has plenty of acceleration. It's an ideal car for commuting. The best thing about our Insight is that we know we are having the least impact possible when we drive.
Lynn C, Mt. Crawford, VA

I've been driving a Prius at work, and find it's very responsive as well as fuel-efficient. It drives more like a 6 cylinder car, and is quick to accelerate off the line. The electric engine provides full torque immediately, while the typical all-gas engine has to reach its required rpm before it can deliver full torque. My only concern for these cars is long-term reliability and resale value.
Carl, White Plains, NY

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I've enjoyed my 2002 Honda Insight hybrid car. It gets awesome gas milage and is downright fun to drive! I drove to see my mom in North Carolina from my home in Tampa and had to stop once in South Carolina to get $7.87 worth of gas. I get stopped all the time by people who are curious about it and besides the unwanted attention at times I have less than zero complaints. The car has performed better than advertised and I am going to buy the new hybrid Civic for a second car when it comes out soon. I am going to keep my Insight for my main driving vehicle though because it is so fun to use. Thanks for letting me spout off...
Jeff Z, Dunedin, FL

Honda Civic Hybrid - world's most expensive Ni-MH battery charger-----After test driving a 2004 Prius rental but finding none available to buy, I shelled out many thousands of the bank's money on a left-over 2003 Civic hybrid. In 20+ years of driving, I've never failed to get a little better than the EPA est. until now. In carefully run mileage tests with the rented 2004 Prius, mileage was always 53 to 57 MPG after 75 to 145 mile days. The Civic hybrid has made over 40 MPG only once so far, including on some of the same roads the Prius did so well on. This is on par with a regular (and much less expensive) Civic or Corolla and is unacceptable. The trip computer on the Civic is very much a "the tank is half full" kind of guy and tells tall tales of 45 to 53 MPG. But where is the gas going? It takes 12.5 gallons to go 500 miles no matter what the computer says. One notable difference between the Civic and Prius is when the Prius' gas pedal is pressed, the electric motor always assists. My Civic hybrid is good at keeping its Ni-MH battery pack charged but not so good at reducing fuel consumption. Pressing the gas pedal always makes the engine RPM jump but seldom wakes the sleepy electric motor. The little electric engine that could, should, but doesn't. I hope no one else will fall victim to Honda's "green scam" as I have. Bron Powell

Hi - I've had the 2004 Toyoto Prius for 6 months and love it! I can regularly get around 50 mpg. One aspect of it that I think would be valuable for all cars, not just hybrids is the constant ability to see how your driving is affecting the milage. Why would I want to race up to a light and brake when I could have coasted, not lost any time, and gained mpg? I always knew that but when you have the constant feedback, it makes it more real. Is it really so hot that I need the air conditioner today....my mpg will go up if it's off----that sort of thing. It becomes almost like a game to me to see if I can improve the milage. The Prius is going to get better milage regardless of how you drive but having that immediate feedback really increases your awareness of how to improve milage, thus saving even more gas and $. Linda Bell

90% of my driving is highway. My Prius gets 49 MPG average. JR

I have a 2002 Toyota Prius and am very happy with the car except for one thing. Mileage decreases with colder weather as you use more lights, heat and fans. Thomas Kohl

I have bought a 2004 civic hybrid. My current life time gas milage is 47.5 mpg for a distance of 3500 miles. Much of that is with air conditioning on. I live in a mountainous part of Eastern Pennsylvania. I have a 150 mile round trip daily commute. The highway portion I get 51 or greater mpg, When I do the last 10 miles up the hills of our community it pulls the lifetime mpg down. The electronic display indicating mpt , at least on our car is always around 1.5 mpg less than my computation I do at the gas pump dividing trip odomter by gallons pumped at station. At this stage I am quite happy with our Honda civic. Current trending seems to indicate the mpg is getting better with age.
Fran Kosloski, Wernersville, Pa

