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Do you live in an area with hills? I'm about to test drive an Insight Touring for a possible spring purchase but I live 6 miles from work in Chicago-land so no hills here. I need to floor it or get on the highway or something to hear the engine noise for myself. Although now I'm researching the Kona Electric too but a pure EV makes me nervous although I probably wouldn't hit it's limit but three times a year and I could take the wife's car then.
 

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Do you live in an area with hills? I'm about to test drive an Insight Touring for a possible spring purchase but I live 6 miles from work in Chicago-land so no hills here. I need to floor it or get on the highway or something to hear the engine noise for myself. Although now I'm researching the Kona Electric too but a pure EV makes me nervous although I probably wouldn't hit it's limit but three times a year and I could take the wife's car then.
No hills at all in my area ( I live in Tampa, FL, everything is flat here haha) but I’ve read that when using the Insight on a hill it struggles to pick up (using the sport mode should help with this)
 

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want to take a friday pause to thank all on this thread for your helpful suggestions. i'm still fiddling with different driving modes in the hills around san diego and eager to try some of the tips i found here. my wife is really apprehensive about taking the new insight on our semi annual trip to visit arizona relatives due to our previous and similar issues with her 2006 prius in the mountains east of us. i may take our new insight out on a test run in sport mode before we make the longer haul. have a good weekend all, and happy driving.
 

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want to take a friday pause to thank all on this thread for your helpful suggestions. i'm still fiddling with different driving modes in the hills around san diego and eager to try some of the tips i found here. my wife is really apprehensive about taking the new insight on our semi annual trip to visit arizona relatives due to our previous and similar issues with her 2006 prius in the mountains east of us. i may take our new insight out on a test run in sport mode before we make the longer haul. have a good weekend all, and happy driving.
Rest assured the Insight can handle that trip! We recently drove from Minnesota to Palm Desert using a northern Arizona route and back through southern Arizona and New Mexico. Stops included the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, etc. The Insight handled it all well, including snow in several places. I found that switching ECO off in the mountains was as effective as using Sport.
 

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The secret here is to get to the hill with significant battery. When I know there is a big hill coming, I'll put it in sport mode well ahead of time. Sport mode likes to keep battery in reserve, so that will help in building ahead of time. The squirrels only start screaming when the battery gets to 3 bars or below, or if you really push it going uphill.
This!

I also had this same sinking feeling my first couple of times driving up the hills on I-84 going into CT in "Econ Mode". I had to back off the gas, or risk damaging a new engine. Then I eventually discovered how to build up "battery reserve". There are times you need it, and knowing the roadway ahead of time, so you can change modes and prepare ahead of time, can save you MPG while providing power when you need it. What goes up, comes down, so you get the energy back...along with the MPG. If I know I have finished all the challenging hill climbing, and I have built up a full battery charge, it's really cool to run out the battery charge going down hill at highway speed for miles and miles in Electric Vehicle (EV) Mode. I love it when I am cruising in EV Mode. But Normal Mode in the valley with small hills gives me enough power, along with good MPG.

Honda might want to stress the "use Sport Mode in hills" situation so people don't strain the combustion engine right off the lot. We all like to see how much MPG we can save, but saving the engine is far more important. Besides, you get the MPG back going down hill.

Phil
 

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This!

I also had this same sinking feeling my first couple of times driving up the hills on I-84 going into CT in "Econ Mode". I had to back off the gas, or risk damaging a new engine. Then I eventually discovered how to build up "battery reserve". There are times you need it, and knowing the roadway ahead of time, so you can change modes and prepare ahead of time, can save you MPG while providing power when you need it. What goes up, comes down, so you get the energy back...along with the MPG. If I know I have finished all the challenging hill climbing, and I have built up a full battery charge, it's really cool to run out the battery charge going down hill at highway speed for miles and miles in Electric Vehicle (EV) Mode. I love it when I am cruising in EV Mode. But Normal Mode in the valley with small hills gives me enough power, along with good MPG.

