“Fit offers excellent gas consumption, agile handling and zippy performance…”
The Honda Fit is a highly versatile 5-door subcompact hatchback.
It was introduced to Canadians in 2006 as a 2007 model and sells in other parts of world as the Honda Jazz. Like most good subcompacts, Fit offers excellent gas consumption, agile handling and zippy performance. A clever design, however, allows an owner to fit more stuff in a Fit than seems possible and it comes with an excellent occupant protection safety package.
The gas tank in a Fit is positioned further forward to allow a low, flat cargo floor in the rear and its seating can contort to a multitude of setups, to accommodate all kinds of cargo. Its rear side doors also open extra wide, making it easier to get that stuff in or out. There’s ample headroom for tall occupants and Fit’s cabin feels more spacious than most in this class.
The second-generation ’09 redesign gave Fit a more rigid and slightly longer body with even more passenger cabin space; an increase in engine power and this Fit is (marginally) more fuel-efficient. The extra inner space was achieved by positioning the front pillars further forward. Rear passengers benefited most with increased leg and headroom.
Fit comes in three trim levels; DX, LX and a top-line Sport edition. All trims are powered by the same 117-horsepower 1.5-litre engine and come standard with six airbags and anti-lock (ABS) brakes. The top-line Fit Sport adds a 160-watt premium audio system, keyless entry, fog lights, a rear roofline spoiler, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 15-inch alloy wheels and an aero under-body kit,.
Interestingly, the auto transmission versions come with a tire inflation kit instead of a spare wheel. It was a weight-reduction measure that also adds some extra storage space. A proper (conventional) spare wheel was offered as an option for the original owner.
Although it’s certainly not limited to being an urban runabout as Fit is surprisingly stable on the highway, considering its short wheelbase and trim, tall-ish body. Yet, some will probably find the high-speed cabin noise level and Fit’s taut ride a little tiresome on a long road trip.
Mechanical reliability is excellent and city/highway fuel economy is roughly the same with the base five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic. Using the new five-cycle rating method, an ’09 Fit with an automatic should consume 8.3 litres every 100 km when driven in the city and 6.6 litres every 100 km on the highway.
The only significant production change to the second generation Fit came for the 2011 model year when an electronic stability control system was included as a standard feature on the Sport edition. It was optional on other editions and it’s definitely a very good handling enhancing safety feature.
Popular cars sell at premium resale prices and the second generation Honda Fit is a prime example. Beware of imports from the east (do an ownership history check) as corrosion and road salt issues are a concern. If you’re paying a premium price, make sure it’s a primo Honda Fit.
Price Check: 2009 – 2014 Honda Fit (April 2015)
Year Edition Expect to Pay Today
2009 LX $7,500 to $10,000
2010 LX $8,500 to $11,500
2011 LX $10,000 to $13,000
2012 LX $11,500 to $14,500
2013 LX $13,000 to $16,000
2014 LX $15,000 to $18,000
Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.
Safety Recalls: 2009 to 2014 Honda Fit:
2009/2010: A spring in the lost motion spring assemblies of the engine’s variable valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC) system may bind and fracture. This could potentially cause the engine to stall, without the ability to restart. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the four lost motion spring assemblies.
2012/2013: The Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system may sporadically stop functioning as intended. Dealers will reprogram the Vehicle Stability Assist software.
2013/2014: The passenger side driveshaft could fracture and separate. Dealers will replace affected driveshafts.
“Whether you’re looking for a hatchback, sedan, or a micro car, the 2015 model year has all-new vehicles in that segment and more…”
If you’re in the market for a new car but don’t haven an unlimited budget, fear not… you have quite a few options.
VW Golf ($18,995)
The VW Golf is undeniably popular. With more than 30 million sold around the world since it first hit the streets, it just keeps getting better. For 2015, the ever-popular 3 or 5-door variant comes with a new engine, new architecture and new sheet metal.
Based upon Volkswagen’s latest technological masterpiece, the “MQB Platform”, the Golf embodies the spirit of the original, and incorporates all of the latest engineering advances. It is the safest, best-handling and roomiest Golf of all time.
Thanks to the use of high-strength steel, it’s more rigid, but also safe, with better handling. Though the Golf has grown in size it has dropped in weight by up to 35.8 kg/79 pounds (depending on model.)
An all-new, 1.8L direct-injected turbocharged engine, delivering 170 horsepower and 184 pound power it-feet of torque.
The shape and design elements remain as defined, as ever, with a distinctive C-pillar and roofline framing classic Golf side windows, but the striking new front end and steeply sloped hood leave no doubt this is an all-new model.
Subaru Legacy ($23,495)
The all-new Subaru Legacy will pleasantly surprise those in need of a mid-size sedan with all-wheel drive.
Priced under $24K, its trunk accommodates for 425L, there’s room for five, and its 2.5L, 4-cylinder engine produces 175 horsepower.
On the base model, you have the choice of a 6-speed manual or an available Lineartronic CVT with paddle shifters and manual mode.
One of the weakest points of the Legacy was probably the interior. For 2015, it’s significantly updated. Its infotainment system also receives a much needed revamping. Inside the entry-level Legacy 2.5i you’ll find an AM/FM stereo with SiriusXM satellite radio, a Radio Data Broadcast System, an in-dash CD player, a 6.2-inch multi-function touchscreen display, Subaru STARLINK connectivity with smartphone integration, a rear-view camera. Furthermore, the multi-touch display offers swipe and scrolling gestures, similar to smartphones and tablets.
MINI Cooper ($20,990)
MINI’s street legal, go kart-like Cooper is now in its third generation and better than before.
This pint-sized 3-door can be outfitted with a choice of two new engines: either a 3- cylinder engine with a peak output of 134 horsepower or, if you move up to the S trim, you’ll get a 4-cylinder engine with an output of 189. You can match either engine with either a 6-speed manual or an available 6-speed automatic.
