I want the best MPG in a used car that I can get, but I don't want to sacrifice quality in a car to get it. When I briefly checked around on line for the best MPG (not exclusively hybrids), I found this site listing cars from 1989 to 2005:

http://www.autohopper.com/fuel_econo...as_mileage.asp

It lists the 2000 Honda Insight (manual) as getting the best MPG, period (61 city, 70 hwy). Not even the 2005 version of the Insight gets better.

After listing all years of the Honda Insight as the top MPG cars, ONLY THEN does it start listing other models like (in order) the Toyota Prius, then the Geo Metro, then the 1989 Honda Civic CRX, and HB VX ... after that is listed the Honda Civic Hybrid. BTW - there were a LOT of 1989 cars that were in the top 50 MPG ... 8 to be exact. Think about that ... in 16 years of cars, 1989, the OLDEST OF THOSE YEARS has more cars in the top 50 MPG than ANY OTHER YEAR AFTERWARDS ... what the hell is wrong with this picture? There should be NO 1989 cars in the top 50 MPG anymore ... so much for progress.

So, naturally, I've been checking into the Insight, looking for something used but still in decent shape ... willing to get an older model to save $$.

My concerns are other hidden costs / problems, not only with the Insight, but with any older model hybrid. If the Insight averages 10-20 MPG better than the HCH and Prius, why are so many people on this forum getting the HCH and Prius instead of the Insight? What is it you know about those cars or the Insight that I don't know that sways you away from choosing the Insight with the best MPG instead?

And if the 2000 model gets better MPG than the 2005 model, what's the hidden catch? I've heard rumor that the first generation of hybrids had a lot of problems. Were there other problems that had to be re-engineered and the trade-off was a slight sacrifice in the MPG? I'm sure a 2000 model costs significantly less than a 2005 model, but are there pitfalls beyond just the standard wear and tear of car mileage, like quality / design flaws, etc.?

Hell, from reading a bit around this forum, it seems like there isn't a consistent experience of MPG for very many hybrid models ... I see people talking of MPGs anywhere from 37 to 60+ for the HCH, although the Insight MPG experiences seem to be consistently higher than any other hybrid. Is hybrid MPG performance just random? What do you do ... just cross your fingers and hope for the best?

What major issues beyond the MPG would stop someone from simply getting the car with the best MPG?

What about finding parts and/or good mechanics that can fix problems with the newer technology? Do higher costs in those areas out-weigh the benefits of gas savings?

I really want to buy my first hybrid, but damn, I'm hesitant right now.