July 14, 2008
Thanks to the unique folding properties of our 2007 Honda Fit Sport's rear seat, a trip to the groomer was easy for Rudie, our 80 lb. German Shepard mix. He came from a shelter, so the actual ingredients of the mix are anyone's guess. Rottie or Doberman are the two leading theories.
What isn't in doubt is the utter flexibility of the Fit's rear seat design. In addition to folding down the usual way to expand the volume when loaded from the hatch, the rear seat bottoms can be folded up against the seat backs to create a tall space suitable for a big dog, a bicycle or any other sort of tall, slender cargo. A big-screen, perhaps? Framed artworks? No problem. Simply load them from the curb via the rear door.
The hidden secret that makes it work even better is an unusual gas tank location--under the front seats. This provides an ultra-low and ultra-flat load floor unlike any other.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 25,765 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
March 20, 2008
I've been spending a lot of quality time with our venerable long-term Fit recently, and I have to say I'm less than aurally impressed with its engine. While the Fit's engine note has been lauded by at least one of my colleagues, I can't find much to like about the 1.5-liter's uncouth booming north of 4,000 rpm. Thing about the Fit is, you'll be north of 4k rather frequently if you want to keep up with traffic, so you're going to hear that strident soundtrack on the regular, like it or not. It doesn't help that the emissions-friendly engine calibration has given our Fit an unfortunate (though not uncommon) case of hanging revs... Hey, I know the Fit's a budget compact, but when I see "VTEC" on an engine cover, I expect a more pleasant aural experience en route to redline.
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 22,531 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 12, 2008
I have been posting on the Driving Woman about my search for a fuel-efficient vehicle. The lease on my Volvo XC90 is up soon and we aren't planning on keeping it due to the 18 mpg it averages on my 105-mile round trip commute.
Mike and Mike, keepers of the cars, were kind enough to loan me the Honda Fit for the night so that I could get real mileage numbers for my commute. This can't be right, can it?.. 107 miles on 2.5 gallons of gas for 42.8 mpg? I filled up the tank. I double checked the figure. It sure was 2.5 gallons. I checked the mileage, it sure was 107 miles since the last fill up (105.1 miles for my trip). If my math is accurate, that is pretty damn good. I only got 39.4 mpg on the same route in a 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid.
I like the Honda Fit. I thought it was zippy and cute, and nothing about it irritated me. If I buy an economy car, I am going to have to remember to turn the headlights on and off myself. The Fit needed a little jump this morning due to my forgetfulness.
I posted on the Driving Woman about the car seat fit.
-Michelle Magoffin, Sr. Product Manager @ 21,645 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 22, 2008
It's done. Again. Finally.
After one failed attempt, and 11 days out of service our Fit's finicky transmission is fixed. For good. We hope.
Here's how it went down:
Day one: Drop off Fit. Complain about car still not going into reverse.
Day two: Receive call from service advisor, "We will need to open up the transmission to get to the bottom of this. Do you authorize this? It's $800. You'll only have to pay if the problem is not under warranty." "$800? US Dollars? Fine, fine. Do it." He said we'd get a call when he knew more. Just a few hours later we got the call. They'd found the problem. A bolt had fallen out of the shift-arm linkage. (That could explain the noise Scott Jacobs heard that faithful day in the parking lot.) They said it must have been loose from the factory as this piece coming loose by itself was near-impossible.
The loose fork damaged the reverse gear, reverse idler gear, first and second-gear synchros, synchro springs, synchronizing friction damper, and shift fork was heavily worn. The reverse gear assembly and synchro rings would need replacing.
Parts for the Fit's transmission are scarce and had to be shipped in from various distribution centers/dealers across the country. The parts would be in and the car repaired in 8 more days.
Days 3-8: No contact.
Day 8: I initiated contact. It took a few minutes for them to get on the ball. Nobody had my paperwork handy or could remember what Fit I had brought in. When they finally figured it out, I got some bad news; They needed another part that would be in same-day, and installed. Our advisor told me the car wouldn't be ready until early on the morning of day 9.
I nearly lost my cool there, but another few hours wasn't going to hurt anything. Even so, I let them know I wasn't thrilled.
