Honda Insight Mk1 - Fuelly Forums
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Old 04-21-2016, 01:47 PM   #1
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Honda Insight Mk1

Trying not to get too excited, but I may potentialy be going to look at a Honda insight Mk1 at the weekend. They have been on my hit list for years since someone bought one locally when they first came out, I was just a kid and thought it looked like a car from the future.

Its one on the best hybrids out there, so advanced for it time, even today manufacturers struggle to make a hybrid like it with ridiculous real world economy combined with such a lightweight structure, and the all important (to me) manual gearbox! Fast becoming a modern classic with only about 200 examples in the UK, I'm keen to get one before prices rocket.

There are lots of owners on here, I'd appreciate some advise as regards to a buying guide, things to watch out for/check, areas of corrosion etc etc as I don't want to end up with a costly lemon. My biggest concern is the battery, although with less than 100,000 on the clock, it should be fine. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks!
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Old 04-21-2016, 02:00 PM   #2
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Good luck! About 3 months ago I approached two importers of Mk1 insights from Japan. One or both were eBay based, with professional looking shops. Cars seemed to range from 4,000-6,000.
Neither shop replied to my enquiring email, when either business could probably have sold me a model then.
I know the missus would have been far less happy with it than what we ended up with, but I think they are beautiful, would loved to have owned one.
Have you found a rare manual - what colour...?!
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Old 04-21-2016, 02:14 PM   #3
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Yea Ive seen the Japanese imports, they are nearly all autos and are very expensive. The one I've seen is manual and in Aqua marine, which I may get wrapped to make it stand out if I go for it.

And there's over 135 Mk1 owners on here, but how many will see my information request and respond I wonder?
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Old 04-22-2016, 05:18 AM   #4
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I think the CVT is the preferred transmission type amoung the Japaness populace.

Be wary of the battery. The original Insight had Honda's poor battery management software; it would let the NiMH pack state of charge move too far out of the 40% to 80% for long life. The problem was worse with manuals, because they let the driver 'lug' the battery, to say. It returned great fuel economy at the expense of the battery.

Some owners have gone with daily charging of the pack from an outlet to maintain the Insight's battery life. Replacing bad modules in the pack also isn't rocket science, but you do need to be comfortable working around high voltage while the pack is in one piece.
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:07 AM   #5
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Battery is my big concern as I think it's original. Seller has stated "holds the charge ok" but a replacement is about 2000, would make any fuel savings pointless. It's hard to know just from driving/looking the condition of the battery.
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:11 AM   #6
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There was one for sale recently on Autotrader that looked like an absolute bargain. It had new batteries from Honda about 2 years ago. It's gone now though.

Would be on my wish list as well, only two seats though. But undeniably different and only about 200 left on the UK roads now.

Driven correctly, they are good for 80+ MPG. Having said that my old knackered 206 Diesel managed 76mpg.

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Old 04-22-2016, 09:10 AM   #7
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It will be my toy, a second car so practicality is not an issue. I spoke to the guy and he says it had a battery refurbishment a couple of years ago at a cost of about 600. That might be a bad thing, from what I can gather a replacement is better, a refurb just extends the life a little longer. Well I'm still going to check it out, despite the 6 hour round trip, like you say, 200 left in the UK, they never hang about long.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draigflag View Post
Battery is my big concern as I think it's original. Seller has stated "holds the charge ok" but a replacement is about 2000, would make any fuel savings pointless. It's hard to know just from driving/looking the condition of the battery.
You'd likely have to take it to Honda dealer to test the pack. If it was bad, you might not have to replace the entire pack. It should be pretty straight forward to remove the pack, disassemble it, and check the individual battery modules for the bad ones. It is just a job that takes time to do right.

Rebuilding a Hybrid Vehicle Battery Pack | Home Power Magazine
DIY Solutions to Honda Hybrid Battery Problems (Insight, Civic, IMA) - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:10 AM   #9
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Thanks for the link. Ok, I know what to check for tomorrow, now it's time to get some insurance quotes, that could be a deal breaker if it's too expensive, which it may be due to parts scarcity and it's rarity.
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:59 AM   #10
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I looked at an ex BP test model on eBay, it had big miles (around 200,000 I think) and no replacement /refurbished battery...dunno if it sold for 1,600, or reserve not met. Didn't fancy the gamble, it was 150 miles away. Seller all yes/no answers, no further info...a bluey green colour. If it had better history, I would have risked the wife's disapproval of such an old and small car (though like you Paul, I still think it looks like it's from the future!)
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