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Mileage: 92,000 Miles
Exterior color: Silverstone Metallic Silver (NH-630M)
Interior: Grey / Black Cloth Interior
Engine: ECA1 1-Liter 3-Cylinder Motor
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission
Engine Block Heater
Honda Rear Speaker Kit (discontinued)
Sealed Front Grill (eco mod)
Completely Stock other than Stereo (original head unit is included)
62.5 Lifetime Miles Per Gallon
If you are looking for a cheap and fuel-efficient vehicle, the first-generation Honda Insight is NOT for you. Good luck with the search, but you are wasting your time here; please stop reading. The Insight is better than that. It deserves to be appreciated for how special it is. The Insight is for a connoisseur–a connoisseur of efficiency. It is for someone who understands how revolutionary it was when it was released and how amazing it still is. It is for an enthusiast of the art of efficiency.
Let’s start with a little history. By the late 1980s, Honda had perfected the formula of a fun-to-drive, efficient, and useful hatchback in the fourth generation Civic and its two-seater CRX sibling. Technology and design had evolved to the point where performance, economy, and reliability converged. Then the fifth generation Civic came out, and something revolutionary happened: The Civic VX was born. The VX achieved remarkable fuel economy, yet offered reasonable performance once the VTEC variable cam timing engaged. It was even equipped with air conditioning. Eco-VTEC and lean-burn tuning made the VX one of the most efficient cars of all time. It was capable of modern Prius-humbling gas mileage while still delivering smiles to the enthusiast-minded driver. If we all drove VXs, the world would be a better place–s eriously! The problem is that we didn’t, and that scared Honda. The VX was a success, but it should have been more popular. As a result, Honda decided to shift the focus of the efficiency and performance focused J-VX prototype to the ultra-efficient VV prototype that would eventually become the first-gen Insight. The VV set the stage for the Insight to achieve revolutionary levels of efficiency, and when it was released in 1999, it did.
Exactly how revolutionary was the Insight? Consider the following: It was the first mass-produced gasoline electric hybrid, beating the Prius to market by seven months. It was the only mass-produced Honda besides the NSX supercar to be constructed exclusively of an aluminum monocoque structure, making it one of the lightest cars of the modern era. It was one of only two mass-produced Hondas to have hand-built engines–the other was the NSX, both of which were assembled at the Suzuka plant. It had the lowest drag coefficient of any production car, boasting a Cd of .25. These innovations resulted in the highest fuel economy of a mass-produced gasoline vehicle (70 mpg highway on the pre-revised EPA cycle, 64 mpg on the current cycle), a title it retained for a decade and a half until last December. In a word, it was efficient.
In the Insight efficiency doesn’t mean boring (ahem–Pruis). Honda didn’t neglect the sporting focus of the J-VX entirely. It borrowed a few bits from another Honda produced at Suzuka–the S2000 roadster. The three-spoke sport steering wheel, the digital instrument cluster, the shifter, and even the Fuel Consumption Display (FCD) button resemble S2000 parts. Bolstered seats and a five-speed manual gearbox seal the deal—the Insight is downright sporty! But lots of cars are sporty; what makes the Insight remarkable is lightness. Formula 1 engineer and Lotus founder Colin Chapman famously lived by the ethos of “simplify, then add lightness.” Mr. Chapman would very much like the Insight; its designers were fanatical about weight reduction. They borrowed extensively from NSX production and built everything out of aluminum. Not only are the monocoque and structural body panels formed from aluminum, but so are the suspension, brakes, wheels, spare tire, and even the motor mounts. The engine is a mix of aluminum and magnesium, materials found more commonly in aerospace engineering. The lightweight suspension, brakes, and wheels reduce the unsprung weight (which is important for sportiness). The end result is a car that weighs less than 1900 pounds with the manual transmission. An added benefit of aluminum is rigidity. The Insight is nearly 40% more rigid than its steel Civic counterpart. Sporty, light, and rigid = Not boring!
Is the Insight fast? Absolutely not, but it’s not slow either. Its lightness means you do not have to slow down when heavier cars do. With only the slightest amount of driving talent, the Insight is capable of fantastic agility in the corners. Low rolling-resistance 14-inch tires allow easily accessible limits that produce sideways Prius-passing tomfoolery if you are so inclined. The lean-burn tuned, ECA1, 1-liter 3-cylinder engine produces 67 horsepower, but that is aided by a 13-horsepower electric motor Honda named Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). The effect is noticeable when it engages it feels like three psi of boost. The ECA1 engine is endowed with racecar internals like roller rocker arms and indexed spark plugs that when combined with ultra low viscosity 0W-20 oil produce respectable performance out of an engine with the capacity of a soda bottle. Tall gears of the five-speed transmission result in comically low RPM when you want maximum MPG, but rowing through the gears to redline produces smile-evoking fun when the mood strikes. The digital instrument cluster, real-time fuel consumption display, and charge/assist status display involve the driver in the efficiency process. Such displays have become commonplace in hybrids, but remember: The Insight was the first.