Day 9: No contact until 3pm when I, again, initiated. Still not done. This time I lost my cool. 10 solid minutes of argument followed. Words like "unprofessional," "unacceptable," and "sloppy" were thrown around. More than once I asked him if this was a joke. Was I on some low-budget automotive-industry version of Punked?
Then he said he'd have to call me back and hung up.
Less than five minutes later the Service and Parts manager of Santa Monica Honda called. The manager, as it turns out, was actually helpful. He had a full scope of the issue and let us know that they needed to have Honda's corporate service people in to have a go at this-- they hadn't taken apart a fit transmission before-- and that they'd broken a part the day prior and that's why the repair needed an extra few days. Again, it turns out parts for this transmission are not easy to find. He was apologetic, cool and collected, clearly someone who's used to being yelled at. I let him know that above all our problem was in the complete lack of communication from them. He promised to call me by noon. I made a few side-bets on that one.
Day 10: The call came at 10:30am, the Fit was finished and we could pick it up at any point during the day.
When I finally got the dealership everything was lined up and ready to go. In and out in less than five minutes with no charge. My service advisor came over to apologize again for the mishaps and mishandling. While it doesn't excuse what happened, the service dept. there was truly bothered that a service had gone so poorly. This is a stark contrast to the attitude of our Audi dealer. Getting into the car I noticed it wasn't vacuumed and they had tracked something into the cabin. It was a long 10 days and I didn't have any will left to complain again.
I tested the reverse engagement a few times before leaving the lot. It worked fine every time. The shifter also felt more solid and more precise than when it left. (Obviously.)
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assist @ 20,683 miles.
December 10, 2007
I bit the bullet and jumped into the fray of holiday shopping this part weekend. I don't like the crowds, the idiotic debates over whether my sister would like a salad spinner or not and I really don't like traffic.
This hat trick of fun was compounded when I was in the parking lot of a local mall. I loaded my stuff into the cargo area, hopped in, started the car and put it into reverse... Except it didn't want to go into reverse.
I tried revving it bit to get it in, tried to let the car roll a touch to get the gears in the right place, everything I did wouldn't work. As I tried to mash the shifter into place, two cars were contesting each other for my parking space and my girlfriend was wondering why I was swearing so much. I was stressing out.
My only solution was to Fred Flintstone it. I opened my car door and literally pushed the car out of its space with my foot. People stopped and stared. The two cars vying for my space didn't seem to car about each other anymore. Not only was it a little difficult to get the car out of the space, it was embarrassing.
While I sheepishly slunk out of the parking lot, I thought back on what it could have been. I then remembered I heard what sounded like a lot of keys and change banging around in my girlfriends purse on the way to the mall. No purse my friends; it was the tranny taking a dump on the roadway. Ho ho ho.
Next on my shopping list: a Honda dealership.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 20,875 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.
August 20, 2007
Sorry, I know this isn't a picture of our silver long-term 2007 Honda Fit but I left my digicam at home. Anyway, ever mistake the Fit for the Chevy Aveo hatchback? I do all the time, well, on the rare occasion that I spot an Aveo on the road. Sure, it only takes a second for me to realize my error but the fact that I pause at all says something to me. Of course the Fit appears to have more tone, looking like an Aveo that's spent too many hours at the gym. But its similarity was one of the reasons I wasn't keen on the Fit at first. It ain't exactly cute.
But looking at both photos the Fit definitely has more attitude and flair. Check out those side skirts. And its windows look bigger than the Aveo as well, affording better visibility.
Personally, I think the Honda looks better than other doppelganger subcompacts like the Scion xA and Nissan Versa. What do you think?
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 16,772 miles
August 15, 2007
Yesterday as I was driving our sporty, little 2007 Honda Fit through Beverly Hills, the Range Rover driver in front of me decided he wanted to turn left but didn't get all the way into the left-turn lane. Rather, he straddled the solid white line. Naturally, I honked at him to let him know that he still had some ways to go before he was out of the way of the drivers behind him. But instead of the helpful meeep I expected, the Fit emitted a pretty loud honnnk...Someone once told me that Japanese cars tend to have higher, non-threatening horns because in Japan honking a horn means "Sorry, go ahead." And of course, in America it means the complete opposite, thus American cars have a louder, deeper sound.
