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
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
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.
May 27, 2008
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
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
February 26, 2008
Everyone knows that some manual transmission vehicles are harder to drive than others. Being a Joni-come-lately to the stick shift world (I'm not a road test editor), I had to cut my teeth (and likely some of the gears' as well) in heavy rush hour traffic, on whatever random manual vehicle was occassionally available to me. I struggled with our VW and Audi... I had an easier time with our old MItsubishi Eclipse. Finally, I asked to have the Fit for an entire week, to give me some real practice.
As a result, the Fit will remain forever in my heart as the car that got me comfortable with manual transmissions. Why? The Fit's clutch is the most forgiving one I've yet encountered. As opposed to cars that have a very precise engagement point you have to hit -- or risk stalling out -- the Fit cuts the driver a lot of slack. And as others have mentioned, the shifter is easy to control with just your fingertips. After a week in this car, all that anxiety about getting it right was (more or less) gone. I began to actually have fun with it, to gain confidence. Shifting finally became second nature. I even made it up some steep hills -- in real traffic.
So if you're trying to get someone to drive a stick -- a significant other, a roommate, whatever -- this is a great car for them to learn on.
February 11, 2008
If I traveled internationally every week, our 2007 Honda Fit would be the car I'd leave at the airport. I mean the hatchback no disrespect when I say this, but I find it very easy and un-challenging to drive when I'm out of sorts (but still operating within the legal limits).
I don't think I've ever encountered a car that managed to convey such lightness through its steering, pedals and shifter while still feeling so direct during these interactions. Most subcompacts get the lightness bit of it, but fumble on the directness... This was the first time I've driven the Fit since the transmission scare, and it felt no worse for the wear... it's the same as before. The car's general well-being, along with the nameplate's 7-year lifespan in Japan, makes me think the incident was anomalous. However, I still wish it hadn't happened to our Fit.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 21,539 miles
February 04, 2008
I've driven our Honda Fit several times and each time I do I find another reason to like it, whether it's the surprising amount of room, the handling, or being able to find a parking spot virtually anywhere I always walk away with a new reason to like the car. This time however I have a complaint.
I took our Fit to Las Vegas this past weekend and noticed that there was something missing. The Honda Fit Sport has no dead peddle for your left foot. I have always driven our Fit around town and never noticed the lack of a dead peddle before but it became painfully obvious on a longer trip.
I know the Honda Fit is supposed to be a budget friendly car, but it can't cost too much more to add a place to rest your left foot. I would rather pay a little more for the extra comfort on longer trips...
Seth Compton, Broadband Production Assistant @ 21,391 miles
January 24, 2008
"I can tell everyone's annoyed that you know how to drive in the rain," my driving companion said as I scooted the recently repaired 2007 Honda Fit Sport around West L.A.'s slower moving traffic. I was enjoying the light shifter; flicking the stick with just two fingers. I especially liked how it was such a smooth transition between gears so that I didn't have to worry about jostling my passenger (memories driving my angry brother around in the Mini swimming in my head). And the clutch is easy on the legs, which I was particularly thankful for as I sat in rainy rush-hour traffic with L.A... drivers who seemed utterly confused that water was falling from the sky.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 20,777 miles
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
November 29, 2007
That stunning power plant you see before you is the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine of the 2007 Honda Fit Sport. I'll wait a moment whilst you catch your collective breath.
I have driven this car many times, and I really like it. It's very inexpensive, it's nicely styled (actually, in my opinion, far more interesting looking than the 2009 restyle) and despite its diminutive size, surprisingly roomy and capacious inside...
But it's really kinda slow. I know, no shock. 109 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. But I guess I didn't realize it in the past due to a lot of stop-and-go city driving. It's kinda like what my college friend Chris Fisher used to say about the VW Bug (the original). "Nothing beats it from zero to 5 feet." The Fit does great in 1st, not bad in 2nd and then kinda runs out of steam past about 3rd gear. I have a feeling it would drive me crazy on anything like a road trip.
I'm just a power junkie. Give me a 250-350 hp V6 and I'm like a pig in slop.
Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor @ 20,204 miles
November 27, 2007
Ah, the road trip.
