Honda Fit: Small Begets Small
May 03, 2007
I try to make a habit of crawling around the engine bays of new cars. Never know what you new doohicky you might find. Plus, they're a whole lot cleaner under there than crusty old cars.It dawned on me that I've never seen the Fit's engine bay. If you're so inclined, or as much of a geek as I, join me as we explore the tidy heart of this little runabout.
What jumps out is how small everything is. Small battery. Small alternator. Puny clutch reservoir. Tiny intake manifold runners.
At first glance, the engine appears crammed in there. Look closer and you notice it's an illusion created by the absurdly short nose. In fact, the hood is wider than it is long. And the radiator core support is pushed way inboard relative to normal cars. Craning my neck around back, I see there's oodles of room on the exhaust side of the engine. Turbo kit, anyone?
That airbox looks montrous, but it's not. The photo's perspective distorts it's size. It houses the smallest air filter I've ever seen. And the diameter of the tube feeding the airbox is about the size of golf ball. Turns out 1.5 liters don't need a lot of air. Check this out:
To meet US crash regs, Honda engineered a lot of crush space in the front of the Fit. There's fifteen inches between the back of the core support and the nose:
A light car doesn't need big heavy supporting equipment. Inherent smallness reverses the death spiral of size found in most modern cars. Small cars can be small because they're small. Colin Chapman would be proud.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 10,250 miles