I don't own an Insight, but test drove one in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and was able to make the down shift indicator light driving up Irish Hill. I was up to 65 MPH in 5th gear when I hit the bottom of the hill. I kept it floored as I went up the hill. The electric assist meter was full on. Speed kept dropping. When I hit 54 MPH, the down shift indicator lit up. I down shifted to 4th. The electric assist meter backed off slightly, but the down shift indicator stayed lit and I was unable to accelerate. I down shifted to 3rd, the electric assist backed off a little more, the down shift indicator did not light up and I was able to accelerate back up to 65 MPH without flooring the gas pedal. Compare that to my '91 CRX HF, which in 3rd gear can maintain 60 to 65 MPH on this hill with the gas pedal floored and the air conditioner turned off.
[This report answers one of my most puzzling questions. It appears that the function of what Honda calls the Shift Down Indicator is not to tell you you should use a lower gear to accelerate (it doesn't light when you floor it in 5th gear at 1,000 rpm, for example), but to tell you the car can no longer maintain its current speed despite the best efforts of the powerful IMA motor--InsightMan.]
So far, I'm not convinced this is a good replacement for my aging CRX. The passenger weight limit and decreased cargo space are a big concern to me. Where am I going to put my 3 cases of beer, 2 cases of diet Mountain Dew, and couple bags of groceries?
[David, you're asking a very good question. Of course, there is NO replacement for the late and much lamented CRX. Have you considered using FedEx to carry the non-essential Dew and groceries? I'm thinking that Fed-Ex could be an option for getting all my vacation stuff to Nova Scotia while I drive the Insight through Canada (assuming the Canadian gas with MMT doesn't ruin my emissions control system, as per the MMT warning in the Owner's Manual)--InsightMan.]