I own two Honda Hybrids, a 2008 Civic purchased new in June 2008 and in March 2010 I purchased a new Insight.
The OEM tires on the Civic, Dunlops, we're replaced at 37,000 miles, almost bald. I deviated from the Dunlops with the wrong tires from Costco and my resultant mileage was reduced by 10 MPG. This was not a good idea. I located the OEM Dunlops at Sam's Club. After they arrived and were mounted I was able to return the Bridgestone, non-LRR tires, to Costco for a full refund.
At 20,000 miles, the 2010 Insight tires were almost to the wear indicators and were losing traction. These were the 175/65 R15 Dunlop OEM tires, same tire, one size smaller, as the Civic. I have read that most Insight owners share the same pathetic mileage results.
This negative attribute of the Hybrid true cost is further exacerbated by this additional expense to the true mileage cost after investing some $3000 to $5000 additional cost above the traditional gas vehicles.
I reviewed every on-line and printed article on tires in search of a solution for the Insight. Tire Rack provided an in-depth review of LRR tires using numerous Toyota Prius vehicles for their evaluation.
From this detailed review I decided to purchase Michelin Energy Saver AS tires. This is where I initially became depressed.
While Tire Rack provided extensive real-world research, they did not have the Michelin in the 175 size. Neither did Michelin.
I had resolved to then purchase the Bridgestone Ecopia, but the tire style recommended in the tire report did not exist for the Insight, the lesser Ecopia (more friction) Touring tire was available at Costco.
Fortunately for me at Costco, I mentioned to the tire representative my preference for the obviously non-available Michelin Energy Saver AS tire in my requested size. He then placed a phone call to their automated distribution center in South Carolina. He entered type and size information. Voila, the Michelins were ordered and are now installed on my 2010 Insight.
I am amazed at the quietness of the new tires, the major ride difference and the handling, especially now that we are experiencing rain in Memphis after a prolonged drought. The mileage may be a few miles per gallon shy of the almost bald Dunlop (virtually no friction) OEM tires, but I won't have a true picture until I purchase fuel in the next hundred miles. The on board computer readout indicates 43 MPG. The Insight is very consistent in my daily driving of actual 40-42 MPG, 30 miles highway and city.
Honda and Honda America should be held to a higher standard, but no they could care less. I am a Honda owner expert having purchased seven (7) brand new Honda vehicles since 1995. Three Accords, two CRVs and the two Hybrids.
Unless the technology advances drastically, I will not purchase another HYBRID vehicle.
Thank you for this
Thank you for this information. I just bought a new Insight and I had read a little about "difficulty getting tires" but didn't understand that there is a different type of tire required for the hybrids. Makes sense. Since there are so many more hybrids available maybe the tires will become easier to get. However if there is a size issue unique to the Insight, we may continue to have a problem because at least in my part of the country it's a rare vehicle where the Prius is super common. I expected there to be some quirks about this vehicle, hopefully I won't come to hate it! As far as the initial cost is concerned, I narrowed my choices to the new Subaru Impreza with 36 mpg, a two year old Prius (best I could afford) or the new Insight. The Insight was less expensive than a similarly equipped Impreza which has the quirk of burning a lot of oil according to the forums. My budget was the same whether hybrid or non hybrid. Cost of ownership may turn out different but I hope not too bad. Thanks for sharing your research!