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Cons and Compromises

Every car is a compromise. Everything negative aspect of the Insight is the result of a compromise to achieve the maximum fuel efficiency without sacrificing the comfort of the driver and passenger.

Aluminum is light, but delicate

Because the Insight's body is largely aluminum, I will have to be very careful not to park it where others can open their doors into it. I'd hate to see dings in those beautifully sculpted door panels. I don't believe any body shop could repair them; they would have to be replaced. Of course the aluminum body is one of the reasons the Insight is so light and fuel-efficient.

Mud flaps are not aerodynamic

The rear portions of the front wheel arches are tucked in to keep them from interfering with the air flow. This arrangement places these edges almost flush with the wheels, making them prone to collect road grime thrown up by the tires. Adding mud flaps would defeat the basic purpose of the Insight's slippery body so get used to washing the Insight when bad weather or muddy roads give the tires something to stick to the body. And never drive down a freshly tarred road in your Insight.

The Insight's not a heavyweight, you can't be one either

The sticker on the driver's door jamb confirms the 365-pound (170 kg) load limit stated in the the Owner's Manual. This limit doesn't refer to just the cargo weight; you and your passenger are part of  the equation, too. So if you're a 200 pound guy and your passenger is a 115 pound gal, you can carry only 50 pounds of cargo. I've joked to my wife that we'll have to find a double-ended toothbrush to put in our new Insight luggage: cheap, lightweight plastic garbage bags. But, hey, this is a commuter car, not a pickup truck.

You don't just drive an Insight right into an automatic car wash

Before you can take your Insight through an automatic car wash, you must first remove the antenna and the rear fender skirts. The antenna simply unscrews from its mount, but to remove the fender skirts you must use a screwdriver to unfasten the two Dzus fasteners holding each fender skirt in place. The Owner's Manual warns that the wheel brushes in an automatic car wash could damage the plastic fender skirts. This is one case where the Insight is more like an NSX than a Civic. You would always wash your NSX by hand wouldn't you? Don't forget your chamois.

The Insight's seats do not support horizontal activities

The location of the IMA battery and associated control electronics right behind the seats precludes tilting your seatback to any position near horizontal. This limitation will make it more difficult for the passenger to catch 40 winks, but it makes the ride safer because an upright passenger is less likely to slide under the seat belt in an accident.

Tires without equal

The Insight's 165x65 14-inch tires are unique. You'll have to buy the replacements from your Honda Dealer, or abandon the high-mileage tires for 175x65 14-inch tires. By the way, you're supposed to keep a pressure of 38 psi in the front tires, 35 psi in the rear tires, and 60 psi in the mini spare.

Rare Oil

The oil Honda specifies for the Insight has a viscosity of 0W-20. Yes, that's a zero at both ends. I have found this oil available in the Honda brand and only at my local Honda dealer. The Owner's Manual says you can use 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil if 0W-20 oil is not available.