Honda's Minicar, Then and Now. - 2007 Honda Fit Sport Long-Term Road Test

2007 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

2007 Honda Fit Sport: Honda's Minicar, Then and Now.

January 07, 2008

I haven't driven the Fit in quite some time, since before the transmission problem. And it seems, the dealer's magic fluid fix didn't do the trick, either. After hopping in and firing it up, it was reluctant to go into revo. I didn't try to force it and after maybe four or five tries (employing the old tricks like moving the selector through the other gears and moving the car forward a few inches) it slid into reverse. We're not going to let this slide and are planning another dealer visit soon, as we're looking to sell the car and want it in "no excuses" condition.

On another note, I wondered how the Fit compared to Honda's first Civic in terms of size and performance. My memory seemed to think they were like-sized. Those of you old enough to remember shows like "Happy Days" and "The Six Million Dollar Man" might know what I'm talking about -- the 1973 to 1979 Civic generation. To be as "apples to apples" as possible, let's compare that generation's Civic wagon to the Fit. Yes, they called it a wagon, even though like the Fit it was was essentially a four-door hatchback as the Civic's "wagon" portion of the body wasn't really extended in terms of additional rear overhang / length.

1977 Honda Civic Wagon
Overall Length: 160 inches
Wheelbase: 89.9 inches
Engine: 1.5-liter four with 53 horsepower
Weight: About 1700 pounds

2007 Honda Fit:
Overall Length: 157.4 inches
Wheelbase: 96.5 inches
Engine: 1.5-liter four with 109 Horsepower
Weight: 2432 pounds

As you can see, these little Hondas are within 3 inches of each other in length. In later years, automotive designers discovered the wisdom of pushing the wheels as far to the corners as possible to open up cabin space, hence the Fit's longer wheelbase even though it's shorter overall. The Fit's additional weight is significant, and due no doubt to the modern car's more robust construction and safety features such as antilock brakes and a slew of airbags, which the old Civic didn't have. The performance of the newest small Honda also benefits from three decades of development: as both vehicles have 1.5-liter inline fours, the modern version makes over twice the power, while also meeting much tougher emissions standards.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 20,606 miles

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