The Truth About Cars » Fit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Fit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 2015 Honda Fit Deep Dive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2015-honda-fit-deep-dive/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:56:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=793874 2015 Honda Fit - Red

By now, you’ve heard what driving the new 2015 Honda Fit is like. You’ve seen what riding in a new Fit is like, too- and, maybe, you’ve figured out how they got one into a tiny bar (I haven’t). Still, we haven’t spent much time actually talking about the nuts and bolts and whys and hows of the new Honda. Until now, that is.

2015 Honda Fit is SO New, it Has a New Home


Honda factory in Celaya, Mexico

For starters, just about everything on the 2015 Honda Fit is new or modified compared to its 2014 siblings- and that includes where it’s being made. Instead of a mostly Chinese-built product, the new Fit has North American roots, being built in Celaya, Mexico. The new production facility is supposed to separate North American demand from global demand, giving dealers better selection, more freedom in ordering, and (of course) cutting costs for Honda, itself.

The new plant in Celaya will also start building a Honda Fit-based mini-SUV to slot below the CR-V later this year, bringing total North American vehicle production capacity to over 1.9 million units. That bump in capacity from Celaya means that some 98% of Hondas sold in North America will be built in North America.

 

2015 Honda Fit Body + Chassis


fit_bar_4

The new Fit is 1.6″ shorter than the outgoing 2014 model, but thanks to Honda’s “packaging magic” design, the 2015 Honda Fit has more than 3″ of additional rear seat room, and 1.4″ of additional rear seat leg room. That’s a great distinction to make, by the way, for customers who’ll be stuffing baby seats- rather than adults- into the back of the thing. The new Fit also gives the front passengers more slide-adjustment in the front seats.

So, despite the reduced length of the Fit, it’s roomier. That happy mindf*** comes courtesy of a new, contortionist fuel tank that twists and turns around the Fit’s floor frames and contorts itself around the new, shorter, rear trailing arms more closely than the outgoing Fit’s tank. It’s a trick worthy of Gumby- just pray that you’re not the tech who has to replace one, because I imagine it would be a b***h to do without some advanced robotics.

The suspension that the tank wraps around is worth mentioning, as well- it’s all new, a rigid, torsion-beam style rear suspension and conventional-ish struts up front. It feels a lot more advanced than that, however, thanks in large part to the new Honda Fit’s electric power steering and a new VSA stability program that seems to serve to keep the car neutral. Whatever the actual reason is, the new Fit handles far better than anything with a glorified solid rear axle should.

 

2015 Honda Fit Earth Dreams Drivetrain


fit-engine

Back in 1989, Honda introduced the original, 1.6 liter, 160 HP B16A and B16A1 engines in Europe and Japan. 25 (twenty-five) years later, Honda’s newest 1.5 liter, direct-injection i-VTEC engine makes “just” 130 HP. Granted, that’s a huge improvement over the last Honda Fit’s 117 HP engine- but a 29 MPG combined EPA rating for the 6 speed and 31 MPG combined rating for the CVT version doesn’t exactly scream “25 years of progress!”

Still, the 2015 Honda Fit has more power, more torque, offers better fuel economy, and puts out fewer emissions than the 2014 model- so that’s a step in the right direction.

Sadly, Honda took a step in the wrong direction in terms of transmissions. For starters, the new 6 speed manual transmission might seem like an upgrade from the old 5 speed- but the “new” 6th gear is the same as the “old” 5th gear. So, while you might find snappier performance in the more closely-spaced 1-5 ratios, you’ll still have the same high-rpm buzz you had in the old Fit at highway speeds. At the 80-85 MPH cruising speeds common on Illinois’ I-90, the Fit’s 1.5 is revving at a positively raucous 4000-ish RPM. In this tester’s opinion, it’s a horrific experience- and one that makes the CVT option a no-brainer, no matter how much you like to row your own … which brings us to our next dubious transmission choice: the CVT’s “gears”.

Honda spent an awful lot of time and money developing a CVT that was capable of keeping the new Earth Dreams at its peak power and efficiency while infinitely adapting the gearing around it (between 2 hardware-determined limits, of course). That was good- then they lost the plot completely by setting 7 pre-determined “shift points” into the Fit’s S-mode, which can be manually selected via paddles on the steering wheel. If you understand the purpose and function of a CVT at all, you’ll immediately realize how stupid this is.

Left on its own, however, the 2015 Honda Fit’s CVT is more than capable of doing its job. Stay away from the paddles, in other words, and you’ll do just fine. More than fine, in fact, since Honda’s CVT is one of the best in the biz (the best CVT setup I’ve experienced, by the way, was also in a Honda).

 

2015 Honda Fit Earth Dreams Interior + Trim


2015 Honda Fit Interior

For 2015, Honda upgraded the plastics on the Fit- offering leather for the first time, as well. Gone are the old “Base”, “Sport”, and “Navi” trim levels, which are replaced with a more Honda-like LX, EX, EXL (for “leather”), and Navi versions. The infotainment system, too, is a major upgrade from before with a large, easy-to-read screen on all models, and a clever phone/nav integration on the EX that (despite a long boot/load time) works exactly as expected. Mostly (my pre-production tester had no “backspace”, so we had to back ALL THE WAY OUT of the Nav screen and start again if we mis-typed anything).

Still, the real magic of the 2015 Honda Fit interior isn’t in the upscale materials- it’s in the seats. The Honda Fit seats can be configured in a number of ways. There’s the standard “passenger mode”, as well as 4 other modes for carrying people and things. These being “Cargo Mode” (for cargo- spluh), “Long Mode” (for carrying long items with passengers sitting in tandem), “Tall Mode” (for carrying tall items like plants and big-screen TVs), and “Refresh Mode”, which was the highlight of my initial “passenging impressions” article.