My most recent road trip found me behind the wheel of our long term Honda Fit Sport. I'd like to share some discoveries I made about myself, gastronomic combinations and lastly, about the Fit itself.
Firstly, I discovered that I inexplicably know the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac's 'Fun'... Secondly, I discovered the best energy drink to go with a packet of raspberry Zingers is not Rockstar Pomegranate. Nor is it Red Bull, or Monster. I'm beginning to think that nothing goes with raspberry Zingers except a stomach ache.
Thirdly, the Honda Fit's seats are apparently lightly upholstered marble benches. Seriously, I have never been in a car that gave me as much seat related discomfort. Ever. But, because I'm a guy, I toughed it out for the five hour journey only to wish that I hadn't. I was incapacitated for a good ten minutes after I got out of the car. However, the memory of pain faded after I spent the better part of the weekend driving the Fit in San Francisco. What a perfect little city car. Nimble, fun and small enough to fit into some pretty tight parking spaces, it made the weekend a breeze.
Now if only we could skip that 5 hour bit between Santa Monica and San Francisco...
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 20,003 miles
November 05, 2007
A pulsation in the 2007 Honda Fit's brake pedal has been observed by some of our editors during its time with us. Last week I experienced it myself.
The pulsation was there on Wednesday. It was mild, and didn't require getting the brakes especially hot for the judder to materialize. Just normal braking around town would elicit it.
Then I parked the Fit at the airport for four days. When I returned and drove it home, the pedal judder was gone. Go figure.
Brake judder or pulsation is nearly always misdiagnosed as warped rotors. In reality, this phenomenon is attributable to uneven pad deposits on the rotors. This results in high spots on the rotors which make themselves known as a wobbly-feeling pedal.
Sometimes the cure is to get the brakes good and hot to even out the pad transfer. Didn't get a chance to do it this time, but I'll give it a shot next time I have the Fit.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 18,856 miles.
October 01, 2007
This past weekend was the last weekend of the Los Angeles County fair, so a few friends and I decided to take our 2007 Honda Fit and drive the hour out to the fair grounds. By a few friends I mean myself plus four full size, adult passengers. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a tight fit, however the Fit handled it just fine. What surprised me even more was that when merging onto the highway the Fit seemed to be unaffected by the full load. I guess this little car has more to offer than I thought.
Seth Compton, Broadband Production Assistant
September 25, 2007
After having had the 2007 Honda Fit for a couple of days, I'm even more impressed with it than I was when we first added it to our fleet.
First of all, I love its dimensions. You kinda get it all with the Fit. I had to parallel-park in a spot so small it would have been a no-go for most cars; the Fit hustled its way in with a refreshing absence of drama... But you'd never know how compact it is from sitting in its roomy cabin. Shoulder- and headroom, especially, are excellent.
I also dig the way in which the Fit's shifter does its thing. This Honda may just have the friendliest shifter in its class. It offers supreme fluidity; moving from gear to gear is almost effortless.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 17,305 miles
August 28, 2007
While stuck on the 10 trappedway (I feel that "freeway" is a misnomer here in the land of perpetual gridlock, aka L.A.) during my "drive" to work today, I noticed something about the Fit. Or rather, almost didn't notice.
Our Fit has a manual transmission but even in my aggravating, all-of-six-miles commute, I wasn't the slightest bit annoyed by it. That's saying a lot when sometimes the drive home can take 45-50 minutes (by comparison, I used to run six miles in under 38 minutes) and you work the clutch about 1,000 times per 100 yards. Both the clutch and gearshift have a light, precise feel that makes constant use a joy rather than a pain in the butt. So even in L.A., I'd take the Fit with a manual gearbox and enjoy the additional performance and entertainment it provides (when you're not in traffic). If that's not a ringing endorsement of a carmaker's manual tranny, then I don't know what is.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 16,981 miles.
July 25, 2007
I got into the Fit last night after its month-long vacation in Fresno, and I realized I'd missed our subcompact while it was away. This is no great revelation coming from a Fit supporter, but there are certain details in this entry-level Honda that you won't find in other cars in this class.
