San Francisco: When
gas spiked at well over $3.00 per gallon many commuters started looking
around for more economical transportation. The Japanese automakers saw
the need and quickly re-engineered vehicles not originally intended for
North America in order to fill this need. One of the most prominent was
the Honda Fit.
Like the true
investigative automotive journalist that I am (and desperately in need
of frugal transportation) I put a Fit through its paces at my secret
test track (my 70 mile round trip commute to work and home).
Styling being in
the eye of the beholder, I found the Fit, a kind of mini-station wagon,
pinched, just a tad too narrow and tall, yet a tad whimsical. Being a
mini-station wagon, the Fit is versatile; there is 21.3 cubic feet of
storage behind the rear seat, and when that is folded there is 41.9, a
huge amount of room for such a small vehicle.
The Fit is only
157.4 inches long, 66.2 inches wide, and 60 inches tall. Five people
will fit inside, although with 50.6 inches of shoulder room in the rear
they better be three skinny people.
The Fit’s engine
is a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 16-valve, SOHC that produces 109 hp and
105 lb.-ft of torque that drives the front wheels through a 5-speed
manual transmission. A 5-speed automatic is an available option. I drove
a manual transmission version, which was the normal Honda smooth and
The Fit, even a
base Fit, is well equipped. I am getting older and I do appreciate
things like power windows, door locks, and outside mirrors, air
conditioning and a 160-watt sound system. The Fit Sport adds as cruise
control (a must have for me), and an upgraded 200-watt sound system with
MP3 player capabilities.
The Fit did have
its cost-cutting measures. Take the carpet - Please! I have never seen a
carpet this cheap since carpets became standard. It looked and felt like
carpet under-pad. The plastic trim was on a par with what Honda used
maybe ten years ago, good but not great for 2007. But heck, the Fit is
not about its luxuriousness right? It is about its frugality.
And frugal it is,
using only one gallon of fuel for every 33-city miles or 38-highway
miles with a manual transmission. The city figure dips to 31-miles with
the automatic but stays at 38-highway. So I used less than two gallons
of gas on my round trip commute!
Do not expect the
Fit to be a rocket though. I found that I needed to run the engine up to
just about redline for decent acceleration and to downshift into fourth
I was pleasantly
surprised by the ride and handling of the Fit Sport I drove. It was
shod with P195/55 R15 tires (the base Fit uses P175/65 R14s). The
heaviest Fit only weighs a tad over 2,500 lbs., so you might expect the
suspension to be a little stiff (trying to engineer a suspension for a
load variation of at least half the vehicles weight is no easy task),
but it was not.
handling of a car this tall and narrow often gives the driver a tipsy
feel, which can be aggravated by a high seating position. It did not
happen, in fact the Fit kind of felt like I was driving a Civic wagon
from the early ‘90s.
The Fit and other
“super-economy” cars mainly from Japan have the domestic automakers
scrambling, and rightfully so. In the blink of an eye Honda brought the
Fit into compliance with our emission (getting a LEV-2 rating) and
safety regulations, and brought it to market. I doubt that the actual
sales numbers, 20,302 from its April ’06 introduction to the end of
September ’06, had the domestics cringing with fear, but the speed of
the response itself might be worrisome. That and the fact that Honda is
able to make a profit on such a low priced vehicle.
How low is the
price? The base Fit five-door lists for $13,850, and the Fit Sport
climbs to $14,650. If you add every option available including an
automatic transmission you can get the price up to $18,828, at which
point you are into Civic territory. Be judicious and you can have a very
well optioned Fit Sport for around $16,000.
So if you are looking for an
economical, dependable, versatile vehicle you need look no further than
the Honda Fit.
Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Honda Home Page
Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The Fit is a “super economy” car
Topic: The 2007 Honda Fit
Word Count: 806
Photo Caption: The 2007 Honda Fit
Photo Credits: Honda Internet Media
Series #: 2006 - 58
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2007 Honda FIT
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2007 Honda FIT