Those different modes were part of the old Fit, as well- and looked like this here …

 

Honda Fit seat modes

… but I’d never seen or heard of a Honda Fit having “modes” (refreshing or otherwise), so it’s news to me. Judging by the amount of people currently looking at pictures of my limited-edition slip-on Converse, though, it’s probably news to a lot of people- and really one of the strongest selling points for considering the 2015 Honda Fit as a second car.

 

2015 Honda Fit Pricing


Honda’s product planners explained that the new 2015 Honda Fit would cost a bit more than the outgoing Base and Sport models, with the LX starting at $15,525 and the EX-L Navi topping out at $20,800. That’s not a huge bump from last year’s $15,425-$19,790 range- and that $19,790 didn’t get you 130 HP, leather, or a 7″ screen. So, yeah- the new 2015 Honda Fit is an objectively superior machine than the 2014 it replaces, but what do you think?

Did Honda do enough to place the new Fit in the premium compact class occupied by the Mini Coopers of the world, or is its move upmarket a step in the wrong direction? Let us know what you think, in the comments. Enjoy!

 

Sources | Photos: Honda, FitFreak. Originally published on Gas 2.

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Review: 2015 Honda Fit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/review-2015-honda-fit/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 15:01:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791401 2015-honda-fit_main

There’s really no way to lead into this, so I’ll just come out and say it: the 2015 Honda Fit is a fantastic car. Around town, at speed on Southern California’s twisty canyon roads, on the highway, stuck in traffic- there wasn’t a single situation we put our EX and EX-L testers into that it didn’t handle with aplomb. Even some light off-roading didn’t twist up the Fit’s rigid frame.

Diving into corners at twice the posted advisory speed, the made-in-Mexico 2015 Honda Fit‘s electric steering does exactly what you’d expect it to. The new, 130 HP Earth Dreams engine pulls the car out the corner effectively enough, too- especially for a long-stroke 1.5 liter. The brakes are direct, drama-free, and the ABS kicks in right when you’d want it to.

After a quick lunch, Jeff (my co-driver for the day) and I decided to make some solo runs in the “comparison cars” Honda had on-hand for the event. These included a Chevy Sonic, a Toyota Yaris, and a Nissan Versa Note- all optioned up to about $17,000.

Simply put, the 2015 Honda Fit blew them all away. The Fit was a generation newer than the non-turbo Chevy Sonic, and it showed. The interior of the Nissan Versa was almost laughably cheap in comparison to the other cars, and the car, itself, got frighteningly squirrel-y under braking. The Toyota, alone, had an interior I’d call “comparable” to the Fit- but I certainly wouldn’t call it better and, on the canyon roads surrounding our Don Quixote-looking lunch stop …

windmill_1

… the Yaris was simply no match for the Honda.

It was such a one-sided Honda blowout, in fact, that I started to get a bit snarky about the whole event. “Do you think there’s much of a science to picking the comparison cars for these things?” I asked Jeff.

If you don’t know Jeff Palmer, trust me on this: he’s smart. You can tell. When you ask him a question, for example, he thinks about it for two or three seconds, then answers in complete, well-formed sentences. “I think Honda wants to its present competitor’s cars in a situation where they won’t perform as well as their car.”

Here’s where I (tried) to get snarky. “I dunno- I think all Honda’s really proven today is that they can build a $25,000 car better than other people can build a $17,000 car.”

I’d expected to get a giggle or a laugh out of Jeff, but he just looked confused. “How do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, this Honda- what’s it cost? There’s no sticker on it, so what’s it gonna cost? 22,000? 23?”

“No, this is an EX,” explained Jeff. “It’s replacing the old Fit Sport, which was about 17. It’s not going to be more than 17, $18,000.”

No way. There was no way that the 2015 Honda Fit EX (with an excellent 6-speed manual, I should add) we were driving was the same price as the cars we’d just driven. I refused to believe it, and the exchange that followed saw us pull over, open the trunk, and dig furiously through our notes to see just how far upmarket Honda had dragged its little hatchback.

$17,435.

The 2015 Honda Fit EX with a 6-speed manual transmission will sell for $17,435- and, if you’re shopping new subcompacts under $20K, you’d be a fool to spend your $17K on anything else. Really.

Properly chastened, I flipped and flopped the 2015 Honda Fit’s Magic Seats into Refresh Mode, kicked up my feet, and asked Jeff to drive me back to the hotel bar. When you’re a professional blogger (well- paid, anyway), and you can’t find any way to be snarky or s***ty about something, it’s time to pack it in for the day.

The new for 2015 Honda Fit should be arriving at dealerships soon, with 30+ MPG fuel economy and your choice of 6-speed manual or CVT. If I had to come up with a complaint, it would be that the 6 speed’s top gear is too short for American highways, and the engine buzzed at more than 3500 RPM at a 77 MPH cruise. If you drive 68, the buzz is gone- so, yeah. Small price to pay for the privilege of rowing your own, you know?

You can see how the new 2015 Honda Fit looks in red and yellow, below, and let us know what you think about the new Fit in the comments.

 

2015 Honda Fit in Red


red-fit_3 red-fit_2 red-fit_4 red-fit_1

 

2015 Honda Fit in Yellow


yellow-fit_2 yellow-fit_1 yellow-fit_3 yellow-fit_4

 

Originally published on Gas 2.

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Why Scion Matters http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/455888/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/455888/#comments Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:22:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455888

 

A couple of months ago, Aaron Robinson of Car & Driver wrote an expansive article about Scion.

This quote pretty much summarized his view on the brand.

“I have no doubt that Scion will eventually go the way of Plymouth.”