Hi, appreciate your interest and trying to get the Prius on the map. Ive have had mine for 1 month and got 43 mp on the 1st fill up and 50 mpg on the 2nd. Looking for info and car clubs...
Joe Johnigk

Hello Eartheasy - I own two Hybrid vehicles, a 2002 automatic Prius and a 2003 manual shift Civic.
I bought the manual shift Civic because I wanted to tow it behind my RV with all four wheels on the road.
Both vehicles get about the same mileage - 45 to 53 MPG.
The Prius is by far the best of the two vehicles. It is a Ultra Super Low Emission vehicle because it can run on electric only. The Honda can not, it is always running on gas and/or electric. Never just electric.
Both vehicles shut the engine off upon stopping and startup instantly when moving, except for the Prius which doesn't start the gas engine until needed.
Anyone have a 2003 Prius they want to trade for my Civic?
Steve

My Prius has exceeded expectations. The only driving adjustment I've had to make is being lighter on the gas pedal, as the car is going faster than it seems. The aerodynamic design may be the reason.
Tyler Monson

I bought my 2005 Toyota Prius in December and continue to rave about it. 47 mpg right now but it keeps getting better. A dream to drive, just as much pickup and power as my Camry had. I find myself giving demonstrations everywhere I go – even to total strangers in parking lots! Why are American car dealers not mass producing these???
Susan Shetrom

We've had our 2005 Honda Accord hybrid a short while and still operating on the first tank of gasoline. We have growing concern about the gas mileage we're seeing. The EPA ratings for this hybrid are 29 city and 37 highway, however so far we're observing about 17 to 19 mpg in city driving. Is this kind of difference to be expected during the earliest stage of the 'breakin' period? Also, the winter temperatures demand more of systems that draw power from the battery array and in turn appear to affect the extent/proportion of operation time that actually is assisted by the electric motor. Any comment from other owners or 'experts' on this concern would be appreciated. Thanks!
Phil in Missouri

Dear Friends: We have a 2004 Toyota Prius and live in the Minneapolis area of Minnesota. The mileage varies from a high of about 45 mpg on the road in the summer to about 35mpg in town in the winter.
In MN all gasoline has at least 15% alcohol content. We have complained that the mileage is far less percent of the EPA rating than any other new car we have owned, including other Toyota products. We pursued our concerns to the local dealer, Rudy Luther of Golden Valley, and all the way to the American Toyota Hdqtrs in California. Although we were always polite and expressed general overall satisfaction, except for the mileage, we were told to stop complaining and if we are really unhappy, sue them.
Obviously this is a bit embarassing to us as we feel like the mileage relative to straight gasoline powered cars of comparable size, like the Toyota Camry, we are getting good mileage. But relative the 55 to 60 EPA estimate of mileage we are not getting the customary 80% or so but rather less than 70% of EPA guidelines. How are others doing?
Regards, Bob G.

I woud like to add my 2 cents to all your comments. I have had a 2004 Toyota Prius for about 9 months and I LOVE IT!!!!! My average mileage in this time is 5.6 (48.86 mpg) winter and summer, and when I say winter I mean winter (Ottawa at -30 for over a month). My best milage in good weather was 60.73 mpg and my worst 33 mpg. Even the worst is better than my previous Camry at the best.
Anyone who complains that their mileage is not as good as they thought it would be should look at the way they drive. With either type of car their mileage is probably not good. In 10,600 km I have used 610 litres and only spent $469.15. I estimate from my costs that I will save at least $500 - $700 this year in gas cost for this vehicle and so far all I have had is an oil change and it drives like a dream. I am converted and it will take alot to make me go back to driving a regular car after driving my hybrid.
Karen in Ottawa

I would like anyone who is thinking of buying a Honda Civic Hybrid to be careful. It has problems. Mine had a computer problem and went through a 7/11 store with my foot on the brake. I couldn't get it to stop running. I could have been killed and anyone in the store could have been killed. This is coming up quite a bit, the surge forward on the Honda Hybrid.