For instance, the way the steering wheel fits in your hands is as pleasing as in cars costing tens of thousands of dollars more...There's also the shifter's mechanical sound and feel when moving from gate to gate (something that was noticeable to me even though I'd driven the hypermechanical G35 the evening before). Honda probably could have gotten away with putting a less refined setup in the car, given that manual shifters in subcompacts are usually about as satisfying as stirring pudding with a plastic spoon. But the company opted to go beyond that in the Fit, and it's one of the things that makes this hatchback endearing.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
July 23, 2007
As of today, our 2007 Honda Fit Sport is averaging 31.3 mpg. Its best lifetime fill-ups so far are in the 36-to-37 mpg range while the worst drop into the high 20s. We still have three months to go on our one-year test but the Fit will certainly end up as being one of the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid cars we've ever had in our long-term fleet.
I've had the luxury of spending the past month driving the Fit and I'll be a little sad to return into the normal long-term rotation later this week... Certainly, the car has a few flaws, but they're more than made up for by positive attributes. I really like the configurable rear seats, the high mileage, the maneuverability and the dose of fun the car imparts through its anime styling and sporty handling.
I could potentially see myself owning one. But were I to get a Honda Fit, I think I'd want mine in black. In fact, there's a black one commonly parked in our office's parking garage with dark, gold-painted aftermarket wheels. Yeah, I know black and gold is gaudy and only fitting for late 1970s Firebirds with giant screaming chicken decals on the hood. But somehow it works.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, 15,680 miles
July 10, 2007
I've really enjoyed driving our Honda Fit the past few weeks. Things like the smooth-sliding shifter, sporty handling and smartly designed interior instantly remind me of other small Hondas I've owned or driven. Like BMW, Honda is a master at maintaining certain attributes across product lineups and timelines. There's even the familiar "d-d-d-dit" Morse code "H" sound when the key is left in the ignition...
It's automotive branding at its best.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com, 15,420 miles
June 25, 2007
A couple of our editors have commented previously about the relative lack of seat comfort in our Honda Fit. And it's true that without a telescoping steering wheel, the Fit can make one feel like he's driving a car originally meant for the Japanese market. (Erm, which it is...) Still, on a recent four-hour drive, I found the Fit pretty agreeable. Actual seat comfort for my body size (5'-10" and skinny) is quite good in my opinion...
To compensate for the lack of a telescoping wheel, I've come up with two slightly different driving positions. There's one for long-distance driving that has me a bit further away from the wheel than I'd like to maximize leg comfort, and another one for urban commuting that puts me closer in for a better arm positioning. I'm not defending the lack of a telescoping wheel – it'd be nice – but prospective buyers shouldn't see it as a deal-breaker, either.
As an aside, I've noticed some minor pulsation/variation in the brakes when coming to stop. Looking back at previous posts, Erin also observed the pulsation in her drive to Oregon. It's not yet enough to warrant replacement/repair, but given Honda's less than stellar reputation for brake durability, the rise of a potentially warped rotor(s) is discouraging.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com, 15,136 miles
June 11, 2007
When a discount rack car gets waves of raves for being fun to drive -- like it has here -- the rationale is usually that the car "feels more than the sum of its parts" or "bonds with its driver" or some other fuzzy esoteric emotional deal. It can't be about the numbers. Never. Well, except maybe one.
Try this: 12.8:1. That's the Honda Fit's steering ratio -- meaning one full 360-degree spin of the Fit's steering wheel pivots the front tires 28.1 degrees. In English, that's cat-quick response, and it's what makes the Fit lunge at a new heading whenever your hand moves one micron. I'm not sure a car with a 96.5-inch wheelbase needs such amplified alertness, though I suppose it works.
But geez, what a contrast to the past. As a co-owner of a 2000 Accord, I can attest to that car's lumbering response. Surely, those of you with pre-2001 Civics whose steering wheels have 3.6 turns of play know the feeling too. Heck, the Acura NSX had an 18.6:1 ratio! By comparison, a car like the Fit represents a leap of the quantum variety.
Any opinions on Honda's newfound hyperactivity? Is faster better, or is enough enough?
