HCH to buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'Honda' started by irish2171, May 2, 2012.

  1. irish2171

    irish2171 Member

    So, actively considering dumping my Honda Ridgeline for a used hybrid and/or used 30+mpg (city) gas vehicle. I have pretty well narrowed options down to Prius, HCH, Hyundai Accent/Elantra. I really like the Prius, but the purchase price is a stretch for my taste. I have always been a fan of Honda, owned several, but have seen several posts about various issues with the HCH especially not getting the 40/45 mpg. Really starting to give serious consideration to the Hyundai options. Never been a fan, but they are starting to entice me.....great ratings, warranty, price. Looking for some advice from HCH owners on their personal thoughts.
  2. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    The HCH has an abnormally high battery failure rate. If this is a vehicle you plan to keep long term, I'd stay away unless its dirt cheap.
  3. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Any reasonably competent hypermiler should be able to beat the EPA in an HCH, assuming it's running properly*. The instances of it not achieving EPA are mostly either from battery problems or people who don't know how to drive it properly (the latter is also true with Priuses, and there are plenty of leadfeet who have similar trouble matching EPA).

    * HCHs have a LOT of problems with the battery packs, sometimes even on cars that aren't that old. If the pack isn't working properly it can really suck mpg down too with forced regens and recals. These problems have proven to be way, way too common, and Honda hasn't always been great in dealing with the problem. There are also a lot of stories of incompetent stealerships who don't know how to deal with these problems, creating nightmares for some owners. Then there is the Honda CVT, which has had more problems than it should. Despite my previous loyalties to Honda, I'd stay far away.

    Last year I probably would have bought a new Insight if not for the tsunami-induced shortage of them. In retrospect it's probably better that I didn't, even though it meant I ended up with a (less expensive) car that gets lower mpg.
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Irish:

    I am a Honda owner and enthusiast from way back. As you are reading here, battery pack problems should not occur on hybrids and when they do, it is a PIA. The Honda's are littered with failures so although they do provide more fuel economy on the highway than a Prius, I have to for the first time say publically skip the HCH until the next generation full hybrid arrives with a massively parallel Li-Ion pack that should finally last the life of the vehicle as Prius packs do.

    The regular non-hybrid 12 Civic with the stick when pushed is a fuel saving monster that can and will bury an HCH-II or –III and with IMA losing my trust :)ccry: :(), at least you know what I would be buying off a Honda lot if the prices were under MSRP by more than a few thousand $’s. As of this writing, there are other far better values in the compact segment from other manufacturers.

  5. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    It may not be too long until there is a 20Ah (5x original capacity) Li-Ion pack available for the Gen1 Insight. If will/has fit in the stock pack case too.:D
  6. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Who is manufacturing the pack for the insight diamondlarry? That could mean a Li-on pack could be made for our HCH as well. H
  7. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Larry, you have any links on that?.. 1st generation Insigths are precious.. I wonder how many remain in service in the US. I have never seen one on the road.
  8. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    There is such a pack in an Insight in the UK but it was hand built by the owner and requires some sophisticated interface electronics to make it work properly with the car's original control mechanisms. He has mentioned he might build another for someone for the right price but I doubt he'd do it for someone outside of the UK because he spoke of install and support after.

    You can find details over at InsightCentral.net if you search for PHEV Insight in the forums there.
  9. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Sean is correct. The gentleman in the UK has gotten together a group of a few people who are interested in doing a group build/install. This has only gotten started in the last week or so. He is using A123 cells.
  10. Bennett

    Bennett Well-Known Member

    I saw one today - it pops up on my commute semi-regularly so must be a local (bright red, stands out a mile amongst the regular SUVs and sedans in traffic). There is also at least a couple of new-gen Insights at my workplace and a few HCH's - as well as the obligatory smattering of Priuses.

    With regards to the original question - I'm fairly sure my pack isn't in the best condition, and at my first oil change I will ask the tech's to look it over (I have a dedicated Honda dealership/service place just down the road). I knew the HCH had some battery issues but wasn't sure how much was internet noise and how much was real issues. Naturally the penny dropped after I'd been driving the thing for a while :) In hindsight...I'm not sure what I would do. I had a limited budget but did want a hybrid. Wasn't keen on the Prius based purely on looks...inside and out...and of course they were more expensive. At the time there weren't any Insights around for sale (one pops up now and again - I would have probably found one had I waited).

    The advantages of the HCH over the Insight are few, but I like them over the areas where the HCH loses out.

    The other car I was interested in was the Altima Hybrid - more power, less mpg - but again few and far between.

    In hindsight I should have asked myself why there were so many used HCH's and few of the others :) I would like to have test-driven an Insight, but all in all...I might have ended up going with the HCH at the end of the day anyway.

    One new car that has captured my interest aside from the new Insight is the Prius C. Excellent entry-level price, similar to some used hybrid competitors! It would still have been a few grand more than "Zephy" was but at the least I'd have given it a test drive.
  11. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Wow, I guess all the original Insights have all migrated here. I see them quite regularly.

    Were you looking at new or used? I haven't noticed lately, but for a couple years I saw dealers frequently advertising them at around $19k. Yes, that's many thousands less than MSRP. I guess Nissan must have been providing massive incentives to the dealers.
  12. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Funny you should say that... Guess where mine came from? ;)
  13. some_other_dave

    some_other_dave Well-Known Member

    Not all. I usually average seeing two or three per week during my commute. There are also two that park near my building at work, and I often see several more parked here and there.

    The SF Bay Area still has quite a few of them. Sadly, I couldn't talk Da Wife into letting me get one last year.

  14. chilimac02

    chilimac02 Bible Professor & Minister

    I didn't catch whether he'd be doing mostly highway or city driving... that would make a big difference right since a prius kills in the city.
  15. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    hm there is a hchII 2006 "dealer serviced" for 7k with 200,000km on the odometer(private sale).. my gf needs a new first car and I would tell her to get this model in a heartbeat but if anything happens to the battery or any of the funky IMA wonkyness... I'm going to get it real bad :S

    alternatively there was a prius for 3500$ (private 190,000km) and found a guy in california that rebuild battery packs from 04-09 priuses and retrofit them back into the 2001-2003 models (1700$ for parts/service private garage).... wonder if that's a liable option?

    sadly the priuschat 2001-2003 prius section is no where to be found

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