February 17, 2009

The Insight

In 2002 Melissa & I bought our first new car, a Honda Insight. The little two-seater hatchback has a hybrid 3-cylinder gas/electric engine. The funny aerodynamic shape has the lowest coefficient of drag of any production car available in the U.S. (at least at the time of its introduction, and possibly still). It also has the lowest emissions and best fuel economy of any car, then or now. This thing is great. I would say that it was ahead of its time, but I think it would be more accurate to say all other cars are behind their time.

Buying Iris

Melissa named her car Iris, after her favorite flower. It was originally our second car, so the lack of a back seat wasn't a problem. When we moved to Nicaragua we got rid of my Civic and since we've been back in the U.S. we have only the Insight.

Melissa with Iris

There have been a couple of times were it would have been nice to have a back seat (e.g. picking up people from the airport), but we've always managed to get by.

As you may or may not already know, Melissa & I are expecting a baby Ragfield this summer, so the lack of a back seat in our only car isn't going to work for much longer. That's why we've decided to sell our beloved Iris and replace her (probably with a much more luxurious, yet fuel-economy-inferior Toyota Prius). We test drove a Prius on Valentine's Day... it was very nice.

So I've decided to pay tribute to Iris, who has been like a member of the family the past seven years...

Iris in the Smokies
Iris in the Smoky mountains

Iris packed for vacation
I still don't know how we were able to fit all of our clothes, food, camping gear, and two bicycles completely within the tiny car.

Rob a little cramped in a very full Iris
Okay, so it may have been a little cramped in there

Iris packed up to move
Here she is packed up to move out of our old house

Iris with Christmas tree
Here she is with a Christmas tree

Iris with skis
and skis

Good fuel economy
We've had good fuel economy

Not as good fuel economy
and terrible fuel economy

That's a pretty accurate range of the real world fuel economy we saw with Iris. In the summer it would regularly be in the high 50's to low 60's. In the winter it would regularly be in the mid-40's. The seven year average is just over 50 miles per gallon. In the summer of 2004, when I was bicycling nearly everywhere and Melissa was in Nicaragua, I spent around $20 on gas the entire summer.

One of the great things about this car is the instantaneous fuel economy gauge (the Prius has this too) that shows you exactly how good the gas mileage is at any given time. This has helped me learn how to drive to best conserve fuel. Surprise, surprise, the most important thing to do is slow down. But it's a little more complicated than that. It takes a light touch to get it just right. You have to connect with the car and feel how it reacts to the slightest changes.

Even with all the things we love about this car, she's not perfect. I found her lack of cruise control frustrating at times, but I made due. How does a car produced in this millennium not have cruise control? Also, the gas tank is on the wrong (right) side of the car (now I'm just nitpicking, but seriously, all gas tanks should be on the left/driver side of the car). Fortunately, the Prius remedies both of these shortcomings.

We'd love for Iris to go to a good home, so if any of you are even the slightest bit interested in buying her, let us know soon.

Iris at night
Good night


Melissa said...

Very nice tribute to Iris.

I would love to see her go to family/friends. The thought of getting rid of her is very hard for me :(

gutzville said...

The next gen PHEV prius is supposed to be out next year...
probably not going to work out for baby ragfield though. Or... you could keep the insight and convert it to phev50. Anyway, last road trip?

Anonymous said...

ohhhhhh, your beautiful tribute to IRIS, brought tears to my eyes!!! Iris, has certainly always been there and took you both many, many miles( even without cruise control)!!!!!!!! Since , you have such a nice big garage, I vote for keeping IRIS, tucked inside, for those SIDE trips that only you might take, which INCLUDE a BIKE ( or maybe 2 bikes) and maybe short trips around town . Those that might include a place to put things that a BACK PACK might not haul!!!!! Maybe , for sentimental reasons, keep it, and someday, BABY RAGFIELD , can drive it!!!-:) Hopefully the next vehicle will hold many fond memories as it travels the highways with all of you!!!!! hugs, nan

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful Iris story ... but i can NOT stand the thought of you selling her ... my favorite sister has a wonderful idea about keeping her. Just consider her one more 'little' toy in Fig's toybox!!!
hugs, auntie

Melissa said...

FYI people, keeping Iris is not an option (unless Rob is willing to sell about 7 bikes). Our garage is not "nice and big." Besides, it would be kind of ridiculous for Rob and me to have 2 cars.

amypfan said...

I will chime in and say that Iris was nothing but wonderful during the year she lived with us while you were in Nicaragua. Very, very good car, still has us itching for a hybrid of our own. We'd take her in a second if it wasn't for the two kiddos and carseats of our own. Unfortuately, I don't see a "new to us" car any time in our near future, and when we eventually get one, I fear it will be of the mini-van variety (shudder).