Variance

Edmunds Full Test: 2007 Honda Fit Sport

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Variance    0

Fit for fun and flexibility

By Philip Reed

Date posted: 03-30-2006

The 2007 Honda Fit is a triumph of creativity, proof that good ideas don't have to be expensive. Within the Lilliputian dimensions of this five-door hatchback is a world of imagination that knows few limits. It seats four comfortably (five in a pinch), offers great fuel economy (above 33 mpg), and is as easy to live with as your best friend.

Let's daydream for a moment about a world where all the cars are like this little Honda. Picture highways with traffic that flows freely. Imagine twice the number of open parking spaces. And best of all, see gas stations with tumbling fuel prices. That may be a coming attraction if the world catches on to the benefits of small cars.

One more daydream before we move on to specifics: Perhaps the Fit — and other little cars in this segment which are sprouting up like wildflowers — signals the beginning of the end of an era of insanity, that is to say the end of the SUV age. We have nothing against SUVs when used for their intended purpose. But SUVs for image or to give the driver a sense of power and superiority (not to mention a false sense of safety): now that's crazy.

A feeling of space

Judging by the Fit, the new frontier of car design lies not in exterior styling, not in wildly boosted horsepower, but inside the car. And that's where the Fit excels. Look at it from the outside next to a "normal" car, and it looks teeny. But step inside and you'll find that Honda has created space and, more importantly, a feeling of space. We urged a 6-foot, 4-inch friend to sit behind the wheel and his first words were "plenty of headroom, good front legroom."

While drivers rave about the road feel and the awesome sensation of the five-speed manual transmission, Honda is busy promoting the Fit based on its second-row "Magic Seat" design, which effortlessly provides outstanding flexibility. It has four different modes that entail folding the seats this way and that like an origami creation.

The key is a single control on the top side of the front seats that slides the seat forward. No bending, no straining. The front seat slides forward, the backseat folds down without your needing to remove the headrests. When the front seat is moved back in place, the now reclined rear-seat headrests slide neatly under the cushion. Why the heck didn't someone think of that sooner?

With the seats in the conventional position, there is adequate cargo room accessible through the hatchback for say, a week's groceries (21 cubic feet and 23 cubic feet with the seats folded down). In the "long" mode, a 7-foot, 10-inch surfboard can be stowed inside. We took the Fit to Malibu and found a surfer to consult on this vital subject and we were told that the car would definitely appeal to wave riders: "Fold the seats down, throw the board in and boom — you're good to go."

For carrying taller items, the Fit's backseat cushions fold up to give you 50 inches of vertical room, floor to ceiling, because Honda moved the gas tank forward to open up a deeper well. Besides the adaptability of the interior, the front seats are quite comfortable and the fabric is attractive. The backseats were a bit short on thigh support, but the legroom was adequate for smaller passengers. Additionally, there is under-seat storage for backpacks, purses or picnic baskets.

Economy and power

Both trim levels for this front-drive, five-door hatchback (the Fit is offered in base and Sport trim) feature a 1.5-liter, 109-horsepower VTEC four-cylinder engine. Delivering 105 pound-feet of torque at 5,800 rpm, it posted a 9.3-second, 0-60-mph sprint. The EPA estimates it will get 33 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, but our average for the test period was 32 mpg. Driving the Fit with a five-speed manual transmission revealed a sweet spot of acceleration in the midrange that emerges like a bonus on an already lively engine. While the car seems well insulated and less tinny than other cars in this class, at about 80 mph in 5th, the engine is revving up around 3,500 rpm and makes its presence known.

A huge favorite of ours was the meaty feel and action of the manual shifter. The action is precise, well defined and pleasing. The Fit Sport is also available with a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters that we drove briefly at a press event. Thanks to the non-sequential drive-by-wire throttle control, the automatic almost seemed to have more zip than the manual. The rubber-backed shift paddles were pleasing to the touch and added a new dimension to the driving experience. The paddles can be used to initiate a shift even in the fully automatic mode; the transmission returns to full automatic after holding the gear for a period of time.

One editor criticized the small size of the fuel tank (only 10.8 gallons), noting that frequent fill-ups will make the owner feel it is not as fuel-efficient as promised. Depending on the driver's style, however, the range could still be as high as 350 miles (a Fit with an automatic transmission is estimated to get 31-37 mpg) — not bad for a car with a base price of $14,400 with the manual. The base Fit with an automatic transmission is $15,200; the Fit Sport with manual transmission is $15,720; and the Fit Sport with an automatic is $16,520 (all prices include the $550 destination charge).

