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The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Fit

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The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Fit

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Fit

The Fit proves that a small car needn’t be punishment for spending less, successfully mixing economy, versatility—and even a little mischief. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder makes 130 hp; a slick-shifting six-speed manual is standard, while a CVT is optional. The chassis is willing to play when you are, but the brakes are merely average. Rear-seat legroom is ample, and thanks to rear seats that fold flat, cargo capacity—at 53 cubic feet—is impressive, too.

2016 Honda Fit

Instrumented Test

2016 Honda Fit

Will it fit?: Determining whether Honda’s new tiny hatch can fill its predecessor’s enormous shoes.

If the personal-transportation choices of Americans were based solely on need and practicality, we’d have a much narrower spectrum of vehicles on our roads. From the hundreds of models available now, we’d need just four: 50-cc mopeds for single people, bitty five-door hatchbacks for couples, minivans for larger families, and pickups for those who pack nail guns or pilot a Ditch Witch. In fact, we’re pretty sure this is how they do it in Europe.

If they ever put us in charge, the Honda Fit will be mankind’s hatchback. Since it appeared on the scene in 2006, the fun-size Honda has been our reflexive recommendation for pretty much everybody on a budget, including the old lady in the shoe. To date, this spacious, bodacious cube has pulled in seven 10Best trophies and three comparison-test wins. So its redesign for 2015 makes us nervous. Can the new Fit possibly live up to the untouchable standard set by the old?

2016 Honda Fit

It sits on a new platform, it’s powered by a new engine spinning new transmissions, and it wears a new look. That last point, at least, is a definite plus. For the first time, aesthetics seem to have been a prime consideration in the Fit’s design. As with the styling of many minicars, it’s polarizing. But the past two Fits haven’t polarized anybody; they’ve looked dorky to everyone.

The 2015 Fit seems much bigger than its predecessor, but it is actually the same height, 1.6 inches shorter, and just 0.3 inch wider. The engorged appearance comes from a dramatically reduced glass-to-body ratio. The greenhouse is shorter, even if the car itself is not. This gives the Fit a more substantial appearance. And it is more substantial, although only slightly. This car’s curb weight of 2572 pounds is up 52 from the last Fit we tested. As far as cars are concerned, that’s just water weight.

2016 Honda Fit

In spite of the small increase in mass, the car sees big gains in rigidity. It’s still a playful chassis for an affordable stuff-shuffler. There’s little roll, and wheel and body motions are well controlled even when you smack a mid-corner bump. Without an available rear anti-roll bar like that on the outgoing Fit Sport, the 2015 model isn’t quite as neutral. But it’s fun, and certainly more so than any of the nonexistent cars that offer a Fit-sized interior at this price. The rack-mounted electric power-steering motor takes orders from a sturdier shaft; while a modicum of feel remains, it’s a bit muted and less immediate than before, and this flattens the fun on turn-in. Both the 0.79-g skidpad grip and 178-foot stopping distance are average for its B-segment cohort (Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2). But the brakes are actuated by a pedal that is squishier than the last Fit’s, again sapping a touch of the old car’s charm.

There’s a shade less zeal underhood, too. While more powerful, the engine is missing the touch of rasp that reminded its driver of other high-profile VTEC screamers. It still displaces 1.5 liters, but that’s about it for similarities between Fit engines new and old. Now it’s stuffed with direct injection and dual overhead cams (where before there was port injection and just one lobestick). In addition to i-VTEC’s dual-profile intake cam, the 1.5 packs VTC, or Variable Timing Control, which retards intake valve timing at low rpm and advances it at high engine speeds. New oil jets cool the undersides of the pistons, and the crankshaft has been lightened 27 percent through smaller journals and a 50-percent reduction in counterweights, from eight to four. An additional 13 horsepower and 8 pound-feet of torque, for totals of 130 and 114, respectively, don’t sound like much gain for all of that effort, but this is just a 1.5. That increase in power and shorter gearing drop the zero-to-60-mph time from 8.4 seconds to 8.0. At 16.2 seconds and 86 mph in the quarter-mile, the Fit would have outrun every car in our last comparison test of this class [“Appetizers,” November 2011]. Fuel economy with the manual hits 29 mpg city and 37 highway. Shifting primarily at the 6800-rpm redline, we logged 30 mpg.

