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
July 16, 2007
In a variety of earlier posts, we've written highly about the Honda Fit's versatile seat configurations. One can fold the 60/40-split rear seat completely flat, for instance, or raise the rear seat cushions to create a taller area for carrying bulky items.
Well, here's another neat trick: If you move the front seats all the way forward and then fully recline their seatbacks, the seatbacks touch flush with the rear seat cushions to create a rear-seat recliner. Unless your inseam goes past 50 inches, you'll have plenty of legroom...
The rear seatbacks recline for additional comfort, and there's a cupholder in the door for your cool, delicious beverage.
Were I a highly paid executive in need of chauffeuring, I think a $16,000 Honda Fit would be a strangely appealing choice over a $426,000 Maybach 62.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, 15,522 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
May 25, 2007
Although the Honda Fit's thinly padded driver seat challenged my pain thresholds (especially on the 15-hour drive home from Oregon), I don't regret choosing it for my five-day road trip. The hatchback's size was incredibly convenient for maneuvering around cities I wasn't familiar with. Basically, I could park it anywhere. Plus, its diminutive size made it more endearing. During my overnight stay in Alturas, CA, where everybody drives diesel 3/4-ton pickups, I parked it right below my room at the Super 8 so I could keep an eye on it. It was the automotive equivalent of a toddler.
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 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
February 08, 2007
Even though the following is lame, I just have to purge it from my brain: I'm unfit for the Fit. Why? I don't fit. And I'm tried of it.
When your knee whams the back of the steering wheel every time you let the clutch out, you tend to have a hard time liking a car. Sure, there's gobs of headroom, but I feel all praying mantis in this thing. I know Erin mentioned it in her post, but at 6'2" tall the problem is mission critical for me. I could never own one of these, however good it may be.
A telescopic steering wheel is an absolute must. Contrary to what you might think, it is the taller of us who need to pull the steering wheel out to give the knees room to schroom.
In fact, the first thing I do in any car so-equipped is slide the wheel all the way out. I've never found one yet that telescoped too far. In the shot below, I've placed my hands where I'd like them to be. I figure I need the steering to be 40 or 50mm closer.
December 20, 2006
OK, here's the one thing I really don't like about our Honda Fit (and you're sure to hear this from other editors as well): The steering wheel is mounted very close to the dash and it doesn't telescope. For someone like me, who's of average height (5-foot-10), this means you either need collapsible legs or super stretchy arms to find a comfortable driving position. Which is to say I've never found a truly comfortable driving position in the Fit.
Of course, the Fit occupies a price-sensitive part of the market, so I've tried to think of what other amenities I'd be willing to give up to get a telescoping steering wheel...
Cruise control? Nah, I get fussy on long road trips. Perhaps the lower skirts on our Sport trim model? Probably not, since the Fit looks naked without them. The MP3 player jack? Definitely not.
Evidently, slight discomfort is the only thing for it.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
December 18, 2006
I have had the altogether pleasant opportunity to drive our 2007 Honda Fit Sport the last few days. The Fit is classified as a subcompact, which in real-world terms, means really really really small. Lilliputian, if you will. But inside it's actually quite large. I'm a big fella, 6'1 and about 205 pounds, and I had plenty of room and GOBS of headroom as well... As usual, I had a rehearsal/gigs while driving the Fit, so I was tasked with photographing it with all my gear inside.
As you can see, it fit perfectly. With the backseats folded flat, the keyboard laid flat. Mind you, this keyboard has 88 full-size keys. It's larger than some members of our editorial staff. I had to move the front passenger seat all the way forward, but Saturday night, with my girlfriend in that seat, I simply turned the keyboard so it was on its side and lying diagonally, front right to back left. The amp and assorted stands fit without a problem. I could have easily added a drum kit as well.
The point is, the Fit is a very roomy little car. It's fairly quick, handles great, even looks kinda stylish for what it is. And since it's so tiny, it's very easy to park anywhere. For a frugal couple in the city (roughly $15,000 out the door) with even two children, there's more than enough room. Groceries? No prob. Christmas tree. Piece of cake. Even a touch of performance. At one point, I looked down at the speedometer and I was going well above the legal limit and totally unaware of it. Not in a Cadillac. But in a Honda Fit with 15-inch wheels. Smooth. Tight. OK, didn't really like the very-upright-like-a-bus-driver seating position. But that's a minor gripe. Is it worthy of great passion and reams of praise? No. But it sets out to do a mission and in my opinion, does it perfectly.
Doug Lloyd, Copy Editor