I’m sure he wasn’t implying that cheap Scions will someday morph their way into becoming Toyota equivalents that offer fake wood trim exterior panels and trombone case red interiors. As a long-time automotive writer and columnist, he was simply reading the proverbial writing on Scion’s firewall that has been ever deeper ingrained into their product line.

“Mediocrity… is killing the brand.” This inscription ought to be welded onto every frumpish inner panel of Scion’s soon to be defunct models, the Scion xB and Scion xD. Underpowered compact cars that look like SUV’s in 2012 sell about as well as two-seater cars that look like frogs. Or bland plain-jane sport coupes that try capriciously to do battle with the market leaders.

Heck, I recently saw a perfectly fine 2010 Scion Xb with only 28k miles sell for $10,000 at a well attended dealer auction. A near forty percent drop off the original MSRP over just a two year period. In my profit driven world, where nearly every Toyota model represents stiff price premiums and high demand finance fodder, nobody wants to buy these things.

The reason for this market failure is obvious.

If a product is inherently bad or terminally neglected, no name brand will save it. It’s that simple. Every brand out there has market failures. In the case of Scion, they are going from a 2 for 3 boom on their debut generation (xB and tC good, xA not so much) to a 1 for 5 second run (FR-S may likely be the sole survivor.)

Scion is on the ropes if you look at their current model line-up. But the same could have been said for Hyundai back in 1999, Subaru back in 1994, or even the 1st generation Infiniti models back in 1992. All of these brands suffered mortal market wounds of the debilitating type.

But that did not mean the brands could not fill a gaping void in the marketplace. All of them succeeded because they found several niches that no other brand could fully satisfy.

Which brings us to the dire need of the present day.

Right now Toyota and Honda are facing a market exodus in one broad segment that is largely a reflection of their own long-term successes. Where do you go after you have already owned the reliable family car? Or the commuter scooter that has taken you everywhere and back with low ownership costs?

In the old world the move was pretty simple. The automotive world was upwardly mobile and that Toyota or Honda buyer could be just as content in a Lexus or Acura. Unfortunately, something terrible happened to both of these prestige brands between the Clinton era and the modern day.

They became boring, generic, and a bit old fogey in their market reach. These days a middle-aged person generally does not aspire to own a Lexus or an Acura. If they have put in their dues of driving the family car, they are looking for that thrill. As is the younger guy who is not quite ready to settle down, but is finally making the big bucks.

These folks, if they are willing to spend their money, often want the anti-Toyota. The anti-Honda. The car that is more involving to drive… but… with this desire also comes a concern.

These buyers also want a car that is reliable and doesn’t represent a potential black hole in their annual budget. Like everyone else, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

Two potential options are out there. The first is testing out a sporty prestige brand. An Audi. A BMW. A sports oriented car that is heavily marketed as a lease vehicle and can provide them with that extra thrill that they certainly won’t get with another Camry or Accord.

My brother Paul is the poster child for this. Two new Toyotas and one new Honda for the family over the last 15 years. The oldest child is about to go to college. The money is in the bank. The sacrifice of ‘fun driving’ for ‘family driving’ has already been made.

Did he want another Toyota or Honda? No, Paul and his wife wanted something different. Something that was not already driven by their senior citizen parents. They bought a 2012 Audi A6 and a CPO Audi A4.

The second option is to get the fun affordable car. Not too long ago fun usually meant two doors and a possible slight engine and suspension upgrade over the plain four door model. This is one of the main reasons why the Toyota Camry remained so dominant during the late 1990′s and early 2000′s. Fun and four doors were few and far between.

These days an affordable four door model can be just as sporty without the past sacrifice at the altar of practicality. A car with an Accent, a Soul, a good Fit, or a Focus, can be every bit as enjoyable to drive as a Veloster, a Forte, a Civic, or dare I say it… a Mustang.

Whether prestigious or plain named, a slew of buyers want the option to buy a fun car that does not share the same emblem of the car that they have been driving ever since the kids were little. Or ever since they were struggling to get established.

It’s not because they are unhappy with that reliable car. Sometimes folks just want something that is ‘not’ what they have been driving. Even if it has been a good car.

I can see Scion becoming the fun side of Toyota. The sporty side of a company that can already register millions in annual sales by harvesting the fertile fields of those seeking the ‘family car’, the ‘retiree car’, the ‘keep my ownership costs low’ car.

Toyota is already losing that buyer who picks the Altima over the Camry. The Mazda 3 and Fiat 500, over a Matrix or a Corolla. The reality is that by attracting a more conservative and older audience, you sometimes have to make compromises in design and interior ergonomics that make a car less appealing to those seeking fun and sport. Or even just simply something different.

There is still a gaping void of ‘fun’ between $15,000 and $35,000 that Scion could define as their specific market. I have no doubt that a car with the Toyota halo of reliability, coupled with sharp looks and exceptional handling, could lead to a new era of success for Scion.

The question is whether Toyota will invest in a Scion worthy of that reputation. To me the FR-S is one of those models. Should there be others?

 

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Pre-Production Review: 2013 Honda Fit EV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/pre-production-review-2013-honda-fit-ev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/pre-production-review-2013-honda-fit-ev/#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2012 13:19:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450721

Despite accounting for an incredibly small percentage of new car sales in America, the EV is all the rage in California. Rather than starting from scratch and designing an all-new car from the ground up (like Nissan), Honda chose the more economical route and electrified the second-generation Honda Fit. On the surface, the recipe sounds like a slam dunk, since the Fit is one of Honda’s most attractive and most fun to drive models now on sale. To prove to the masses that Honda has what it takes to go green, they flew me out to Pasadena to sample the all-new, all-blue Fit EV.