Grabbing those shifts is both a joy and a frustration. The Fit finally gets a long-overdue sixth gear, and the shifter itself enjoys short throws and tight movements. But the clutch takeup is softer, more vague, and higher in the pedal’s travel than the previous Fit’s. And while there are six gears, sixth is the same ratio as the old fifth. There’s no calming of the engine on the highway because the final-drive ratio is also the same. At 75 mph, the Fit’s four-pot turns a frenetic 3600 rpm. A Chevy Sonic turbo’s overall gearing in fourth is about the same as the Fit’s in sixth; at 75 in sixth, the torquier Sonic is turning 1300 fewer rpm. The Fit is no noisier than a Sonic, even if the high-rpm buzz gets tiring in a way that lower frequencies don’t.

But while the Sonic and other classmates might challenge this new Fit dynamically, the Honda is still in a league of its own in terms of packaging, mainly because its fuel tank is still located under the front seats. Step inside and you’ll notice that its unexpected combo of downtown-friendly footprint and Penske-van interior volume has been dramatically reallocated. Honda stretched the wheelbase 1.2 inches and redesigned the rear suspension with shorter trailing arms, so the Fit’s rear seat is now an astounding 4.8 inches farther back from the front. That improvement is awfully close to the difference between long- and short-wheelbase Audi A8s or BMW 7-series. Never mind the one-size-up Civic; the Fit now has more rear-seat legroom than the already limo-like Accord. This is no less of a miracle than the packaging breakthrough that made the first Fit such a hit.

2016 Honda fit

Of course, there is a trade-off. Honda netted more people space at the expense of cargo room. The volume behind the rear seat drops from 21 cubic feet to 17, relegating what was once the segment leader to midpack standing. But dropping the Fit’s rear seats creates a cargo hold that, while smaller than its predecessor’s (53 cubes versus 57), is still bigger than that of any competitor in our last roundup. It’s more than you’ll find if you fold down the third row in a GMC Yukon. Unless your friends are mostly bags of mulch, though, it’s hard to view the shuffling of interior space as a negative. Particularly when there’s still so much of it.

But it’s not only more spacious; this Fit enjoys a marked uptick in material quality and design. The doors and dash boast luxurious soft-touch panels; and matte-finish “fauxluminum” flourishes accent the dash, door handles, and air vents. Along with the upgrade in appearance comes an upgrade in standard and available equipment. Not that the new bodywork limits visibility that much, but a rearview camera is standard. Keyless-entry and -start and—finally—satellite radio are now optional. The base car starts just $100 higher, at $16,315. Fully loaded models outpace the last generation by about $1000, but the extra content is worth it.

2016 Honda fit

The new Fit has us torn. Its edge has been slightly dulled, leaving the handling a little less sharp and the engine note a touch less provocative. The clutch takeup is muddier and the brakes are a little squishier.

We hate to see a beloved car even feint in the direction of dynamic mediocrity, but at least the soul of the Fit has survived. Its practical improvements are remarkable, putting the car even further ahead of its class. Nobody has yet matched the Honda’s incredible versatility at this price, nor has any competitor yet packaged anything remotely as useful atop a chassis that offers this much fun for so little money.

2016 Honda Fit

Will it fit?: Determining whether Honda’s new tiny hatch can fill its predecessor’s enormous shoes.

Grabbing those shifts is both a joy and a frustration. The Fit finally gets a long-overdue sixth gear, and the shifter itself enjoys short throws and tight movements. But the clutch takeup is softer, more vague, and higher in the pedal’s travel than the previous Fit’s. And while there are six gears, sixth is the same ratio as the old fifth. There’s no calming of the engine on the highway because the final-drive ratio is also the same. At 75 mph, the Fit’s four-pot turns a frenetic 3600 rpm. A Chevy Sonic turbo’s overall gearing in fourth is about the same as the Fit’s in sixth; at 75 in sixth, the torquier Sonic is turning 1300 fewer rpm. The Fit is no noisier than a Sonic, even if the high-rpm buzz gets tiring in a way that lower frequencies don’t.

