Honda Fit Info
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    Honda Fit Info

    Honda Press Releases:

    Quote Originally Posted by American Honda
    2007 Honda Fit Looks Small on the Outside, Delivers Big on the Inside
    Sun, 8 Jan 2006

    Detroit 01/08/2006 -- The all-new 2007 Honda Fit, a subcompact 5-door hatchback set to go on-sale in the U.S. in April, will make its U.S. debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. Already one of Honda's hottest selling models in Asia and Europe, the Fit is designed to enter the U.S. market as leader in the subcompact segment with top-of-class feature content, refinement, interior functionality, sporty driving demeanor and high levels of standard safety equipment.

    Built on Honda's legendary foundation for dependability, quality and reliability, the Fit is a premium entry-level vehicle that emphasizes style, technology and value. The Fit features a 109 horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder VTEC engine, a 5-speed manual transmission or an available, first in segment, 5-speed automatic transmission, and over 90 cubic feet of passenger volume with multiple seating and cargo configurations. A Fit Sport model offers wheel-mounted paddle shifters (with automatic transmission) and a 160-watt, six-speaker audio system. Fit will be supported by a wide variety of Honda Genuine Accessories, including segment exclusive Honda Apple(R) iPod(R) Music Link(R), allowing owners to personalize their Fits inside and out.

    "The 2007 Fit provides a new entry point into Honda for consumers considering an attractive and efficient small car," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda. "The large interior adapts to people or cargo like no other car in its class. It comes standard-equipped with advanced safety technology, and follows in the tradition of Honda's fun-to-drive performance."

    Unprecedented Subcompact Seating and Cargo Flexibility

    Dimensionally compact on the outside, the interior provides a surprisingly large passenger and cargo space for both maximum comfort and utility. At the foundation is the Fit's Magic Seat(TM), an innovative 60/40 split rear seat that allows the seatbacks to fold down or the seat bottoms to flip up, providing four distinct seating and cargo carrying configurations (refresh mode, tall object mode, long object mode and utility mode) in addition to the standard five passenger mode. With all seats in the upright position, passenger volume measures 90.1 cubic feet (slightly less than an Accord's passenger volume) with 21.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second row (slightly less than an Element's cargo volume behind the second row). In order to help maximize Fit's useable interior space, Honda located the fuel tank in a central location towards the middle of the vehicle. This allows the cargo floor in the rear of Fit to be relatively low, thus increasing the interior volume.

    Fun to Drive...Past the Pump

    The 1.5-liter, SOHC, 16-valve, 4-cylinder VTEC engine generates 109 horsepower @ 5800 rpm and 105 foot-pounds of torque @ 4800 rpm. The compact and efficient powerplant features Honda's innovative Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC(TM)).The VTEC system's ability to provide highly efficient operation at low engine speeds and extended performance at high engine speeds benefits fuel economy, power and low emissions.

    Refinement is further enhanced with electronic Drive-by-Wire throttle control, which provides quick throttle response, smooth automatic transmission shifts (on automatic transmission models) and precise fuel delivery to the engine. Friction reducing technologies include roller bearing tipped rocker arms, a low friction timing chain tensioner, molydebenum coated piston skirts and an offset crankshaft/connecting rod design.

    The suspension set up for the Fit is a combination of a front MacPherson strut/rear torsion beam with trailing arm.

    The compact front suspension and rear torsion beam were both designed to allow for a large passenger cabin with a low floor to maximize the cargo carrying capacity.

    Fit employs a compact, efficient and highly responsive Electric Power Steering (EPS) system that also contributes to higher fuel economy since engine power is not needed to operate a hydraulic system. The wheel size measures 14-inches with P175/65R14 tires, and 16-inch wheels with P205/45R16 are available as a dealer-installed option.

    Estimated city/highway fuel economy ratings of 33/38 miles per gallon is expected to be among the highest ratings in the subcompact 5-door hatchback class. Emissions levels are rated as Low Emissions Vehicle 2 (LEV-2) by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Tier 2 / Bin 5 by the Federal government.

    Top-of-Class Standard Safety Equipment

    Already a leader in vehicle safety as demonstrated by Honda's "Safety for Everyone" initiative, Honda continues to implement leading airbag technology in all vehicles regardless of size or price. The Fit has the most standard safety features in its class with no other subcompact offering as much standard advanced safety technology. Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, dual front side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard equipment on all Fit models. All seating positions have three-point seat belts, while front occupants are further protected by pre-tensioning seat belts. An enhanced knee bolster provides additional protection for passengers.

    Standard active safety equipment includes anti-lock braking system (ABS) with ventilated discs in the front and drums in the back, and electronic brake distribution (EBD).

    Paddle Shifters, Audio Options Define High Content Sport Model

    The Fit Sport model is the only subcompact to offer steering wheel-mounted paddle shifter controls (with automatic transmission). The Sport package includes underbody kit, rear roofline spoiler, fog lights, security system with keyless remote entry, cruise control, and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with P195/55R15 tires.

    The Fit Sport also features a premium 160-watt, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers, MP3/WMA playback capability, a five-mode equalizer, and an auxiliary audio jack for input from a portable music player.

    Most Standard Subcompact Features, Segment Exclusive Accessories

    Fit comes with standard amenities such as air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD audio system with four speakers, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, and a two-tone interior.

    The 2007 Fit promises to be one of the most customizable vehicles from Honda with approximately 30 accessories available at the dealer. Fit will offer the Honda Apple(R) iPod(R) Music Link(R) as a dealer-installed accessory. The Honda iPod Music Link allows the user's iPod (sold separately) to fully interact with the audio system. A segment exclusive, Music Link will control all the iPod's features via the audio head unit with album/song information shown on the vehicle's audio unit LCD display. It will also charge the iPOD's battery.

    Other interior accessories include an ambient lighting, trim panel accents (silver, red and blue), steering wheel covers and shift knobs. Outside, the Fit can be customized with Honda Factory Performance equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels, Sport package underbody kit, sport exhaust, chrome exhaust tip finisher, rear bumper accents and a sport mesh grille.

    A consumer preview Web site for the Fit is available at Official pricing for the 2007 Honda Fit has not yet been determined.
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    Remarks by Dick Colliver, re: NAIAS Honda Fit Intro

    New Honda Fit Announcement

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Colliver
    2007 Honda Fit Public Introduction at the NAIAS
    Detroit 01/08/2006

    Thank you, Mr. Fukui. We're going to Clean, Safe and Fun in just a minute,...but first, I'd like to tell you a little bit about the year we just finished. 2005 was truly remarkable for Honda. It began with the launch of the innovative Ridgeline truck, and continued with significant updates to the class-leading Accord and Pilot SUV, culminating with the debut of the radically transformed 2006 Civic.

    Along the way, we recorded our 10th straight year of record sales, earned a number of awards and achieved some industry firsts. Most notably, Motor Trend Magazine chose Honda products for both car and truck of the year, the first time that any manufacturer has received both awards in the same year.

    Motor Trend named the Ridgeline 'Truck of the Year' - an extraordinary achievement for a pickup in its rookie year, - and validation of Honda's unique approach to the pickup segment. Importantly, the Ridgeline continues to gain momentum with consumers as well, posting sales gains in 10 of the past 11 months. Additionally, the all-new 2006 Civic's combination of style, technology and value earned it Motor Trend Car of the Year honors.

    As thrilled as we are about these accolades from some of the industry's toughest critics, we're equally proud of our track record on safety and environmental performance, made even stronger by the arrival of the Ridgeline and the new Civic. This year, once again, Honda has the highest corporate average fuel economy rating and the lowest overall emissions of any full line automaker.

    And as Mr. Fukui has indicated, we intend to further strengthen this position. And the car we're debuting here today is no exception to the rule. If you don't mind my saying it ... I think it will be a perfect "Fit" in our lineup.

    Last year we unveiled the Ridgeline, the largest vehicle in Honda's line up. Today we are here taking the wraps off our smallest vehicle - but make no mistake, there is nothing undersized about this car's safety performance, its innovative features or advanced technology.

    It's a highly refined premium entry-level car featuring a number of firsts for the subcompact segment that will immediately make it a class leader. In fact, we believe it will fit perfectly into people's lives...


    Already one of Honda's hottest selling cars around the world, the Fit comes to North America with unique powertrain, feature, and safety content to meet the needs of buyers in this market. As the Civic has gradually moved up market, it has left room in our lineup for a new entry-level model. But rest assured, the new Honda Fit delivers a lot more than just typical small car value and fuel efficiency.

    When you look at other entries in the subcompact segment, the Fit arrives at the top of the class in terms of standard safety, refinement, interior flexibility, and fun to drive character. The Fit will appeal not only to entry level consumers, but will also appeal more broadly to consumers looking for a fun, flexible and fuel efficient small car that serves as an ultra-comfortable cargo mover.

    Powering the Fit is a 109-horspower VTEC engine, and a 5-speed automatic transmission that's unique in this class. The estimated 33 / 38 city and highway mileage is among the best fuel economy ratings for conventional gasoline engines in 2006.

    Demonstrating its fun-to-use spirit and Honda's industry-leading packaging ... unique flip and fold magic seats are standard in the Fit. These innovative 60/40 split rear seats allow the seatbacks to dive down into the floor or the seat bottoms to flip up, providing unprecedented seating and cargo carrying flexibility. In a demonstration of impressively big smallness, there's nearly as much passenger volume as an Accord, and only slightly less cargo capacity behind the second row than an Element.

    Fit comes with the most standard features in its class making it a leader among subcompacts. For example, we know that our customers want more audio entertainment options, and we'll be the first in the segment to offer a new level of iPod connectivity that will interact fully with the audio system.

    The Sport model comes with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters - not only a first for Honda, it's also a first for the segment. The Sport package adds an underbody kit, rear roofline spoiler, fog lights, aluminum-alloy wheels, and an upgraded audio system.

    The Fit is a subcompact that does not compromise on safety. Adhering to Honda's "Safety for Everyone" initiative, Fit has the most standard safety features in its class.

    The Fit will go on sale in April as a 2007 model, and we're projecting sales of approximately 33,000 this year and 50,000 on an annual basis. We'll be announcing the price a little closer to launch timing, but we expect the base model will start between 13 and 14 thousand dollars. But the Fit is only half the story for Honda in 2006.

    This fall, we'll introduce an all-new, completely re-engineered CR-V. And for the first time, we will be producing the CR-V in North our East Liberty, Ohio, auto plant along side the Civic Sedan and Element...demonstrating once again the value of our flexible manufacturing system.

    With the introduction of Fit in April and all-new CR-V this fall, along with continued momentum from the new Civic and other key models, we're projecting Honda Brand sales of around 1.3 million in 2006, which would make it our 11th consecutive record year.

    Thank you for your time and attention this afternoon... let's make it a clean, safe and fun year.
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    Edmunds InsideLine Future Vehicle

    Link to Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds
    What Says:Honda put together an excellent package of features and utility, but the Fit's awkward styling takes some getting used to.

    What We Know: The introduction of the Fit gets Honda back in the entry-level segment. We're talking $15K for a well-equipped model. It's still not the cheapest vehicle in the segment, but Honda thinks it offers a better combination of features and practicality than the competition. Available as a four-door hatchback only, the Fit is similar in size to the Scion xA and Kia Rio 5, and slightly smaller than Nissan's new Versa hatchback. Go through the stats and all four vehicles offer roughly the same amount of leg- , head- and shoulder room, give or take a couple inches. The Fit's most unique features are its reconfigurable rear seats. Honda calls them "Magic" seats and they have four positions for varying levels of passenger and cargo room. Standard interior features on the base model include power windows, locks and mirrors; A/C; four-speaker CD stereo; and six airbags. The upgraded Fit Sport adds a premium audio system, MP3 port, keyless entry, cruise control, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on automatic models. The Fit Sport also gets 15-inch wheels, lower body cladding, a roof spoiler and foglights. There will also be over 30 dealer-installed accessories available for further customizing the Fit to your liking. Powering the front-wheel-drive Fit is a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that develops 109 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a five-speed manual or you can upgrade to a segment-exclusive five-speed automatic. Honda's latest variable valve timing system not only earns the Fit an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) rating, it is expected to earn EPA mileage estimates of 33 city and 38 highway.

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    AC: 2007 Honda Fit: New Subcompact for America


    Quote Originally Posted by AssociatedContent
    Steering Buyers Away from Scion
    Published Jan 24, 2006 by Brian Want

    Challenging the popular new Toyota brand Scion and its spiffy xA model, Honda is bringing a new subcompact to America: the 2007 Honda Fit. Known in some countries as the “Jazz,” the Honda Fit has been a big seller abroad, gaining positive reviews from users in nations as diverse as Argentina and Malaysia. In fact, it has even outsold the Toyota Corolla in Japan. The American version of the 2007 Honda Fit will hit dealerships in the spring of 2006, filling out the bottom end of Honda’s line and offering buyers a subcompact alternative to the tried and true, but admittedly duller, Honda Civic.

    With an expected retail price between $12,000 and $14,000 for its base model, the 2007 Honda Fit is poised to steer buyers away from the Scion line and also from the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, and Chevrolet Aveo. At first blush, the 2007 Fit looks like a cross between the 5-Door Chevy Aveo and the Scion xA on the outside – like a cute, crunched-up station wagon. But this squat little car is aptly named, and its indispensable versatility will separate it from the pack. The “Fit” is a triple entendre. First, it’s fit because it’s strong for its size: the car is a healthy runner with an efficient engine. Second, the car is designed so that it can fit more cargo with more seating variations than you’d ever expect. And third, the car is meant to fit, or appropriately match, the lifestyle of its owner. Someone at Honda had fun flipping through a dictionary and identifying all the ways in which Fit would be a fitting (pun intended) name for the car.

    For those Americans concerned about power, the 4-cylinder Honda Fit engine is a 109-horsepower, 1.5 liter gunner – that’s plenty of pep for a small car. In this regard, it’s similar to the 108-horsepower, 1.5 liter engine on the Scion xA. The Fit will have a little more pickup than the slightly less expensive Chevy Aveo, Kia Rio, and the newly redesigned Hyundai Accent. As Americans learn to weigh fuel efficiency against power, small-but-ample engines like the Fit’s will continue to gain appeal. The 2007 Honda Fit’s gas mileage is estimated at about 38 miles per gallon on the highway and 33 miles per gallon in the city.

    The real hallmark of the Fit, though, it what Honda calls its four special seat modes. When not being used conventionally, the seats can be maneuvered into four different configurations. The two rear seats can be flipped down to create a small flat bed in the back. This “utility mode” is allegedly big enough to fit a bicycle at an angle. The “long mode” involves flipping down the rear seats and reclining the front passenger seat to an almost fully prone position, allowing a lengthy item (Honda suggests a small kayak) to fit. But what about tall items, you ask? The Fit touts a “tall mode” which is created by flipping up just the lower (butt) portion of the back seat, allowing the user to shove something in from floor to roof, largely unencumbered. Finally, the fourth option is a “recline mode,” which fashions an in-car chaise lounge by flattening the front seat and using the back seat to support a reclining person.

