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Old 01-13-2011, 01:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Early Hybrid: Insight vs. Prius vs. Civic

I just got some terrible news from my insurance agent: The extra cost of insuring my 1991 Metro ( $250 a month for liability only) is more than I am saving on gas so I have decided to get rid of it. The truck is more practical if I am going to be paying the same money every month. (Plus, I have another Metro to play with for a while if gas prices do go up and the economic dynamic suddenly changes.)

I have not given up on owning a fuel-efficient pizza delivery car though. My latest thought is to get an early model hybrid car to deliver in instead. Now, I do prefer a manual transmission to an automatic or a CVT simply because I find a manual transmission car easier to drive. However, I don't want to buy something that is known to be an utter and complete piece of crap either. The car will see 95% city driving so it has to take more abuse than a highway commuter. I also figure that a manual transmission would be cheaper to rebuild than a CVT should the need arise. I admit I may be wrong though and am more than willing to listen to opinions from others who have lived with these cars. Please tell me about the good, the bad and the ugly of owning one of these cars. I'm all ears!

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(Note: the car sees 100% city driving and is EPA rated at 37 mpg city)
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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$250/mo OMG

I pay half of that per SIX MONTHS.

Perhaps it's time for you to shop for a new insurance company...
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you looked at the cost of buying a 1st gen Insight? I have and they are $4k+
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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honestabe -

Yeah, $4K+ sounds about right. I did some searching. I went to autotrader.com and did this :

- zip code = New Port Richey
- within = 200 miles
- Honda Insight
- Honda Civic
- from 1981 to 2007
- Engine = Hybrid
- Transmission = manual

I found 3 results, all 200+ miles away. Here is a Civic for $5K :

Cars for Sale: 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid in Miami, FL 33166: Sedan Details - 290923165 - AutoTrader.com

Jim-Bob -

Assuming this is in your price range, I would run the car past your insurer to see if it suffers similar cost-of-insurance pitfalls.

CarloSW2
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Frank -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
$250/mo OMG

I pay half of that per SIX MONTHS.

Perhaps it's time for you to shop for a new insurance company...
Maybe 20 years ago I paid $2500 per year, but that was at least full coverage.

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Old 01-13-2011, 03:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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honestabe -

I went and looked at Jim-Bob's background. He's got skillzz, so I suspect he would rebuild a (much cheaper) hybrid that has been totalled.

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Last edited by cfg83; 01-13-2011 at 03:43 AM..
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
$250/mo OMG

I pay half of that per SIX MONTHS.

Perhaps it's time for you to shop for a new insurance company...
Trust me, I tried that. I went to my agent as soon as I found the bill in the mail today but to no avail. I could write a book about it but basically I need a special kind of insurance to deliver pizza with. For my 1998 Frontier the cost is right around $1,000 a year. For the Metro it is $2500 a year. The only company that will insure me is Progressive and that is despite being 37, a homeowner with decent credit and having no tickets or claims for the last 6 years. Did I mention that I do not have comp or collision either? Florida is a terrible place to buy insurance of any kind because of the hurricane threat. Sadly, they spread the cost around even to their clients which have policies that are not exposed to weather-related claims.
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No green technology will ever make a substantive environmental impact until it is economically viable for most people to use it. This must be from a reduction in net cost of the new technology, not an increase in the cost of the old technology through taxation



(Note: the car sees 100% city driving and is EPA rated at 37 mpg city)
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Whoa. I have Progressive too. What a difference. Ya know, I delivered back in my college days... never told the ins. co. anything about delivering...
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New Port Richey, Florida
Posts: 167

Super-Metro! - '92 Geo Metro Base

$250 Pizza Delivery Car - '91 Geo Metro Base
Team Metro
90 day: 43.75 mpg (US)

Fronty the wonder truck - '98 Nissan Frontier XE
Thanks: 7
Thanked 19 Times in 12 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
honestabe -

Yeah, $4K+ sounds about right. I did some searching. I went to autotrader.com and did this :

- zip code = New Port Richey
- within = 200 miles
- Honda Insight
- Honda Civic
- from 1981 to 2007
- Engine = Hybrid
- Transmission = manual

I found 3 results, all 200+ miles away. Here is a Civic for $5K :

Cars for Sale: 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid in Miami, FL 33166: Sedan Details - 290923165 - AutoTrader.com

Jim-Bob -

Assuming this is in your price range, I would run the car past your insurer to see if it suffers similar cost-of-insurance pitfalls.

CarloSW2
Believe me, I will be running all my choices past my agent before I start shopping in earnest. Right now I need to sell off some of my other cars before I buy anything else. I am just starting the research phase right now and feel that the best way to do so with an older car is to ask people who own them and live with them every day. I don't mind a car if it tends to have problems with trim parts or a poor quality stereo. I can easily fix that. I am more worried about a tendency for issues with major components that are outside my ability to service them. I may have a welder, an air compressor and a shop press but my ability to service a CVT or electric assist motor are quite limited.

I also have a few non-hybrids in mind to consider like the B14 Sentra/200sx 1.6/5 speed and the 1995+ Metro if the insurance question pans out. The issue with the 1989-94 Metro is that it did extremely poorly in IIHS crash tests and is subject to high personal injury claims because of it. In a state like Florida which has very high insurance costs already this is exacerbated to ridiculous levels as I unfortunately found out. The hybrid cars I am thinking of tend to have lower insurance costs than my truck due to typically being owned by more careful drivers and their superior occupant protection.

I just don't want to get involved in a technically complex vehicle with expensive sub-systems that are not easily sourced from the U Pull It yards if these systems do not have a stellar reputation. That could easily turn a $2000 beater Insight into a $6,000 nightmare when I would have been better off just buying a better car to begin with. The nice thing about the Metro is just how simple all of the sub-assemblies are to source and rebuild. A transmission would run $175 to rebuild. An engine runs less than $1k, MUCH less. I can't necessarily rebuild a hybrid battery pack in my front yard and would be a little scared to attempt it due to the high voltages and amperage involved. That would mean needing to find a local mentor who would take me under their wing and teach me how to service these systems. Sadly I know of no one in my rather limited circle that messes with these cars. I tend to be the one others turn to with their issues and the others I know do not own hybrids. I can service a vintage Fiat if needed but a vintage Prius would be a whole new challenge to tackle.
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No green technology will ever make a substantive environmental impact until it is economically viable for most people to use it. This must be from a reduction in net cost of the new technology, not an increase in the cost of the old technology through taxation



(Note: the car sees 100% city driving and is EPA rated at 37 mpg city)
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: up north
Posts: 12,633

Blue - '93 Ford Tempo
Last 3: 27.29 mpg (US)

F150 - '94 Ford F150 XLT 4x4
90 day: 18.5 mpg (US)

Sport Coupe - '92 Ford Tempo GL
Last 3: 69.62 mpg (US)

ShWing! - '82 honda gold wing Interstate
90 day: 33.65 mpg (US)

Moon Unit - '98 Mercury Sable LX Wagon
90 day: 21.24 mpg (US)
Thanks: 1,550
Thanked 3,425 Times in 2,151 Posts
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