Brian Sy, Automotive Editor, 14,600 miles
June 07, 2007
I have put in a lot of seat time in our long-term Honda Fit Sport and I'm a big fan of it. As a city car. I think it's absolutely perfect for the city. Zippy, quick, very compact, easy to park, great turning radius, carries a lot of stuff... But beyond its mere competence, I decided to explore the extras. Last night I spent some time exploring the sound of the stereo stystem: from 80s rock (Yes) to KJZZ's "Jazz on the Latin Side," I was impressed by the clarity and quality of the radio.
But what I really like: the engine. There has been a lot of criticism that the high-revving little motor is grating during long road trips and extended time on the highway. This doesn't surprise me. Because it's loud and revvy. But during quick squirts around slower-moving traffic, I imagine a little animated hamster, with goggles and an aerodynamic pair of running shoes, racing around that wheel and working his little heart off. This is, of course, in direct opposition to something like our long-departed long-term Pontiac Solstice, whose engine was more like a fat ol' bear, wheezing and sweating but not actually doing anything. Loud, sucking wind, but not actually making any power. Out of shape and mama bear waiting to call 911. Then of course there's the Miata. Pure performance and sounding like Carl Lewis in the 440.
Like I said, the Fit's engine is probably a nightmare in the 80s for a few hours on a road trip, tach pegged at 3,200. But in the city, I dig it. Sometimes I overrev it just a sec and imagine that little hamster, eager to please, racing toward the tape, the roar of the crowd in his ears.
Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor, @ 14,318 miles
May 24, 2007
Earlier this week I took our long-term Honda Fit on a long-haul getaway to the Oregon coast, specifically Cape Perpetua, south of Yachats. Partly, I chose the Fit because I wanted something small, spunky and manual-shift to drive. And partly, I wanted a bit of a challenge -- 2,300 miles in a subcompact.
Within a couple hours of leaving home, the Fit's driver seat became a major annoyance (surprise!). There just isn't enough firm support built into the seat-bottom cushion to keep me comfortable for more than two hours, and with the minimal seat adjustments, there's not much you can do to reconfigure the seat. For the rest of the trip, I pretty much stopped every two hours down to the minute.
However, once I turned onto the back roads (CA Hwys 89 and 299 for a detour through the Modoc Nat'l Forest), nearly all was forgiven. Here, the car's carefully tuned chassis made it easy to drive quickly (or at least feel like I was), provided I was on task with the shifting -- and I usually was thanks to the Fit's easy heel-and-toeability. In particular, the steering feels good with a surprising level of feedback.
The good feelings continued to Oregon's coast, as the Fit scampered around trucks in a driving rain on scenic Highway 58 and embarassed more than its share of larger, more expensive cars through the turns. It also managed the 2.5-mile climb up this well-groomed gravel road (no ruts) to the remote Cummins Ridge trailhead in the Siuslaw Nat'l Forest, suffering no ill effects.
Complaints? Overtaking in uphill passing zones was sometimes a problem. There's a lot of space between 3rd and 4th gears, leaving me with a choice between not having quite enough juice in 4th and bouncing off the rev limiter in 3rd. Also, I'm not wild about the Fit's brakes (front discs/rear drums). Pedal feel is OK, but they don't feel very powerful. And I think our long-termer's front rotors may be slightly warped, as I noted pulsation during moderate braking efforts throughout the trip. (Incidentally, during the car's recent 10K service, the dealer listed the remaining pad/shoe life at 80 percent.)
Final thoughts and mileage totals to come in tomorrow's entry.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 13,095 miles
April 25, 2007
Entry-level Hondas and entry-level Acuras may play in different leagues, but anyone who's driven the late, great RSX will have fond flashbacks after a spin in the Fit. Its engine feels like a 1.5-liter chip off the 2.0-liter block, boasting the same invigorating soundtrack and feeling equally at home revving at redline. The shifter's got the same tightness, the same pinpoint precision, and begs the same question of whether this could be the best manual on the market. Together, the two add up to score big points in powertrain nirvana.
Of course, the RSX's rack-and-pinion steering felt nicer, its fiercer VTEC kick would give the Fit a much-needed second wind (with 109 horsepower, is there even a first?), and the Fit's torsion beam thwacking makes a guy wish for the wishbones in that Acura's suspension. But at 15 grand and change, the Fit is forgiven.
