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2000-2006 Honda Insight

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I had one of these quirky little cars for about 3 years and loved it, unfortunately with the addition of kids a really small 2 seater was not very pratical.  These cars feature a 1.0 liter 3 cylinder and a small hybrid system - power was not plentiful, and when my wife and I took it to Colorado it made for some really awkward times.  Climbing the large mountains would completely deplete the battery assist requiring you to stay in 2nd gear (manual shift being one of the fun things about this car!).  Going down the hill wasn't any less eventful - these cars were built for extreme efficiency and therefore have very little rolling resistance, very little drag, and very little engine braking - most of the time going down a hill you rely on the charging of the battery pack to give you a little drag, however when it got full going down one of the extended descents in Colorado it kind of felt like being let go at the top of a roller coaster!  Of course it has regular brakes but riding them the whole way down a mountain in any car, much less one like this where the engineers are saving every ounce they can, is a sure recipe for warped brake rotors or worse.

Besides that trip I mostly used it as a commuter which is where it really shined: I typically got 50-60mpg in the city and a bit more on the interstate (which is nothing compared to what people get on the forums).  Watching the MPG gauge is a bit like playing a video game as I found myself adapting every strategy I could to get my "score" higher.  

I miss that little car, as an engineer it's satisfying to see a design that is so uncompromising.


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