2007 Honda Fit Long-Term Road Test

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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