Honda Fit Goes to Oregon, Part One
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