But while the Sonic and other classmates might challenge this new Fit dynamically, the Honda is still in a league of its own in terms of packaging, mainly because its fuel tank is still located under the front seats. Step inside and you’ll notice that its unexpected combo of downtown-friendly footprint and Penske-van interior volume has been dramatically reallocated. Honda stretched the wheelbase 1.2 inches and redesigned the rear suspension with shorter trailing arms, so the Fit’s rear seat is now an astounding 4.8 inches farther back from the front. That improvement is awfully close to the difference between long- and short-wheelbase Audi A8s or BMW 7-series. Never mind the one-size-up Civic; the Fit now has more rear-seat legroom than the already limo-like Accord. This is no less of a miracle than the packaging breakthrough that made the first Fit such a hit.

2016 Honda fit

Of course, there is a trade-off. Honda netted more people space at the expense of cargo room. The volume behind the rear seat drops from 21 cubic feet to 17, relegating what was once the segment leader to midpack standing. But dropping the Fit’s rear seats creates a cargo hold that, while smaller than its predecessor’s (53 cubes versus 57), is still bigger than that of any competitor in our last roundup. It’s more than you’ll find if you fold down the third row in a GMC Yukon. Unless your friends are mostly bags of mulch, though, it’s hard to view the shuffling of interior space as a negative. Particularly when there’s still so much of it.

But it’s not only more spacious; this Fit enjoys a marked uptick in material quality and design. The doors and dash boast luxurious soft-touch panels; and matte-finish “fauxluminum” flourishes accent the dash, door handles, and air vents. Along with the upgrade in appearance comes an upgrade in standard and available equipment. Not that the new bodywork limits visibility that much, but a rearview camera is standard. Keyless-entry and -start and—finally—satellite radio are now optional. The base car starts just $100 higher, at $16,315. Fully loaded models outpace the last generation by about $1000, but the extra content is worth it.

2016 Honda fit

The new Fit has us torn. Its edge has been slightly dulled, leaving the handling a little less sharp and the engine note a touch less provocative. The clutch takeup is muddier and the brakes are a little squishier.

We hate to see a beloved car even feint in the direction of dynamic mediocrity, but at least the soul of the Fit has survived. Its practical improvements are remarkable, putting the car even further ahead of its class. Nobody has yet matched the Honda’s incredible versatility at this price, nor has any competitor yet packaged anything remotely as useful atop a chassis that offers this much fun for so little money.

2015 Honda Fit Gets Highest Safety Rating From NHTSA

It’s sometimes assumed that small cars are less safe than larger vehicles, but the 2015 Honda Fit proves that a small footprint and good safety ratings aren’t mutually exclusive.

The recently-redesigned Fit received a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and was also named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

fit-ext

In addition to the highest-possible overall score, the Fit managed five-star ratings in the NHTSA frontal and side crash tests, as well as four out of five stars in the rollover test.

The Fit was also named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. That ranking is surpassed only by the Top Safety Pick + ranking, which was added recently to recognize vehicles equipped with automatic-braking systems that slow a car without any driver intervention.

Individual IIHS crash-test scores for the Fit included the highest-possible “Good” in all areas except the small-overlap test, where the Fit earned an “Acceptable” rating.

The latter score was only achieved after Honda made modifications to the Fit.

The car initially received a “Marginal” score, so Honda strengthened bumper-beam welds and added a stronger bumper bar to some 12,000 of the earliest-production Fits.

The changes were subsequently implemented on the production line, but those early cars had to be returned to dealers to have their bumpers reinforced.

The small-overlap test is meant to replicate a collision with the corner of another vehicle or a fixed object such as a utility pole or tree, and was implemented relatively recently.

Because just a small part of the car’s front end makes contact in these crashes, much of the energy-absorbing structure is bypassed.