Get behind the wheel, and there is just something very special about the Insight. It is extremely rewarding to operate something at a high degree of efficiency. The pilot in me cannot ignore even the slightest unnecessary inefficiencies, while the motorsport competitor in me operates in a margin of a tenth of second. The Insight speaks to those values and rewards them with its capabilities. While the rest of the world lumbers along in their heavy, bloated, and inefficient automotive appliances, the Insight driver reaps the benefits of a fanatical approach to efficiency through an involved and visceral driving experience. Whether your motivation is environmental, economical, or like me, for no other reason than its revolutionary efficiency, driving an Insight is extremely satisfying. It is the enthusiast’s alternative to the Prius, the successive-generation Insight, or any other non-performance focused hybrid.
I am selling this 2000 Honda Insight on consignment for a friend and fellow Insight enthusiast. He owned a Honda performance shop before pursuing a new career at a racing performance shop out of state. Before leaving, he went through the car thoroughly, correcting any maintenance issues using only OEM parts. Overall, it is in excellent shape. Most Insights were used and abused, and then discarded. This one has obviously been well cared for and preserved. It was originally purchased on September 30, 2000, from Honda of Casper (WY) and has spent its entire life in Wyoming, Texas, and Colorado (dry Western states). The Carfax shows regular inspections, maintenance, and oil changes. On March 2, 2001, the Carfax report shows a front impact with another car, when it was only six months old. The airbags did not deploy and no structural damage was reported. Only the front bumper cover was replaced indicating a low-speed incident. The monocoque (frame) is straight, the hood and fenders are original, and all VIN tags are in place. Based on the physical and historical evidence, it was a minor event. The Carfax also shows a mileage discrepancy, but it was clearly a clerical error (someone entered it wrong in an inspection). The mileage before and after, along with the overall mileage, are consistently logged on the Carfax. Overall, the car is great shape, has been well cared for, and is nearly completely stock.
The seller has over a decade of experience repairing and building competitive Hondas. He went through the Insight updating all preventative maintenance and addressing any potential issues using only genuine Honda parts and fluids. All fluids have been changed: coolant, engine oil, fuel injector cleaner, and transmission oil. This Insight also received a new air filter, new PCV valve, and new front brake pads. The seller also corrected the wet seatbelt syndrome (a common issue) and replaced the 12-volt battery. There is no second-gear crunch (another common issue). The ECA1 engine runs excellently and pulls strong. The IMA engages when commanded. The 144-volt battery charges and discharges correctly and does not show any codes. From what we can tell, the batteries are original, but they are functioning at full capacity. There are no fluid leaks. The clutch engagement is correct and the shifting is spot on. BMW could learn from Honda in the shifting department (that said from an M-car owner). The steering is wonderfully direct; the alignment is straight. There are no driveline or wheel bearing vibrations. The 14” wheels are wearing Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires with more than 80% tread remaining.
Silverstone Metallic is the best Insight color. It is well suited to the design lines and presents fantastically even when dirty. The paint condition and clear coat are in good condition with no major chips, peeling, or clear coat lifting. The aluminum and plastic body panels are free of obvious dents or door dings. I am highly critical of our cars. I have photographed it in sunlight and shade to show the condition thoroughly. Overall, this Insight is in great shape, but it does have a few imperfections consistent with age and mileage. The right quarter of the front bumper cover has a few minor scratches. The front splitter also has a few scuffs on the lower edge. The left rear wheel skirt has a small scuff that extends slightly into the rear bumper cover. The right rear wheel skirt tabs are slightly misaligned, but this is an easy fix. The front bumper cover and hood have slight pitting, but far less than most Colorado cars of this age and mileage. The black trim is all intact and minimally faded for a Colorado car. The windshield has no cracks, and the side window tint and glass is in great shape. The wheels have slight curb rash, but are straight with no bends or glaring defects in the finish.
The shared S2000 interior bits in the Insight contribute to the sporting theme, but sitting inside the Insight reminds me more of being in a CRX. The interior condition is consistent with the exterior, presenting like a much younger car. There are no rips, tears, or odors. It has never been smoked in. The carpet has some wear, but there are no tears or stains. Factory carpeted floor mats are present and in good shape. The two-tone black and gray seats are in great shape with no bolster wear. The dashboard and console are likewise in great shape. The digital instrument cluster has no blown-out pixels. The leather steering wheel, shifter, and shift boot are in excellent shape. All buttons and functions work correctly. The heat blows warm; the AC blows cold. There is an aftermarket Kenwood stereo, but the factory head unit is included. The rear carpet and storage areas are in great shape. The chrome finish on the driver’s side door handle is peeling (a common issue), but it is presentable.
Clean first-gen Honda Insights are getting hard to find. They have been overlooked and are underappreciated by those not in the know. Like the Civic VX, if we all drove Insights, the world would be a better place. This one is clean and well maintained. I’ve tried to describe it with a thorough background and condition evaluation. We would like to find it a home where it will be cared for and appreciated for exactly what it is—one the most revolutionary and efficient cars of a generation.