Honda Fit: Stuck in second place
April 24, 2007
In keeping with the spirit of Earth Day weekend, I embarked on my Honda Fit road trip determined to burn 20-plus gallons of petroleum into the atmosphere as gradually as possible. I followed all the rules: no passengers, A/C off, light right foot, all upshifts by 2,500 RPM, cruise control locked and loaded at every possible moment. Hey, nothing beats a stingy, stickshift, subcompact-sized Honda nailed to the freeway by a geeky anti-fun driver, right?
Well, on the two tanks that were entirely mine, I scored 33 and 34 MPG. From a macro perspective that's great, and better than almost any car you can name. Unfortunately, the exception happens to be archrival Toyota Yaris, in which I scored 35 and 38 under similar conditions -- and that was with an efficiency-killing automatic.
Why the easy victory? We're dealing with two 1.5-liter engines here (smallest in any car today) and pretty close gearing. Could the culprit be the Fit's extra 183 extra pounds? Its 3.3 inches of excess height? Tire choice and/or high rolling resistance? At least one thing's for sure: on a certain steep downhill stretch I've taken dozens of times, most cars accelerate on their own well into the 80 MPH range; some exceed 90. The Fit maxed out at 77.
Whatever the cause, the effect is clear: the Fit must make peace with being the second-most frugal non-hybrid, gas-powered automobile of 2007.
Brian Sy, Automotive Editor, 9,535 miles