2007 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Honda Fit: Wrap-Up

July 21, 2008

555 fit for a dog 2.jpg

The Fit is GOne.

After an extended tour of duty with our team ? 18 months ? we bid farewell to our 2007 Honda Fit Sport.

Has Honda's cheapest car tarnished the company's sterling reputation? Did we tire of the compromises (were there any?) required of a car that will get more than 30 mpg? In real-world conditions with real drivers, is the Honda Fit GO for the American market (as Honda's advertising claims)?

Why We Bought It
Honda recently found itself in a very awkward position. It was, for the first time in its history, without a small car for the American market, a segment it helped define with the introduction of the Civic in 1972. Year after year, car after car; bigger was better where the Civic has been concerned. More safety, more gadgets, more storage space, more, more, more. The current Civic is bigger than Accords of only a few years ago. Accords are bigger than an old BMW 5 Series, and the Pilot is now roughly the size of Rhode Island.

Honda had been studying the market for entry-level cars for some time, but only when Scion demonstrated that the market was bigger than anticipated did Honda finally make a move. Honda certified its small car already doing duty in Japan as the Fit and in Europe as the Jazz. (A sedan version known as the City is also available in Japan.)

When the Honda Fit appeared in the U.S. market in mid-2006, Honda hoped to sell 25,000 or so. Then gas began to rise toward $4 per gallon, and Fit sales took off as Americans sought out fuel-efficient vehicles. For the 2008 model year, Fit sales reached 85,000. Just as you'd expect from a Honda, the Fit is small, light, nimble, remarkably spacious, fuel-efficient and quirky enough in appearance to counter the frumpy-and-frugal image that hatchbacks have acquired here in the States.

We figured the Honda Fit would fill the gap in Honda's lineup left by the gentrification of the Civic and give Honda a solid entry to compete with the new breed of inexpensive fuel misers like the Chevy Aveo, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris.

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2007 Honda Fit: Fit for a Dog

July 14, 2008

555 fit for a dog 2.jpg

Thanks to the unique folding properties of our 2007 Honda Fit Sport's rear seat, a trip to the groomer was easy for Rudie, our 80 lb. German Shepard mix. He came from a shelter, so the actual ingredients of the mix are anyone's guess. Rottie or Doberman are the two leading theories.

What isn't in doubt is the utter flexibility of the Fit's rear seat design. In addition to folding down the usual way to expand the volume when loaded from the hatch, the rear seat bottoms can be folded up against the seat backs to create a tall space suitable for a big dog, a bicycle or any other sort of tall, slender cargo. A big-screen, perhaps? Framed artworks? No problem. Simply load them from the curb via the rear door.

The hidden secret that makes it work even better is an unusual gas tank location--under the front seats. This provides an ultra-low and ultra-flat load floor unlike any other.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 25,765 miles

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: Fuel Economy Update

July 09, 2008

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Good gracious. The last time we posted fuel economy numbers for our spry little Honda Fit was last September . I guess we've had our hands full with other things and more other things since then. But gas mileage is the name of the game these days, so here's how we're doing.

Best tank: 40.1
Worst tank: 22.4
Lifetime average: 31.0

Discuss.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 26,545 miles

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June 11, 2008

Call me weird.

Ok, you can stop now.

Anyway, I like the car I'm driving to have controls with the weight and feedback proportionate to the car's performance potential and personality. Take the Fit, for example...

Every major control in the car tells you that this is a fun, light-hearted and easy car to drive. The clutch is light (almost to a fault), the steering is precise, but not too heavy, and the gear lever can be flung from one gear to the next. I'd say the controls are a perfect match for the car.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 25,704 miles

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: Surprisingly hard to shift smoothly

June 10, 2008

Sometimes I like to stir the pot with a controversial manual-shifter-related post. Today's bold claim: shifting our long-term Honda Fit smoothly is not the no-brainer it should be. I was trying to figure out exactly what the problem was while puttering around town last night, and I've concluded it's twofold: (1) the clutch's takeup point is narrow and abrupt (as opposed to the Lancer's, for example, which is extraordinarily forgiving), and (2) the Fit's emissions-control software causes the revs to "hang" for an extra beat or two while the clutch is depressed, so that if you're shifting quickly -- which the snick-snick shifter encourages you to do -- the revs may still be hanging when you've finished upshifting to the next gear, causing the car to lurch a bit.