I don't know if this is really true but I can see that being the case. Anyway, that's why I was surprised that our little Honda gave the Range Rover the business. Comes in handy when you're a small hatchback living in a city filled with SUVs.
BTW, the Fit is due for another tune-up. The yellow wrench has spoken. I already let Vehicle Testing Coordinator Mike Schmidt know and he said he'd take care of it next week.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 16,591 miles
August 06, 2007
During the daytime, the Fit's interior gets the job done. Exceedingly simple lines, with enough hard plastic to craft a line of children's toys, but all in all, not too shabby for an economy-priced subcompact.
However, the Fit's interior really shines at night. The darkness swallows all the less-than-ideal aspects of the car's cabin...
All that industrial-looking plastic becomes invisible. The eye is left to behold the most aesthetically impressive aspect of the Fit's cabin: its exquisitely illuminated gauges.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 16,280 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 07, 2007
If any of you lovely readers attended the Brad Mehldau concert at Pepperdine this weekend, and heard the announcement regarding the car with its lights on in the parking lot, uh, that was me. D'OH!
But, of course, I was too embarrassed to check and didn't happen to have the license plate memorized. (The announcer didn't mention that the car was a silver 2007 Honda Fit Sport). Needless to say, at the end of the show, when I discovered the headlights fading (after a mere two hours???), I was horrified. And Triple-A-less. Fortunately, a former employer was also in attendance and she and her husband helped me jump-start the Fit, which fired immediately.
That's where the trouble started. The damn error message.
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.
April 11, 2007
Someone pointed this out to me since I hadn't noticed it on my own and didn't see any blog posts about it, but it seems the Fit has another boo-boo. This time on its rear driver-side bumper. From the location of the damage, it doesn't look like another car could have done it since it's located so low on the bumper and there aren't any dents, just these scratches. Maybe a very mean bush?
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla
April 04, 2007
I have driven the Honda Fit Sport many times and I have nothing but praise for it. It's a fantastic city car, carries everything I need to haul due to its fold-flat seats, is quick, parks easily, has great sight lines and incredibly easy-to-use and intuitive controls. And it's cheap.
But to be honest, I also REALLY like the way it looks...It's so very Japanese.
March 29, 2007
Any doubts I had about whether the cartoony Honda Fit would get along with my neighbors were put to rest this morning. We ran into Velma on the way out of the driveway. She was all done up in paper mÃ¢che, and didn't say much, but behind that blank smile, I just know there's love and understanding for small, funky hatchbacks.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 7,781 miles
March 05, 2007
Among the many user friendly features of the Honda Fit is its seats. Thanks to what car designers call a "high hip point" (which means the seat cushion is rather high), it's easy to slide into the Fit, whether you're getting into one of the front or rear seats. Another benefit of the higher seating position is the better view outward it allows. Visibility out over the small hood and out to the sides is excellent and an asset when dealing with the cut and thrust of city driving.
Typical of a Honda, the Fit provides plenty of cubbies. The open slot next to the parking brake is ideal for my wallet (I stopped leaving it in my back pocket when I started having lower back trouble).
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 5,850 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.
January 22, 2007
I was going to write yet another post about how much I like the Fit and how it's perfect for someone like me -- a single, city dweller -- but figure you've heard that all before so I'll just list off some small issues I encountered with Honda's little five-door when I had it this weekend...even though I still enjoyed driving it around. Mind you, I'm not just complaining for the sake of complaining. If these things annoyed me, they could annoy some small-car shopper out there.
The door locks are so annoyingly small, making them kinda difficult to unlock because you have to pinch them and pull up. I know it's just a matter of my getting used to pressing the universal lock/unlock button on the door's armrest instead and maybe that's why Honda made them so small because it assumes you'll never handle the little plungers. But why not just make them like the Civic Si's easy-to-push see-saw buttons in the side of the door? (I bring up the Si since it's the only other Honda I've recently encountered in our fleet.) Why does the entry-level hatch get this lock treatment which seems to just call attention to its cheapness? Is it because it's cheaper to make?
