bastomatic Dork
6/5/08 8:57 p.m.

Ok, so I liked the Smart, but what about the elephant in the room, er, segment?

The Honda Fit we tested was the base model, with an auto trans. I was pretty impressed by the fit and finish of the interior, with nicely supportive seats and intuitive controls. Kinda nice looking, but typical Honda boring and amazingly useful.

Then the test drive. Steering is a bit dead at parking lot speeds, but nice and tight above about 20 mph. Good turning radius. I hammer it, and wait. I can't tell for sure, but it sure felt like the automatic sapped the soul out of the powertrain. It sounded like it had a bit of a sporting intent, but never quite could find the right RPM range.

The sales guy started to chirp in the back seat about its lane changing abilities, and that to me was like asking for it. The car had already been sold (none on the lot!) so I was gonna take it easy. Oh well! I hang back from the Excursion entering the freeway in front of me, and get some speed up for the onramp, and blow past the SUV going about 90. "Flickable" is how I'd describe it. The thing feels very confident on curves, and begs for more rpms and speed. An exit ramp marked for 25 felt slow at 50. Reminded me a lot of a Miata in the way it carves a corner except for the understeer at the limit.

I think the Fit would be a wiser(?) choice than the Smart right now, especially since the Smart dealer was asking a full $1k more than the Honda dealer. I'll definitely be interested in seeing what the economy and poise of the 09 Fit will be though - looks like it may be Fit 2.0 for us...

Any significant issues with the Fit? I heard a rumor they eat clutches...

Yavuz New Reader
6/5/08 9:26 p.m.

I went to test drive one with my father last week... Hes been driving minivans for the last 20 years and hates small cars, but he loved the Fit and ended up buying one. The one we test drove was also already spoken for, so he threw down a deposit and now we have to sit back and wait for them to find one. I cant wait till I get to really spend some time behind the wheel.

gamby SuperDork
6/5/08 11:06 p.m.
bastomatic wrote: Any significant issues with the Fit? I heard a rumor they eat clutches...

I've heard that too. Maybe they've sorted it out by now.

Fit > Smart for me because it's so much more utilitarian. It's a little minivan.

Killer crash ratings, too. This is a big selling point for me in terms of my wife getting one.

bastomatic Dork
6/6/08 5:35 a.m.

Yeah the Fit makes a lot more sense. I still like the Smart a ton, and still want a microcar badly, but if they aren't going to at least match the price of the Fit there is no point in even thinking about it.

integraguy New Reader
6/6/08 6:10 a.m.

The ONLY place I've ever heard about the Fit having clutch problems is on this website, and that was more of a guess as to why there "seems" to be more automatic than manual tranny Fits on dealer lots. I checked the inventories of the 3 Honda dealers in Memphis yesterday...about 5 or 6 Fits and only 1 or 2 manuals....base models. The other cars are split between base and Sport automatics. Everyone seems to want a manual, but Honda apparently thought they could "off-load" a "buttload" of autos on lazy Americans.

petegossett Dork
6/6/08 6:49 a.m.

I was actually quite impressed with the Fit Sport & the auto/paddle shifter setup. Yeah, I would take a true manual any day, but it really worked well.

My Miata still costs less per-mile to driver though.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
6/6/08 8:13 a.m.

The Auto vs Manual weighting is heavily biased towards the Auto in most demographic studies. Every dealership will bring a few manuals on the lot to please their customers but most of the time they know that the two or three that they order are pre sold to specific customers. Anyone who wants the ne car is stuck with an auto or will wait for 3-6 months for the manual order build.

The only way to get the New Jetta Sportwagon is :

VW said:Launch Volume The Jetta SportWagen will be assigned to Dealers utilizing the same process as the Jetta sedan and it will be launched in three phases: • Phase I = All 2.5L engine launch units will be in US dealerships by the June 28th Market Introduction date. 20 percent Jetta SportWagen 2.5L S model (223 units) / 16” alloy wheels / Cold Weather Package 80 percent Jetta SportWagen 2.5L SE model with automatic transmission (877 units) / Cold Weather Package / Panoramic Sunroof • Phase II = 2.0T engine units will be released as a rolling launch by the last week of July. 2.0T SEL with manual and automatic transmission Open for dealer configuration • Phase III = 2.0L TDI diesel engine units will be released with the Sedan TDI for a Market Introduction date of August 23rd. 100 percent Panoramic Sunroof After Phase III, all optional equipment will be released and the standard ordering process will take effect.

btw The Panoramic sunroof appears to require an automatic transmission... so if you read between the lines you may not get a new TDI manual...

Of course I know nothing.

Clay New Reader
6/6/08 8:40 a.m.

My father in law bought a Fit Sport 5speed about a year ago. He had to get it in red, but he loves it and claims that he and the folks on the forums are getting 4 or so mpg better than the autos. He gets 40mpg hwy. EPA website says differently, but we know how accurate that is. He hasn't had any clutch issues. I heard that a Fit hybrid is on the way and should only cost ~$2500 more than the regular Fit.

I was so bummed a few weeks ago when they left their car at our huose for a week. He thought they were going to leave their car at the airport instead of our house so they brought their boring 99 Mazda 626 instead of the Fit. It's probably a good thing as I would have probably been commuting to work in it!

GameboyRMH Dork
6/6/08 9:34 a.m.

You need to lash the redline on a Fit to squeeze any power out of it...the rev limiter on the auto model might be lower, keeping you out of the power range.

bastomatic Dork
6/6/08 9:39 a.m.

Yeah, even with WOT, the auto tranny kept the engine out of the higher RPM range, as is typical.

I've been driving hondas for a decade, I know how to squeeze the power out of them, and that doesn't involve an automagic transmission.

I'm also looking at the used market right now, maybe at a Scion xB or Protegé5. I may look at a Vibe because of GM discounts, but I'm not too impressed with them so far.

kilgoretrout New Reader
6/6/08 10:17 a.m.

It might be a Honda thing because my mom's auto CRV would NOT go to the redline until it had a decent amount of miles on it (10-15K). It went from scary slow to surprisingly quick, after that break-in period.

Having said that, Honda's have never been known for their automatics. They more than make up for it with their sweet, sweet manuals.

petegossett Dork
6/6/08 11:13 a.m.
bastomatic wrote: Yeah, even with WOT, the auto tranny kept the engine out of the higher RPM range, as is typical.

On the Fit Sport auto I test drove, using the paddles in manual mode, you could hold it all the way 'till it bounced off the rev limiter. I tried.

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