Review: Honda Fit

Well, I’ve had 2007 Honda Fit Sport for about 4 months now and I’ve already put about 14,000 miles on it. Who knew I was doing so much driving. Overall I’m very happy with the car. The size is great, gas mileage is excellent and it’s much faster then I was expecting. I have the sport model which adds in a number of things including power everything, cruise control, fog lights better stereo yadda yadda yadda. If I’m being honest though I bought the sport model because it has cruise control. Sure, it’s nice to have the rims, the ground effects and the paddle shifters but those were not deal breakers for me. If I didn’t have cruise control I would not have a license.. so it’s worth the extra money for me.

The car is a lot of fun to drive. It’s very small and agile but yet big enough inside to hold a truly insane amount of stuff. I can fit my entire drum set in the car or my mobile recording rig and still have room for someone to sit in the passenger seat. I have always driven around big station wagons so that I could fit all of the things I need to move into the car but some how the fit seems to have even more room inside them my Ford Taurus wagon did. They set up the interior very well, the front seats sit atop the gas tank so the entire back of the car is available for storage. I can’t believe how low the seats fold down. The vertical space available to store things is great.

When the night arrived where I actually had to load into my car a heap of gear for a recording I was doing I have to say I was worried. It’s a lot of stuff. Computers, racks, microphones stands, cables ect ect. The car had no problem fitting it all in and then I started it up and was expecting sluggish performance but was greeted with almost all of the usual pep I get when I’m driving alone. As a matter of fact after that recording I reload the car and gained a passenger. We then jumped on the highway and went out for dinner. The passenger then mentioned, without me saying a word about it that they were surprised at how peppy it was with himself plus all of my gear loaded into the car. Having 5 gears available makes a huge difference.
Driving the car is also a lot of fun. I have gotten into the habit of yelling out ‘Tiny Car’ in a high pitched and somewhat shrill voice when ever I do something in it that I would not have been able to do in my other cars. Fitting into and getting out of tight spaces or dodging this or that.
You jump into the car and with all of the windows and an almost non-existent blind spot you feel like you are in control. Need to get past someone on the highway? No problem, hit the paddle shifter down a gear and just go. Need to slow down while going down a hill? Again, paddle shifter down for some engine breaking. Roads slippery? From a stand still you can shift into 2nd gear and get started with no problem.
living in New Hampshire I run into slippery conditions pretty often. This year we got a couple of good size snow storms and never once did I get stuck. The only problem I have seen is that the car is so light it can sometimes rid up on deep snow when moving slowing…aka in a driveway when you are trying to move your car so that your neighbor and plow. My dad saw that the car was having a touch of trouble and offered to push me out. I of course politely refused the help though that didn’t stop him from going to get in position to push but by the time he got there I was already moving and was out through the snow bank (going up hill no less). My Taurus was always getting jammed and it took some careful maneuvering to get it out of the driveway in the mornings after a now but not the fit. I jump in, power it on and then go. No slipping, no sliding.

One side note on this topic though is that it does slide, and slide very well when I want it to. Not that I would recommend you do this, and uh.. I’ve never done it either… but I’ve heard that on a nice snow or ice covered parking lot you can get it going up to 5-10mph cut the wheel and grab the E-brake and then it slides. Great slides, very controllable and when you put the transmission into manual mode you can gas it a bit and pull yourself out of the slide and start setting up the next slide. Great 180s and 360s. Or, at least that is what I’ve heard.. from some professional drivers on a closed course… ect ect.

Onto that transmission now. Couple of things I like, couple I don’t. Let me explain how it works a bit. The car has the stick for the transmission down between the two front seats like you would expect of a manual. The stick has 5 position, Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Sport. The first 4 do what you expect the fith, Sport mode works a little different. In this mode the transmission will do what you tell it to within reason. Here is were the first issue comes in. From a stop if you shift into Sport the transmission will still shift for you, it will not assume you are going to shift until you have actually shifted. When you make your first shift the under the tach the gear number shows up as well as an M signifying that you are now in Manual mode. If you shift into Sport mode while driving the car will down shift into the 3rd but not light the display on the tach to tell you that until you again make a shift. Very annoying. Going 70mph on the highway, shift into Sport and voila you are in 3rd doing about 6000RPM. Not dangerous.. just annoying. To get around this, from a stop I will shift into Sport and then ‘down shift’ so that it will display Manual 1.. then I have control. When I’m already driving I will take my right hand and shift into Sport while taking my left hand and putting it on the right side of the steering wheel and getting it ready to up shift back into whatever gear I’m in as I drop into Sport. On the highway it’s usually two clicks to keep me in fifth. From there I can be in control and do my thing. Once in sport mode the car will allow you to shift even in pretty dangerous ways but will override you if it sees fit. Climbing a steep hill in 5th will result in a down shift to 4th or 3rd, way over reving the motor will result in it shifting up a gear. All fine in my book. It’s actually pretty nice when you forget you are in manual and it just takes care of it for you after a while. Over all I like the Sport mode and I use it fairly often depending on conditions, my mood and how the road looks. The only trouble is getting into Sport mode….

Plus, you can at any time over ride the transmission for a few moments. For instance if you are headed into a steep hill you can make a gear change so the car will be ready for it or you can drop a gear or two for a moment to pass someone. The light on the tach lights up to tell you which gear you have chose, only this time without the M as you are still in automatic mode. Very handy. Then once the car can tell the reason for the shift has passed it will drop back into whatever gear it should be in.
So, in summation.. I love it. I would buy it again and I recommend it to anyone. It’s great on gas, great to drive and loaded with really excellent features (excellent cup holders for the people in the back seats, built low into the door. Aux input jack for your audio player and separate volume settings for each stereo function like CD, Radio, and Aux). Plus.. it’s a Honda.

Robert

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