Heavy storms again swept (and are sweeping again right now) the area. I was at work when the first wave of the evening hit. The wind roared, the rain poured, hail rattled, and tree leaves were torn and scattered … and therein was the problem. In our parking lot the storm drains became blocked by fresh, green, shredded leaves and the torrential rains backed up. The parking lot I had chosen earlier in the day flooded for the first time ever. I was lucky for I’d chosen high ground. Had I parked in my first choice of spots, I might be telling a less fortunate story. Someone else parked in the spot I might have taken and water lapped to within about two inches of their car doors’ lower edges! Due to a staffer’s heroic effort the storm drain was cleared and the waters subsided. Still, flooding, not wind damage, was the story around the area. I’m sure there will be many stories around the office tomorrow!
We'd parked in a far corner of Lehman's now huge lot. When we returned from visiting a nearby (completely spotless) pizza and ice cream store, our little Insight had been joined by a not-so-little pickup truck from out of state. Stunned by the comparison, I shot a cell phone camera image.
Northeastern Ohio winters can be a hard time for driving and I've been interested in seeing how the 2010 Honda Insight (now at 15,000+ miles) would handle it. Last week we had a cold spell with several days in the low teens and the temperature bottoming out at +8 degrees (F) one night. The Insight, sitting outdoors for about 12 hours, started right up sounding only a little annoyed at having to stir in the frigid morning air; I complained more than did the car. Despite the cold, the big hybrid battery provided plenty of juice and the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) started the gasoline motor –rrrrrRRRRRRRRRR– just as if it was 70 degrees. That morning I let the car warm for a few minutes before driving which doesn't help mileage (see below) but does benefit both car and driver.
Today we dealt with about five inches of overnight snow and +20-degree temperatures. Our development's drive was barely cleared as I left for the office in the morning and local streets were reduced to slushy tire tracks. The Insight had no trouble pulling itself up the hill and out into traffic. Yes, the roads were a bit slick –really bad in some places– but there was no problem starting or stopping; I was worried about the snow performance of the car's low rolling-resistance tires. ABS buzzed more than once, though not severely, helping abate skids. Electronic stability control kicked in a few times helping me accelerate in a straight line and I never felt the wheels spin when starting from a stop. I took the freeway to make up for time lost in slow, slow local post-holiday traffic. Average speed was about 45 MPH on a highway that had clear, wet tire tracks in lanes separated by piles of plowed slush. Changing lanes across the heavy glop was no problem at all and the car was in good smooth control at all times smashing through the messy barriers.
The only negative impact I've seen winter have on the Insight (besides salt and goop on the car) is a substantial drop in mileage. Operating lights, heat, window defoggers near full-time kept the gasoline motor running 'most all of the time. Mileage on the current tank appears to have "tanked" itself to about 44 MPG. I've been able to say the average fuel economy for my commutes has been about 50 MPG on a tank with my summertime high (no AC running, no lights, etc.) was just shy of 60 MPG. Now 44 MPG sounds bad to me but it's still about 10 MPG better than our Honda Civic averages and, considering the EPA's estimate is only 41 MPG (combined) and my worst performance overall is now 44 MPG, I guess I'll be happy.
Can't say I won't be happier when winter has passed and the snow and deep cold stay put in the arctic.
Noted in passing: Last evening as I was leaving a parking lot, there were three of us waiting to exit to the through road. On my left was a Toyota Prius. Ahead of me was a Honda Civic Hybrid. I was driving my 2010 Honda Insight. Three cars waiting, all of them hybrids. A sign of the times.
To my surprise and delight the 2010 Honda Insight today reached and maintained 55 MPG on its current tank of fuel, now after several days of regular driving. Normally I'm seeing about 52 MPG and 54 if I'm really good. The average mileage for this tank may shrink by the time we need to refuel –climbing the hills around here is killer– but I consider 54 MPG a milestone, so I'm recording it as much for myself as anything.
The day started out with us doing "car stuff" which included transferring title on the 2002 Honda to SWMBO, getting a new e-Check inspection for the car, transferring license plate registration. Then we set off for an afternoon of light shopping for necessaries. The sky was brooding and dripping and it was breezy most of the day so it was good weather for errands! While we were out and about and on a stop for decent broccoli, we spotted and parked behind one of the original Honda Insights –actually the second one we saw today– and I snapped a cell phone photo of the old and the new. I was never turned on by the design and "two-seatedness" of the original but it was definitely an original and got great mileage, even by today's hybrid standards.
By the way, according to the Wikipedia article: "The Insight earned an EPA fuel efficiency estimate of 70 miles per US gallon (3.4 L/100 km; 84 mpg-imp) in highway driving, 61 mpg-US (3.9 L/100 km; 73 mpg-imp) city." This week my 2010 was turning in a performance of ~50 MPG in real-world, mixed-type driving. I'm pretty happy with that and I like the practicality of added interior room and nifty exterior styling a whole lot better than the earlier model.
Still, cheers to you, owners of the red Insight and the silver one we saw on the road, and may you and your wheels enjoy many more miles in the years ahead!