    These well-engineered variations are remarkable, especially in such a tiny vehicle. Pictures of these modes are available on the American Honda Fit preview website at, which will eventually be replaced when the car makes its debut in the spring of 2006. The Japanese website features a more thorough demo with enough English wording to be useful:

    The Honda Fit’s excellent fuel efficiency and its space-shifting tactics are not its only tricks, though. Look for other special features, including a unique connection for iPod users. Honda is tapping into a young market and will sell the Honda Fit as an ideal car for the first-time buyer. Unless American users find flaws that foreign Fit owners have not, the car should be a raving success. Honda’s tagline for now: “The Fit is Go.”
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    Edmunds Inside Line - Japanese Honda Fit

    Link to Article

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds Insideline
    A month before its showroom debut, we take a close look at — and a hard drive in — Honda's entry-level hatchback
    By Peter Lyon Email
    Date posted: 03-09-2006

    Honda's mighty little Fit is already big news in Japan and Europe. Arguably the most practical super-mini on sale in both markets, the Fit will finally land in U.S. showrooms in April.

    So why did Honda wait until now to introduce its four-door hatchback into the U.S.? Ask the PR types and they'll tell you that the company wasn't sure this small people mover would catch on. Or they might say that it didn't have the size or space for the local market.

    Well, things have changed over the last couple of years in the U.S. since the Fit took on Europe (and won). Gasoline is more expensive, and with the high-profile hybrids making waves, the mood is changing stateside. People are starting to care more about emissions and mileage. And the success of the chunky Scion xB has proved that compact, well-packaged crossover types have a place in the U.S. market.

    Enter the Fit with its sharp looks, great packaging and class-topping performance and handling. We sampled a Japanese-market Fit in Japan, which differs from the version that will be sold in the United States in several ways, including the design of its front and rear bodywork, the design of its wheels and its safety content. It was also right-hand drive.

    Employing a simple, but uniquely Honda-like, grille and bulbous headlight design inspired by the S2000, the Fit offers best-in-class interior space, on-road performance more like a sports sedan than a minivan and above all, mileage topping 33 mpg (city mode).

    Dropped onto a newly developed "global small platform," the technical highlight of this "big" small car is its centrally located fuel tank. Positioned right under the front seats and nestled between the reinforced side members, the 10.8-gallon tank configuration gave designers the chance to pen a flat floor, thus opening up substantial legroom and headroom in addition to a sizable luggage area. Although it's only 157.4 inches long, 66.2 inches wide, 60.0 inches tall and sits on a 96.5-inch wheelbase, the Fit feels as spacious as a minivan one size larger.

    The Fit doesn't just seat four adults in comfort; it actually offers minivan-like cabin height and 41.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. And its numerous seating configurations give you the ability to carry three adults and a 7-foot surfboard — at the same time. It might be packaged like a mini-minivan, but it handles corners like a sports sedan.

    The Fit is powered by the latest in Honda's new generation of compact, lightweight i-series engines. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder VTEC produces 109 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 105 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Married to either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic, the low-vibration front-drive unit delivers strong power and torque response from low down in the rev range right up to the 6,500-rpm redline — surprisingly low for a Honda. The torque curve is flatter than most rivals and comes on power like a much larger engine. To add to the thrill factor, Honda is offering steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the automatic. Obviously, the manual extracts the most performance out of this engine, with its tightly spaced ratios and short-stroke gearshift, but the auto's paddles and unexpectedly quick gearchanges make you feel like an Indy driver, and in a minivan!

    So the Fit's VTEC power unit might not be as dramatic as that of the Civic Type-R or NSX, but the little hatch's gearbox ratios are superbly matched to its 1.5-liter's torque curve, thus delivering surprisingly quick acceleration.

    But it's not just the well-balanced, fuel-efficient engine and transmissions that enhance the Fit driving experience. A quantum leap in chassis and suspension rigidity takes the Honda into a league of its own in the handling department. One minute of driving is all that is needed to realize just how rigid this minicar is. You soon find yourself leaning into the next corner a little quicker. With bend rigidity jumping 210 percent and twist rigidity up 116 percent, the car feels planted to the road. Completing the Fit's underpinnings in a very un-minivan-like style are MacPherson struts and coil springs up front, an H-pattern torsion beam setup at the rear and side-force-canceling springs — which work to counter body roll.

    The speed-sensitive electric power steering is well weighted, if a little heavy, and could do with a touch more natural feedback from the road. Ride quality is stiff but compliant enough for U.S. roads.

    The end result is that you can throw the Fit into corners at speeds you shouldn't be able to. Choose your line and enter a corner at 50 mph, and the Fit traces the arc with perfect balance, with just the slightest hint of understeer.

    Honda has also incorporated its G-CON high-integrity body frame, which passes the world's most stringent crash standards, including 40-mph offset, 35-mph side impact, and 31-mph rear-collision absorption. Dual front and side-impact airbags, antilock brakes and Electronic Brake Distribution with brake assist have all been fitted as standard equipment.

    On the earth-friendly side, HC and NOx emissions have been reduced by 50 percent and more than 90 percent of the Fit is recyclable.

    Each model also gets power windows, power mirrors and central locking. Set to raise the stakes in the small car market, the Fit will start at around $13,000.
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    Honda Announces Pricing for All-New 2007 Fit

    Link to Press Release

    Quote Originally Posted by Honda Press Release
    Monday March 20, 2:00 pm ET
    Premium, Entry-Level Subcompact Delivers High-End Features and Class-Leading Standard Safety Equipment for 2007

    TORRANCE, Calif., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new 2006 Honda Fit will debut at dealerships nationwide on April 20 with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $13,850, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today. The Fit leads the subcompact segment with the most standard feature content in its class, a unique level of interior functionality and a sporty driving character.

    Built on Honda's foundation of dependability, quality and reliability, the Fit includes a 109 horsepower, 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder, VTEC engine with a 5-speed manual transmission (an automatic transmission is also available, bringing the suggested retail price to $14,650). The Fit's standard safety features include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, dual front side airbags, side-curtain airbags and an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Big on space, the Fit incorporates more than 111 cubic feet of interior volume and a Magic Seat(TM) that provides four distinct seating and cargo carrying configurations.

    "The 2007 Honda Fit demonstrates how an affordable and fun small car can have similar safety features and refinement as larger, more expensive vehicles," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda. "For consumers considering an attractive, affordable, and versatile car, the Fit provides a new entry point into Honda's vehicle lineup."

    Priced at $15,170, the Fit Sport model with manual transmission adds a rear roofline spoiler, aero body kit, fog lights, security system with keyless remote entry, cruise control, a 160-watt, six-speaker audio system and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with P195/55R15 tires. Fit Sport models with the available automatic transmission come standard with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and will be available at the suggested retail price of $15,970.

    Additionally, the Fit can be customized with Honda Factory Performance equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels, sport exhaust, chrome exhaust tip finisher, rear bumper accents and a sport mesh grille.

    The Fit has an estimated city/highway fuel economy rating of 33/38 miles per gallon (manual transmission) and is expected to be among the highest ratings in its class. Destination and handling charges for all 2007 Honda vehicles are $550.

    Consumer information is available at
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    2007 Honda Fit - Chassis


    Quote Originally Posted by Honda Press Release
    April 1, 2006

    The compact design of the Fit's front suspension and rear suspension allows for a large passenger cabin with a low floor height for maximum interior space. The Fit uses a MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear suspension that provides excellent handling characteristics and ride quality. The Fit's front MacPherson strut suspension has geometry that contributes to the Fit's stable straight-line tracking and fun-to-drive cornering ability.

    Similar to the steering systems used on the 2006 Civic Si and Civic Hybrid, Fit utilizes an electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system (EPS) to provide quick response with minimal effort from the driver. Its high-output brushless motor also contributes to improved fuel efficiency by eliminating the constant load on the engine from a hydraulic pump.

    Fit Chassis Highlights

    * MacPherson strut front suspension
    * Torsion beam rear suspension
    * ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
    * Electric Power Steering (EPS)
    * Standard 14-inch steel wheels for Fit, 15-inch alloy wheels for Fit Sport

    Fit employs a sophisticated anti-lock braking system (ABS) with ventilated discs in the front and drums in the rear. The ABS system has electronic brake distribution (EBD), which varies braking force from front to rear based on dynamics associated with vehicle load. Fit's braking performance provides a direct and linear feel consistent with its fun-to-drive character. Standard equipment includes 14-inch steel wheels on the base model and 15-inch alloy wheels on the Fit Sport.

    MacPherson Strut Front Suspension
    Fit's MacPherson strut front suspension geometry includes a high caster angle and caster trail for straight line stability and optimum toe control during cornering. With these characteristics, Fit's front suspension provides sharp, responsive steering and exceptional straight line control, which is further aided by a quick steering ratio, bushing tuning, rigid control arms and mounting points, and spring and damper tuning. Similar to the setup in the new 2006 Civic, Fit's front strut suspension also provides more stable cornering by allowing the inner wheel to remain closer to vertical throughout a greater range of travel, which improves tire adhesion compared to conventional strut suspensions.

    To provide good ride comfort, the compliance angle on the lower control arm is optimized to transmit less harshness. Further settings include a minimal center offset with the wheel to minimize the potential for torque steer and transfer of road imperfections from the tires to the steering.

    Torsion Beam Rear Suspension
    This H-shaped torsion beam was chosen for its compact size allowing for a lower cargo floor and maximum interior volume. To achieve high handling performance and ride comfort, the rear roll geometry and rates for springs and dampers are optimized for a stable and secure feel.

    Electric Power Steering
    To further reduce fuel consumption and to increase the "crisp" steering feel, the Fit employs an Electric Power Steering (EPS) system similar to that used in the 2006 Civic Si and Civic Hybrid. This electric steering gear box contributes to improved fuel efficiency by eliminating the constant load on the engine from a hydraulic pump. Instead, a high-output brushless motor replaces the oil pump to further improve the overall fuel efficiency of Fit.

    Braking System
    The Fit has 10.3-inch ventilated front discs and 7.9-inch rear drum brakes. Vehicle stopping is further enhanced by a standard 4-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). The standard ABS incorporates wheel sensors at each wheel to modulate braking pressure. With this type of system, the ABS control unit is able to monitor wheel speed at each wheel and adjust braking pressure to each of the front drive wheels and rear wheels independently.

    The potential for wheel lockup is greatly reduced in virtually all driving conditions, including situations where one side of the vehicle has significantly less traction than the other. The ABS system enhances the Fit's ability to maintain steering control during hard braking in normal and adverse road conditions.

    Wheels and tires
    Fit comes standard with 14x5.5-inch steel wheels (with wheel covers) and P175/65R14 81S tires. With Fit Sport, larger 15x6-inch alloy wheels with P195/55R15 84H tires are standard (shown at left). Accessory alloy wheels and tires from the Honda Factory Performance division are available for Fit and Fit Sport in a 16x6.5-inch size and a bronze finish (shown at right). Accessory tires are P205/45R16 83W performance tires.

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    One of the things I've read from every review so far is that the Fit has surprisingly good handling. The reason is simple: by putting the fuel tank under the front seats, this drastically lowers the center of gravity compared to a traditional rear-mounted fuel tank, a major contributing factor in improving overall handling. Car and Driver in its May 2006 issue said in its comparison of seven subcompact cars that the Fit was the only car in test with really good handling, and in fact did a lane change test at an amazingly fast speed.

    Put in a set of 205/45R16 tires and a good suspension upgrade kit from either Mugen, HKS, Spoon, etc. and the Fit could probably keep up with the current Mini on a handling course!

  11. #11
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
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    May 2000

    Quote Originally Posted by Honda Press Release

    The Fit's body architecture is designed to offer an active and smart appearance that is aerodynamically sleek, highly rigid and designed for enhanced levels of safety performance. The use of high-tensile strength steel in 36% of Fit's body and exclusive tailor welded blank construction allows the Fit to be relatively lightweight and maintain a high level of structural rigidity that benefits vehicle handling and safety performance. Engineers have designed Fit to achieve a 5-star NHTSA frontal crash test rating and "Good" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in both the offset frontal and side impact tests conducted by the agency.

    Body Highlights
    * Lightweight unibody construction
    * 36% of body uses high-tensile strength steel
    * Projected 5-star NHTSA front impact rating
    * Projected IIHS "Good" ratings in offset frontal and side impact tests
    * Wide-opening three-stage front doors
    * Unique exterior colors
    * Body-colored headlamp trim

    Fit Exterior Dimensions
    Wheelbase (in.) 96.5
    Length (in.) 157.4
    Width (in.) 66.2
    Height (in.) 60.0
    Curb weight (lbs.) 2432 (MT) 2514 (AT)

    Fit Sport
    Models with the available Sport Package offer a more sporty appearance to Fit's already unique exterior. It adds an underbody kit, rear roofline spoiler and 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels to enhance road handling and provide a premium, sporty look.

    High Tensile Strength Steel
    High tensile strength steel is used in large portions of the
    frame, forming a solid cage around the engine bay and interior cabin and is a major factor in what engineers expect to be class-leading impact safety measures. The frame incorporates high tensile strength steel along the front side arched frame, rocker panel, A-pillar and B-pillar to provide a highly rigid foundation. In total, 36% of Fit's total unibody weight is from high-tensile strength steel.

    Tailor Welded Blank
    The use of tailor welded blanks is becoming increasingly more common in automotive manufacturing and the Fit is the latest Honda vehicle to incorporate it into its body structure. Tailor welded blanks help increase structural integrity while reducing vehicle weight and allowing for lower fuel consumption. In the 2007 Fit, Honda uses this method to form the foundation of the firewall between the engine bay and the passenger cabin, which also helps support the structural rigidity of the frame's A-pillar.

    Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH)
    The Fit is designed to provide a quiet and comfortable ride with minimal engine noise and minimal road noise intrusion into the cabin. To minimize the noise and vibration in the engine bay, Honda utilizes side-mounted hydraulic engine mounts (shown at right), a hydraulic transmission mounts (shown at left), a new crank pulley damper and a sound-absorbing composite engine cover. In concert, these technologies help to reduce the general noises from the drivetrain.

    To best insulate the cabin when Fit is at highway speeds, Honda started with highly rigid cross member construction (shown at right) to minimize dynamic vibration and added sound insulation over a majority of Fit's interior to achieve an exceptionally quiet interior. This includes urethane insulation on the Fit's roof, floor, dashboard and in holes where body panels are attached to the frame. Additionally, Fit's hood and wheel wells are all reinforced with lightweight sound insulation.

    Fuel Tank
    Unique to any vehicle in the subcompact class, the centrally-mounted fuel tank is a key component to the Fit achieving a large interior volume. To help maximize the useable space on Fit's interior, Honda located the fuel tank in a central location towards the middle of the vehicle. This allows the floor in the rear of Fit to be lowered, thus increasing the useable area behind the Fit's front seats.

    Wide-Opening Front Doors
    In order to make ingress/egress as easy as possible, the front doors are designed with three distinct detents to hold the door open at various degrees. At it's widest, Fit's front doors are allowed to open at a nearly 80-degree angle to allow easy entry and exit from the vehicle.