Before we begin, we should talk about the elephant in the room: California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliance. Some years ago California decided that by 2025 15.4% of all new cars sold in California would have to meet the “Zero Emissions Vehicle” (ZEV) standard. Like any government program, the loopholes, credits and credit trading allowed in the convoluted legislation allow OEMs to sell only a small number of the “required” EVs over the next decade. Strangely the legislation doesn’t require that the vehicle be actually “sold” to the consumer either. Enter the lease-only 2013 Honda Fit EV.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Because the Fit EV was designed to be an incredibly low volume vehicle (only 1,100 will be made for the 2013 and 2014 model years combined), you can get your electric Fit in any color you want, as long as you want blue. Aside from the single shade of “EV blue”, a tweaked front grille and some EV stickers, nothing about the Fit screams “electric vehicle” the way the Leaf’s unique sheetmetal does. Some may want the world to know they are saving the planet, but I prefer Honda’s discreet approach. While the Fit EV may look just its gasoline cousin, the Fit EV has different bumpers, side sills, an increased ride height and a totally different floorpan to accommodate the batteries and improve aerodynamics.

Say what you will about the logic and politics involved with making a “compliance” EV, the 2013 Fit EV has one of Honda’s best economy car interiors. The EV’s interior is dominated by various shades of light beige plastic, a soft leather steering wheel and comfortable fabrics. Compared to the 2012 Civic, the interior is luxurious. Pitted against the gasoline Fit, the interior has been tweaked enough that Honda isn’t kidding when they say the Fit EV is the “perfect Fit.” To help conserve power, a single-zine climate control system and heated seats have been adapted to the Fit in addition to the usual bevy of EV-specific gauges. While this may seem counter-intuitive, climate control allows more efficient control over fan speed and A/C compressor usage while heated seats make the cabin feel warmer than it really is on cold days. All Fit EVs come with Honda’s usual touch-screen navigation system with EV-specific software to find charging stations and graphically display your battery range. We were not able to test the feature during our time with the Fit EV, but all models will be equipped with their new voice command system á la Ford’s SYNC.

In addition to being 14mm higher than the gasoline Fit, the addition of the battery pack required changes to the shape of the Fit’s body. This in turn means the rear seats are unique to the Fit EV riding 1.4 inches higher, 3.3 inches further back and reclined just over 4 degrees more than the regular gasoline Fit. While the extra legroom is welcome and the headroom is still sufficient for all but the tallest passengers, I found the seat back angle to be uncomfortably reclined. Fortunately the front seats remain excellent, providing decent bolstering and above average lumbar support. If you are a shorter driver, be sure to check out the seating position before you lease, as the driver’s seat is not adjustable for height.

Since Honda’s press event was boiled down to a 4 hour event, our time behind the wheel was limited to a collective 3 hours and some 80 miles. While the added weight of the battery pack and the low rolling resistance tires limit grip compared to the gasoline Fit, the battery positioning means the center of gravity is very low. The low-mounted mass and a unique independent rear suspension make the Fit EV more fun on the twisties than I expected. Honda had a collection of 2012 Nissan Leafs on hand for comparison and the back-to-back is less than shocking: the Fit handles well and the Leaf handles like a large, heavy hatchback on skinny low-rolling resistance tires. Much like the Leaf, the Fit EV’s top speed  is limited by the combination of the redline on the motor and the single-speed transaxle.

The Fit EV shares its 92kW (123HP) electric motor with the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car, but the single-speed transaxle is unique to the Fit. The unique gearbox seems to indicate that although the Fit EV is destined to be rarer than a Rolls Royce, Honda is willing to invest in new EV technology. In order to extend the range, the Fit provides three driving modes: Sport, Normal and Eco. Sport provides accelerator pedal mapping and motor output similar to a regular gasoline hatchback. Normal reduces engine power to around 75kW (101HP) under all but full-throttle situations and Eco reduced power further to 47kW (64HP). While some described the Eco mode as “aggravating,” the goal of an efficient city-car style EV isn’t to jet around at top speed. According to Honda, the combination of the most efficient EV drivetrain on the market, a 6.6kWh on-board charger and an 82-mile range makes the Fit EV the best electric vehicle in its class. In reality, it’s the way the Fit EV drives that makes it the best. While the steering is as numb as anything on the market with electro-mechanical power steering, the handling is light-years ahead of the Leaf in terms of both road feel and grip. It was faster too, hitting 60 MPH a full second before the Nissan Leaf (7.91 seconds).

The eternal problem with an EV is charging time. While a car with an 82 mile range would be livable for every driving occasion as long as fill-ups took only a few minutes, charging times for EVs is rated in hours. For reasons that were never officially explained, Honda decided not to equip the Fit EV with the “CHΛdeMO” DC quick-charge connector Nissan has put their weight behind. This means that while your neighbor’s Leaf may take twice as long (7 hours) to charge on your 220V home charger, they can get an 80% charge in half an hour by visiting a quick charge station.

While I’m unsure that California’s ZEV mandate is good politics, it’s obvious we can thank CARB for the existence of the Fit EV. Yet it’s the very nature of the way the Fit EV came into being that makes it both the perfect Fit and the most frustrating. For many Americans looking for a commuter car, $389 a month for the most economical car on the market including collision insurance is a fantastic deal. The flip side of course is that only 1,100 people will get to experience the low operating costs of what may be the best EV in America.

 

Not a fan of our Facebook page? Too bad, if you liked us on FaceBook you’d have been able to ask the Honda engineers and minders your burning questions about the Fit EV.

