Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I Bought a Car on eBay: Week 1

Well, my high enthusiasm is a little tempered this week after having spent more time in the little car driving about 600 miles. Oh, it's still awesome, but it's not prefect.

No cruise control is not fun. I knew that none of these cars came with cruise control, however, it has been years, 2006 to be exact, since I did any sort of mileage in a car without cruise control. However the software is configured there does not seem to be immediate response when I step on the pedals. Since this is a CVT, continuously variable transmission, there are basically two levers to pull when it comes to vehicle performance, the gear ratio on the CVT and the RPMs on the engine. Plus, there is the third level of the electric assist motor, and you definitely feel those 10 kW when they turn on. With most transmissions you have the option of RPMS on the engine and four to seven gears in a transmission, although with an automatic you really don't get the choice of which gear. One method is to keep the engine RPMs constant and simply vary the CVT. This typically results in the best fuel mileage, and I think that Honda's software goes this route, at least most of the time when I am not in sport mode. The challenge is when accelerating on the highway to pass a vehicle or after a slowdown for traffic, there is no increase in engine RPMs, and I have to keep pressing the pedal to get some response of increase in speed. In short, this is one area that either I have to learn how to drive better, or perhaps there is a software update to make the whole system more responsive in real time.

Speaking of software. There is a nifty feature called autostop. Other manufactures like BMW and Ford have a similar start-stop feature. It's just under the tachometer, and blinks when the engine is not running. Unfortunately, this only happens when the brake pedal is mostly depressed and I am going under four miles per hour or less. Comparing this to my parents 2014 Prius C whose engine doesn't even turn on until a certain speed when you start, and routinely turns off at higher speeds while slowing down, it feels like I am in the stone age. However, I suppose that because this is older technology, and it has a smaller battery
The Gasoline - Electric Spectrum
The chart describes the various categories. It's not the 100 year ago battle of electric vs. gas. Gas clearly won, but electric is slowly taking market share with a diversity of options.

As for the rest of the car, there are actually little tears on the seats. The car is not the most clean in the world, although my own van would rate even more dirty on the inside. There may be an issue with the valves or timing on the engine. Probably not, it's probably just not having much cabin insulation and having a little three cylinder engine that goes up to 5000 RPMs sometimes, that leads to some unexpected noises.

The gas mileage is not 60+ mpg in normal driving. At least not in the winter. On the 208 mile drive from my apartment to my parents I averaged 52.1 mpg on the drive there, and 46.9 mpg on the drive back, going into a 10-20 mph wind. The car has averaged 50.7 mpg over it's lifetime, and I do hear that mileage is better in the summer than the winter due to heating and not using the auto-stop feature very often in cold weather. I think because the mileage is there for you to view we simply notice the effects of driving with the wind or into the wind more than without a computer on the car tracking our mileage. The funny side is, the 10 gallon tank on the Insight can go about 500 miles, but the 17 gallon tank on my Previa can only get about 400 miles.

It's interesting, we shall continue to see how it progresses. As a side note, I did get collision insurance, and I just realized that for the last four years I have been driving my van with only liability, had an accident happened, the van would be totaled.


  1. Hey, congrats at your new car. I hope it must be doing good!!

  2. Congrats and thanks for sharing you happiness and experience with us.
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