Finally, I’ve gotten into a car that can be either wildly popular for American consumers or pretty mundane. I’m talking about the 2010 Honda Fit. When gasoline prices shot up this time last year, Honda could literally not make enough Honda Fits. The gas sipping econo-box was just what consumers needed to ride right on pas the gas pump. And that’s with a rather miniscule fuel tank that holds 10.6 gallons of gasoline.
My test Fit, as is all Fits, was powered by a 1.5 liter four cylinder engine that made 117 horsepower. It was mated to a five speed automatic with grade logic controls and paddle shifters. The car was rated at 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the hwy. In a phrase, the Fit was definitely a gas sipper. I drove the car everyday for one week and when I got ready to return it, there was a smidgen less than a half a tank of gasoline. That’s not bad.
It had MacPherson front struts in the front and a torsion beam suspension in the rear. The setup enabled the car to keep all four tires planted fairly well on the road. As I adjust to a new philosophy that a yellow light means stop not speed up, I found the Fit’s front disc brakes to be quite effective.
The car was spacious, rode well and handled without a lot of fuss. I was particularly surprised with the peppiness of the engine. The Fit got off the mark pretty well for a four cylinder powered vehicle. That to me showed the effectiveness of its drive by wire throttle system. The Fit just responded to throttle input quicker.
I was also impressed with the Fits equipment. As they say, in time automotive gadgets will work their way down from luxury cars into the average automobile. My Fit was equipped with a navigation system which was pretty simple to use. There was also a tilt telescoping steering wheel, foldable side mirrors, side curtain airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system and I did I mention that the navigation system had voice recognition? This is the sort of stuff that used to be the sole province of luxury brands.
The car had an auxiliary jack, a USB plug, and a single disc CD player. I was a bit disappointed that there was no satellite radio. But with all the other audio equipment, Honda had raised my expectations. The Fit is boxy but it has a kind of arrow shaped snout that sweeps back into the body. Thus I overlooked the high silhouette. However, once inside that high roof line meant lots of headroom. It was the same in the back seat. For the record the Fit is a hatchback, although it does look like the typical hatch back. There was little angle to the lift gate, it look like a miniature version of a tailgate on a utility vehicle.
According to Honda, and I don’t disagree, The Fit’s rear seats offer multiple configurations. That backs will flip forward created a flat cargo floor. But in an interesting twist the cushions will flip backwards, creating storage space separated from the rear cargo area by the seat backs.
The dash board was dominated by the navigation screen as well as three pods that housed the speedometer, the odometer and the fuel gauge. Although I could tell that the materials used were thrifty, they did not look cheap.
Thankfully, Honda dulled down the interior finish. My Fit had nicely done cloth seats, a dual glove box separated by a shelf, cupholders, and all sorts of little spaces to hold stuff. There was no center console but I never missed it. I found the Fit to be a very capable subcompact car. And at $19,670 my test car seemed well worth the price.
Frank S. Washington is managing partner/editor of AboutThatCar.com and AboutThatCarBlog.com.