Thread: HCH1 Ecomodding
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Old 03-06-2016, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
Ecky
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 3,462

Gaptooth (retired) - '00 Honda Insight
Team Honda
Gen-1 Insights
90 day: 54.26 mpg (US)

Such Fit - '07 Honda Fit Sport
90 day: 41.27 mpg (US)

Connect - '15 Ford Transit Connect XL
90 day: 23.61 mpg (US)

K-sight - '00 Honda K-sight
90 day: 41.38 mpg (US)
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My impressions:

Driving the HCH1 feels like driving a barge when compared with the Insight. It weighs almost 50% more (2732lbs vs 1878lbs), and the inferior power steering implementation does NOT help. The steering feels fine at low speeds, but once above ~20mph the amount of assist delivered is reduced, resulting in very heavy steering. Power output is 93HP @ 5700RPM and 87ftlbs @ 1500RPM, compared with 73HP @ 5700RPM and 91ftlbs @ 2000RPM in the Insight. It doesn't feel slow, however, and whatever the difference in torque curve is on the two cars results in the Civic needing far less downshifting to climb hills, despite having an inferior power to weight ratio. It's very easy to keep the car below 2000RPM even when climbing fairly steep hills.

I think I like the transmission better in the HCH1 though. Shifting is smoother, and the gearbox feels more "solid", less "tinny". Both have similar RPM in 5th gear - something like 2000RPM at 65mph, which is very attractive. The Insight's gearbox has a lot of space between gears 1, 2 and 3, and 3, 4 and 5 are much closer together; They're nearly linear in the HCH1.

Sound insulation is much better, and the low Cd (0.28 stock) contributes to very quiet highway cruising. The Insight is not loud by any means, but the aluminum chassis seems to transmit more sound.

The HCH1 coasts extremely well, a result of its low drag and relatively high weight, and has a neat trick when coasting in neutral - when rolling in neutral, the hybrid battery begins charging with 4 bars of regen after a few seconds. My reading suggests that when coasting in gear, it closes the valves in the engine, and the IMA can soak up more power, overall resulting in it being easier to keep the hybrid battery up.

My initial impression of the seats is more positive than of the Insight's, though they're still not great.

I can't decide if I prefer the digital readout and buttons in the Insight, or the traditional dials and knobs in the HCH1. Both are attractive to me.

The HCH1 has cruise control from the factory, and it works better than the Rostra system I installed in my Insight.

The factory speakers are not nearly as awful as the Insight's, though I've significantly upgraded the sound in my G1, resulting in the Civic having an inferior sound system.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the car. I'm willing to bet I can hit 70mpg or more when cruising at 50mph once the weather warms up and I get LRR tires on it.
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