Honda paid for a Southwest flight, one night’s stay in a hotel, a buffet lunch and all the electrons the Fit could consume.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 3.24 Seconds

0-60: 7.91 Seconds

 

2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior with Nissan Leaf, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior with Nissan Leaf, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior with Nissan Leaf, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior with Nissan Leaf, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior with Nissan Leaf, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, cargo area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, infotainment, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Interior, cargo area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Motor, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Motor, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2011 Honda Fit EV, Motor, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Piston Slap: Pay No Attention to that Minder behind the Curtain! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/piston-slap-pay-no-attention-to-that-minder-behind-the-curtain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/piston-slap-pay-no-attention-to-that-minder-behind-the-curtain/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2012 11:12:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=440223

 

Bryan writes:

Sajeev,

I bought a salvage-title 2007 Honda Fit with 73k miles. Since then I’ve put 10k miles on it.

The owner’s manual has no maintenance schedule. Instead, everything is driven by the “maintenance minder”. A small display shows alphanumeric codes when certain conditions are reached. For example, the “1A” service is oil, filter, and hose/boot checks. Other codes like “1C” and “2C” are more rigorous things like belts & plugs, trans fluid, etc. There is an infamous oil life monitor which, if followed, has me draining blackstrap molasses at enormous intervals.

I’m stumped as to the mileage or conditions that prompt these. Without any previous service history I don’t know when to change plugs (are they 30k or 100k plugs?), transmission fluids (either on a normal or severe schedule) or serpentine belt (it was nearly dust at 74k).

Is there a database that reveals the mileage behind these reminders? I’d like to keep the car as long as possible. I love it and I love car maintenance. How can I be a maintenance hypochondriac with a maintenance minder?

Sajeev Answers:

As this informative–yet questionably biased–blog post shows, Honda’s maintenance minder is all about telling you when you need stuff. Lotsa stuff! And apparently you must use Honda approved oil…which means no synthetic oil.  Other than that depressing note, this system is a good idea for a self-proclaimed “Maintenance Hypochondriac”such as yourself.

Combined with the fairly low-maintenance nature of modern cars, I am a little concerned for your well-being. Because, by definition, Hypochondria is a serious illness not to be taken lightly.

I have yet to Google a relevant analysis of how these maintenance minders (Honda or otherwise) actually work.  And I rarely doubt modern “minders”, but my older cars that run Mobil 1 are a different story: I’m not throwing out perfectly good, still kinda golden, M1 oil after 3500-4500 miles no matter what my dashboard says.  It would be nice to see an algorithm that explains how driving styles affect oil life, how engine performance (determined by the rather brilliant sensors in your EFI system) degrades to the point of needing a tune up, etc. but it seems like a case of “Pay No Attention to that Minder behind the Curtain.” The world may never know!

My advice?  Question the machine by doing a visual on the wear items in question. Definitely get your oil analyzed the moment a warning light comes on: you know, just for funzies. Then you’ll know which items to trust, especially if Hypochondria is a valid concern.

Bonus!  A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

If you wish to seek the truth, check your spark plugs. That is all. 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Honda Fit. Officially Hecho En Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/honda-fit-officially-hecho-en-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/honda-fit-officially-hecho-en-mexico/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:09:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437020

Honda will build its Fit compact at the new Honda factory in Mexico, from where it will be exported to the U.S. and other markets. This is what the company told Hans Greimel, Automotive News [sub] rezident in Tokyo.

We have had this rumor a year ago, but this is the first time that Honda officially confirms what it will be building in its Celaya, Guanajuato, plant. On Wednesday, Honda laid the cornerstone for the new factory. It is scheduled to open for business in 2014 with a capacity of 200,000 vehicles a year.

According to Honda, the plant will increase Honda’s production capacity in North America to 1.87 million units from 1.63 million today, Honda said in a statement.

In January, Honda announced it would also build the next generation Acura NSX sports car in Ohio.

“Honda will soon produce everything from subcompacts to super cars in North America,” said Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda of America Manufacturing Inc.

Nissan and Mazda are building new plants in Mexico, which has free trade agreements with more than 40 countries.

Volkswagen wants to raise its capacity in Mexico by 20 percent to 615,000 units per year, says Automobilwoche [sub].

 

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Chinese Cars Have Arrived, As Honda Imports Fits From The Middle Kingdom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/chinese-cars-have-arrived-as-honda-imports-fits-from-the-middle-kingdom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/chinese-cars-have-arrived-as-honda-imports-fits-from-the-middle-kingdom/#comments Wed, 21 Dec 2011 18:46:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423148

One question that Bertel and I find ourselves returning to again and again in our regular conversations is “what will be the first Chinese-made car sold in North America?” We’ve agreed for some time that the groundbreaking first Chinese-made import would come from an established non-Chinese brand, rather than one of the many newer Chinese brands, but our usual suspects typically ranged from GM to Volvo (EV maker Coda builds what are essentially “knock down” Chinese made-cars, but technically they qualify as US assembled, as does Wheego). I don’t think the name “Honda” ever came up in these discussions, but sure enough, the NY Times reports

the Japanese automaker Honda is crossing the threshold by importing subcompact cars into Canada from one of its plants in China. This month, Honda Canada began receiving its smallest model, the Fit, from China instead of Japan, as part of a strategy to produce more vehicles outside its home country.

The decision allows Honda to eke out higher profit in a segment of the auto market where margins are extremely thin, especially since the high value of the yen cuts into all Japanese automakers’ overseas operations.

“The yen has been getting stronger and stronger,” Jerry Chenkin, executive vice president of Honda Canada, said on Tuesday.

Of course, Honda has yet to bring a Chinese-made Fit to the US, where antipathy towards Chinese products is greater and automotive diversity is lesser than in the Great White North. Also, the importation of Chinese Fits is seen as a temporary response to the high Yen, while Honda builds a new plant in Mexico for Fit production, scheduled to open in 2014. Still, this is a significant development, presaging the inevitable importation to the US of Chinese-built vehicles.