Standard safety features

As if anticipating safety concerns from U.S. buyers, Honda has provided two key features standard on both the base and Sport models. Both trim levels come with four-wheel antilock brakes and side curtain airbags. The ABS operation was loud but the pedal feel was good, especially considering it comes with rear drum brakes (and front discs). Braking distances were exceptional, with the Fit stopping from 60 mph in as little as 123 feet. The use of high-tensile-strength steel on 36 percent of the Fit's unibody frame has kept the curb weight low — only 2,471 pounds (on the Sport with a manual transmission).

Honda's attention to safety is well-placed; Americans tie their egos — as well as their feelings of safety — to the sheer size of the vehicle. The bigger and heavier car will usually win in a head-to-head contest. However, Honda engineers are confident the Fit will win a five-star rating from the NHTSA on a front crash. Furthermore, they expect a "Good" rating from the IIHS in both the offset-frontal and side-impact tests.

Handles like a champ

The Fit drove like a champ, with quick steering and exquisite road feel. These impressions were confirmed on the track, where it slipped through the slalom in 6.1 seconds at 67.5 mph. The Fit felt stable and well balanced, and provided good feedback to the driver. It was about as much fun as you could have in a thrifty little car. Not only that, but the sporty handling didn't sacrifice comfort; it provided a pleasing, comfortable ride.

Matters of comfort, convenience and personal preference

The operation of the heating and air-conditioning system was the essence of simplicity. Three big knobs, conveniently located, were easy to use and provided all the combinations that drivers and passengers need to keep them comfortable. Similarly, the radio and CD player are stylish yet straightforward, and the system delivered impressive sound quality. A separate auxiliary input jack provides connection to an MP3 player, and the CD player in the Sport allows MP3 and WMA playback.

The build quality of our preproduction Fit Sport was impressively tight, with great attention to detail. Our only problem came with a pesky hatch that needed to be closed twice to catch properly. The materials throughout were high-quality and pleasing to the touch. Controls were nicely weighted, giving a feeling of durability and value.

Final Fit words

Honda has put so much fun in this Fit that it arrives like a breath of fresh air in an era of dwindling resources on a congested landscape of clogged roads and packed parking lots. How nice to see that the 2007 Honda Fit and some others (Nissan's Versa, Scion's xA and xB, and Toyota's Yaris) are cars built for the new millennium. While an SUV spills outside the dimensions of its parking space like a fat man in an airline seat, any space is an opportunity for a Fit. We guess you could say that, for many car buyers, this car will be a great fit.

Posted Image

Link: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...rticleId=109810

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regfootball    234

whatever. good luck getting t-boned by a Ridgeline.

interior. i've been in one, its average to medicore. Not really any more spacious than your average compact, certainly not as roomy as this writer suggests. Most compacts on the market will get 30 mpg compared to the 32 mpg they got.

not even 110 horsepower. Sure hope you're still ok with that when you're only #20 on your payment book.

if you like the fit, just be sure to drive a few other competitors and then decide. Don't let a few stupid articles decide for you.

Yaris-better looking, as economical

Aerio-50% more power and has more space, warranty, better interior

Sentra or Versa-much better looking

Cobalt-less expensive, more substantial

Mazda3- class of the field

Aveo-save a bunch of dough

Focus wagon-hold a lot more + more power

Accent/Rio-warranties and cheaper

PT/Caliber....more solid and useful all around

Edited by regfootball

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Cory Wolfe    263

Other than the somewhat high price and those odd headlights, I kind of like it... for what it is. It'd suit my parents alot better than that POS Blazer we're getting f**ked with.

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Northstar    11

The only real reason I would buy a Fit would be if I wanted something that was halfway fun to drive and got good mileage. But for $15-16k, there are way too many great used cars that are much better and more fun.

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Polish_Kris    0

Other than the somewhat high price and those odd headlights, I kind of like it... for what it is. It'd suit my parents alot better than that POS Blazer we're getting f**ked with.

Let me guess, your Blazer has a problem with it's 4wd system?

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Buick61    0

That's a LOT of money. Yes, it has some good things standard (ABS & side-airbags), but for the money, I'd much rather have a Dodge Caliber. More room, more power, more style, and, of course, the illuminated cup holders and "chill zone" beverage compartment.

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Cory Wolfe    263

Let me guess, your Blazer has a problem with it's 4wd system?