If I had it all to do over, I would have stayed with a regular Honda like I had before. The gas mileage is good, but it's not worth the hell of a time I have been through this last week. I pulled up, stopped at the cement stop, started to put the car in park and the engine reared up and jumped forward three times and I had my foot on the brake the whole time. It jumped into the window, then stopped. It is now in the shop but I dont want the car back. I would also like to add, Honda has not been very good about any of us who have had this problem. They are not willing to look at the problem. This started with my car on the freeway in small spurts. BE CAREFUL..
Barb

Hybrids are great.
The most important part of the Hybrid or any vehicle is the driver. My 03 CIVIC Hybrid gets over 50 mpg. I've also got up to 74 mpg on a round trip by driving smarter.

If you watch the gauges you can learn to get great milage. My CIVIC has the CVT transmission. If I want great milage I have to drive normal up to a little over the mph I want then let up and the mpg jumps to 60-90 mpg. For example if I want to go 45 I go about 50 and ease up gentle coming to 45 and down to about 40 before I speed up a shat way then do it over.

With a stick ship you drive gentle and jump to 5th gear as soon as possible always staying light on the peddle. In a Prius you go very light and stay on all electric for as long as possible, then gently go above the speed you want and let up enough to get high mpg. They also have a CVT transmission.Also anticipate lights and stop signs, gently brake to regen as much as possible.
Jim, happy hybrid owner

I have owned my car for over 4 years and driven 140,000 miles. It has done well on gas but the cost of owner ship has not been cheap. Every 60,000 the tune-up is 900-1200 dollars, gone through 7 sets of tires at 450 dollars a set. The car has had several problems to include the following, new computer, new charging system for the batteries, new battery pack, 3 control sensors replaced, oxygen sensor. This is to name a few of the problem. The car has seen more at the dealler time than my Ford Aerostar with over 225000 mile. So if you want good milage yes the Pruis is a good car, but the cost of owner ship can be high.
Klaas Bol

I just bought a new 07'Camry hybrid which according to Toyota is one of the first to be delivered in the Los Angeles area. I bought it loaded with every conceivable feature available. The only thing I don't have as remote start, which the agency that I've bought it from said that it wasn't available but it actually is available so I may get it later if I needed. So far I love it. I bought the light silver colors so that I don't have to use the air conditioner is much and of course the car will look clean much longer than the black Ford Explorer that I was driving. Anyways I'm getting about 35 miles per gallon, which is okay but I thought I would be getting better mileage hopefully it'll get better as I break in the motor!
Bbcableguy

I am disappointed about my Honda Hybrid. I bought it because Honda claimed I would get 49-51 MPG, and, after having my car for nine months, it has never gotten this kind of mileage. I am very conservative driver; 61 year old female. I drive the speed limit, do not take off quickly after stopping at stop light.
I have talked to others who own the exact Honda Hybrid, and no one is happy with their purchase. I have tried to find email address for Honda, and can find NOTHING that allows consumers to voice their opionions through email.
Also, the battery on my brand new car had to be replaced within 6 months after purchase.
D. Billings

Last year I reluctantly traded my Land Rover Defender for a new Ford Escape Hybrid. We live in the mountains of Colorado and it did very well in the snow this past winter. Our driveway is a mile long and has 6 switchbacks and very steep dirt road. We have really put it to the test. I now have 10,000 miles on my 4WD Escape and I am happy with it. Its traction control system and anti skid brake system work well under the worst of conditions. My worst mileage is around 25 MPG and my best is a little over 30 MPG. The everyday average seems to be about 27 MPG. It is not made for off road but it has good ground clearance and rides well on the rough roads. It is fun to drive and I see that there could be great potential for a plug in conversion when someone develops a more efficient battery system. I now get twice the mileage that I would be getting in my Land Rover.
Ford Escape Hybrid owner, David