That’s forced carmakers to adjust the designs of new models to account for this test.

fit-int

In addition to expected safety features like stability control, traction control, and a full array of airbags, the Fit is also available with some optional electronic driver-assist features, including a rearview camera with guidelines, and Honda’s LaneWatch monitoring system

Recession Proof Cars: Honda Fit and CRV

While we’re all griping about yet another handout to the least-deserving, worst-performing businesses in this country, there’s something especially galling about this one to many of us who cover the auto biz. See, while we often get accused of rooting against the domestics, that’s a downright lie. The problem isn’t that American carmakers can’t build great cars. They can. That’s just the point. They can and they do: the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Dodge Ram are all superior to their Japanese competition. But then look at what cars are actually selling in this economy, and you see examples like the Honda Fit. Why do we have to rely on Honda to give us a successful small car like the Fit or the Civic, although Ford can sell the Focus, the Ka, and the Fiesta in Europe—models that are so much better than the domestic versions? We’ll get fuel-efficient economy cars, if Ford lives long enough to bring them to market. Those European Fords are fine examples of management understanding how to make great cars—but not seeing how to get them to market faster than their competition.

But there are some good deals out there in this recession; cars that are worth the price and will hold their value. And in spite of our exasperation, we don’t advise buyers to to ignore the American brands. Our outlook is more nuanced than that, although unfortunately for the Wee Three’s sake, it’s still not the story they want to read. Here’s the breakdown, and the logic behind it.

Gold Standards: Brand Equity, Reliability, Resale

Gold standards are just what they sound like: Cars in high demand now and likely to be so in the future. That means that although a car is never a wise investment (unless you have the means to mothball a Ferrari for 30 years), the depreciation hit won’t be as dire as it would be with a less beloved model. Depreciation also correlates to reliability, so these are also cars seen as more reliable (according to Consumer Reports.com). There’s another factor at work; these are cars from makers that aren’t in dire straits. Face it: the residual value of a marque plummets when a carmaker dies (Daewoo anyone?).

Gold Standards: Honda Fit

For a time this summer, when gas prices nationwide crested above $4 a gallon, used Fits were as costly as new ones, which is absurd since it makes way more sense to keep spending a little bit more for gas to fill your jalopy than to eat someone else’s depreciation hit (a few grand in the first year of a Fit’s life in a normal market). Still, this car should remain popular for some time because its cabin is flexible enough to move a lot of stuff, just like with a small wagon, the gas mileage is terrific (27/33), the driver has great visibility, the ride is fun, and the trim grade is high—all attributes that are too rare in the subcompact sector. Sealing the deal are standard safety features like ABS and airbags, decent rear-seat legroom and tons of headroom.

Gold Standards: Honda CR-V

The CR-V is a standout in an increasingly competitive segment. The Saturn Vue is a great example of a new sleeper in midsize crossover category—but the Honda is just a hair better. Mostly this comes down to slightly smoother feel from the drivetrain (comparing four-cylinder engines in both), a more tidily laid out cockpit, and slightly better fuel economy. Both the Honda and Saturn are fun to drive, but the CR-V has shown more consistent reliability over the years. Then again, you can get two different hybrid versions of the Saturn—not an option with the Honda.

Article Information

  • Source: Newsweek
  • Author: Michael Frank
  • Date Posted: December 24, 0208

2009 Honda Fit: fuel-sipper grows up

Honda is holding the 2009 Fit’s technical briefing in Graham’s loft in the hopes it will bring me a greater sense of his lifestyle and needs. Perhaps so, but it has also succeeded in driving home just how much of a packrat I am in comparison to Graham, whose tastefully decorated, uncluttered pad could easily be featured in a Better Living photo-spread.

In his 30s, Graham is an excellent representative of the Fit’s target demographic: He’s a globally successful electronic dance music DJ and producer who enjoys active pursuits like jogging, cycling and snowboarding.

Well, we’re both in our 30s – at least we have that in common. No matter – the Fit could still work well for both of us.

While this new generation is a pretty comprehensive redesign, it retains the features that defined the clever original: the centrally located fuel tank (which creates implausible amounts of rear seat and cargo space in what is actually a subcompact car), and the two-way folding rear “Magic Seat,” which allows Fit owners to easily utilize that additional volume.

This means that Graham can easily tote his wakeboard or scuba tanks, or whatever sort of young/active/lifestyle gear he wants, while I could (potentially) haul extraneous items from my house to charity drop-offs or the dump.