    Multi-Reflector Halogen Headlights with Body-Colored Bezels
    The Fit's unique headlight bezels match the exterior color of the vehicle. Standard on all Fit models, this body-colored headlight bezel gives the Fit a sleek, integrated appearance day or night.

    Exterior Colors
    Seven exterior colors will be offered for the Fit, including two exclusive colors available only on the 2007 Fit. The first new color, Sirius Blue, will only be available on Fit, while a new, vibrant Blaze Orange will be a Sport model exclusive. Additionally, Taffeta White, Silver Storm Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Milano Red and Vivid Blue Pearl will also be offered.

    Exterior Accessories
    To help buyers personalize and accessorize the look of their Fit, Honda will be offering a number of exterior accessories. Most notable is a 16-inch alloy wheel designed by the Honda Factory Performance group. This bronze-tinted, 8-spoke wheel will be available both on Fit and Fit Sport. On all models, a mesh sport grille, chrome exhaust tip finisher and a sport muffler are also offered.
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  12. #12
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
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    May 2000

    2007 Honda Fit Powertrain


    Quote Originally Posted by Honda Press Release

    The 2007 Honda Fit powertrain is designed to deliver fun-to-drive performance with good fuel economy and low emissions. All Fit models are equipped with a 1.5-liter, SOHC, 16-valve 4-cylinder VTEC gasoline engine that generates 109 horsepower and is available with either a 5-speed manual transmission (standard) or a 5-speed automatic transmission (available). The efficient and compact engine uses Honda's Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system to deliver top-of-class performance for the sub-compact segment. And, like all Honda engines, it offers excellent fuel economy and low emissions with an estimated EPA city/highway fuel economy rating on manual transmission models of 33/38 miles per gallon and a Low Emissions Vehicle-2 (LEV-2) rating in California (Tier 2 Bin 5 Federal emissions rating).

    Powertrain Highlights
    * 1.5-liter 16-Valve SOHC 4-cylinder VTEC engine
    * 109 hp @ 5800 rpm and 105 lb.-ft @ 4800 rpm
    * Honda-estimated EPA fuel economy of 33 mpg city/38 mpg highway
    * CARB rated LEV-2 emissions, Federal Tier-2 Bin-5
    * Narrow angle intake port design
    * Low-friction engine design
    * Drive-by-Wire throttle control
    * Standard 5-speed manual transmission
    * Available 5-speed automatic transmission (segment exclusive)
    * Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters on Fit Sport with automatic transmission

    Most significantly, Fit features Honda's exclusive VTEC valvetrain technology, a composite intake manifold, and low-friction construction for the rocker arms and engine block. The end result is an engine with good low end torque, high-revving power and a high level of fuel efficiency. Further refinements include the use of electronic drive-by-wire throttle control, which allows for quick and precise delivery of fuel to the engine.

    The Fit's engine is mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission (standard) or a 5-speed automatic transmission (available). The 5-speed automatic transmission is a first for the Fit worldwide, and it is a first for the segment. Fit's 5-speed automatic transmission also offers a unique steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifter system on the Fit Sport that enhances the driving experience. In manual mode, the transmission will hold the selected gear until another one is selected.

    1.5-Liter 16-valve SOHC VTEC 4-Cylinder Engine
    The goal of Fit's 1.5-liter VTEC engine is to optimize the balance between high fuel economy and fun-to-drive performance. Using new SAE net horsepower standards (revised 8/04), the Fit's 4-cylinder engine is rated at 109-horsepower.

    The engine displaces 1,497 cc and has a 10.4:1 compression ratio with a bore and stroke measuring 73mm x 89.4 mm. The compact VTEC cylinder head utilizes a narrow, 30-degree design between the intake and exhaust valves, contributing to the engine's overall compact size. The lightweight composite intake manifold is a long runner design that contributes to good low and mid-range torque output. Friction reducing technologies include roller bearing tipped rocker arms, a low friction timing chain tensioner, molybdenum coated piston skirts and an offset crankshaft/connecting rod design. Low emissions are a key trait of every Honda engine, and the Fit employs an oblique flow catalytic converter (increases contact area of exhaust gas inside catalyst), stainless steel exhaust pipes (fast warm up, good heat dissipation and low weight) and a conventional exhaust gas recirculation system (re-routes part of the exhaust gas back into the intake air fuel mixture).

    Subcompact Power (see attachment)

    Part of the balance between efficiency and power is made possible by Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system. In the Fit's 16-valve SOHC engine, the VTEC system employs a two rocker arm design (per cylinder on the intake valves) with friction-reducing roller followers for each pair of intake valves, along with intake cam lobes configured to optimize both low- and high-speed operation. Depending on engine load and rpm, an electronic controller determines which cam profile will be used and exactly how the intake valves will operate (usually around 3,400 rpm).

    At low revs, where low lift and shorter duration provide optimal operation, the timing of the two intake valves is staggered and the lift asymmetrically skewed in favor of the primary valve. This helps to create a swirl effect within the combustion chamber that increases the efficiency of the burn process. At higher rpm, a hydraulically actuated spool valve causes a locking pin to engage the secondary rocker arm with the primary one, transitioning the secondary valve into a long-duration mode that increases the volume of air/fuel mixture moving into the combustion chamber. The additional air/fuel mixture helps increase power at high rpms.

    Electronic Drive-by-Wire Throttle Control
    Typically not found on subcompact entry vehicles, electronic Drive-by-Wire throttle control allows Fit to optimize the throttle aperture when the accelerator pedal is applied. Unlike mechanical throttle control, which relies on a cable linking the accelerator pedal to the throttle, drive-by-wire measures the engine's fuel needs electronically, and Fit's computer ECU instantly determines the optimal throttle opening for the driving situation. The throttle body diameter on the Fit is 50mm.

    Transmissions Overview
    Two transmissions are offered with the Fit, a standard 5-speed manual and a new, lightweight 5-speed automatic transmission with available steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (on Fit Sport). Both are designed to optimize the power transfer from Fit's high-revving engine and allow for quick, smooth shifts in all gears.

    Gear Ratios (see attachment)

    Standard 5-Speed Manual Transmission
    Fit's standard 5-speed manual transmission benefits from short shift strokes, while carbon single-cone synchronizers in first and third gear and double cone synchronizers in second gear minimize shift load and increase durability. In first and third gear, the carbon synchronizers reduce the shift load and enhance durability.

    Similarly, the double cone synchros used in second gear also helps reduce shift load and contribute to smoother gear shifts and a precise feel. The shifter, complemented by a large and sporty shift knob, shifts through its gear ratio range to provide quick acceleration in lower gears and high fuel economy in higher gears.

    Available 5-Speed Automatic Transmission
    Fit is one of the only vehicles in its class to offer a 5-speed automatic transmission. The transmission is designed to work in concert with the drive-by-wire throttle control to provide quick and smooth shifts. The compact transmission employs a Direct Control System that manages the oil flow in Fit's lockup clutch torque converter to minimize shift shock. The lockup clutch control improves Fit's fuel economy by operating in all gears, compared to conventional transmissions that operate torque converter lockup only in a few gears. This is most noticeable during braking from higher speeds when the Direct Control System activates the lockup clutch as the transmission downshifts, maximizing the effect of engine braking and the cut of fuel to the engine during this time.

    The lightweight transmission, use of the Direct Control System and the active lockup torque converter help the Fit's automatic transmission models achieve similar fuel economy as its generally more-efficient manual transmission counterparts.

    Racing-inspired steering-wheel mounted paddle shifter
    Fit Sport models with the automatic transmission are equipped with a paddle shifter system mounted on the steering wheel, allowing drivers to quickly and simply control the shifting of the 5-speed automatic transmission. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters offer two standard shifting profiles, "Drive" or "Sport," and allow drivers to manually shift gears up or down. The Fit's Smart Paddle incorporates two buttons on the steering wheel. The button on the left controls downshifts and the button on the right controls upshifts. When the Fit's main shifter is in D, or normal drive mode, the paddle shifter can be used to downshift for increased power on hill climbs or engine braking on descents with the transmission automatically shifting up when conditions return to normal. An indicator within the tachometer of Fit's instrument cluster informs the driver what gear the vehicle is in and blinks when a downshift is unavailable.

    In Sport mode (S), however, the driver has more control. The transmission will hold whichever gear is chosen by the driver via the paddle shifter. As opposed to normal driving situations where Fit's transmission would automatically upshift when needed, in Sport mode, the transmission holds the selected gear until it is manually shifted.

    Fit Powertrain Trivia

    Globally, the Honda Fit (also known in European markets as the Jazz) is available in more than 70 countries with four unique engine configurations and three transmissions. The engine is commonly been called the "L" series among enthusiasts, and those engines include:

    * 1.2-liter, 8-valve, SOHC, i-DSI
    * 1.3-liter, 8-valve, SOHC, i-DSI
    * 1.5-liter, 8-valve, SOHC, i-DSI
    * 1.5-liter, 16-valve, SOHC, VTEC

    Not used on the U.S. market Fit, Honda's "intelligent" Dual and Sequential Ignition (i-DSI) system uses two spark plugs per cylinder and can fire the spark plugs separately or at the same time to influence combustion characteristics inside the engine (i-DSI is used on the U.S. Civic Hybrid, however). Three transmissions are available in global markets, and those are a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), a 5-speed manual transmission and 5-speed automatic transmission. Honda engineers examined localized market preferences when developing the Fit for the U.S., and chose the most powerful engine in the global lineup - the 1.5-liter 16-valve SOHC VTEC (L15A) - and the most appropriate transmissions - the 5-speed manual and the 5-speed automatic.
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  13. #13
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
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    May 2000

    2007 Honda Fit Interior


    Quote Originally Posted by Honda Press Release
    A number of distinctive innovations allow for a wide range of passenger and cargo carrying configurations along with a high level of advanced technology features in the Fit's interior. At the heart of the multi-configurable interior is a new 60/40 split Magic Seat(R) that is fold-flat-capable and can accommodate a variety of passenger and cargo combinations. The 5-passenger Fit provides 90.1 cubic feet of total passenger volume and 21.3 cubic feet of standard cargo capacity (41.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.).

    Fit Interior Highlights
    * 5-passenger seating
    * Dual stage, dual threshold front airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags
    * 90.1 cubic feet maximum passenger volume
    * Cargo volume ranging between 21.3 cubic feet standard (5-passenger seating) and 41.9 cubic feet maximum (2-passenger seating)
    * Exclusive fold-flat-capable 60/40 split dive down rear seat with four primary configurations
    * Standard air conditioning, power windwos, mirrors and door locks
    * 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 4 speakers (Fit)
    * Fit Sport adds 200-Watt Am/FM/CD audio system with 6 speakers and MP3/WMA playback, auxiliary mini jack, remote keyless entry and cruise control

    Typical features such as air conditioning, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 4 speakers, power windows, mirrors and door locks, and a sporty two-tone interior are standard on all Fit models. Fit Sport adds a security system with keyless entry, cruise control, a 200-watt, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers and MP3/WMA playback capability, 5-mode equalizer and an auxiliary audio jack for connecting any portable music player. As a dealer-installed accessory, Fit also offers the Honda Apple(R) iPod(R) Music Link(R) that allows an iPod to be controlled through the main audio interface.

    Fit Interior Dimensions
    Headroom (F/R, in.) 40.6/38.6
    Legroom (F/R, in.) 41.9/33.7
    Shoulder room (F/R, in.) 52.8/50.6
    Hip room (F/R, in.) 51.2/51.0
    Passenger volume (cu. ft.) 90.1
    Cargo volume (Std./Max, cu. ft.) 21.3/41.9

    60/40 Split Magic Seat(R)
    At the center of the Fit's unique and versatile interior is its exclusive 60/40 split Magic Seat. The exclusive seat design is made possible by the Fit's centrally mounted fuel tank and H-shaped torsion beam suspension (see the body and chassis section for more detail), allowing for class leading utilization of interior space and maximum flexibility for people or cargo.

    The Magic Seat has four distinct modes for people, cargo or both. Either the seat back or seat bottom can be folded on this 60/40 split bench seat depending upon the exact cargo carrying needs. With the rear bench seat in its traditional upright seating position (shown at top right), the Fit offers 90.1 cubic feet of passenger volume (front and rear) and seats 5 passengers, while the rear hatch can carry up to 21.3 cubic feet of cargo in the standard cargo area. One of the most useful cargo configuration is with the rear seats in utility mode, where the rear seatback folds forward (with headrests still attached) to form a nearly flat cargo floor. In this configuration, cargo capacity reaches 41.9 cubic feet and can accommodate large bulky items. Additionally, to hold longer items, the front passenger seat can recline down to the floor while in utility mode to create an area perfect for items up to 7 feet, 10 inches (long mode).

    For taller items, like a plant or bicycle, Fit's rear seat can be adjusted by flipping the seat bottoms up and allowing the cargo to sit flat on the vehicle floor (tall mode). With the seat bottoms up, items up to 50 inches tall can be placed upright in the middle of Fit's interior. Also, the Fit's front seats can recline flush with the rear seats to create a long, flat surface perfect for relaxing when the vehicle is parked (refresh mode).

    The Fit comes with a standard three-ring instrument panel with blue back-lit illumination. A tachometer occupies the left ring, along with the gear selector display (automatic transmission models). A large speedometer is located in the center ring, while the fuel gauge and odometer populate the right ring. Each ring is accented with sporty silver trim.

    Maintenance Minder System
    The readout under the fuel gauge functions as a multi-information display that shows Maintenance Minder System service related items based on vehicle usage. The Maintenance Minder system automatically indicates when to have standard service performed based on actual driving conditions (tracked by the ECU) and minimizes the guesswork related to whether the vehicle is being used in standard or severe use conditions for maintenance interval purposes. The display indicates when to change the oil, air cleaner, transmission fluid, spark plugs or coolant, as well as when to rotate the tires.

    Ambient Lighting
    Fit's interior is enhanced by the ambient blue interior lighting that turns on when doors are unlocked and fade when the ignition is turned on. In addition, steering wheel-mounted cruise control switches are back lit to match the rest of the interior. To further upgrade the interior ambient light, Honda offers accessory footwell lighting kits.

    Audio System
    Fit provides one of the most powerful standard audio systems in the subcompact class. Fit is equipped with a 160-watt AM/FM CD player with four speakers, while Fit Sport has a 200-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with WMA/MP3 capability, 5-mode equalizer, six speakers and an auxiliary mini jack to attach any portable music source.

    The Honda Apple iPod Music Link which will turn the Sport package's audio system into an instant connection to any standard Apple iPod.

    Interior Colors
    Fit's interior is upholstered in two available color combinations. One is equipped with two-tone beige seats and the other with sporty two-tone black/gray seats.

    Storage and beverage holders
    Numerous small storage compartments abound on the interior of the Fit, from the traditional glove box (7.5 liters in volume) to pockets on each side of Fit's cargo area. The center console provides multiple storage zones with storage in the front under the Fit's audio system and a center storage area between the two front seats. Additional front storage includes pockets in each of the front doors, an instrument tray in the dash area in front of the passenger and a small driver's side pocket on the instrument panel. Rear storage includes seat back pockets on both front bucket seats, while the cargo area is adorned with four fixed cargo hooks to help secure large items.