Well I would like to say that We just purchased our second hybrid. Being a professional mechanic in Los Angeles I wanted to wait and see the technology proven in the Hybrid sector. When the Camry Hybrid was released to Los Angeles in April of 2006 my wife wanted to buy one and we did sight unseen or driven still on the boat. Since then we have put approx. 25000 miles on the car and are getting 38mpg. I am now going to be commuting for work and purchased a 2007 Prius when I received the car from the dealership it was showing an avg of 25mpg. After driving it home 50 miles my avg has changed to 42mpg, Hopefully and yet knowingly this will be increasing tremendously. I want to say this is a very comfortable, elegant, yet fun car to drive. The amazing thing is that I have always drove a truck for work purposes and now times have changed I really excited to be owning both of these hybrids so far no complaints just compliments
William


General comments - from those interested in hybrid cars

I've been driving GM cars for many years. At present, I own a GMC Safari. For the last couple of years, I've been looking for a GM hybrid of a model similar to Safari or Yukon. Toyota & Honda have myriad types of hybrid cars. As a North American, I'd like to buy a Noth American car. GM doesn't have any hybrid car that I'd like to buy. Now I feel that I don't have any choice but to buy a Toyota Highlander. I wonder why Toyota is now selling more cars than are sold by GM. Even a layman knew for a long time that Toyota would soon become the number one. It seems that GM management doesn't have a vision and that why GM has lost to Toyota. Instead of being the first to innovate, GM is the last to realize the reality. Aziz

Recently a Vancouver-based Toyota Prius hybrid car used as a taxi was taken off the road with over 332,000 km (206,295 miles) on the odometer, with no major repairs during the car's history. It was taken out of service because Toyota in Japan wanted to to strip it down and check everything out. The driver was given a new Prius at no charge. from the Vancouver Sun

i think i speak for many families concerned for the environment when i say we would love to put our money into hybrid vehicles; however, they are not yet large/safe enough to house my family. when that rolls around, i believe you will see dramatic increase in interest. i hope the manufacturers do not
use the small cars to "test the waters", since many in my position cannot acquire them due to family size constraints. but we are interested - very interested.
sincerely, melissa gacuzana mom of four

The Prius is almost there for the typical American. It just needs to be a little bigger and a little faster. A full sized car that does about 8.0 sec in the 0-60. Offer a mini van (Estima Hybrid) and a full sized truck in the USA and Toyota could corner the market for years to come. Everyone wants big vehicles with better mileage. Seecay

I want to express my hopes for hybrid minivan that would provide families with a better alternative than an SUV. Also how do lower income families afford to be consciencious. Are there subsidies out there? Thankyou! Chad

It appears that US automakers have the impression that the only cars that need a hybrid version are large gas guzzlers. Being among the financially challenged, I, too, would like to purchase a hybrid. I have no desire to drive something that requires a running board to climb into. I just want to conserve on my fuel expenses. US automakers need to jump on the band wagon, the Japanese automakers are way ahead of the game. Jackie

How soon will they be making a hybrid car into an affordable family sized vehicle. We are more than happy to become part of the hybrid family as soon as they expand their size to fit an average family. Not interested in SUV either, more a family vehicle. Heard a Camry is on it's way! Hurray, come on American Car Makers, get on the bandwagon and make us proud, otherwise we will be going foreign.
Vickie

Hello! I learned all about hybrid cars in science class this year. They really help the environment and make urban areas cleaner, and they also lower pollution. When I get my driver's license, I hope I can buy one. Hydrids are a great technological advancement. One of the best ever made, because vehicles are everywhere all the time. In short, I'm all for them. Katie (high school freshman)

We have had a Subaru for years and really like the safety of all wheel drive, particularly in winter. But we also want fuel efficiency and to help protect the environment. Hybrid seems the way to go, but we're loathe to give up AWD. Susan

I agree with the family sized car crowd....lets see a Ford Focus Wagon Hybrid! ;-)
they put the hybrid in the escape why not the focus?
cheers, Daniel

Why can't someone make a hybrid car with AWD and CFC-free automatic
digital climate control system?
anon



 


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