Increases in length (10.6 cm), width (1.3 cm) and wheelbase (5 cm) further expand on the outgoing car’s cargo-swallowing strengths, with particular attention given to improvements in the function and comfort of the rear seat, which now folds down with a single lever, without having to have its head restraints removed.

  • PRICES: (Base /as tested)$14,980/$20,480
  • ENGINE: 1.5 L I4
  • POWER/TORQUE: 117 hp/ 106 lb.-ft.
  • FUEL CONSUMPTION: Est. w/automatic city 7.1, hwy. 5.5 L/100 km
  • COMPETITION: Chevy Aveo, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris
  • WHAT‘S BEST: Increased interior volume; improved fuel economy; nimble handling
  • WHAT‘S WORST: Stiff ride; considerable road noise at times; manual transmission revs too high at speed
  • WHAT‘S INTERESTING: Fit was Japan’s best-selling car last year

Improvements to the Fit’s structure, a standard phalanx of airbags, and the inclusion of the company’s ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) crash structure design are expected to garner the Fit top marks in IIHS and NHTSA collision testing.

Improved outward visibility may further reduce the chances of you needing the protection.

Common to all 2009 Fits is a reworked version of the current Fit’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder motor, now equipped with Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve timing system. Producing 117 hp and 106 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s more than adequate for most driving situations.

I’m not sure how well DJ’ing or CD sales pay, but I know that I could certainly appreciate the Fit’s fuel economy, which has improved incrementally for 2009, the five-speed automatic model’s 6.4 L/100 km combined rating now slightly bettering the five-speed manual’s 6.5 L rating.

The automatic’s more relaxed fifth gear ratio may be partly responsible; the difference between the two transmissions at elevated highway speeds is considerable, the automatic turning nearly a thousand rpm less than the manual’s 3000-plus rpm hum at 120 km/h. (I still preferred the light-shifting stick.)

Article Information

  • Source: wheels.ca
  • Author: Brian Early
  • Date Posted: September 13, 2008

Honda Fit, purely functional and completely affordable

It is possible — no, I should say “easy” — to carry an adult bicycle in the 2009 Honda Fit. Between the front and back seats.

No big deal, you say?

Think about it. I said between the seats, not behind in the cargo area.

All you need to do is take off the bike’s front wheel, flip up the bottoms of the Fit’s rear seats (this can be done with one hand, while you hold the bike in your other) and slide that upright bike in through the back door. That’s the same back door people use to get into the back seat.

The Fit’s exterior design is a bit goofy, but this car is sensible and fun to drive. (HONDA)

Get the idea? The Fit ($14,980 base price) is a smart and versatile econobox that redefines the segment.

Here’s more of why.

The front seatbacks recline almost completely flat. Sure, sleep there if you like.

Or fold down the backs of the rear seats — this happens in a 60/40 pattern — and you have yourself 1,186 litres of rectangular and astonishingly usable cargo space. That is more than the cargo hold of a Honda CR-V with its back seat up.

Oh, you can fold down the rear seats without having to remove the headrests, all at the flick of a latch, too.

Yes, the Fit’s exterior design is a bit goofy and the standard 15-inch wheels on the base model are barely bigger than skateboard wheels. And that stretched overhang past the front tires is not a work of stylistic genius, though it surely helps with the Fit’s best-possible five-star crash test rating.

But eye-catching, perfect design proportions are not what the Fit is all about. Someone out there is shouting, “What about the new, larger headlamps and the larger mirrors now mounted on the door? They help the car’s look.”

Sure. But let’s face it. The Fit is purely functional and completely affordable urban transportation.

This is a hit with buyers, who continue to snap up Fits even though Honda offers nothing in the way of discounts — in a marketplace full of them.

No need. Honda does not juice sales with rebates because Honda doesn’t have to. Honda does not boost sales by shipping fleets of cars to daily rental companies, either. If you want a Fit, and just about any other Honda short of the Pilot, you’re paying full price or something close to it.

Price? Toyota offers the comparable Yaris four-door hatchback for less at $14,360. The Yaris is not as fun to drive as the Fit and less versatile, but it is a reliable little runabout, so this Toyota is a player.

Kia has the Rio5 four-door hatchback and it sells for $13,995 — less if you look hard for discounts. Definitely worth a look now that Kia is steadily moving up among the big boys in the latest quality research. The Fit is still more functional and more entertaining to drive, though.