    Five beverage and bottle holders are spaced throughout the interior, one for each of Fit's five seating positions. In the front, two beverage holders are located just forward of the shifter, and in the rear one is fixed to the rear of the center console and one each on the rear doors.

    Interior Safety Overview
    Already a leader in passenger safety, Honda continues to provide leading airbag technology to even its most inexpensive vehicles, such as Fit. Standard dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, front side airbags and side-curtain airbags help protect passengers in all Fit models. In addition, Fit incorporates 3-point seat belts at all positions.

    In addition to the advanced passive safety technology of the Fit, it also utilizes active systems similar to larger Honda vehicles. This includes a four-channel anti-lock braking system and electronic brake distribution.

    Fit is expected to receive a 5-star frontal crash safety rating from NHTSA and "Good" ratings in offset frontal and side impact tests conducted by the IIHS.

    Advanced Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Front Driver's and Front Passenger's Airbags
    The Fit is equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags for the driver and front passenger. These airbags are designed to minimize the potential for airbag injury while providing head and chest protection for the occupants in the event of a frontal collision. This front airbag system features front passenger seat weight sensors and a driver seat position sensor designed to further enhance occupant protection.

    The Fit's front airbags can deploy at one of two rates. Deployment of the driver's front airbag takes into account the severity of the crash and the position of the driver's seat. During a lower speed collision, the airbag inflators are triggered in sequence, resulting in overall airbag deployment with less initial force. The same sequence is also utilized regardless of collision speed if the driver's seat is close to the full forward position. During a higher speed collision, if the driver's seat is far from the full frontal position, both inflators operate simultaneously for full, immediate inflation.

    Deployment of the front passenger's airbag is regulated by crash severity, seatbelt usage as well as the weight of the occupant. Sensors under the seat gauge occupant weight and if the total weight on the passenger seat is less than the NHTSA-specified FMVSS specifications (about 65 pounds), the airbag system will not deploy, minimizing the potential for injury to children. The ECU then deactivates the front passenger's airbag from functioning and triggers a "Passenger Airbag Off" indicator light in the instrument panel center stack. Similar to what is available on the driver's side, the airbags are deployed at the speed appropriate to the speed and severity of the collision - slower for lower speed collisions, more quickly for higher speeds.

    The driver's airbag is located in the steering wheel hub and the passenger's airbag is located on top of the dash. As in all Honda vehicles, the front passenger's airbag is designed to deploy upward toward the windshield and then back toward the occupant. This provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger while reducing the likelihood of injury resulting from airbag deployment.

    Driver's Front Side Airbag and Front Passenger's Side Airbag with Occupant Position Detection System
    Like many other Honda models, the Fit is equipped with seat-mounted side airbags to help safeguard the driver and front passenger from side-impact injury. An innovative occupant position detection system is used to assure that the passenger's side airbag has a clear path for deployment. In the event a child (or a small-statured adult) leans into the deployment path of the side airbag, a seven-segment "antenna" system built within the backrest signals this condition to an electronic control unit (ECU) also located within the seat. The ECU then deactivates the side air bag from functioning and triggers a "Side Airbag Off" indicator light in the instrument cluster (near the fuel gauge). After the front occupant returns to a normal seating position, the side air bag module automatically resumes full-functional status.

    Side Curtain Airbags
    The front and outboard rear seats are protected by Honda's Side Curtain Airbag system, which is standard equipment on all Fit models. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area. The side curtain airbag system utilizes sensors located in the side of the vehicle to determine the most appropriate deployment timing of the airbags in the event of a side impact.

    Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) System
    The Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system is standard equipment for both outboard seating positions in the rear seat. In addition to the LATCH system for the outboard seats, the center seat also has a built-in, ready-to-use upper tether allowing child safety seats to be installed in any rear seating location.

    Seat Belt Reminder System
    The driver and front passenger seats are equipped with the seat belt reminder system that gives warning to the occupants when seat belts are not fastened.

    Interior Accessories
    Fit offers a number of dealer-installed accessories designed to enhance the already sporty appearance of the interior. Among them will be instrument panel, shift knob and steering wheel trim in three different color ö red, blue and silver ö ambient footwell lighting kits, and a variety of cargo organizers.

    Honda Fit Interior Accessories
    * Interior
    * Interior trim accents (silver, red and blue)
    * Steering wheel covers
    * Shift knobs
    * Interior ambient lighting kit
    * Tonneau cover
    * Cargo net
    * Cargo tray organizer

    * Honda Apple iPod Music Link
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  14. #14
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000

    Edmunds Inside Line: Full Test Honda Fit


    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds
    Fit for fun and flexibility
    By Philip Reed Email
    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.

    Stereo Evaluation

    System Score: 8.0

    Components: Our Fit was a Sport model, which adds an upgraded stereo as part of the package. The upgraded system is actually quite nice and includes thoughtful features like the ability to play MP3 CDs as well as WMA files. The base stereo doesn't offer this. The Fit Sport comes with a 200-watt, six-speaker stereo and includes five sound profiles or preset equalizer settings. There's also an external mini-jack for connecting portable MP3 players, and an available Honda/Apple Music link that allows for direct iPod integration into the car's stereo.

    Performance: The first thing we noticed about the Fit's stereo is that the head unit is very attractive. There's a large, round knob with good-sized buttons surrounding it. The screen is also large, with nice contrasting characters making it easy to read. The large display also makes it easier to navigate MP3 folders.

    With six speakers, the Fit Sport's stereo sounds very good. We were expecting a compromised audio system given the car's price and size, but we were pleasantly surprised by the fullness of the sound. Bass response is adequate but not up to the standard set by Scion's Pioneer stereo. Because the Fit Sport has six speakers rather than the standard model's four, the additional door-mounted tweeters provide nice detail. The highs are bright and clear without being shrill or distracting.

    The five EQ settings actually work well and seem to suit the type of music they're intended to enhance. We mention this because it's not always the case with built-in equalizer settings, no matter how much the car costs.

    Best Feature: Flexibility.

    Worst Feature: MP3 and WMA CD capability are only offered on upgraded Sport model.

    Conclusion: A great little stereo that offers better-than-average sound, but world-class flexibility by allowing many options for playing music. — Brian Moody

    Senior Features Editor Joanne Helperin says:
    Tiny cars tend to get beaten up pretty badly by bigger cars when they collide. So the first questions many folks ask when looking at a subcompact are, "Is this car really safe?" or "Are my grandkids safe in the backseat?" Knowing this, Honda's engineers designed the Fit to have class-leading NHTSA and IIHS crash test scores.

    Better, though, is that this safety doesn't cost anything on top of the Fit's base price: Front side airbags, side curtain airbags and ABS are all standard equipment, something the competition can't claim. Even the upcoming Nissan Versa, a 2007 model, will charge extra for side curtain airbags and ABS.

    Once the safety bar is passed, I look for features to make my life as a busy working mom easier, such as roominess, flexibility and low maintenance. Here, too, the Fit is strong. Numerous flip-and-fold seating options offer tremendous versatility, giving the Fit 9 cubic feet of cargo space more than its Scion competitor, the xA. A worthwhile "peace of mind" feature is the Honda Maintenance Minder, an intelligent system that uses actual driving conditions — rather than the owner's manual — to indicate when the car needs service for oil, tire rotation and so on.

    The Fit's excellent fuel economy (10 percent more mpg than the Kia Rio 5), low emissions, fun handling, comfortable seats and ample rear legroom should help the Fit appeal to anyone. The young (or young at heart) will also get a kick from the Fit's bright colors and MP3 compatibility — though that's standard only on the Sport trim.

    Honda engineers seem to have carefully considered all the trade-offs necessary in a small car and designed their best all-around vehicle, making the 2006 Honda Fit one of the strongest contenders in an increasingly crowded contest.

    Senior Road Test Editor Josh Jacquot says:
    What's the Honda Fit's best feature? Easy. Its Magic rear seat. That's Magic, with a capital "M" and it's Honda's official designation for the seats which can be configured four different ways in addition to the conventional three-across seating mode.

    Flip the rear-seat bottom up against the seatbacks and you've got a cargo area tall enough and wide enough to slide a bicycle (minus its front wheel) through the rear doors.

    And if you want to fold the rear seatbacks flat, Honda was smart enough to make the procedure simple. Because the rear-seat headrests interfere with the front seatbacks as they fold, the front seats must be temporarily slid forward to achieve a flat cargo area. Traditionally, this means running around to the front seats, pulling the release and sliding each seat forward. But Honda made the task no-duh simple by placing a release on the backrest of each front seat. Now the whole job can be done at once without any musical chairs. It's a simple, elegant solution that typifies the Fit's convenience.

    Combine this usability with excellent control feel and relatively nimble handling, and the Fit is as rewarding to drive as it is practical.

    Consumer Commentary Consumer Review
    "Please change the marketing on the Fit ASAP. The message should be that the Fit drives like the Base Mini Cooper, but for thousands less. Or something similar. Don't even try to market it as a budget car when it's not. Market it as a smaller Civic. Oh — and ditch the Orange for Yellow." — plekto February 7, 2006

    "It worked with the Element. Now Honda utilizes students to help launch the Fit. More students will implement their own creative marketing campaign to assist Honda in targeting the Gen Y market and introducing them to the new Honda Fit." — jonniedee, February 8, 2006

    "Honda is a global company, and they understand cultural differences. Their marketing shows that they think that the Fit will mainly sell as a young first-time buyer's car. The problem with that thinking is that they really didn't design a kid's car with the Fit. This car was designed for other markets in the world in a category known as 'supermini.' Think of it as a small minivan, packed with space and innovation. So even when Honda brings this to the U.S. and slaps some gaudy trim on it, and hires Barney the dinosaur as its ad firm, it is still a supermini Honda Jazz. I predict that after the first year of this car when the word gets out about how affordable, reliable, and feature packed the Fit is, that the marketing of this car will change to meet the unexpectedly broad demographic that actually purchases it. It's kind of like putting glasses on Clark Kent; he's still obviously Superman!" — Mebman, February 8, 2006
    04 Acura TSX (wife's car)
    99 Chevrolet Silverado LT (gas guzzler)
    89 944S2 (daily driver)
    89 Honda ITA Honda Civic (go kart)

  15. #15
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000

    The Car Connection: Honda Fit Review


    Quote Originally Posted by The Car Connection
    Honda really made its name in the U.S. with the little Civic hatchback in the '70s, which later grew to be a well-rounded family of sedans, wagons, hatches, and coupes; but recently there's been a notable absence of hatches in Honda's car lineup. The Civic has gradually grown into a larger size and price class than it was originally placed into, and the Gen-Xers who slammed Civics and arguably started the aftermarket craze in the '90s now have kids and family gear in tow. And the Civic's clearly aimed at an older crowd now; Honda brought the last-generation Civic here in low-volume Si trim, and the automaker has no plans to bring the stunning four-door hatch version of the current Civic to U.S. shores.

    For High Resolution Images Go to the Link Above

    This leaves a gap in the market that, with small cars and hatchbacks on a bit of a comeback, otherwise amounts to a loss of young, entry-level buyers to brands like Kia/Hyundai, Toyota/Scion, and others. So Honda is bringing in a new entry-level model, a tall little hatchback called the Fit.

    Due to dealerships beginning later this month, the Fit is about three inches narrower and 19 inches shorter than the current Civic. But it's not really that small; the Fit is about seven inches taller, seven inches wider, and 18 inches longer than the original 1973 Civic. But it's about the same size, all around, as the Civic "Wagovan" of the late '80s and early '90s.

    But go ahead, scoff; if you think the Fit'll never sell, you're probably part of the older crowd. Honda's pitching the Fit at young twentysomethings - the same group that probably doesn't remember the first tall-wagon Civic, and now thinks that they, along with tall Tercel wagons and Mitsubishi LRVs, are cool retro rides for those who wear headbands in non-ironic ways. (I'm not kidding - there's an aftermarket-pimped Tercel 4WD wagon in my neighborhood with pearlescent paint, white alloys, and a ski rack.)

    But to be perfectly honest, the Fit looks a little bland on the outside for a car that's targeting youthful buyers; and to some American eyes, the proportions are just a little strange from some angles. Pictures don't do the Fit's shape much justice either - they tend to exaggerate the front-end's bluntness and the bulbous headlight enclosures. On a walk-around, the shape comes into its own, but out on city streets the Fit's shape and style probably won't be elevating many pulses. There's some nice detail work, though; all U.S. Fits have their headlight housings tinted to match the body color, which helps the mammoth headlight housings look, well, a little smaller.

    New to us, but not to the world

    In other parts of the world, the Fit isn't new. The latest generation has been around for several years and has found a loyal following in Asia and also carved a larger market share for Honda in Europe , where it's called the Jazz. In those overseas markets, the Jazz or Fit is offered with engines as small as 1.2 liters and there's also a shiftless CVT available. For the U.S., the Fit gets only the global small car's top existing powertrain - a SOHC 1.5-liter in-line four with VTEC variable valve timing and an electronic throttle, making 109 horsepower (with the new SAE standard) and 105 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be paired with either a standard five-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission.

    By today's standards, 109 horsepower sure isn't much, but since the base Fit weighs less than 2500 pounds it's surprisingly adequate and peppy. The engine is very responsive, but the big surprise is that it's not much of a high-revver. It's tuned more like the 2.4-liter in the Accord, CR-V, and Element, with a very meaty mid-range. Unlike some other Honda VTEC engines, the 1.5 doesn't reach a pronounced "second wind" at a certain rpm - the second cam lobe kicks in at around 3400 rpm, but the transition is rather uneventful. Redline is 6500 rpm, rather low for a Honda four. Peak torque comes at 4800 rpm, and past that you'll trade off more noise than additional power; it's definitely happiest when kept in the 2000 to 4000 rpm range, but it will lug along without complaining in fifth gear from about 1500 rpm. Honda engineers have tuned the throttle separately for the U.S. market with a non-linear but more satisfying response, with a more aggressive opening to half throttle, combined with a gentle tip-in.

    What this nice powertrain flexibility means is that you don't have to concentrate as much on keeping the revs up in ordinary traffic as with some of the Fit's small-car competition, like the Yaris.

    If you like doing all the shifting for yourself, the Fit's five-speed manual feels like a precision instrument and neatly snicks into each gear. The big, substantial shift knob combines with rather short throws to help make the shifts confident, and it looks great with the rubber accordion-style shift boot.

    Five speeds and a paddlin'

    The Fit's optional automatic is the segment's only one with five speeds, which allows a wider range for a lower first gear and higher top gear than is typical. As opposed to some other automatics, the torque converter can lock up in any gear to help improve fuel economy. The Sport model adds paddle shifters alongside the steering wheel, like those seen in more expensive performance models. The paddle on the left controls downshifts, while the paddle on the right commands an upshift. Unique to this model is a so-called Smart Paddle system, in which, with the shift knob in 'D' you can use the paddles to shift through the gears, but then after ten or fifteen seconds if you're driving gently it will automatically shift up to the highest possible gear and resume normal automatic mode. Shift the knob to the Sport mode ('S') and the transmission will stay in whichever gear you selected with the paddles for full "manumatic" control.