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New or Used: Whither Station Wagon? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/new-or-used-whither-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/new-or-used-whither-station-wagon/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 13:45:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414226  

Could be worse!

Mike writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

This is not a pressing question (yet) but it is a frequent and ongoing conversation with my wife and several of our friends. We are expecting our first child in one month. One. Month. We are as ready as ready can be, but recognize that our wheels might be an issue before long.

My wife has a 2002 Camry 2.4L with about 140k miles. No real problems, although the valvetrain was rebuilt about 30k miles ago due to what Toyota emphatically claimed was not sludging. It is also going to need new struts soon… Austin streets are just brutal. It still gets about 32 MPG on the highway, which is our baseline requirement for fuel economy (the wife commutes about 60 miles round trip). It’s also paid for. Our rear-facing child seat fits in the back no problem, leaving legroom for both driver and front passenger (those things are unbelievably massive). Hypothetically, once we load up the dog, luggage, and all the baby accoutrement (and what if we have another?), it’s pretty cramped at best. Problem.

We have looked at numerous CUVs available and none meets our expectations for fuel economy or price (want to keep it in the $30k range, if possible). Honestly, crossovers seem like a a bit of a ripoff. I’d rather have a Fusion wagon than an Edge, but whatever. We briefly talked about a minivan, and aside from the basic aversion, it just doesn’t seem like a good solution for us, basically for the same reason as CUVs. We’re pretty sure what we want AND need is a new or certified used mid-sized station wagon. That seems like the ideal intersection of size, cost, versatility, fuel economy and style. Jetta TDI? TSX Sport Wagon? Audi A4? We liked the Volvo V50, and thought maybe we could get a deal on a used or even a leftover new one, but are worried about service and support now that Ford no longer owns the company. A dearth of wagons exists in this country, unfortunately. I’m flummoxed.

Then there’s my car. I drive a 2007 Fit. It’s paid for with about 25k left on the extended warranty. It’s also small. The child seat will only fit on the passenger side, forcing the front seat bolt upright and almost all the way forward. I thought it was maybe just the design of our child seat and I could get another, but asking my Fit forum, I discovered it’s an almost universal problem. That’s mostly OK as we never take my car for any road trips, but I do foresee some friction when as a family we ALWAYS have to take the wife’s car because we won’t fit in the Fit. And again, add a second kid into the mix, especially if the first is still in a rear-facing seat, and I have some real problems.

That was kind of a long introduction to the real issue (not that we couldn’t use some advice or industry insight into the wagon conundrum)… How do families do this? Realistically and responsibly, I mean. We’re both frugal people, although I’m a certified car nut and demand at least a little fun from my daily driver (I also have an ’82 Alfa GTV6 for my tinkering and hooning needs). We have a decent amount saved for a down payment, but we’d still have several years of payments on a $30k car. My wife wants to keep the Camry at least four or five more years, or until it dies – she believes all modern cars should last 15 years with regular maintenance, which really isn’t too crazy a notion. However, I’m pushing to get her a new car within the next 12 months, while the Camry is still worth something, and so that we’ll be able to pay it off before I have to trade up. I got the Fit used about two and a half years ago, Honda Certified with 50k miles on the clock, and although it hasn’t had a single mechanical problem it’s closing in on 80k miles, almost all of them in hard stop and go urban traffic. I don’t know if I can make it last another 8-10 years, which is her plan. I can see us in a bind, either having two car payments due each month, or worse yet needing two new cars at the same time.

I feel like this is one area that could potentially bite us and could use some factual insight to argue the point, if it’s valid.

I had another ancillary question, if it’s possible to include it? For the life of me I can’t figure out how interior volume is calculated. For example, my ’07 Fit has 111.4 cu ft total with 21.3 cu ft of cargo space with all seats in place, but a 2011 Mazda3 hatch has only 111.6 cu ft of total interior and 17 cu ft of cargo with all seats in place. I know the Fit is an amazingly well-designed package, but I’ve driven a Mazdaspeed3 and it seems to be a much larger and more spacious car, especially in the “boot”. Is it an optical illusion or just tricky math (like counting the “storage” under the rear seats) of the Fit?

Steve answers:

I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version: your wife is right, you’re wrong.

Keep the Camry. You have another four to five years to consider another vehicle. Given that you can’t pay cash for your next car and the Camry has the space you need 99+% of the time, your best bet is to not do anything.

We have a dog as well. What we usually do as a family of four is have the neighbors give her walks and attention whenever we’re out of town. Doing this is a lot cheaper than getting another five figured debt on your driveway.

Sajeev answers:

Steve is always right about the new car and debt thing. Which especially blows when you want a station wagon, but can’t get one for a decent price.  And while you complain (rightly so) that CUVs are pretty lame in the value department when you consider the fuel economy, have you considered the cost of ownership of any of those wagons compared to any mainstream CUV? I reckon the wear and tear, insurance, and the inevitable major electronic/powertrain item replacement on a fancypants wagon will totally eliminate the fuel “surcharge” of a CUV. Even on the Volvo.

So my advice is simple: when you want a new vehicle, get it.  Debt be damned, there’s a reason why we all need it, so have at another vehicle.  But it’s time to stop crying over spilled milk (which we do quite often) and get a CUV.  Yeah, they suck for many reason.  No, you don’t have a choice in the matter.  Find the one that is closest to your liking and pull the trigger.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Honda Fit. Hecho En Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/honda-fit-hecho-en-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/honda-fit-hecho-en-mexico/#comments Sun, 31 Jul 2011 15:23:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=404889

Japanese carmakers are watching the rising yen and falling dollar with great trepidation. Most have the yen at 80 or above in their plans. Today, the greenback buys just 77 yen. “The soaring yen is forcing major Japanese companies to rethink their assumed exchange rates for the current fiscal year,” writes The Nikkei [sub] today, and adds: “Reviews of assumed rates could also accelerate the transfer of production bases overseas.” Honda does just that.