Nissan has the Versa four-door hatchback. It is a bit more powerful than the Fit (122 horsepower versus the Fit’s 117) and fuel economy is close, too — 7.2 litres/100 km in the city, 5.7/100 km highway for the Fit, and 7.9/6.3 for the Versa, with both using regular gas.

The Versa feels more solid than the Fit; however, its four-star crash test rating is not as good and the Versa’s interior is not nearly as novel and appealing as the Honda’s. Still, with the back seat flat, the Versa has the most cargo room of all these.

The truth is, on balance I’d argue the ’09 Fit is the best subcompact on the market. Sure, the exterior design is a bit homely, but it grows on you.

What matters most is how reliable and utterly clever this car is. Almost as important is the 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine.

While not overpowering, the four-banger is a high-fuel-economy affair that starts every time with a twist of the key. Let me warn you that the power plant works best with the basic five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic with paddle shifts is available for $1,200, but it makes the Fit feel less powerful and responsive.

You might be surprised to hear that the Fit is fun to drive in town. It’s quick to make a turn, so dodging traffic, zipping in and out and through whatever the commuter grind throws at you, is entertaining. The electric power assist rack-and-pinion steering is not only responsive, it helps with fuel economy, too.

Truth be told, the Fit could use more juice for passing on the highway and you’ll need to plan high-speed merges in advance. If you catch the engine in a low-rev dead spot, it feels sluggish. So work it.

What is tough to criticize, given the price, is the cabin. All that glass area — the “greenhouse” in car business lingo — opens up what could be a cramped little cockpit.

Honda has dressed things up with little surprises, such as a blue-lit instrument cluster and three asymmetrical knobs that make it easy for the driver to manage the climate controls even in winter, wearing gloves.

At each end of the dash are deep pockets that Honda says can carry bottle holders or other largish items. The sharply angled windshield has allowed Honda — out of necessity, no doubt — to create a dashboard with a shelf on top. There is also an under-seat compartment, cubbyholes on the dash, a back-row cup holder, a double glove box and even a map pocket on the passenger’s seat that the driver can easily reach.

In addition, the steering wheel tilts and telescopes; front, side and curtain airbags are standard; and even the least expensive Fit comes with a two-speaker, MP3-capable stereo with CD player. Power windows are also standard.

Honda has nailed the grocery-getter formula with the Fit and that’s high praise. It is incredibly tough to build a small car that makes sense, that people want, that does not break and makes a profit. Honda has done it.

So as far as I am concerned, the Fit should be among the finalists for 2009 car of the year.

Article Information

  • Source: Globe Auto
  • Author: Jeremy Cato
  • Date Posted: November 14, 2008

Simon Whitfield prefers his Honda Fit

He’s a superstar athlete who scored a silver medal in the men’s triathlon at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. But Simon Whitfield is best remembered for his gold medal win at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney — where he came from behind after a crash in the bike race to steal the top spot.

When it comes to competition, the Olympic and world champion has plenty of drive. It’s the same on the road, except he prefers a slower pace and opts for function over speed. That’s why Whitfield drives a 2006 Honda Fit compact hatchback.

“It’s a dynamic car; it’s the perfect triathlon fit.

“For a triathlon, efficiency is everything because you have to conserve energy through the race to get to run. I suppose with my car it’s the same — efficiency is everything. It’s so functional,” says Whitfield, who is married and has a 17-month-old daughter named Pippa.

‘The best feature is the seats; they fold down completely flat and they fold up and they do all these different configurations.’ — Simon Whitfield (Diana Nethercott For The Globe and Mail)

“We have a little girl and we throw our bikes in the back.

“It was totally incomparable to other cars. When you try to do comparison shopping — they’re almost making it unfair. The Fit has got more room, it’s more fuel-efficient, it’s a really nice-looking car, the seats all fold down really cleverly. Somebody in North America needs to steal this design. And the price is great, too.

“We had been debating cars. I saw it in the parking lot one day when I was swimming. And I came home and there was no question about it, I found my car. And when my wife Jennie saw it, she was like ‘This is easy — it’s a no-brainer.'”