Honda has historically made some of the best shifter/clutch combos in the business, so the Fit's awkwardness in this regard is a surprise...

But when I look at our roster of long-term manual-shift cars, the Fit's the only one on the list that I never feel entirely comfortable driving. Even the Ferrari's clutch is a cinch after a couple miles. In the Fit, though, I'm never quite sure whether my next shift will be a smooth one.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 25,609 miles

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: Full-Throttle Eulogy

June 04, 2008

Here's what the driver's side floor mat in our long-term Honda Fit looks like every time I climb inside:

Notice that it's jammed up under the gas pedal which prevents one from achieving wide-open throttle -- a much-needed position in a car with only 109 horsepower. The red arrows show where the retaining clips which once held it in place used to reside. Good-bye full throttle. Rest in peace...

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 25,430 miles.

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: Simplicity Itself

May 27, 2008

Photo by Doug Lloyd

I have put many miles on our long-term Honda Fit, and I have to say, it's really quite an enjoyable little car. As a car fan and a fast, enthusiastic driver, I'd want something more powerful, quick and sporty, but that said, it's really such a pleasant little city car. What I think I like most about it is its utter simplicity and purity. While so many cars come loaded to the gills with gadgets and lights and beeps and cameras and traffic sensors and all kinds of, well, extra goodies (the dreaded iDrive comes to mind), this one's got a single-CD stereo, easily readable buttons and a great climate control system... Basically, what every other car had before the advent of nav systems and voice activation and all that gadgetry.

It's a perfect car for a Luddite. You want to know where to go? Bring a map and write down directions? Traffic? Listen to the traffic reports on the radio. But there's no learning curve. It's all clearly marked, easy to reach, and well-designed. Seems simple, right? How hard can that be? When you drive as many different cars as we do over the course of our work, you realize how rare that really is.

On another note, I carried three passengers in comfort this weekend (full-size adults) and on another occasion, used it to transport my bike. No prob.

Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor @ 25,138 miles

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: The New Mule

May 21, 2008

Above, our Fit is patiently waiting for a photo shoot to wrap. It's been getting a lot of use as the photo mule these days. So why is that?

1. For some reason the Ford GT is never available...
2. It holds everything we need it to hold.
3. It goes off road.
4. It doesn't talk about the last episode of American Idol.
5. It has a low load floor for easy car to car photography.
6. It thinks Whoopi is easily the best host on The View.
7. The lively ride keeps you awake on long drives home.
8. It gets chicks great MPG.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 24,949 miles

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2007 Honda Fit: My Photo Sherpa

May 05, 2008

The Fit doesn't always get the respect it deserves. We might as well call it Rodney.

Well Rodney, my good friend, If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be able to do my job. With your seats folded flat I'm able to haul my gear around easily...

And because you have a low cargo lift level, I'm able to take some nice car to car shots.

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: The New Mule

May 21, 2008

Above, our Fit is patiently waiting for a photo shoot to wrap. It's been getting a lot of use as the photo mule these days. So why is that?

1. For some reason the Ford GT is never available...
2. It holds everything we need it to hold.
3. It goes off road.
4. It doesn't talk about the last episode of American Idol.
5. It has a low load floor for easy car to car photography.
6. It thinks Whoopi is easily the best host on The View.
7. The lively ride keeps you awake on long drives home.
8. It gets chicks great MPG.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 24,949 miles

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2007 Honda Fit Sport: Supple Shifter

April 28, 2008

We've praised the Honda Fit's incredibly fluid shifter before, but for some reason, I was more aware of it than ever this weekend. Every shift was so light , so effortless. It honestly felt as if my hand was being guided by a chorus of incredibly attentive anime angels. When the temperature is as butt-scalding-hot as it was the weekend, the last thing you want to have to do is work too hard... The Fit seemed to literally assimilate itself into my wavelength, taking me to and from with a spirit of fun and ease.

My upstairs neighbor in my apartment building is thinking about downsizing from his lumbering Equinox. He's considering both the Fit and the Chevrolet Aveo. When he asked me which one I'd recommend, the answer was a no-brainer.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 24,490 miles

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