Review: 2007 Honda Fit
This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2008.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Honda gives its new, early 2007 Fit a wonderfully appropriate name.
That's because this small 4-door hatchback slides nicely into the rapidly growing market for cute, fairly roomy, fuel-stingy subcompact cars often bought as entry vehicles by young buyers who automakers hope will eventually move up to their larger, more profitable models.
This market includes upcoming Fit rivals such as the 2007 Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa.
The front-wheel-drive Fit is called the "Jazz" in Europe and Japan, and actually is pretty jazzy. Utilitarian, fun-to-drive autos such as the Fit are popular in Europe and Japan, where roads are narrow, urban congestion is awful and gasoline prices are seemingly high enough to provide a ransom for a family's first-born.
Honda figured that if BMW's MINI Cooper could be a hit in America, the Fit also can make a splash here. That's especially because few motorists expect gas prices to fall below $2 a gallon anytime soon—and possibly will top $3 a gallon this summer.
Premium Entry Car
Such features include air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD audio system with four to six (depending on trim level) speakers, six airbags (including front-seat side and side-curtain bags), fairly wide 65-series tires, anti-lock brakes and power windows, mirrors and door locks.
Some Cost Cutting
Honda says the Fit is a 5-seater, and there are three-point seat belts at all seating positions. But only four adults have decent room in the sporty two-tone interior because the middle of the rear seat is too hard for comfort.
And, while the supportive driver's seat moves back a lot to accommodate extra-tall folks, legroom becomes tight for a 6-footer behind a driver who slides his seat back a lot.
The Fit's fuel tank isn't located where it's usually found in a car (under the back seat or trunk). Rather it is put toward the middle of the car to provide more interior room and allow those seat arrangement modes, which aren't possible in a regular car.
The cargo area has a low, wide opening and is fairly large even with rear seats in their normal upright positions.
That was enough power to provide my test Fit, which had a 5-speed manual transmission, with fairly quick merges onto freeways and decent 65-75 mph passing with only a downshift to fourth gear needed—at least with no passengers or cargo aboard.
The Fit is lively because the base trim level with the manual gearbox weighs a relatively light 2,432 pounds and the higher-line Fit Sport with an automatic transmission isn't much heavier at 2,551 pounds.
A Fit with the automatic wasn't available for testing, but a 5-speed automatic should let the car nearly equal the performance of the more efficient manual-transmission version, although the manual has a rather notchy gearbox and clutch with a light action but long throw.
The Fit with the manual lists at $13,850 and costs $14,650 with the automatic. The Fit Sport is $15,170 with the manual and $15,970 with the paddle-shifter automatic.
Fit Sport extras include a sport muffler, chrome exhaust tip and sport mesh grille.
Fun to Drive
The standard Fit's 14-inch wheels and 65-series tires handicap handling a little. But here's a key option to enhance handling and braking: accessory alloy wheels and tires from the Honda Factory Performance division. They're available for both the Fit and Fit Sport in a 16-inch size with 45-series performance tires.
Easy In and Out
Deeply recessed gauges can be hard to read during the day, and the transmission shifter gets in the way of the dual front cupholders. However, the rather narrow cabin allows controls to be easily reached, and large climate controls are especially easy to use.
There's no reason why the Fit shouldn't be popular, especially since Honda's former entry-level Civic has grown in size and price.