“It says I’ve become more practical and functional — in the expense, the low maintenance, the fuel efficiency,” says the dual Canadian-Australian citizen who lives in Victoria.

Size is everything for the 33-year-old. “It’s a way bigger car than it looks.

“It’s like a mini-minivan and it’s fun to drive. Jennie and I fight over who gets to drive it all the time. The best feature is the seats; they fold down completely flat and they fold up and they do all these different configurations.”

But there’s one thing he’d change about them. “I’d have leather seats. You can wipe them off really easily. I’d have heated seats, too, for my long runs.”

Whitfield’s second car is also a Honda — a 2008 CR-V SUV, but the Fit is still his favourite.

“Because we live in Victoria the running is spectacular. I like being able to get to runs so we’ll drive out to Goldstream Provincial Park. My favourite thing with the car is having the trunk open, all the boys’ muddy shoes in the back, people asking for towels to sit on seats — I like that,” says Whitfield who started competing in triathlons as a tween.

Despite his quick race pace, on the road it’s a different story. “I have a daughter now — I’m lame. I’m more cautious.

“The only thing we don’t need now in the car is a manual — which is great fun when you don’t have kids. Then when you have kids you wish that the manual no longer existed.”

Whitfield’s first car was a Renault. “I bought it for $500. First gear didn’t work and reverse only kind of worked. So I was just resourceful. You had to start it in second. It ran well.”

But it landed him in hot water on one occasion when he was 22. “My very first date was in the Renault — this was 10 years ago.

“I did two U-turns, turned right on a do-not-turn right on a red, cut across a Petrocan parking lot, cut across another parking lot to get to the restaurant and a cop followed me the entire way!

“Literally from the moment I did the first U-turn and he actually got out of the car and said, ‘I just can’t believe you didn’t see our lights. We were behind you the whole time!’

“‘Officer, honestly, she said she really had to go to the washroom and I had to get her here as fast as I can!’

“He said, ‘Oh, all right.’ But he didn’t let me off. He laughed a lot and I’m sure I was the joke later at the station,” he laughs in retrospect.

Whitfield usually changes cars often. “Every November, I seem to get bored and buy a new car. We had a Volkswagen Westphalia for a while — that was my yuppie, hippy stage.

“I had a Mini Cooper — that was a gold standard of yuppiness. The Mini was fun, but the Fit is just so much more functional.

“It was just hard to beat the Fit. The best car we’ve had has been the Fit — easily, hands down.”

And if he could have the keys to any car, well, he wouldn’t take them. “You can just give me my Honda keys back.”

Article Information

  • Source: Globe and Mail
  • Author: Petrina Gentile
  • Date Posted: December 19, 2008

2007 Fit 3 Year Test Drive

Although it debuted in Canada in 2007, the Fit wasn’t exactly a brand-new model. It had actually been in Japan since 2001, and was sold throughout the world, where it was and is known as the Jazz. In Japan, it’s been one of the most successful models the company has ever put forward.

Available in four-door hatch configuration only, the ’07 Fit was powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder that featured Honda’s VTEC variable valve arrangement. It developed 109 hp at 5,800 rpm and could be had with either a five-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic with an optional manual shift feature that allowed you to change gears via steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. This set up made the Fit unique in this market.

But more to the point, perhaps, the Fit returned very competitive fuel consumption: 7.3 L/100 km in town and a miserly 5.8 L/100 on the highway.

Compared to rivals such as the Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio, the Fit had a much higher level of refinement, and was very driver-friendly and easy-to-get-along-with.

Interestingly, it was actually larger than the original first generation of Honda Civic – by a considerable margin. With all the seats folded flat, there was 1,186 litres of storage space back there and it was very similar in concept and size to the old Honda Civic Wagon, which was on the market in the mid-1980s.

As Honda executives were quick to point out at the time, it also had more interior headroom and cargo volume than the Toyota Yaris, thanks to a rear floor layout that was 170 mm lower. Honda designers did some fuel tank repositioning to accomplish this, and the Fit was easy to get in and out of.