Honda might want to stress the "use Sport Mode in hills" situation so people don't strain the combustion engine right off the lot. We all like to see how much MPG we can save, but saving the engine is far more important. Besides, you get the MPG back going down hill.

Phil
All that talk about damaging the engine is pretty disconcerting. I started this thread by talking about climbing really steep and long hills. It seems like most of the talk here is from people who have to climb a gentle East Coast hill for a mile. Then the sport mode trick sounds sensible, but what can you do when you have to climb 4,000 feet over 20 miles? Is the ICE really at risk?
 

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All that talk about damaging the engine is pretty disconcerting. I started this thread by talking about climbing really steep and long hills. It seems like most of the talk here is from people who have to climb a gentle East Coast hill for a mile. Then the sport mode trick sounds sensible, but what can you do when you have to climb 4,000 feet over 20 miles? Is the ICE really at risk?
I think the engine use will reflect in your oil life numbers, which will suggest oil change earlier. I don't think the gas engine is at risk; it's there to be used. Rather, the increased use will mean less oil life than the "average" driver would expect.
 

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All that talk about damaging the engine is pretty disconcerting. I started this thread by talking about climbing really steep and long hills. It seems like most of the talk here is from people who have to climb a gentle East Coast hill for a mile. Then the sport mode trick sounds sensible, but what can you do when you have to climb 4,000 feet over 20 miles? Is the ICE really at risk?
Have you tried Sport Mode yet?

Phil
 

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Back to the Engine Noise

I have experimented a little, and while it may depend on specific conditions, I have found the engine noise which most often comes under heavy load and/or climbing hills is most objectionable in ECON mode, but recently drove under such conditions in NORMAL mode and the noise was very much less offensive. Try it out to see what your experience is.
 

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I have experimented a little, and while it may depend on specific conditions, I have found the engine noise which most often comes under heavy load and/or climbing hills is most objectionable in ECON mode, but recently drove under such conditions in NORMAL mode and the noise was very much less offensive. Try it out to see what your experience is.
My experience is that the engine noise is pretty much the same in ECON or Normal. The difference for me is that in ECON more pressure is needed on the throttle then with Normal.

Here on the Oregon coast there are allot of "small" hills, ranging from a few blocks to about 2 miles. As above I do what I can to build up the battery prior to the hill. Lately I've been pushing the EV button to prevent the engine from operating near the top of the hill. I try to time it such that EV cancels at or near the top. I then use engine operation plus the downgrade to recharge. I get mpg boost going up hill, instead of high engine rpm going up the hill, which would be using lots of gasoline.

There is a Coast Range of mountains between the coast and the Willamette Valley. Have crossed it x4 on the 2 lane highway. No excessive engine noise or extreme rpm. (Honda originally was a builder of light weight motorcycles, vehicles known for high rpm.) On the very steep hills I'll use the slow lane and maintain 45-55 mph. Cruise at or near 60 mph on the flats. Getting mpg's in the mid to upper 40's on the highways, and crossing the Coast Range (mpg is really really good going downhill :) ).

Finally my EX is an exceptionally quiet car! Some of the noise concern could be the result of just getting used to all that quiet, and having it disturbed by a volume of noise that would be considered normal in other cars?
 

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Rest assured the Insight can handle that trip! We recently drove from Minnesota to Palm Desert using a northern Arizona route and back through southern Arizona and New Mexico. Stops included the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, etc. The Insight handled it all well, including snow in several places. I found that switching ECO off in the mountains was as effective as using Sport.
I used to live in AZ and I LOVE going to Flagstaff and Payson from Phoenix. Those hills are challenging as well, you start out at about 1,200 feet and end up at about 8,000 feet just outside of Payson, and around 7,000 feet in Flagstaff.. I never had the chance to drive my Insight as I live in Florida now (went from one armpit to the other).. What I did drive however was a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. Going up the hills was not a problem even with cruise control (did have to shift to "S") to keep the speed up but still had reserve to speed up even on the steepest hills, the engine only put out 98 HP and the hybrid system did NOTHING to help the hills. That being said, the little engine cranked up to almost 6,000 RPM's but did not one time give out on me or worry me. Now coming down the hills - it was a different story.. The engine was designed to close off the valves to limit drag when coasting or decelerating.. Once the battery was full, there was no more real engine braking to speak of and you had to brake to keep the car from running away..