Brian Sy, Automotive Editor, 9,535 miles
April 16, 2007
Although I've written frequently about the virtues of our 2007 Honda Fit, this past weekend was my first opportunity to take a real road trip in the car -- about 700 miles total.
I'd been worried that the car's less than ideal driving position would make for an uncomfortable trip, but this turned out not to be such a big deal. The driver seat is nicely shaped and the cushioning held up for the first 3-4 hours; after that, the seat-bottom support began to wear thin. Ride quality was excellent for a subcompact, though, and unlike some other Hondas I've driven, road noise is well controlled...
As a moderately aggressive driver, I found the power adequate, though in some cases, barely so. Judicious shifting was essential to keep the 1.5-liter engine in its power band on highway grades, and I occasionally found it tricky to take advantage of passing zones on two-lane mountain roads -- redline in third gear became the norm. I managed 33 mpg for the trip -- not great for a subcompact, but considering all the time spent on back roads, I'll take it.
Those back roads were saturated by rain and snow showers, but the Fit's 195/55-15 Dunlop tires tracked nicely on the slick asphault. The hatchback's carefully tuned suspension complemented that grip, such that the Fit was still fun to drive in a driving rain. This scrappy character is what I like most about Honda's supermini.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 8,662 miles
March 28, 2007
Whenever I get into our Honda Fit, I always reach in the wrong place to move the seat on its track. Most cars with manual fore/aft adjustment either locate the lever on the lower right side of the seat, or they have a bar that goes all the way across. On the Fit, there's just a small lever on the left side. This would be great if I was left-handed but I'm not...I wonder if it's a function of the fact that the Fit was originally designed as a right-hand-drive car -- perhaps Honda just picked up the driver seat and moved it to the opposite side of the car, levers and all?
In other news, I realized recently I had never run the Fit's 1.5-liter engine to its 6,500-rpm redline in the course of normal driving. So I tried it and it wasn't memorable. For normal acceleration purposes, there seems to be little benefit to going beyond 5,000. And the engine isn't that happy beyond this point anyway. To its credit, it's still pretty smooth. As you can see, it's easy to check the oil in the Fit, so after snapping my photo, that's just what I did. The level registered smack in the middle of the dipstick.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 7,705 miles
March 08, 2007
...of course I mean that in a good way. I know the Honda Fit Sport is available in automatic (with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles nonetheless), but I can't imagine that would be as much fun to drive as the stick-shift model. Something about zooming around traffic and flicking the gearshift to get that boost to pass that makes this little econocar go-kartlike. Sure it has just 109 horsepower and five gears to run through, but here it's not about the speed but about the zip...
This morning, I actually enjoyed my little 3-mile commute on city streets. Instead of zoning out and just focusing on getting to Point B, I danced the Fit around the other drones. And for a second I daydreamed I was playing GT4...except slower of course.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 6,009 miles
February 26, 2007
With a 2,471-lb curb weight spec for a manual-shift Honda Fit Sport, it shouldn't come as a surprise that our long-term car imparts a lightweight, unencumbered feel when you drive it. Over the weekend, though, I realized how Honda designers took care to ensure that this sensation comes across in virtually every detail. The doors, for instance, are super light, and thanks to their two detents, there's no chance of them whapping back on you in a tight parking lot.
Then, there's the clutch pedal, which is so light and so forgiving. The clutch engages right when you expect it to for an economy car -- not too close to the floor, but not too high in the pedal travel. On Saturday night, I drove the Fit while wearing 3-inch heels and didn't have a problem. Maybe it sounds silly to those of you who don't wear heels, but this is a definite advantage for me: A clutch that's compatible with all my footwear is just practical.
February 20, 2007
Last weekend I spent a few days driving our long-term Toyota FJ Cruiser up in the mountains. Absolutely perfect for the job. strong, torquey engine, big size, thick tires, lots of ground clearance. Perfect for the big country, the America of pick-ups and 4WD, of mountains and four-season weather... Unstoppable in snow and ice. But not much in the city. It has the turning radius of an Airbus A300 and the subtlety of Gilbert Gottfried.