    For a budget-priced tall hatchback with a torsion-beam rear, the Fit Sport handles much better than expected, on its 195/55R15s. There's actually quite a bit of road feel transmitted back to the driver through the steering, which has electric power assist, and the suspension loads and unloads through aggressive cornering without any surprises. We didn't drive the standard Fit, with its 175/65R14 tires, but we were told that it doesn't have any significant suspension-tuning differences.

    Brakes are nice and firm; we noticed no noticeable fade on a couple of quick stops from 60 mph, even though it's just drums in back. Four-channel ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD) is standard.

    Along with hydraulic engine and transmission mounts, the Fit gets additional noise-isolation material in the roof, dashboard, and wheelwells, and claims to offer a quiet interior that's comparable to a class higher. It's true, it's remarkably vibration-free inside, but there's still some engine noise at highway speeds and also some road noise on the more coarse surfaces. It certainly helps that the tall fifth gear keeps revs around 3000 rpm at 65-70 mph.

    The interior feels much nicer than expected from an entry-level model. The instrument panel is basically what we've become accustomed to on Civics, with a central speedometer flanked by tachometer and fuel gauge (there's no temp gauge), and blue backlighting at night. A maintenance-minder system triggers various service lights depending on vehicle usage, as told by the engine control computer. Switchgear is mostly standard-issue Honda, with everything well within reach. Nice surfaces and soft edges are used throughout, and everything from vent louvers to sound-system controls all have a nice feel.

    The Fit's driving position is similar to that in most other newer small cars - you sit rather upright, with an expansive dash area ahead. The view ahead doesn't include much of the hood, but you do see the MPV-like triangular mini-windows up next to the A-pillars.

    Brilliant seat design

    Seating is perhaps the major selling point for the Fit, and where it shines versus the competition. In front and in back, the seats are among the best we've ever experienced in a small car. Front seats have far more adjustability than is typical, with the lower cushions configurable enough to both scoop shorter drivers up and forward yet also crank back and down to support long-legged drivers like myself. The bench arrangement in back is of course very narrow, only enough for two adults side to side, but there's an astonishing amount of headroom and legroom - practically, more than many mid-size sedans. The cushions are firm yet ample, too. This might be hard to believe, but it wouldn't be punishment to have normal-size adults sit back there for an hour or two.

    The handy, smart way the interior can be reconfigured minivan-like is unrivalled by other vehicles of its size. With all of the seats upright and in place, there's the aforementioned space for four adults (or five, if you count three small children in back), and in back there's barely enough space for a row of three or four grocery bags, without stacking them. If you need cargo space more than space for your passengers, the back seat will go into one of several positions and is split 60/40 in case you have one passenger for the back. The rear seats can fold into a recess to make the cargo floor completely flat. The passenger seat can recline down to the floor to expand the continuous cargo-floor distance on one side to seven feet, ten inches (enough to fit a surfboard). Then there's also a "tall mode," in which both cushions of the back seat lock in a vertical, upward position to offer two separate vertically biased cargo areas. The frontmost of those areas, just behind the front seat, is for tall items like potted plants, or a bicycle with the front wheel removed. Finally, there's a "refresh mode," in which the front seatback folds down to meet up with the rear cushion, making a continuous space maybe not long enough for sleeping or other horizontal activities, but enough for sprawling out legs (working on a laptop was shown).

    One of the reasons for the incredible amount of space is that Honda engineers designed the seats from scratch for the Fit, not from the existing parts bin, and decided to relocate the fuel tank underneath the front passenger seat, in an area that in most cars is unused space, so that the cargo floor could be as consistently low as possible. In virtually all other small cars, the fuel tank is located below the rear seats.

    Next to the competition, the Fit shows these packaging strengths quite dramatically. When we tested the Fit, we were able to compare it to both a Chevrolet Aveo and Scion xA. The Fit's interior offered much more comfort for front and rear occupants than either of the other cars, and noticeably better cargo capacity.

    While the Fit is roomy, comfortable, and fun to drive, you're constantly reminded of just how much bigger the big SUVs actually are. Sandwiched between a Land Cruiser and an Escalade on the Pacific Coast Highway , the Fit felt minuscule despite having such a tall profile.

    Big, on safety

    So safety is of course a concern. Honda says that for bumper height and crumple zones, the Fit adequately matches with its Ridgeline in a head-on crash. Side airbags in front are standard, along with side-curtain bags that cover front and rear occupants. The front airbags are dual-stage, dual-threshold to accommodate various occupant sizes. Honda anticipates that the Fit will get five stars in NHTSA frontal crash tests and a rating of "Good" from the IIHS.

    You'd expect absolutely stellar fuel economy from a little Honda, but the Fit's ratings of 33 mpg city, 38 mpg highway aren't too impressive - and not any better than those of the '06 Civic. Chalk it up to the tall body perhaps?

    The Fit is offered in a two-tiered system, with a very small number of factory options, if any. The standard Fit includes air conditioning, a rear wiper/washer, power windows, mirrors, and locks, a 160-watt, four-speaker AM/FM/CD deck, and lots more standard equipment, like a tachometer, that's optional or not available on some cheaper small cars. Fit Sport adds the paddle shifters on automatics, a rear spoiler and underbody kit, cruise control, fog lamps, 15-inch alloys, and a 200-watt system with six speakers, MP3 capability, and mini-jack input.

    Honda is pitching the Fit for a base price of over between $13k and $14k, several thousand more than the entry prices for most of the competition - including the Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Aveo, Kia Rio, and others - on the premise that Fit's greater level of standard equipment, and smarter packaging more than makes up for the price difference. Honda is expecting that 60 percent of sales will be Fit Sports, which will sell at about $1400 more than the standard Fit.

    Chances to play dress-up

    As with Toyota 's Scion models, Honda will be offering plenty of dealer-installed accessories on the Fit, including lighting add-ons, shift knobs, steering wheel covers, a Honda Factory Performance exhaust muffler and tip, and other appearance add-ons.

    Once ramped up, Honda is hoping to sell 50,000 Fits a year over here. We think that's reasonable, but it might be tough to bring buyers past the super-size mentality even if gas prices continue to creep up. Outside of frugal commuters, students getting help from mom and dad, and young urban buyers with loft spaces and "compact only" parking, most Americans still think that, within reason, bigger is better.

    This reviewer has driven (and owned) many cheap econoboxes over the years, and the Fit manages to stand out as one that's very cleverly packaged and offers surprisingly satisfying performance. This is a subcompact car that feels substantial beyond its little footprint.

    All said, the Fit doesn't especially stand out from the crowd until you take a closer look, check out the seats, and take a test drive. We'd recommend that, because the Fit seems to be one of those cars that's more endearing the more exposure you have.

    But we're still vying for that Euro-riffic Civic hatchback.

    2007 Honda Fit
    • Price: est. $13,500 base, $15,500 as tested
    • Engine: 1.5-liter in-line four, 109 hp/105 lb-ft
    • Drivetrain: Five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive
    • Length x width x height: 157.4 x 66.2 x 60.0 in
    • Wheelbase: 96.5 in
    • Curb weight: 2432
    • Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): 33/38 mpg
    • Safety equipment: Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution; dual front airbags, front-seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags
    • Major standard equipment: Air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt steering, rear wiper/washer/defrost, tinted glass, four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound with speed-sensitive volume control
    • Warranty:
    Three years/36,000 miles
    04 Acura TSX (wife's car)
    99 Chevrolet Silverado LT (gas guzzler)
    89 944S2 (daily driver)
    89 Honda ITA Honda Civic (go kart)

  16. #16
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000

    Car & Driver: $15,000 Cheap Skates


    Quote Originally Posted by Car & Driver
    May 2006

    Our goal was to drop monofilament line and sharpened hook into the vehicular stream, then wait to see how many bottom feeders would rise to the bait. Actually, “bottom feeders” proved an unfair descriptor. We’re talkin’ $15,000 entry-level economobiles here, a niche recently stirred into vibrancy by the threat of three-dollar fuel. What we learned is that this species is no longer the domain of the “penalty box,” a term previously applied to the desperate duds of yore.

    Remember the Yugo?

    Today, there exist econoboxes aplenty with base prices in the $15,000 region, including the Chevy Cobalt, Ford Focus, and Honda Civic. Properly equipped, though, those models can easily empty wallets to the tune of 18 grand. And the truth is, we were more curious about the extra-petite newcomers — the Dodge Caliber, the Honda Fit, the Nissan Versa, and the Toyota Yaris. We asked for a new Aveo sedan, but Chevy says it won’t be ready for months. Then we fleshed out our school of guppies with more familiar fish — the Suzuki Reno, the Hyundai Accent, and the Kia Rio.

    With that, we had an artful group of seven, perfect for touring the birthplaces of the seven Presidents who hail from Ohio. This 1000-mile clockwise trek, during which our contestants averaged an honorable 31 mpg, led us across the top of the state and down through the steel triangle of Niles, Youngstown, and Akron. We raced past the capitol in Columbus, then along the muddy Ohio River from Portsmouth to Cincinnati. And then we beat it north, in a straight shot paralleling the Indiana border. In all, we spent four days zinging front-drive inline-fours connected to manual transmissions, stopping every few hours to explain ourselves to not-very-amused museum curators with blue hair.

    Suzuki Reno

    The Suzuki Reno is actually a rebadged Daewoo, but at least it possesses one jet-set attribute: styling by Italdesign-Giugiaro. Whether the Reno was named after a crusty city in western Nevada or after a former attorney general is unclear, but the car remains largely flavorless.

    We carped about its gooey shifter, which felt like a hemp rope attached to plastic forks. Ditto the lifeless steering, which tracked okay but never telegraphed road surfaces, nor did it reveal much about the poor front Kumhos, which were yowling by the time we reached the end of each President’s driveway. In the Reno’s favor were swift performance (best top-gear acceleration, and it tied the Fit for quickest sprint to 60 mph), vast suspension travel, and a pillowy ride. The downside was dive, squat, roll, yaw — an encyclopedia of body motions.

    This Suzuki too vociferously advertised its modest roots, from the cheap rubber accordion surrounding its wiper and turn-signal stalks, to the tinkling of pebbles striking its undercarriage, to the six shades of gray in its cockpit. What’s more, the Reno tied for the worst braking and greatest engine NVH.

    0605_comparo_reno_dash.jpgAt least it was fitted with a wide, firm front seat, with a long cushion and superb adjustability. The commodious driver’s footwell was distinguished by a dead pedal both fat and perfectly positioned. And the Reno was also quick, with a flexible powertrain that minimized the need to row its ropy shifter. Otherwise, the Reno deserves a place on airport rental lots, where it will serve reliably and economically and be forgotten by check-in.

    Suzuki Reno and Harrison.

    BENJAMIN HARRISON, 23rd President. Benjamin Harrison, born in North Bend, Ohio, in 1833, should not be confused with William Henry Harrison (his grandfather, also our ninth President) or with George Harrison, a soft-spoken guitar player. Early in his life, Harrison was known as “Little Ben,” because he stood only five feet six. In later years, he became stiff and formal and was renicknamed the “Human Iceberg.” On the eve of his election, Harrison went to bed early. “I knew that my staying up would not alter the result if I were defeated,” he explained, “while if I was elected I had a hard day in front of me, so a night’s rest seemed best in either event.” He never once called a store to ask if they had Prince Albert in a can.

    As President, Harrison signed the Sherman Antitrust Act and the McKinley Tariff Act, and supported the construction of a two-ocean navy. Pneumonia felled him in 1901.

    Dodge Caliber

    The Caliber is the longest, widest, and heaviest vehicle in this comparo, but its 1.8-liter engine (two larger sizes are available) makes the most power. What’s more, the Caliber may be the most macho economobile extant, what with its upright, cubist deportment, implying sport-utishness. But as our test wore on, the Caliber wore thin.

    For starters, the beltline is high and the windshield is perched way out on the hood. Match that with a too-low driver’s seat and you feel like you’re sitting in a tub. We judged the Caliber’s interior surfaces to be a little too cheap and hard, and its high-effort shifter required a two-step jog from second to third and from fourth to fifth.

    All that power didn’t win us over, either. There’s torque steer and axle tramp in hard launches, helped not at all by abrupt clutch takeup. It took 9.7 seconds to achieve 60 mph, 1.3 seconds longer than the last manual-trans Neon we tested. And the engine edges into thrashiness at high revs, the noisiest at WOT. We’d tell you exactly where the racket began, but our Caliber had no tach.

    0605_comparo_caliber_dash.jpgOn our handling loop, the Caliber felt heavy and clumsy, with ambiguous steering that required midcourse corrections. It wasn’t until day four that we could predict how its dampers would react to Ohio’s expansion joints and frost heaves. The Caliber was slowest through our lane-change test.

    This Dodge does offer one of the most spacious back seats, although with three adults back there, hump boy must contend with a driveshaft tunnel — there for four-wheel-drive versions. With the rear seats folded, the Caliber’s cargo area proved plentiful, more spacious than the Suzuki’s.

    0605_comparo_caliber_cargo.jpgDodge hopes to sell the Caliber in 98 countries. But as it stands, this sharp-edged box feels like it’s seven-eighths of the way through its development — as if it needs more Caliberation.

    Dodge Caliber and Garfield.

    JAMES A. GARFIELD, 20th President. Born in 1831 in a log cabin near Mentor, Ohio, Garfield went on to become a brigadier general in the Civil War, then became the leading Republican in the House without ever taking a $70,000 golfing trip with Jack Abramoff.

    As President, Garfield is best remembered for reigning in New York Senator Roscoe Conkling, a dispenser of patronage and the controller of New York City’s Customs House. Garfield’s presidency lasted not four years but four months. That’s because Charles Guiteau, who was seeking a consular post, cleverly ensured he’d never get the post by shooting the President in a Washington railroad station in 1881. Garfield hung onto life for a few weeks, long enough for Alexander Graham Bell to search for the bullet using an electrical device he had invented that was not a phone. Alas, retracting the slug proved less crucial than controlling infection and hemorrhaging. Like McKinley, who’d be aerated by flying lead two decades later, Garfield exited D.C. before he was ready.

    Hyundai Accent

    If you haven’t sampled this third-gen Accent, give it a whirl. Its wheelbase has grown 2.3 inches and its track has been widened 1.4 inches. The Accent now noses down interstates with far more authority, and the new driver’s seat — raised two inches and adjustable eight ways — means that freeway slogs are less wearing. Sightlines in all directions are excellent.

    Moreover, the 1.6-liter twin-cam now features variable valve timing, which has broadened the power band. Let out the smooth clutch and the Accent snaps to attention right off idle. That idle, by the by, was the quietest in this group, and the Accent was quietest at a 70-mph cruise, too.