You can fold the second row of seats flat individually or together, and Honda claimed that a bicycle would fit upright in the back. There are also various other combinations that allowed you to fully recline the seats and have a snooze, carry odd-shaped cargo or whatever. It may have technically been a four-door hatchback, but in some ways, the Fit is kind of a mini-minivan.

In 2007, it came in three trim levels: DX, LX, and Sport, and standard equipment level was pretty generous. Power windows, adjustable steering, drive-by-wire throttle, ABS and a decent stereo with MP3 capability all come with the base DX. Various other modcons, like air conditioning, power door locks, larger 15-inch wheels and tires and driving lights were available as you went up the trim levels. The top of the line Sport had the aforementioned paddle shifters as well as cruise control, upgraded stereo, and an underbody spoiler kit. This latter feature was strictly for show, as there was no performance upgrade with the Sport model.

Consumer Reports seems to love the ’07 Fit. Aside from some minor issues with the electrical system, it receives this organizations top marks for “used-car prediction” and feedback from owners is, by and large, positive. Some comments: “hard to read the electronics screen.” “purrs like a kitten, drives like a tiger.” and “ride is a bit stiff, wanders a bit on uneven highway surfaces.”

Market research company J.D. Power is generally positive about the 2007 Fit. There seem to be some issues with powertrain quality and style, but most other areas of the car are “about average” or better.

Overall mechanical quality gets a top rating, as do features accessories quality. As a result, J.D. Power bestows a “most dependable subcompact car” title on the 2007 Fit as well as “most appealing subcompact” in a three-way tie with the Toyota Yaris and VW Jetta.

Either way, the Fit has held its value remarkably well. These days, you can expect to pay at least $11,000-$13,000 for a three-year-old model. Considering that its base price in ’07 was under $15,000, that’s pretty decent residual value.

Article Information

  • Source: Globe and Mail
  • Author: Ted Laturnus
  • Date Posted: April 22, 2010

Honda Fit overcomes setback in small overlap test to earn TOP SAFETY PICK

ARLINGTON, Va. — The redesigned 2015 Honda Fit earns an acceptable rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s challenging small overlap front test, a significant improvement over the 2009-13 model, which was rated poor. With good ratings in the Institute’s four other crash tests, the minicar qualifies for the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK award.

The Institute conducted two small overlap tests of the new Fit. In the first test, the bumper beam, a steel bar located behind the plastic bumper cover, broke free of the frame rail on the passenger side early in the crash. This caused much more of the crash energy to be absorbed by the driver side of the car, resulting in extensive intrusion into the occupant compartment and excessive upward movement of the steering column.

In response to that initial test, Honda engineers improved the strength of the bumper beam welds, and the company asked the Institute to test the car again. In the second test with the improved welds, the bumper beam stayed attached to the frame rail. Intrusion into the occupant compartment was reduced, and the steering column was much more stable, resulting in an acceptable rating. The rating applies to vehicles built after June 2014.

Honda will initiate a “product update” to replace the bumper beams on approximately 12,000 2015 Fits that were sold earlier this year, prior to the change to the bumper welds. Owners will be notified by mail, and dealers will do the work free of charge. This modification will significantly improve protection in small overlap crashes. Only cars with the replacement bumper beam earn the acceptable rating in the small overlap test and qualify for the TOP SAFETY PICK designation.

“We commend Honda for its quick response to the test and for taking the additional step of replacing the bumper beams on early-production vehicles,” says IIHS President Adrian Lund. “People who bought cars produced earlier in the year should take advantage of this free replacement to improve protection in small overlap crashes.”

The Institute introduced the small overlap evaluation in 2012. In the test, which is more challenging than either the head-on crashes conducted by the government or the IIHS moderate overlap test, 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end on the driver side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph. The crash replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole.

To qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection and good ratings in the Institute’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

The Fit is the ninth Honda/Acura model to earn a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK award.

Article Information

  • Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Author: IIHS
  • Date Posted: August 28, 2014

Honda’s Receive 2013 Top Safety Pick Award

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Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in moderate overlap frontal, side, rollover and rear crashes. Honda Accord, Fit, Civic, CR-V, Crosstour, Odyssey, Ridgeline and Pilot all received the 2013 Top Safety Pick Award!

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Article Information

  • Date Posted: January 15, 2013
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