What GM vehicle with the push-button 4wd system doesn't? :lol: Yes, it does. It's a POS and serious gas hog... although is fun to beat on. Puts a smile on my face when I do... :D

But yes, this Fit would... uh... fit my mom perfectly for all the more she uses the Blazer for.

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siegen    20

Oh come on, 9.3 second 0-60! That's freakin quick. :iroc-dragster:

And you can fit surf boards in there or a mountain bike! You can't do that in a Cobalt, score one for the Fit!

Just think, you can park 3 in the same amount of space as two regular sized SUV's would take up. Maybe even 4 if you put one in sideways!

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bobo    91

I sat in a Fit. It's a definite step down from a Civic, but I think it could make a nice commuter car for a crowded urban area if it drives well. The design seems entirely unremarkable.

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regfootball    234

I sat in a Fit.  It's a definite step down from a Civic, but I think it could make a nice commuter car for a crowded urban area if it drives well.  The design seems entirely unremarkable.

yep.

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CARBIZ    1

I'm no big fan of these micro-cars, but when I woke up this morning, we are paying $1.01 a LITRE in this area today! That is $4.60 a GALLON for you boys down there (okay, a Canadian gallon, to be sure, but still a gallon!)

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Polish_Kris    0

And this is relevant to the Fit...how?

It's called asking a question? Oh sorry, I asked a question about a GM 4WD system.

I forgot that you're not allowed to question GM's reliability on this board :o

Edited by Polish_Kris

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Polish_Kris    0

What GM vehicle with the push-button 4wd system doesn't? :lol: Yes, it does. It's a POS and serious gas hog... although is fun to beat on. Puts a smile on my face when I do... :D

But yes, this Fit would... uh... fit my mom perfectly for all the more she uses the Blazer for.

Ya I know Blazers are fun to drive, I drove a few of them. But those 4WD's are absolute crap, so are the electronics. I wonder if the GMT-360's were improved in the field?

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BrewSwillis    0

Ya I know Blazers are fun to drive, I drove a few of them.  But those 4WD's are absolute crap, so are the electronics.  I wonder if the GMT-360's were improved in the field?

Man, you REALLY hate Blazers. Did a Blazer kill your family?... and you have sworn to get revenge. :huh:

Every topic ends up wtih you saying that 4WD Blazers suck.

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Polish_Kris    0

Man, you REALLY hate Blazers.  Did a Blazer kill your family?... and you have sworn to get revenge.  :huh:

Every topic ends up wtih you saying that 4WD Blazers suck.

Because I worked around them, and I know ppl who own or owned them, and I'm just agreeing with BlackViper that the 4WD system is no good on them. Once again, I'm sorry, I broke the secret code of this website, of questioning GM's quality. Because everything that comes from GM is bulletproof.

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The O.C.    2

Man, you REALLY hate Blazers.  Did a Blazer kill your family?... and you have sworn to get revenge.  :huh:

Every topic ends up wtih you saying that 4WD Blazers suck.

They DO...!

I had a '93 Blazer 4X4 that was a NIGHTMARE.........

After THAT Blazer, I can understand why all these people shy away from GM products....

<ugh>

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Let's daydream for a moment about a world where all the cars are like this little Honda. Picture highways with traffic that flows freely. Imagine twice the number of open parking spaces. And best of all, see gas stations with tumbling fuel prices. That may be a coming attraction if the world catches on to the benefits of small cars.

hahahahahahahahaha oh man... no way... no freakin way... i didnt know buying a small car would make traffic go away... im almost positive that a car on the road is a car on the road... regardless of size... open parking spaces? um... well if you park in a spot... it doesnt really matter whether your rivin one of these or an H3... that spot is still taken... and will gas prices really all of a sudden go down just bcuz everyone drives a tinier car? no they wont...

and um... they said something about "wildly boosted horsepower" not being part of the "new era" of car design... what do they think ricers are goin to do as soon as they get their hands on this? or anyone for that matter... 109 horse... 105 ft/lbs... what? are they sure this isnt a ride-on lawnmower with a roof?

Edited by 04monteintimidator

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Flybrian    0

Let's daydream for a moment about a world where all the cars are like this little Honda. Picture highways with traffic that flows freely. Imagine twice the number of open parking spaces. And best of all, see gas stations with tumbling fuel prices. That may be a coming attraction if the world catches on to the benefits of small cars.

Stop talking about Europe, Edmunds. Oh wait. They have small cars, but greater congestion, less parking, and worst of all, higher gas prices. Way to be ignorant.

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