Honda Fit, 2007: The Weekly Driver
The Weekly Driver: 2007 Honda Fit
By JAMES RAIA
Just when it seemed like Honda couldn't possibly discover another market segment for its vehicles, it introduced the 2007 Fit. A four-door subcompact, the Fit combines a wondrously efficient use of space with snappy versatility and economy.
The Fit joins the Accord, Civic, CR-V, Element, Insight, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline and S2000 as the 10th vehicle in the Honda line that debuted in the United States in 1973.
The Fit, known as the Jazz, has been sold in Asia since 2001 and in Europe since 2002 as a way to combat the parking dilemma prevalent in most international metropolitan cities. To further help curtail the problem, the two-seat Smart, the microcar DaimlerChrysler offering, has found increasing success overseas.
While not as small, The Fit, like the Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris, have all arrived a year in advance of the Smart's expected 2008 U.S. arrival. And with the Fit, at least in my weekly test of the Sport model, there's no sense of driving a novelty.
Consider: While the Fit is nearly 20 inches shorter than the Civic, it has nearly the same interior space as the Accord. Of course, there are differences between the Fit and other Honda sedans. But as Honda's smallest vehicle, the Fit has a long list of standard features and unique offerings. It's particularly impressive considering that with every available option included the Fit costs less than ,000.
In addition to the Sport model, the Fit is offered in a base model. Both styles include 1.5-liter, 16-valve, 109-horsepower, 4-cylinder engines. The base editions include 14-inch wheels, electric-assist power steering, two-speed front wipers and a rear wiper, air conditioning, power windows and locks and an AM/FM radio with CD player.
The Sport model features 15-inch alloy wheels with wider tires, additional body styling, keyless entry, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an upgraded MP3-compatible audio system with an auxiliary jack.
The Fit's interior is efficiency defined. The five-speed manual shifter is nicely positioned and controls and dials are handsome, if simple, logically configured and offer nice ease-of-use characteristics. The Fit has two front seat cupholders and individual door-panel rear seat cupholders. The 60-40 split rear seat features multiple configurations, including one position which configures either side or both bottom seat sections flush against the seat back seats. The result: a cavernous cargo area. Honda calls the feature a "Magic Seat." The Fit also has a spacious trunk with a wide, level and easy access entry.
As a subcompact, there are a few shortcomings. The front-passenger visor does not have a mirror and there's a conspicuous absence of front-seat console storage compartment. The carpet, side-paneling and console material isn't as nice as the Accord or Civic, but it's far from cheap.
But the best part of the Fit is its surprisingly nice drive. With its 109-horsepower engine, the car isn't about to establish any speed records. Yet, since it's lightweight and efficiently constructed, the Fit moves around pretty nicely, with 0-60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Cornering and maneuvering is confident and at all speeds, the vehicle is far from noisy.
There's just not much to criticize about the Fit. Honda has a longstanding, stellar reputation throughout its line. And as the newcomer, the Fit fits in admirably with its brethren.
The Weekly Driver: 2007 Honda Fit
Safety Features — Dual front, front side and side-curtain airbags.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) — 33 mpg (city), 38 mpg (highway).
Warranty — Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/60,000 miles, Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.
Base Price — ,170.00
About the Author: Read more of James Raia's syndicated car review column or subscribe to his free electronic automotive newsletter on the web site, theweeklydriver.com