Conversely, this weekend I drove the Honda Fit Sport. I was in the city. I can't imagine anything worse in snow, what with its extremely low ground clearance, small tires, and relatively whiny engine. (Haven't driven it there; it could be sure-footed and tough.) But in the city it's utterly fantastic. It's so much FUN to drive, whips around parking lots, a crazy-quick point guard to the FJ's thunder dunker. Mugsy Bogues to the FJ's Shaquille O'Neal. Which is great. Whips through traffic, great visibility, smart, ergonomically laid-out controls. One CD at a time so you simply push eject and the CD pops out and you put a new one in. And there's a great little console for your CDs up front. It just makes SENSE.
And not the extra bells and whistles that I can't stand. A passenger's in the car and hasn't put his belt on yet? It'll beep a couple times, but then leave you ALONE. When you click the lock on the key fob, it flashes its lights for a sec but doesn't HONK at you. A tremendous car. For the city.
Doug Lloyd, Copy Editor
February 13, 2007
My heavy foot wasn't enough to dislodge the Fit's average fuel economy out of the low 30s. At its most recent fillup, it averaged 32 mpg for a tank driven entirely in my care.
That's pretty impressive, and there's no doubt it can do better if driven with economy in mind. I tend to drive "spirited-ly," so for me, 32 mpg may well be the highest fuel economy I've ever registered in a car...
What's the best single tank average you've ever had, and in what car was it achieved?
--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
January 09, 2007
Yesterday I wrote about how I had such a jerky ride in the Miata and wondered if that was due to my long break from driving stick. But last night when I took the Fit home I had a different experience. In the Honda, my unfamiliarity with stick wasn't really an issue as the clutch was easier to work. I felt confident dancing around slower-moving cars with the Honda's quick shifter and light clutch... Busy city streets? Fun! when piloting a zippy, little car. And with its high riding position and spacious interior, I didn't feel vulnerable to bullying from other vehicles.
The only moment of doubt came during braking when the brake pedal required more stomp than I had anticipated. For a sec, I was worried as I halted a little closer to another car than was comfortable. But in our first track test of the Honda, a tester commented that it took 128 feet to haul to a stop "and the pedal remained firm through each attempt."
Eh, maybe my bobble with the Fit's brake was because I was just getting off my weekend stint in the Miata, which has a more responsive brake pedal.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla
January 02, 2007
Laundry and a major cleanup project in my apartment took up much of the holiday weekend. Mundane stuff, sure, but my days weren't at all unpleasant and our Honda Fit had a lot to do with that. With few exceptions, this is the perfect city car for me. Not only does it fit anywhere I care to park it, it has rear seats that can fold down or up -- and this makes all the difference... I love the fact that the seats fold up (like in a pickup) and I left them in that position all weekend. This setup provided a more secure hold for transporting bags of laundry (which tend to topple over when seats are folded down). It was also useful for hauling sorted bags of plastics and paper to the recycling plant.
December 28, 2006
I've written about how adroitly our long-term Honda Fit handles when picking through city traffic, but last night, high crosswinds on the I-5 and 405 freeways made it feel more like the budget subcompact it is.
With its lightweight body (about 2,500 lbs) and tall, flat exterior panels, the Fit was an easy target for what must have been 40-mph gusts. Reduced speed and considerable steering correction were necessary to keep it from wandering into other lanes.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 3,750 miles
December 01, 2006
I've been driving our Fit Sport for the last several days, and we're getting along great. This car drives like it's half a class above the other subcompacts (Versa, Yaris, Rio5 and Aveo), and the way it moves through traffic reminds me of an '02-'06 Mini Cooper. No question, the Honda lacks the Mini's sharp responses, but I had a lot of fun with it as I sped up LA's 110 freeway (which gets twisty as you near Pasadena). The Fit gets around turns with little body roll and provides unexpectedly good feedback to its driver. And it manages to do this without ruining the ride quality -- impressive for a car with a pretty basic suspension design...
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
November 22, 2006
It's been a long time since I've reached for the A/C button hoping to get just a wee bit more power by turning it off but that's exactly how I felt today as I tried to make the carpool lane before the double yellow lines kicked in. Sure I could just cross anyway like everyone else but that's just plain wrong and we all know it. I could also wind the little Fit up to redline in hopes of gaining a little extra grunt but OOOhhhh the racket. The Fit's a great city car though...
Brian Moody @ 2,300 miles.