I love the fact that this low-price car comes with an aux power point, but trouble is I didn't know it had one at first glance while searching for it in our low-lit subterranean garage. I looked in the usual places, like near the stereo face and the center console but couldn't find it. So I didn't take our community aux cable with me for the weekend. It wasn't until I emerged from the garage that I saw the aux power point was in the center camouflaged by its own dark, handy-dandy rubber coverlet. Sure, it's discreet and once you know where it is, you won't forget. But having it hidden prevented me from enjoying my iPod in the car this weekend. Boo-hoo.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 4,122 miles
January 16, 2007
I love the Honda Fit. As I've said before, it's quick, kinda cool looking, carries plenty of gear via its fold-flat seats, and sporty. And cheap. Everything it sets out to do... But as I said, it's very inexpensive, and for good reason. It's not exactly a '56 Chevy Bel-Air. It's modern and very thin. I'm not decrying the build quality, but the below shot is of the open rear hatch.
My fingers are grasping the outside steel edge. Paper-thin. Doesn't rattle, doesn't feel like a death trap. But if you're wondering how Honda's engineers saved money in its development, that's one clue.
Doug Lloyd, Copy Editor, @ 3.980 miles
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 08, 2006
The crying and gnashing of teeth -- not to mention the harsh accusations -- can cease now. The Fit is Fixed. I picked up our 2007 Honda Fit Sport from Burke Auto Body in Long Beach, California, and you can never tell it got hit. All's right with the world again...
I suppose it is high time that I confess that I am the knucklehead who liked the Fit so much I bought one as our family car. I bought it partly because I loved the versatility of the seats. I bought it partly it because I love Hondas. I bought it partly because it handles so well. But mostly I bought it because it is inexpensive and I am -- I admit it! -- a cheapskate. It was $15,170 before tax, title and license fees. Yes, I could have bought a car that cost less. But not one I could get excited about.
Do I wish it had more power? Only if the fuel economy remained the same. Do I wish it was bigger? No, I like squeezing into small parking spaces. And so far there hasn't been anything I wanted to haul that wouldn't fit into it. Do I feel safe on the freeway? Absolutely not. But that has more to do with the other drivers than the car I'm driving.
So, aside from a few really picky things, I like our Fit, which looks exactly like the Edmunds long term Fit. More importantly, my wife likes it. And the key to inner peace is to have a happy wife.
December 05, 2006
Starting up the Honda Fit this morning I am greeted with a "check fuel cap" warning on the IP. I get out of the car to check it out and sure enough, its not screwed on tight - - guess that means the warning did its job. Only setback now is that the light keeps flashing even though the problem is fixed.
The owner's manual says "it will take several days of normal driving for the vehicle to turn the warning off." That's a lot of help. I have to press the select/reset button every time I start the car to make it go away until the car decides it's ready to reset... Good feature, but annoying execution.
Turns out that "several days of normal driving" amounts to about 10 miles. Why didn't they just write that in the owner's manual?
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Assistant - 2,766 miles
November 29, 2006
Our long-term Honda Fit received its first battle scars in the war called Driving in LA. This morning as I was turning right into a Chevron station, a BMW 5 Series sedan ('97-'03 generation) nipped our hatchback's right rear corner. Mr. Bimmer was making a right on red from the side street adjacent to the gas station and evidently was in too much of a hurry to wait for the Fit to complete the turn... He was also in too much of a hurry to pull over and exchange information, so now he's got a hit-and-run riding on his conscience.
I didn't get a plate number, but you can tell from the scrape on our Fit Sport's lower skirt that the 5 Series had dark blue paint.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 2,684 miles
November 29, 2006
On my way into the unveiling of the 2008 Buick Enclave last night, I left our long-term Honda Fit in the care of the parking valets at Art Center. When I returned for it, I spotted it here wedged between a couple of news vans and an old Explorer. Evidently, it's not just the Fit owner who reaps the benefits of the car's small size.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
November 17, 2006
This morning I'm driving to work in our long-term Honda Fit, listening to Rush and minding my own business when out of no-where the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile blew my doors off. The big bad wiener on wheels went by so fast it almost sucked the little Fit right off the road. Next time I run into that weiner I hope I'm driving something with a little more guts. The Fit might be fuel efficient, but it's no hot dog, er, I mean hot rod...
Edmunds.com Editor-in-Chief Scott Oldham, 2022 miles