    Like the Suzuki, the Hyundai was hobbled by a sloppy shifter, and it has been tuned first and foremost for a creamy ride. The ride earned praise until we reached the hills, where the springs went into full oingo-boingo mode in Turn One and hadn’t settled by the onset of Turn Two.

    0605_comparo_hyundai_dash.jpgAlthough we wished for a firmer brake pedal, the Accent stopped in a superb 167 feet, and ABS comes standard. The IP was clean and simple, with legible white-on-black gauges. And the Accent boasted the lowest base price in this group.

    Thing is, if you like this sedan, you should know that it works far better as a five-door hatch. (See the Kia Rio5 SX.)

    Hyundai Accent and Taft.

    WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, 27th President. Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1857, whereupon his mother noted: “He is very large of his age and grows fat every day.” He eventually topped 300 pounds. Taft once sent a telegram to a train conductor. It read, “Stop in Hicksville. Large party waiting to catch train.” When the train arrived, Taft explained to the conductor, “You can go ahead — I am the large party.”

    Taft disliked his own career (“Politics, when I am in it, makes me sick”), felt he was no leader (“I have no aptitude for managing an army”), and hated the campaign leading to his election (“One of the most uncomfortable four months of my life”).

    His administration initiated 80 antitrust suits, helped bring into being a federal income tax, created a postal savings system, and admitted Arizona and New Mexico to the Union. Taft later served as chief justice, mentioning to his fellow Supremes, “I don’t remember that I was ever President.” Although he died in 1930, Taft is back in the headlines for being the great-grandfather of Bob Taft, Ohio’s current criminal governor.

    Toyota Yaris

    For years, the Yaris has earned raves overseas, winning 2000 Car of the Year honors in Europe and Japan. Since then, it has benefited from a longer and wider platform, in part to satisfy U.S. tastes. And any replacement for the Echo, which was about as exciting as mud, is fine by us.

    In this bunch, the Yaris was the lightest contender and felt like it, especially in crosswinds. Although its little 1.5-liter engine produced the least power and torque, the Yaris’s 0-to-60 time was still a half-second quicker than our group’s average. Its brake pedal came suddenly to life halfway through its travel, but any 166-foot stop from 70 mph is terrific. And the Yaris’s lightness paid off not only in errand-running agility but also in economy — 36 mpg, the best we observed.

    So why did it finish midpack? First, the Yaris is tiny, offering the most cramped back seat (for both two or three riders) and a front seat whose cushion is too short, leaving thighs unsupported. Second, its body rolls and wallows — not as badly as the Suzuki’s or the Hyundai’s, but you’re ever aware of the motions. Third, its steering, impressively light in town, is overassisted at speed and directional stability suffers — you’ll want to keep both hands on the wheel above 55 mph. All our testers disliked the center-mounted gauge cluster.

    0605_comparo_toyota_dash.jpgThe Yaris is refined and offers an accurate shifter, a rarity in this class. But as new Toyotas go, it’s less a home run than a nice little bunt down the third-base line.

    Toyota Yaris and Harding.

    WARREN HARDING, 29th President. Born in 1865 in Blooming Grove, Ohio, Harding’s middle name was Gamaliel, which may have explained his several nervous breakdowns. At least his parents didn’t name him Yaris. Harding adored high-sounding speeches, one of which was described by a Democratic pol as “an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea.” Like U.S. Grant’s administration, Harding’s was rife with scandals: wild poker games, nepotism, and cabinet members who took several hundred thousand dollars in bribes from oil tycoons. (Such a thing could never happen today.) To top it off, Harding married a domineering divorcee nicknamed the Duchess, yet managed a torrid affair with Carrie Phillips, followed by a so-called connection with Nan Britton, 31 years his junior. It must have been a close connection, because it resulted in a daughter. That’s a lot of action in a presidency that lasted only 2.5 years. Maybe that’s why Harding suffered a fatal heart attack in 1923.

    Kia Rio SX

    A Kia beats a Toyota? What’s next, Dick Cheney mistakes a lawyer for a quail?

    The Rio and the Accent share the same drivetrain and platform, and thus should have felt like the Doublemint twins. They did not. Although they have identical wheelbases, the Kia’s body is 10.4 inches shorter, it benefits from tiny suspension tweaks, and it rides on Hankooks instead of Kumhos. Every tester felt the difference. The Rio tracked better than the Accent, offered better on-center feel, was slightly less sensitive to crosswinds, and its struts and springs mustered a modicum of discipline in the snaky byways above U.S. Grant’s cottage — all without compromising ride.

    At the test track, we proved we weren’t hallucinating: The Kia’s skidpad grip surpassed the Hyundai’s, and the Rio5 zipped through the lane change 1.3 mph faster. What’s more, the Kia’s braking distances were the shortest in this comparo.

    We even preferred the upstart’s styling, and its cockpit benefits from subtle dabs of more youthful textures and shades. Small differences, to be sure, but in this class you grab sportiness wherever it’s offered.

    0605_comparo_kia_dash.jpgWhat the Kia couldn’t do was change gears any less awkwardly than the Hyundai. What is it with the shifters in this group? How much can a decent linkage add to the overall price? Thirty bucks?

    The Rio5 is a five-door hatch and thus proved far more practical than the Accent sedan. With its seats folded, the Kia eats an amazing 50 cubic feet of groceries. But it mostly brushed aside its sibling for this reason alone: It was more fun.

    Kia Rio5 and Hayes.

    RUTHERFORD B. HAYES, 19th President. “Rud” Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, in 1822, and, like Warren Harding, “suffered nervousness almost to the point of disaster.” He perhaps had good reason to be nervous, having been wounded five times in the Civil War. Hayes is primarily remembered for having won the most fiercely disputed election in U.S. history, at least until Katherine Harris happened along. Wife Lucy Webb Hayes also made her mark by ridding the White House of all alcoholic beverages, a disappointment to Mark Twain, who had stumped for Hayes.

    Hayes pledged protection to freed slaves and the withdrawal of federal troops from the South, which he predicted would then become a bastion of republicanism. This did not work out. He also helped establish the Ohio State University, which proved itself an archetype of higher learning when another Hayes — this one named Woody — slugged a Clemson football player on national television.

    Hayes died in 1893 at his estate in Fremont, Ohio. As far as is known, he never once uttered the Buckeye mantra, “Three yards and a cloud of dust.

    Nissan Versa

    The Versa is known as the Tiida elsewhere in the world and arrives in the U.S. first as a hatchback, assembled in the same Mexican plant that builds our Sentra. A Versa sedan follows later this year. [This is true — Ed.] It’s intended for gamblers and prostitutes and will be called the Vice Versa. [This is not — Ed.]

    On the road, what you notice first about the Versa is that it feels large, “like a real car,” noted one driver. It’s as tall as the Dodge, in fact, with a commanding view forward. Its shifter proved as accurate as the Toyota’s, but not the Honda’s. The light steering was informative, and the wheel was fat and soft. And it was the lone contestant here to offer six gears, making the most of the power band.

    Our complaints were few. The front footwells were narrow, and the front seats were flat, with short cushions. The door panels so intruded on the sides of the seats that the recline levers had to be inconveniently placed under the center armrest. The all-black center stack could use whiter, more legible markings. And someone needs to fiddle with the throttle calibration so the engine doesn’t hang onto revs so long.

    0605_comparo_nissan_dash.jpgNonetheless, at least two of us judged the Versa the best all-around value here. It can’t match the Honda’s overt sportiness, but its ride-and-handling trade-off may be just the ticket for buyers mainly interested in commuting and errand hopping. Moreover, the Versa won our back-seat test, with perfect scores for two or three riders. It proved an exemplar of packaging efficiency — with the rear seats folded, it tied with the Rio5 for greatest cargo capacity. And it came standard with a buffet of amenities. That makes it, uh, Versa-tile.

    Nissan Versa and McKinley.

    WILLIAM McKINLEY, 25th President. Born in Niles, Ohio, in 1843, McKinley is remembered for the 100-day Spanish-American War, in which the U.S. destroyed the Spanish fleet to liberate Cuba, then annexed the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and quite a nice little beach near a liquor store. On the subject of imperialism, McKinley said he stood for “the full dinner pail.” He was such an astute politician that the Speaker of the House said, “McKinley’s ear is so close to the ground that it is full of grasshoppers.”

    McKinley’s second term was pretty much spoiled by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz, who, in 1901, shot the President during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, which is an embarrassing place to die. But he did anyway.

    Honda Fit Sport

    The Fit is sold in more than 70 countries and is known in Europe as the Jazz. It debuts at C/D in typical Honda show-off fashion, winning by 25 points — a cakewalk.

    Our little red Fit was the quickest to 60 mph (tied with the Reno) and the quickest in the quarter-mile yet offered the least engine NVH and the second-best observed fuel economy. It came equipped with the most supportive seats, the most expensive-looking interior, an Acura-grade gauge cluster, and the ergonomics of an Accord.

    What truly set the Fit apart was its handling — not a pretense of handling but the real deal, with springs and struts that allowed one gentle rebound and no more, the only car here that felt happy storming the switchbacks. We later confirmed this when the Fit sailed through our lane-change test 6 mph faster than anything else here — faster, in fact, than a Corvette Z06.

    Abetting the handling was linear, direct steering — you could pick out a pebble at an apex and reliably place the Fit’s inside-front wheel directly atop it — a shifter that Hyundai and Suzuki would do well to copy, and pedals for real heel-and-toeing.

    0605_comparo_honda_dash.jpgDespite its midget proportions — the least width and length, riding on the shortest wheelbase — the Fit will swallow an amazing 42 cubic feet of household miscellany when its rear seats are toppled. And they fold quite cleverly, without removing the headrests, into a deep well, making the cargo floor as flat as a trailer park.

    We wish the Fit had a true dead pedal and that its rear-three-quarter visibility were better. Otherwise, we elect it president of the economobiles. Unlike Ohio’s Presidents, this one is alive. Very alive.

    Honda Fit and Grant.

    ULYSSES S. GRANT, 18th President. Born in 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, Grant’s given name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but the admissions office at West Point enrolled him as Ulysses Simpson Grant, an error he never corrected. Known as “Lyss,” Grant washed out of the Army but later returned and became the architect of the Union victory during the Civil War. Unfortunately, he was a heavy-artillery dud as President, wandering the White House looking “bewildered” and a little “whiskeyed up”—possibly the same thing. Grant’s tenure was marked by scandals: gifts from admirers, a cabinet filled with personal friends and liquor, a retroactive pay increase, an Indian agency fraud. In 1885, as Grant lay at death’s door, a doctor temporarily revived him. “It is Providence!” shouted a nearby minister. “Not at all,” corrected Grant’s doctor. “It was the brandy.”
    04 Acura TSX (wife's car)
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  17. #17
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
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    May 2000

    Business Week Article on Honda Fit

    Will Honda's Fit Be A Hit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Business Week
    Honda introduces its new subcompact, one of the best-selling vehicles in Asia, to the U.S.

    Not too long ago little or small cars, AKA subcompacts, were an anathema to automobile manufacturers. The reasons were simple: SUV sales and profits were big and getting bigger. And it was the era of not-that-expensive per gallon gasoline.

    But with oil tripling in price from $23 a barrel just three years ago to a stratospheric $75 per barrel last week, small, economically priced, energy-efficient, non-gas guzzling little cars have become really big news. And too many manufacturers, hopefully big sellers.

    To the subcompact scrum of the Chevy Aveo, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, Mini and a few others, add the Fit, one of Honda’s best-selling vehicles in Asia and Europe. All these brands are now fighting for the interest and attention of a phalanx of automotive reviewers, the arbiters of automotive excellence and the disseminators of auto accolades.

    Sure the vehicle has got to be good, priced right and competitive to start. But the brand with the most distinctive, unusual, unique, intriguing, involving, creative, comprehensive and targeted marketing, advertising, promotional, merchandising and publicity program (and a good car) that is backed with a mega-bucks budget is, I predict, going to emerge as the big winner. Fair is fair.

    And it looks like the program Honda launched last week to introduce the small Fit, is not just big, it’s the first out of the box program, and, arguably, has established the creative benchmark for this growing category of automobiles. The pipeline of over 1,000 Honda dealers has been primed to sell 50,000 Fits the first year.

    The Target Audience

    The Fit is targeted, according to RPA, Honda’s long time advertising agency, at consumers with a non-conformist mindset. The words used were “metro-funky” a demographic/psychographic term I don’t recall being used before, but do understand.

    It’s the new generation of first new car buyers – they’re well beyond the “grown-up with TV” generation designation. These are today’s real media mavens – some call them media monsters. It’s a hugely savvy, expressive, independent market with lots of RTS, or ready-to-spend cash and plastic.

    Just ask the manufacturers, retailers and purveyors of iPods, music downloads, cell phones, cell phone ring-tones, computer and video games, PDAs, WB cable telecasts and several dozen other products and services how important this group is to their business. They love them. Who wouldn’t, when they spend billions on themselves.

    Honda calls them non-conformists and has aimed a high energy, colorful campaign with a fast-paced, playful tone and focus that acknowledges, if only through generational icons, the wide array of influences on the group: the clothes they wear, hairstyles, music, video games, graphic novels, movies and cartoons (I used to call them comic books), socializing, partying, and, of course, the tuner or customized car-culture that started on the West Coast.

    Oh, and I suspect, there’s one other target group that was not mentioned – aging boomers. They want something small and inexpensive. Fit fits this need with an entry level MSRP of $13,850 – it is north of 13 thousand and a little south of 14, depending on your point of view.

    The Creative Platform

    Some advertising agency guru years ago proclaimed, every advertising campaign must have a tag line – the words or phrase in the headline or used under the logo in a print ad or spoken as the television commercial fades to black. A tag line is usually the expression of the advertiser’s corporate culture, often a motivation to buy and other times the benefits of ownership or some idealistic marketing expression.

    For the Fit, the tag line says simply, The Fit is Go!

    Once the tag is developed the real work begins. And an incredible effort and investment was undertaken by RPA on Honda’s behalf just to create and produce the various elements of the Fit campaign. There are:

    • 11 different TV productions & commercials (05 seconds to 30 seconds in length)

    • 7 print (magazine and newspaper) advertisements in various sizes

    • 3 outdoor (billboard, subway, poster) advertisements

    • 4 direct mail pieces

    • Numerous website iterations, links, content and programs; publicity programs, local previews, and dealer programs

    • In addition, there is a sponsorship with the House of Blues ("Fit Nights"), Fit Preview Parties (partnered with Filter Entertainment Group) and the Fit collegiate marketing program.

    The Media

    If small is going to be big, Honda has made smaller better by emphasizing the fact that size really does matter. Television commercials are usually 30 seconds long, but not for the Fit. Honda’s Fit commercials are only 5 seconds in length!

    That’s right, just 5 seconds long and they’re going to run in groups (Honda calls them pods) of three’s for 15 second commercials. They’re not only quick, they’re quirky. Images whizzing by as mechanical, robotic voiceovers deliver the name of the commercial – Cargo, Frisky Predator, Nocturnal Flyer, Silver Bullet, Speedy Demon and Wrestler – and the tag line, “Fit is a go!”

