5k: Unlikely Fun: 2000 Honda Insight 5-spd Manual

A late model Japanese hybrid featured on Daily Turismo? Okay, okay, put away the pitchforks, we haven’t fallen asleep, gone mad or been bought out by a Malaysian Venture Capitalist firm.  This green hybrid is the “Mini Cooper” of Eco-friendly rides, sports a 6000 rpm magnesium block lean-burn engine, a 5-speed manual transmission, extruded aluminum monocoque construction and a sub-1900 lb curb weight.  Find this 2000 Honda Insight 5-spd for sale in Southbury, CT currently bidding on ebay for $4,619 with 2 days to go.

The Honda Insight was the first modern hybrid gasoline-electric vehicle to hit the US market, beating the Prius to the showroom by a few months.  The first true  gasoline-hybrid automobile, the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid, beat the Insight to market by 100 years but was never produced in any quantity.  Unfortunately the first generation Insight didn’t sell well and was decimated by the Prius in sales volume, probably due to its 2-seat capacity and odd-space-ship design…which is a shame because it is 10,000 times better a vehicle than the Pius and should be on any gearhead’s bucket-list to drive.

Insight on a bucket-list…are you mad?   A little…but…the Insight wasn’t designed to turn transportation into a mass-transit like experience, where the driver tries to take his mind off the task of commuting and makes virtual leaves on a tree turn green.  The original insight put a thick rimmed tri-spoke steering wheel, that looks like it came from the S2000, in front of a big digital tach/speedo and a classic snick-snick smooth Honda manual shifter. 

The Insight won’t do smoky burn-outs or win any Pinks All Out competitions, but its 1.0 liter inline-3 cylinder engine rated at 67 horsepower seamlessly combined via Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system with a 13 horsepower DC brushless electric motor/generator is enough to get the 1800 lb coupe from 0-60mph in 10.5 seconds. 

The front MacPherson strut and rear twist-beam axle, combined with a variable assist power steering system give the Insight a CRX feel when driving.  The combination of the light weight dexterity and 70 mpg highway/61 mph city ratings makes the Insight a much better replacement to the CRX than the current CRZ abomination that offers neither dexterity or fuel economy.  Want to go green? Save the green in your wallet by buying a 13 year old Insight.

See another hybrid that might actually be fun to run in an AutoX? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com