I believe that you have a point on switching to normal mode during the uphill portions of the drive to keep the battery at a higher charge state.. What I am curious about though is the latter - going downhill. What happens when the battery is at a high state of charge and you have a steep, long grade to go down? Is there enough engine braking to keep you from having to use the brakes (I assume this would be done with the paddle shifters)??
 

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Have only had my Insight for the last month. Not sure what others experience is but for myself, when driving on the highway the vehicle drives better and gets better milage. Does better on hills also....... The drone from the engine is far less pronounced.
 

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I have experimented a little, and while it may depend on specific conditions, I have found the engine noise which most often comes under heavy load and/or climbing hills is most objectionable in ECON mode, but recently drove under such conditions in NORMAL mode and the noise was very much less offensive. Try it out to see what your experience is.
I normally drive in Econ mode, but tried Normal mode at Jc_vt and Mr. Natural's mentions. Driving the same route/terrain to compare the modes, I agree that the engine seems to struggle less while in Normal mode.
 

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Have only had my Insight for the last month. Not sure what others experience is but for myself, when driving on the highway the vehicle drives better and gets better milage. Does better on hills also....... The drone from the engine is far less pronounced.
I've also found my mpg improves on highway - depending on speed! If I keep it within the 60 mph range, I can get at or above the 49 mpg highway EPA rating. Pushing speed to 70+ I can see in the 'immediate mpg' gauge and average mpg total the loss in fuel efficiency.

Hills are still tough going at city speeds though, unless I anticipate them with momentum built up by accelerating before the hill, OR unless I switch to Sport mode. Do you do most of your hill-driving in city or highway conditions?
 

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....I believe that you have a point on switching to normal mode during the uphill portions of the drive to keep the battery at a higher charge state.. What I am curious about though is the latter - going downhill. What happens when the battery is at a high state of charge and you have a steep, long grade to go down? Is there enough engine braking to keep you from having to use the brakes (I assume this would be done with the paddle shifters)??
For me the difference between Normal and Sport modes, is that in Sport throttle travel is much less, and I have to ease off more, to avoid accelerating faster then I'd like, for top mpg (i.e. on flat terrain). The other difference is that Sport will charge up the battery to a higher state of charge (SOC) then Normal before turning off the engine, prior to the system automatically bleeding off the SOC (from say 7 bars to 4-5) while maintaining a steady speed with the green EV icon lite up.


Good question regarding downhills, what happens when the battery is fully charged and the car is trying to charge it further (due to braking or gravity push from a down grade(? I don't know the answer. I've been in that situation only once and it was for just a few seconds (coming down the West slope of the Coast Range). What happened, was that the engine was off, I was near the bottom of a long steep downgrade at about 62 mph approaching a "slow to 40" right turn. I tapped the brakes and as I slowed the engine came on. I took the corner at 50 mph, tapped the throttle coming out of the corner. EV green icon came on and I accelerated to 60 mph. Followed by a long period of battery only operation at around 60 mph. = top mpg to balance out all the gas and rpm used to climb the East slope.


PS I once rented a car in Phoenix to go to Sadona. They love to drive fast in AZ.!! (except on the 2 lane road). Anything under 80 makes you a slow poke !
 

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If I drive a 1/2 mile trip at or under 20 MPH would I just be using the electric power? No heat or A/C used and temperature is over 55.
 

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If I drive a 1/2 mile trip at or under 20 MPH would I just be using the electric power? No heat or A/C used and temperature is over 55.
Your answer is "it depends." If you have a ton of battery reserve and you never exceed the lower half of the blue power band, you might make it. Your odds are much greater if the engine is already warm. You'll need to take your time getting up to speed in any event. If there's a hill involved, your odds go down dramatically. If the engine is already warm, sufficient battery reserve exists, you select EV mode and keep the power meter in the blue, you will likely make it unless there's a mountain in front of you.
 
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