    Where are they going to run? RPA wouldn’t tell me, but others have detailed ABC Family, Cartoon Network, HGTV, National Geographic, Nick at Nite, Oxygen, Sci-Fi, TV Land, USA and a few other cable networks. And of course, there will be local advertising too. It appears the traditional broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, etc., are not included for the Fit.

    Fit has not forgotten that some unconventionals do read. The graphics feature an art director’s kaleidoscope of colors, while the copywriters have played with the words and phrases that trigger a response. Click links below to view two examples:

    Micro Muscle Fury

    Ultra Comfortable Cargo Mover

    Printed literature, the ubiquitous brochures, mailers and flyers that jam one’s mailbox or fill the little plastic bags at car shows use similar copy and graphics, but are smaller in size than usually associated with this medium. There are some unusual applications and uses as well.

    And there’s the Fit web presence, which will make small even bigger and more important. The Internet, it has been well documented, is becoming the medium of choice. Why? Because it works and is measurable. In dollar size, it may be small compared to TV, but it’s growing in importance especially to the Fit target.

    That’s why Honda will use Google search terms – the gold standard – and will also use blogs, search sites, content providers, media outlets and special pages for the Internet introduction of the Fit. The Fit site is easy to navigate with a lot of information including, the online catalog of interior and exterior accessories available. This merchandise category has been a gushing well of business for Scion and Mini with a huge variety of automotive and non-auto gear for the owners and fans alike. Fit was wise to follow this lead.

    Before the official launch of the Fit, event marketing kicked off a multi-city tour in major markets where the “unconventionals” could be recruited to come take a look or test drive and hear some cool music.

    And Fit’s advertising budget is …?

    Estimates for media expenditures alone have ranged from $20 to $50 million. According to TNS Media Intelligence, in 2005 Honda spent $579 million, up 17.1% from 2004’s $495 million budget. It is important to note these amounts do not include agency creative, production and service fees, or retailer/dealer ad contributions. An important launch for Honda, the estimated expenditure on the Fit is about equal to what Mini spent when it reintroduced its small car in America.

    Bottom Line

    In the early ‘60’s, more years ago than I care to recount, America got its first small car backed with a unique advertising campaign. That’s when Doyle Dane Bernbach ran one of the first ads for Volkswagen. The headline: Think Small.

    Some things never change, do they?

    The Fit’s Specs

    Already one of Honda’s biggest sellers in Europe and Asia, the Fit comes to America with several attributes for those customers who want, said Chuck Schifsky, manager regional public relations operations of American Honda, “An attractive, efficient and safe small car.”

    It’s impressively big smallness, the Fit website proclaims. Fit features include:

    • 109 HP, 1.5 liter VTEC engine
    • Front, front side and side curtain air bags
    • Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters (Sport and SAT only)
    • Air conditioning
    • Air filtration
    • Power windows
    • Power side mirrors
    • 60/40 split Magic Seat
    • Anti-lock ABS brakes
    • 4 interior configurations
    • Stick or automatic transmission
    • Hatchback (5 door) convenience
    04 Acura TSX (wife's car)
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  18. #18
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
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    May 2000

    Fit Has Makings of a Hit

    Article from Ward's Auto

    Quote Originally Posted by Wards Auto
    By Christie Schweinsberg, Apr 1, 2006 12:01 AM

    SANTA MONICA, CA – This trendy beachside community just west of Los Angeles seems like the perfect home for the new ’07 Honda Fit.

    The bustling city streets of downtown Santa Monica are a good, dare we say fit, for the vehicle’s subcompact proportions and quirky, but clean, styling cues.

    And one of its ingenious interior seating configurations is dubbed “Long Mode,” in which the front passenger seat reclines and the second-row seatback folds forward, optimal for stowing one’s surfboard to and from the many beaches of Southern California.

    The 5-door Fit represents Honda’s return to the subcompact segment in the U.S. As its Civic model, launched as a subcompact in 1973, has over the decades grown larger and pricier, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. officials say the brand once again needs a more affordable vehicle for frugal buyers.

    Although small and relatively inexpensive, the ’06 Fit possesses the characteristics that one has come to expect from a Honda: a smooth, quiet engine, thanks to features such as hydraulic mounts and a sound-absorbing engine cover; effortless shifting; and quality interior materials.

    Riding on a MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion-beam rear setup, the Fit is powered by a 1.5L SOHC 4-cyl. engine that uses Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) technology for improved low-end torque and electronic drive-by-wire technology to provide stronger acceleration response at partial throttle openings.

    Although not class-leading (that honor goes to the upcoming Nissan Versa’s 120 hp), the Fit makes 109 hp, higher than that of the Scion xA, Chevy Aveo and Toyota Yaris. Torque is rated at 105 lb.-ft. (142 Nm).

    The engine can be mated to either a 5-speed manual or a first-in-class 5-speed automatic transmission.

    Fit has quirky, but clean look.

    While Fit is sold in Japan and Europe (where it’s known as the Jazz), with a continuously variable transmission, Honda officials here say their research showed Americans prefer conventional step-ratio automatics, hence the lack of a CVT, which the Versa will offer.

    Honda has made it easy for buyers by offering just two trims of the Fit: Fit and Fit Sport.

    In the Fit Sport, buyers selecting the automatic gearbox receive steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, an unexpected high-end touch for an inexpensive car.

    In stop-and-go downtown Santa Monica traffic, the Fit Sport with 5-speed automatic is a nimble creature. Upshifts and downshifts are short and immediate.

    The paddle-shifter system has two manual modes: Sport, which holds the driver’s shifts, and the other, called Drive.

    In Drive mode, a driver does not have to move the shift lever on the console to operate the paddle shifters. After using the paddles in this mode, the vehicle senses whether they are being used anymore, and, if not, returns the transmission to regular automatic mode.

    ’07 Fit interior

    While the paddles work well, they are positioned a bit low for comfort, requiring one’s thumbs to grip the steering wheel to free up the fingers to operate the paddles.

    Time would not permit an apples-to-apples test of automatic and manual models, but the 5-speed manual mated to the 1.5L performed admirably ascending the Santa Monica mountains.

    The engine possesses adequate torque and shows no sign of strain during the climb. It also proves to be a champ when crawling in traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway, not showing any hint of low-speed hesitation.

    The Fit’s high-output electric power steering assist means immediate response in turns and cornering maneuvers, not the kind of performance one expects from a B-segment car.

    In addition to its impressive driving performance, what is likely to set Fit apart from the new Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and Aveo, as well as the more recent Yaris and Versa subcompacts, is its interior flexibility.

    Not only is there the aforementioned “Long Mode” seating configuration, but also “Tall Mode,” made possible by moving the fuel tank under the front seat, allowing for a 50-in. (127-cm) floor-to-ceiling space; “Refresh Mode,” wherein the driver’s seat slides forward, the seatback is reclined and the headrest is removed to meet up with the second-row bottom seat cushion; and “Utility Mode,” in which the 60/40 second-row “Dive-Down Magic Seat,” is folded to create a flat loading surface, without having to remove the headrests.

    In comparison to Honda’s new ’06 Civic, Fit’s wheelbase is 9.8 ins. (24.9 cm) shorter than the Civic sedan.

    The Civic sedan is 19.2 ins. (48.8 cm) longer than the Fit, but the Fit is 3.5 ins. (8.9 cm) taller.

    While models in the Civic lineup weigh some 100-300 lbs. (45.4-136.1 kg) more than the Fit and Fit Sport, highway fuel economy is estimated at 38 mpg (6.2 km/100 L) for the base Fit with 5-speed automatic and 37 mpg (6.4 L/100 km) for the Fit Sport with the same gearbox.

    All Civic 5-speed automatic models get an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) highway.

    How the Fit, a car that weighs less and has a smaller, less powerful engine than the Civic, can get worse fuel economy is a matter likely attributable to aerodynamics and gearing.

    It is one thing that could possibly harm Fit sales if buyers notice a larger, more powerful car can be purchased for $15,160 (Civic DX sedan with automatic), just $510 more than the Fit with automatic transmission – and the Civic is more fuel efficient at highway speeds to boot.

    Then again, if subcompact buyers really are as frugal as we have been told, an extra $500 for a Civic could be a stretch.

    Other flaws are minor: the Fit’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning control knobs are difficult to grasp, the interior headliner-mounted grab bars have exposed screws, and an auxiliary jack to plug in an MP3 player is available only on Fit Sport, which has a premium 200-watt sound system. Toyota Motor Corp.’s Scion xA and the new ’07 Chevy Aveo sedan have a standard jack.

    At 90.1 cu.-ft. (2.6 cu.-m), the passenger volume of the Fit exceeds that of the Scion xA (86.0 cu.-ft [2.4 cu.-m]) and is nearly equal to the passenger space of the Civic (90.9 cu.-ft. [2.6 cu.-m]).

    Although too old a design (the Fit debuted in Japan in 2001) to receive Honda’s advanced compatibility engineering (ACE) safety-enhancing body structure, the car nonetheless achieves a high rigidity thanks to the use of 36% high-tensile steel in various key structural areas.

    Honda has made no secret of its efforts to be viewed as a safety leader, however, it incorrectly stated here at the Fit’s media preview that the car would be the first in its class to offer six airbags and antilock brakes as standard.

    Hyundai’s Accent and its twin, the Kia Rio, have these features standard for the ’06 model year.

    Other standard equipment for the Fit, which begins at $13,850, includes power windows, mirrors and door locks, air conditioning, and 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo.

    The Fit Sport, which bases at $15,170, adds larger, 15-in. alloy wheels, underbody kit, rear spoiler, fog lights, leather steering wheel and 6-speaker audio system. Adding an automatic gearbox brings the Fit Sport to $15,970.

    Honda expects 60% of buyers to opt for the Fit Sport trim. Some 65% of Fit buyers will take an automatic transmission.

    The ’07 Honda Fit goes on sale in the U.S. in mid-April. Honda expects to sell 33,000 this year and 50,000 in 2007.

    Those numbers seem doable for a car that is both acceptably economical and pleasantly refined for its segment.
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  19. #19
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
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    May 2000

    Nice Fit

    BusinessWeek Article on the Honda Fit

    Quote Originally Posted by BusinessWeek
    The Good - Fuel efficiency, versatility, paddle shifters with automatic transmission
    The Bad - Noisy engine and racy automatic transmission, relatively high price
    The Bottom Line - A subcompact with the versatility of a minivan

    Up Front. As if anyone needed proof that fuel efficiency sells these days, Honda is having a blowout year. While Detroit struggles, Honda's U.S. sales are up 10.2% through the end of July, and the company has set a sales record for every month so far this year.

    Now along comes the Honda Fit, the new subcompact introduced in April, to add to the frenzied buying at Honda dealers this year. Honda (HMC) has sold 15,922 Fits in the model's first four months on the market, and the average Fit spends a mere week on a dealer's lot before selling, according to the Power Information Network. That compares with 52 days for a Hyundai Accent and 71 days for General Motors' (GM) Chevy Aveo.

    The only competing models that sell as fast as the Fit are its main Japanese subcompact competitors: the new Yaris from Toyota (TM) and the new Versa from Nissan (NSANY), which just hit the market in July (see, 6/14/06, "The Judgment of Yaris"). However, Power Information Network says the hot-selling Honda Civic and Toyota-made Scion xA are being snapped up nearly as fast.

    The Yaris is a much bigger seller than the Fit: Toyota has sold 32,822 Yarises in the model's first five months on the market. But that's only because Toyota planned to produce a lot more from the beginning. Honda is selling Fits as fast as it can make them, and could probably sell a lot more if it boosted production. By comparison, GM has sold 35,078 Aveos so far this year, but sales are down 16.1% because the Chevy subcompact is being outclassed by its new competition.

    The Fit's appeal is obvious: versatility and great mileage. The car is barely 13 feet long, only weighs 2,551 lbs., and has a tiny 109 horsepower four-cylinder engine. With an automatic transmission, it's rated to get 31 miles per gallon in the city and 37 on the highway. (If you push the car hard, though, you'll probably get lower mileage. In a stretch of 198 miles of mixed driving, I only got 26.3 mpg.)

    Yet the Fit's boxy design allows Honda to pack a lot of comfort and utility into a small package. The Fit is more like a mini minivan than a small car. It has four doors, plus a big fifth door that opens up its rear end.

    And the car's innovative seat design allows you to fold down the rear seats in several ways, creating a large cargo area when you need it. There's more space in the rear than in most cars because the Fit's gasoline tank is under the front seat, rather than in back. The car is only 60 inches high, yet the rear compartment measures 50 inches from floor to ceiling.

    Honda has made folding down the Fit's seats easy. You flick latches on the backs of the front seats, and they slide forward. The rear seatbacks fold down so low that the headrests slide right under the front seats, creating a large, flat platform in back for cargo.

    Separately, the bottoms of the rear seats can be folded up to create space for hauling tall, bulky items, and the back of the front passenger seat folds down to create room for long items. Plus, you can fold the front seat-backs down to create a soft, upholstered sleeping or lounging space when you're out camping or picnicking.

    You pay a premium for all this versatility. The Fit starts at $14,445 with a stick shift and $15,245 with an automatic, though it comes with everything already on it at that price, including such standard safety gear as antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags, and side-curtain airbags covering the front and rear seats. (Like most Hondas, the Fit has earned the top five-star rating for safety in front-end crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is expected to get a top rating in side and front offset crash tests, too).

    The main option is to move up to the Sport version of the Fit, which goes for $15,765 with a stick shift and $16,565 with an automatic. For the extra money, you get add-ons such as a spoiler, paddle shifters with the automatic transmission, fog lights, remote keyless entry, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 15-inch alloy wheels, and a fancier, MP3-compatible audio system with an auxiliary jack.

    In the real world, buyers are paying more for the Fit than for its main rivals. The Power Information Network , which like is owned by The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP), figures the average transaction price of the Fit is $16,345, vs. $16,069 for the Nissan Versa, $14,478 for the Scion xA, $14,410 for the Yaris, $13,123 for the Accent, and just $12,520 for the Aveo.

    Behind the Wheel. My big problem with the Fit is the driving experience. At first, I marveled at the car's quickness and nimbleness. The Fit isn't fast—it takes more than nine seconds to go from zero to 60 mph—but it feels a lot quicker than that, despite its tiny engine. The car struggles up hills, but it handles well and feels tight in everyday driving.

    Out on the highway, it's not a car in which you would want to pull out in the passing lane with an 18-wheeler bearing down from the opposite direction. When you punch the gas at 65 mph, there isn't much oomph.

    On the other hand, if you put the automatic transmission in manual mode and use the paddle shifters, you can really cruise at highway speed if you plan ahead a little. I took the Fit out on the Interstate at rush hour and was able to weave in and out through slower-moving traffic with confidence. The Fit feels safe and solid at 80.

    Within half an hour or so of driving, though, I was pulling out my hair. Maybe it's just me, but I found the Fit's racy automatic transmission extremely annoying. Whenever you punch the gas a little, the transmission steps down and the engine starts whining. To me, the sound when it does this is like chalk on a blackboard. I couldn't make up my mind: Was it more like a washing machine or a sewing machine? I finally decided that it most resembles is a hedge-trimmer. It isn't a pleasant sound.