And as the MINI Cooper grows up, it also grows in dimensions. It’s 114 mm longer, 44 mm wider and 7 mm higher than its predecessor.
Honda Fit ($14,495)
Unveiled at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, the all-new, five-passenger, five-door vehicle comes with style and flair.
And just because it doesn’t have a huge price tag, it doesn’t mean you don’t get some pretty great standard features.
Those include things like: Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-angle rearview camera, and Expanded View Driver’s Mirror.
For customers looking for premium features in the subcompact segment, the Fit will be available with smart entry with push-button start, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch display and a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen interface with HondaLink smartphone connectivity.
The 2015 Fit marks the debut of an all-new direct-injected 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine. It produces 130 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 114 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm. Engine output is increased by 13 horsepower and 8 lb-ft of torque compared to the outgoing engine
For those who love the versatility of Honda’s exclusive Magic Seats, they continue through this generation. It provides an amazing 1492.3 L of cargo space when the second row seats are folded flat.
Nissan Micra ($9,998)
It’s small and comes with a small price tag, but expect big things from the all-new Nissan Micra.
At one of Canada’s lowest MSRPs – it competes directly with the Mitsubishi Mirage for that title – it’s amazing what you can get for so little.
The base model comes with manual windows and a manual transmission. It handles quite well and the cabin isn’t particularly loud when driving at highway speeds.
The Micra is designed to not only meet or exceed Canadian safety regulations, but exceed them. Micra’s standard safety systems include the Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) (includes front supplemental air bags, front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).
Under its hood is a 1.6L, 4-cylinder engine that produces 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft of torque. Okay, it’s not a lot but certainly enough to get you around.
Available in three models, the Micra S, SV and top-of-the-line SR, these micro cars will be able to be matched with a 5-speed manual transmission, or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Whether you’re looking for a hatchback, sedan, or a micro car, the 2015 model year has all-new vehicles in that segment and more.
“The Fit has the space race won…”
The subcompact segment in Canada had been a bit stale, until this past year, when we witnessed a number of new entries into this segment.
In 2013, Nissan introduced the Versa Note hatchback and earlier this year Nissan followed up with the Micra, the least expensive car on the market ($9,998).
The latest entry is the Honda Fit, the only vehicle in this competitive class to come with an amazing array of seating options that make it a wonder-on-wheels.
In an age where most cars get bigger from one generation to the next, Honda has bucked the trend and actually shaved 41mm off the overall length of this new 2015 Fit, but improved interior volume. The way they achieved this is by stretching the wheelbase and shortening the front and rear overhangs. This move also helped in the styling department by producing more of a wedge front surface with a sleeker front windshield. The Fit now looks longer, sleeker, and less top heavy. Priced from $14,495 – $22,595, the Fit, on paper, might not look as attractive as the top selling Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio. But when the buyer factors in the versatility of this vehicle and the fact it has the highest retained value in this class, according to Canadian Black Book, it can offer good value.
As attractive as the new exterior is, the interior has always been the real story. There is no other car in the subcompact, or even the compact class, that has the same functionality and flexibility. This new 2015 has 79mm of additional rear seat room, the largest cargo area, class leading passenger volume and more front shoulder room than its competitors. That’s all good stuff but the design of the rear seats and cargo floor make all of that room even more useful. Honda has what they call Magic Seats. An outrageously simple rear seat design that allows the seat bottom to flip up, making the rear seat floor accessible to store large or tall objects. This would be a great place to transport a dog, almost like a kennel on wheels. Since the fuel tank is placed under the front seats instead of the typical location under the rear cargo floor, this allowed the designers to lower the rear floor offering a much deeper cargo area. Combine this with the ability of the rear seats to fold, plus the front passenger seat to be reclined to help transport extra long items; the Fit has the space race won.
Honda has a new line of engines it calls Earth Dreams, a less than subtle mocking of Mazda’s Skyactiv. The essence of this new engine technology is taking variable valve timing and direct injection, plus a lighter design to help in power delivery and fuel consumption. The new 1.5L engine has eleven percent more power, at 130hp, plus more torque at 114 lb.-ft. but is 27% lighter than the old engine. The power goes to either an all-new 6-speed manual that is available on all trim levels or a new continuously variable transmission that expands the gear, ratio range by fourteen percent. What this means in terms of drivability is a better jump off the line and improved highway cruising. Because the new transmission reduces weight and friction, the fuel economy has improved by sixteen percent, which is an amazing accomplishment in such a small car. Rated at 7.0L/100km in the city and 5.7L on the highway, using the much tougher 2015 fuel standards, represents fuel number buyers will actually be able to achieve. In addition, the suspension has been improved for more responsiveness but I found the ride a bit choppy over bumpy roads.
There is so much to talk about with the Honda Fit from space to design and new engineering; it is easy to overlook the creature comforts that have been added. There is now a height adjustable drivers seats, a standard 5-inch LCD screen with backup camera and Bluetooth all on the base $14,495 DX trim. Move up one step to the $17,295 LX trim and Honda includes a huge 7-inch touch-sensitive Display Audi system and heated front seats (my favourite). There is also the $19,195 EX trim with alloy wheels, paddle shifter and moon roof, but the big news is the inclusion of the $21,295 EX-L Navi trim. This is the EX trim with leather and navigation, making the fit downright opulent.
This isn’t the least expensive car in this class but on the whole it offers so much more than just a price point. This car is all about smart money.
Power: 1.5L 4-cylinder with 130hp
Fill-up: 7.0L/5.7L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $14,495-$22,595
Whatever the financial circumstances, young buyers will surely share the desire for a car that is economical to operate… (more…)
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