Honda will produce its Fit subcompact in Mexico when a new car plant is finished in 2014, writes The Nikkei [sub]. The car is currently being made in Honda’s Suzuka factory in Mie Prefecture, Japan. At current exchange rates, Honda makes next to no money on the car.

The plant will have an initial annual capacity of 100,000 units. This comes in addition to an existing plant with an annual capacity of 50,000 units. The capacity can be increased down the road.

 

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New or Used: Mind Reading and Wagon Lust http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/new-or-used-mind-reading-and-wagon-lust/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/new-or-used-mind-reading-and-wagon-lust/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2011 21:45:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402131

Mark writes:

Hi Guys,

I read TTAC regularly and am debating what to do about getting a new car. The situation is I had a 2001 Volvo S60 which started experiencing transmission “issues” that the mechanic could not replicate, so I traded it for a 09 Fit to get better mileage. The Fit was an excellent appliance car, but felt a bit tinny after the relative comfort and solidity of the S60. The new Lexus CT200h got me excited and my sister-in-law needed a new car so I sold her the Fit and am awaiting the Lexus. However it appears that actually fitting my kids in the back of Lexus won’t work. What would you suggest as a car? I want good mileage, because I have a city commute, a bit of luxury and reliability with not ridiculous repair costs. I had hoped the Mercedes C300 Estate would come here, but it won’t and BMW has me concerned about repairs costs. Could I be happy with a used Lexus SportCross? Please provide your perspective.

Steve answers:

We can’t read your mind. There is a big part of me that says, “Hey. All this guy wants is a hybrid with a bit more room than the CT200h.”

Then the next little voice says, “My good God! Have we sank to the level of serial numbers when it comes to model names?”

I’m surprised the CT200h won’t fit your kids. I recall test driving last year and thought the rear space was fine. But who knows? Maybe your kids are well over six foot and husky.

The Sportcross also has a small rear seat. Sorry.

As for alternatives… there are dozens to choose from. I happen to like the 2008-2009 Audi A6. It clicks all the buttons of a sporty and comfortable ride and there are plenty of low mileage CPO versions to choose from. You can usually get one of those for a lot less money than a Mercedes C300 or BMW 5-Series and if warranty issues are important to you, the CPO warranty will go a long way.

If you want new only, the Infiniti G25 is a wonderful car that is sitting on dealer’s lots (106 days in inventory). The price will be comparable to the CT200h. It will also give you a lot more real world power than the CT while offering reasonable fuel economy (20/29) and a more spacious interior. Go drive one of those and see if you like it.

Sajeev answers:

Life is full of compromises: the only cars I passionately desire are well out of warranty, making spare parts hard to find at times. So let’s get down to you.

Don’t expect a C300 Estate (if it ever arrives) to be any better than a BMW in total cost of ownership. And forget about pleasing everyone or everything in your next ride, odds are they won’t have the room to play nice with each other. All modern Euro Wagons are for ownership under warranty exclusively, unless you hate your wallet. This isn’t a Caprice-Roadmaster-Panther Love thing: it’s a lament over the USA-centric design of the 1990s Honda Accord Wagon, Toyota Camry Wagon, or Ford Taurus Wagon. I’d love to throw you into an Accord wagon right now: Honda Crosstour FTW?

But if you like the Lexus IS Sportcross, get it! Sure the back seat is smallish, but the real problem is that the latest version is about 6 years old. It will need a host of upkeep to keep it in top shape: tires, hoses, belts, fluids, shocks and who knows what else was worn out by the last owner. Maybe nothing, but I suspect your time value of money is important enough to give you pause on a used SportCross.

Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen and straight to your nearest CUV. Or maybe…the Acura TSX sport wagon: one drive will put your mind at ease and push enough buttons to make you happy for years to come. Or maybe even longer.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Reuters: Honda Fit Shuttle US-Bound http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/honda-fit-shuttle-us-bound/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/honda-fit-shuttle-us-bound/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:05:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=399110

Small-n-funky vehicle nerds, Honda Fit freaks and JDM fetishists with families take note: though we’ve heard no indication of it in the mainstream auto media (and Honda offers no hints of it at its “future cars” page), some Reuters reporting seems to indicate that the Fit Shuttle, which just debuted in Japan, is heading to the US market. Towards the end of a piece on Honda’s silly discount guarantee on out-of-stock cars (Japanese-built cars need not apply… go figure), Reuters notes:

The No. 3 Japanese automaker warned investors on Tuesday that operating profit could fall as much as 65 percent this year because it has had to delay the launch in the United States of major models, including its new Fit Shuttle and a new version of its top-selling Civic

Honda already has 7,000 pre-orders for the Fit Shuttle in Japan, according to another report, which goes on to note that the Shuttle Hybrid costs about $5k less than the Toyota Prius V in Japan. Remind us again, why did Ford decide to cancel its seven-passenger C-Max? To compete more directly with this one-two punch of Japanese hybrids?

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Regime Change In Japan: Honda Fit Dethrones Toyota Prius http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/regime-change-in-japan-honda-fit-dethrones-toyota-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/regime-change-in-japan-honda-fit-dethrones-toyota-prius/#comments Fri, 04 Feb 2011 05:48:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=382839

We had intimated it a few days ago, now it’s official: Toyota’s Prius is no longer primus (or make that ichi ban) in Japan. The hybrid that had been Japan’s best selling car for 20 months in a row had to relinquish the throne to Honda’s Fit.

