Love At First Insight

3/27/2000 6:23:17 AM

Not many people would agree to buy a car they had only seen in pictures, but Kathy Callison did.

"I heard about the Insight for the first time on National Public Radio," said Callison, a water resources program manager for the city of Tumwater, Wash. "I was intrigued by the hybrid concept, and went to my local Honda dealership to ask them about it."

Capitol City Honda in Olympia, Wash., was able to provide Callison with a brochure and technical information on the vehicle. It was all she needed to place her order for a new, silver Insight last September.

"I made a commitment to buy the Insight, based on its technology, look and Honda's reputation as a company," Callison said. "The Insight gave me a reason to buy a new vehicle, because it's unique. Most cars on the market today seem the same, but the Insight stood out from the pack."

Although Callison's commute to work is only two miles, she looked forward to reducing trips to the gas station as much as possible.

"I find frequent visits to the gas station to be tiresome and inconvenient," said Callison. "My first trip to fill up my Insight gas tank was after I had driven 500 miles!"

Being the first to own a Honda Insight in Tumwater and one of the first in the U.S., Callison draws a lot of attention.

"One guy gave me the thumbs up sign when I was driving in Seattle," said Callison with a laugh. "People are really interested in the technology and often ask about the car's power and recharging needs. I tell them that you can't plug it in and it has plenty of power, and they are just as impressed as I was."

Callison, a baby boomer, has always been concerned about the environment, but she also likes to have fun and driving an Insight addresses both concerns.

"I think people should know that the real benefits of driving an Insight go beyond being easier on the environment," said Callison. "The Insight has a comfortable, smooth and peppy ride. The way the two types of power work together is seamless; you never feel a difference when the electric assist kicks in, it feels like a regular gasoline car."

Even though Callison never took a test drive, or saw it up close, she was confident that the Honda Insight was the new car she had been waiting for.

"I love it," Callison exclaimed.