    It takes a lot of chutzpah to put steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters—which usually are found on sports cars—on a tiny little car like the Fit. But they're fun to use and at least allow you to modulate the engine noise a little to make it less annoying.

    Otherwise, the Fit is a fine little car. The boxy design gives it a surprising amount of hip, shoulder, and head space. Miraculously, leg space is also decent. I'm 5-feet-10, and with the driver's seat all the way back I really had to stretch to reach the pedals. Yet there was plenty of room for my knees in the rear seat with the front seat all the way back.

    The interior is attractive considering the car's price. In fact, GM should take a close look at the way Honda uses small touches to make inexpensive interior materials seem tasteful. The wide dash in the Pontiac G6 I just test-drove was an unappealing expanse of too-shiny vinyl, but Honda manages to make the Fit's similarly deep dash area attractive by covering the dash in a subtly patterned dull gray material that resembles carbon fiber (see, 8/16/06, "Pontiac Converts").

    The Fit's glove box is double-walled and feels solid when you snap it closed. The controls are tastefully designed and easy to use. The Fit also shares several appealing design features with the new Civic, such as the little triangular side windows at each end of the dash and bright Cobalt blue rings around the speedometer, tachometer, and gas gauge. All in all, it's a very nice car inside.

    Buy It or Bag it? For me, the Fit's engine noise and automatic transmission would be a deal-breaker. This may be a personal quirk, but I would test-drive the stick shift version of the car to see if it sounds less obnoxious. And if I bought a Fit with an automatic transmission, I would pay up for the Sport version. The paddle shifters plus the other gear that come with the Sport version of the car are worth the extra money.

    My big question: Why not buy a Honda Civic instead? (See, 6/7/06, "Civic Virtues.") The basic DX version of the Civic has a more powerful engine that makes it more fun to drive than the Fit—yet it does about as well on gas mileage (it's rated to get 30 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway, and I got 33.1 mpg, much better than I got in the Fix).

    Yet the basic '06 Civic sedan starts out at $15,355 with a stick shift and $16,155 with an automatic—slightly less than a Fit Sport. Of course, by the time you add some options to the Civic you'll probably pay more: Power Information Network says the average price people are paying for Civics is $18,726, but even that's just a little over two grand more than a Fit Sport with an automatic transmission.

    If you need a small people hauler for carpooling, the Fit will probably win the day. Before buying one, though, I would check out competing models that cost less, such as the Scion xA and the hatchback version of the Yaris, which start out at $13,320 and $11,530, respectively, with a stick shift.

    The somewhat larger Ford Focus hatchback is also worth a look if you prefer a domestic model. It starts at $14,995 with a stick shift, and the list price rises to more than $17,000 if you pay up for the SE or SES version, which handle well. But Ford dealers are also bargaining like crazy on price right now.

    Personally, I would probably go with the Civic. But I don't have kids to ferry around. If I did, it might be another story.
    04 Acura TSX (wife's car)
    99 Chevrolet Silverado LT (gas guzzler)
    89 944S2 (daily driver)
    89 Honda ITA Honda Civic (go kart)

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    My site currently has real-world fuel-economy and pricing for the Honda Fit. Reliability data once I have enough Fit owners participating (18 signed up to participate as I write this).

    My site's page for the Fit:

    Honda Fit price comparisons, fuel economy, and reliability
    Price comparisons, quick and thorough
    Next: more useful reliability information

  21. #21
    HC Racer H5 jaje's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000

    Honda Fit vs. Nissan Versa


    [quote=AutoWeek]Honda Fit [base model] vs. Nissan Versa [SL model]

    Published 11/27/06

    With a bevy of B-class cars from the Chevrolet Aveo to the Toyota Yaris hitting the street in numbers, we thought it a good time to pit two of the best examples against each other and let them duke it out for the title of Best of the Bs.

    The Nissan Versa and Honda Fit are both as good as the segment gets, but that’s not enough for us, at least from a DoubleTake standpoint. We want, nay, need a winner, so we dragged each to our testing facility in perpetually sunny Southern California to thrash the bejeebers out of both. And after feeding the resulting data into the AutoWeek ENIAC and filtering through punch cards, we’ve deemed one victorious.

    But that’s for later.

    Though diminutive in size, both cars deliver efficient designs wrapped in small but smartly styled packages. The Nissan, in hatchback form, provides 94.4 cubic feet of passenger volume for five. That’s just 2.1 cubic feet shy of a sunroof-equipped Infiniti G35 sedan, for example. The cargo space eclipses the G35’s, with 16.9 cubic feet of grocery-hauling capacity to the Infiniti’s meager 13.5. Flip down the folding rear seats of the little hatchback and cargo jumps to a whopping 50.4 cubic feet.

    Likewise, the Honda Fit seats five with a total of 90.1 cubic feet of passenger volume. Rear-seat legroom suffers a bit compared with the Versa’s, at 33.7 inches to the Nissan’s capacious 38.0. But there’s more cargo space behind the rear seats, at 21.3 cubic feet, even if that advantage diminishes once the seats are folded, to 41.9.

    Rear seat and cargo room in the Fit fall short of the Versa, due mainly to the Honda’s shorter wheelbase and overall length. At 157.4 inches long, the Fit gives up 11.7 inches of length to the Nissan; with its wheels pushed farther out to the corners, however, the Honda’s wheelbase makes up some of the deficit, at 96.5 inches to the Versa’s 102.4.

    Both cars use independent MacPherson strut front suspension setups and rear torsion-beam configurations with antiroll bars. Both also feature front vented disc brakes, the Versa’s measuring 11.02 inches in diameter to the Fit’s 10.3-inchers, and rear drum brakes.

    On the road, both cars exhibit decent road isolation, though we did detect a few minor trim rattles from the Honda’s dashboard when hitting larger bumps. The front suspension on the Honda also felt a bit softer than the Nissan’s, though we never felt any sort of freeway hop from either. And neither car demonstrated outstanding straight-line stability, both front-drivers tending to track along with freeway grooves and requiring the driver to maintain regular steering corrections.

    We found both interiors well laid out, with the materials used in both of a decent quality. We give the nod to the Versa in this category, as the Fit did have a few cheap, shiny plastic parts sprinkled about. The Nissan felt a bit better put together as well, though the Honda did a better job of noise isolation, both at idle and at maximum first-gear revs.

    Under the hood, the Fit makes do with a five-speed manual transmission and 1.5-liter inline-four, a single-overhead-cam design utilizing Honda’s signature VTEC technology to pump out 109 horses and 105 lb-ft of torque. The Versa, however, trumps the Honda’s output, turning out 122 hp and 127 lb-ft from its larger 1.8-liter dual-cam four mated to a six-speed manual. Much of that power advantage unfortunately gets eaten up by the Versa’s significantly higher curb weight, at 2722 pounds compared to the Fit’s 2432.

    Perhaps partly due to its weight advantage, the Fit managed a hair-thin advantage in off-the-line performance at the track, reaching 60 mph from a standstill in 9.3 seconds to the Versa’s 9.33. By the time both hit the quarter-mile sticks, the Versa made up for the slightly slower start—due to its shorter fourth gear and significantly superior 60-to-80-mph split time—reaching a top speed of 81.6 mph in 16.99 seconds compared to the Fit’s slower but quicker 79.9 mph in 16.92.

    Through the slalom course, we found the Honda understeered noticeably less than the Nissan, allowing for the throttle to remain planted through most of the run. Its best runs came when driven fairly gently. Overall, we found the Fit incredibly easy to maneuver through the cones; the entire exercise involved just flicking the steering wheel and waiting for the response.

    The Versa, on the other hand, felt underpowered in the slalom, requiring much more throttle modulation through the early cones and a more aggressive approach overall. The Nissan would lose too much momentum too quickly with the smoother, less-involved technique we used with the Honda. The quickest run we achieved in the Nissan, at 42.3 mph, fell far short of the Honda’s 44.2 mph.

    Likewise, the Fit displayed a perfectly controlled demeanor on the skidpad, requiring the driver to simply hold the steering wheel steady and steer with the gas pedal to achieve 0.74 g of lateral acceleration. The Versa, on the other hand, while as easy to direct around the 200-foot diameter circle as the Fit, delivered far less feel, with a sort of disconnect between the tires and the steering wheel, where the Honda felt firmly connected to the tarmac. Its lateral acceleration fell just shy of the Fit’s, at 0.71 g.

    The Fit outperformed the Versa in braking, as well, eating up just 130 feet in coming to a stop from 60 mph, with the Nissan requiring an additional six feet. We found the antilock brakes operated far more smoothly in the Fit, with less of a pulsating sensation. The Honda came equipped with standard ABS; the Nissan ABS is an extra-cost option.

    We found track performance disparities between the cars particularly interesting given the difference in stock tires. The Honda was the one sporting the super cheap rubber, with Dunlop 175/65R-14s all around compared to the Nissan’s slightly more performance-oriented Continental ContiPro Contacts, 185/65R-15s. Had we tested the Fit Sport with its upgraded, 195/55R-15 rubber, we have no doubt the performance margin the Honda displayed over the Versa would have been wider.

    In terms of fuel economy, the Honda had the Versa beat. The Nissan’s EPA combined 32 mpg falls short of the Fit’s 35 mpg, while on the road we realized the same advantage, with the Honda achieving 34.3 mpg and the Nissan just 31.1.

    So after an exhausting all-day testing affair where we pushed both little cars to their limits, we have to award the Fit the winner. Where the Honda started out with an apparent disadvantage, at least on paper, when it came to proving itself at the track, the Fit simply outshone the Versa.

    More Views

    I like both cars but prefer the Nissan Versa to the Honda Fit. Why? The Versa seems like more of a grown-up car to me; where the Fit has a chintzy quality to it, the Versa simply feels more robust. I also think the Versa’s ride and handling are nothing short of superb. It’s a close call, but I gotta go with the Versa this time. WES RAYNAL

    This segment couldn’t have blossomed at a better time, whether for the national interest in increased fuel economy or for my personal interest (in perhaps as a ride for my teen boys). If push came to shove, I’d go with the Nissan Versa, maybe precisely because the Honda will get sucked up by the tuner masses. Then again... DUTCH MANDEL

    The Honda Fit feels a bit more sporty and fun to drive. The fact that it simply looks better is the icing on the cake. I give both of these B-segment cars props for delivering loads of quality and utility in a small package, but I’d rather live with the Fit on a day-to-day basis. PHIL FLORADAY

    Given the choice of these two, I’d have me a Fit. This despite my impression that the styling is behind the curve because it’s really a few years old (sold elsewhere under the far better name Jazz) and the interior is sub-par. But it drives like a small Honda, and that’s a good thing. Of course, a base Cooper drives like a Mini and that’s a better, if costlier, thing. KEVIN A. WILSON

    2007 Honda Fit

    Front-transverse 1.5-liter/91-cid sohc I4
    Output: 109 hp @ 5800 rpm, 105 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
    Compression ratio: 10.4:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane
    Front-wheel drive
    Transmission: Five-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 4.294:1
    Unibody five-door wagon
    Wheelbase: 96.5 in
    Track (front/rear): 57.3/57.1 in
    Length/width/height: 157.4/66.2/60 in
    Curb weight/GVWR: 2432/3446 lbs
    Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Torsion beam with coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers
    Discs front, drum rear, ABS; aluminum 175/65R-14 Dunlop SP31 A/S
    Fuel: 10.8 gal
    Cargo: 21.3 cu ft
    0-60 mph: 9.30 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 9.86 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 16.92 sec @ 79.9 mph
    20-40 mph (second gear): 3.9 sec
    40-60 mph (third gear): 5.8 sec
    60-80 mph (fourth gear): 10.0 sec
    60 mph-0: 130 ft
    490-foot slalom: 44.2 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.74 g
    EPA combined: 35 mpg
    AW overall: 34.3 mpg
    Idle: 38
    Max first gear: 73
    Steady 60 mph: 66

    2007 Nissan Versa SL

    Front-transverse 1.8-liter/110-cid dohc I4
    Output: 122 hp @ 5200 rpm, 127 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
    Compression ratio: 9.9:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane
    Front-wheel drive
    Transmission: Six-speed manual
    Final drive ratio: 3.933:1
    Unibody five-door wagon
    Wheelbase: 102.4 in
    Track (front/rear): 58.3/58.5 in
    Length/width/height: 169.1/66.7/60.4 in
    Curb weight/GVWR: 2722/3770 lbs
    Front: MacPherson struts with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Torsion bar with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Discs front, drum rear, ABS; aluminum 185/65R-15 Continental ContiPro Contact
    Fuel: 13.2 gal
    Cargo: 16.9 cu ft
    ABS package, with antilock braking system, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist ($250)
    0-60 mph: 9.33 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 10.02 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 16.99 sec @ 81.6 mph
    20-40 mph (second gear): 3.8 sec
    40-60 mph (third gear): 5.3 sec
    60-80 mph (fourth gear): 7.8 sec
    60 mph-0: 136 ft
    490-foot slalom: 42.3 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.71 g
    EPA combined: 32 mpg
    AW overall: 31.1 mpg
    Idle: 41
    Max first gear: 75
    Steady 60 mph: 64
    04 Acura TSX (wife's car)
    99 Chevrolet Silverado LT (gas guzzler)
    89 944S2 (daily driver)
    89 Honda ITA Honda Civic (go kart)

  22. #22
    LEVEL UP R_Squared's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by DefaultName View Post
    Looks like a Honda Jazz to me.
    Yeah, it says that 3 times above.
    2009 Mazdaspeed3
    2007 Civic Si


  23. #23
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    columbia, sc
    Not a bad looking car for what it is...I hope someone comes out with a macho looking, amazing mpg getting, vehicle soon....I need great gas mileage, but lets face it...I'm not giving up my manhood to get it...

  24. #24
    2gr84u 2gr84u's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by dingspings View Post
    Not a bad looking car for what it is...I hope someone comes out with a macho looking, amazing mpg getting, vehicle soon....I need great gas mileage, but lets face it...I'm not giving up my manhood to get it...
    by the sounds of it you havent acheived manhood, so youve got nothing to lose
    2012 Honda Accord SE x 2!
    Parrot mki9200 Bluetooth,kensum 6k HIDs

  25. #25
    Junior Member slomofo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Thanks for the info.... I think.
    Geo Metro Type-R
    JDM 3-1 header
    JDM Type-R Emblem conversion
    Bling bling hubcaps

  26. #26
    Better Than Canada! LABARINTH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I has one of these
    2010 Honda Fit
    2006 Ducati 749 Dark (SOLD)
    "Sometimes I visit gay websites" -CRAIGHIMSELF
    "15? I thought she was 17." -AF
    "I began to fantasize about a world where smiling amputees know my name." -RedX

  27. #27
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    New Honda Fit Announcement

  28. #28
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Tampa FL
    thanks for sharing the info, i'll check the link and share this to my buddy

  29. #29
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    What about the Florida's road?


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