That according to data provided by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association to The Nikkei [sub]. January JDM sales of the Fit rose 13.9 percent to 14,873 units, those of the Prius sales dropped 38.5 percent to 13,711 units, which put the Prius into second place.

Two factors triggered the change of positions: The Fit received a hybrid version in last October, which is selling well. The hybrid Fit is still a Fit, adding to the overall fitness of the Fit’s sales numbers. And then there’s the enemy within: The recently launched Toyota Vitz (Yaris for most of you) is off to a good start. It sold 11,018 units in January, up 26.4 percent, and took #3, gnawing away on the Prius. The Prius now has to contend with Fit and Vitz.

So it’s Honda #1, followed by two Toyotas. All separated by not much. It’ll be an interesting racing season – of sorts.

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EVs? Honda Throws A Fit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/evs-honda-throws-a-fit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/evs-honda-throws-a-fit/#comments Thu, 18 Nov 2010 14:30:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=373359

Honda had been the first automaker that had the Insight to sell a hybrid in the U.S. But what about pure battery-powered ones? After a lot of hesitation, Honda will throw an all-electric Fit on the U.S. market, says Bloomberg. The plug-in will arrive in 2012, which might as well be pronounced “year of the EV.”

The car will be standard EV fare: Lithium-ion-powered, range about 100 miles between charges – on a good day. A price has not been announced. Expected volume? It “will be small” said  Honda President Takanobu Ito at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Like the colleagues at Toyota, Honda doesn’t view the EV as a runaway hit. Amazingly, also like Toyota, Honda sees hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars such as its Clarity sedan as the “ultimate” solution.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for industry researcher Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, California, already has indentified the target group for the electric Fit: The car should “work well for fleets with predetermined routes like mail trucks and delivery trucks, especially because of the reconfigurable interior.”

More and more, there is a consensus building that the biggest small market for electric vehicles should be in 9-5 jobs at governments and companies that use the cars on carefully mapped out routes that do not stray too far form the charger back at the dock. That’s not what Musk and Fisker had in mind.

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Honda Fit Hybrid. Not NA Bound. It’s All In the Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/honda-fit-hybrid-not-na-bound-its-all-in-the-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/honda-fit-hybrid-not-na-bound-its-all-in-the-numbers/#comments Sat, 16 Oct 2010 14:38:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=369016

Since the recession, I’ve been paying attention to my finances. I’ve re-negotiated my mobile phone plan, changed gas and electricity suppliers and cut my pay-tv package down. I then started to look at driving costs. I re-negotiated my car insurance, but the real saving was in fuel costs. How do I cut the use of an expensive commodity? I did contemplate changing my little 6 year old Toyota Yaris for a hybrid. Whilst I was doing the math, a story was emailed to me.

The Globe And Mail reports that the Fit (A.K.A. Honda Jazz) hybrid will not be coming to the North American market. The only chance that the Fit Hybrid will come is if fuel prices start to go north again. The logic relates to the pricing. In Japan, the Fit hybrid costs $19,686 (when converted from Japanese Yen). A regular petrol Fit (with automatic gearbox) comes in at around $15,700 (according to Honda US’s website). That represents a premium of $3986. A premium which Honda posits that North American buyers will not be willing to pay.

A regular petrol Fit with an Auto gearbox (which is more efficient than the manual version) gives 35mpg highway. Whereas according to Japanese figures the hybrid Fit will give 30 kilometers to a liter of fuel (works out to be about 71mpg) highway. That’s an extra 36mpg. According to a quick Google search, the average American drives 12,000 miles a year. This means in a regular Fit the average American will use 342.85 gallons of petrol a year. Whereas in a hybrid Fit, they’d use 169.01 gallons. A difference of 173.84 gallons. Now using the AAA’s figures, the average cost of a regular fuel per gallon is $2.834. Which means the average hybrid Fit driver would save $492.66 per year in fuel costs. So to make up the $3986 premium over a regular Fit, you’d have to drive the hybrid Fit for just over 8 years. Seems like Honda has a valid point.

But if fuel costs were to rise to $5 per gallon, the payback time gets cut down to just over 4.5 years. But, on the bright side, emissions will be less, which means cleaner air and less oil would need to be imported, which means the trade deficit would go down. Would that make the $3986 premium worth paying? By you?

I did the same calculations for UK petrol prices (I had to make some assumptions as pricing for the Fit Hybrid wasn’t available in GBP and I used the price of a UK Fit). Anyway, after working all this out, the payback on the “hybrid premium” was just over 5 years. This makes sense as to why Honda is selling it in Europe. However, for me, it made more sense to keep my Yaris. I get 50 mpUKg (with careful driving), it’s already paid off and I don’t have to lash out for a new car. Sometimes the best way to save money is to do nothing!

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Honda To Introduce Budget Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/honda-to-introduce-budget-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/honda-to-introduce-budget-hybrid/#comments Thu, 24 Jun 2010 10:48:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=359455

Hybrids are flying off the lots in Japan, with Toyota’s Prius leading the charts for the 12th month in a row. Before, that spot was taken by another hybrid, the Honda Insight. In the Battle of the Hybrids, Honda introduces a fighter that hits below the belt, at the wallet: Honda will launch a hybrid in Japan that will cost around $17,000 in today’s dollars, “making it the most affordable hybrid in Japan,” The Nikkei [sub] says. The Nikkei sees a hybrid price war erupting in Japan.

The so far unnamed Honda hybrid will be based on their Fit, and will share core components with the Insight. It will be priced around $4,500 below Honda’s Insight, and only around $2,200 above the gas-powered Fit.

Toyota’s Prius goes for around $23,000 in Japan. According to the Nikkei, Toyota is “planning to release a new hybrid next year for a comparable price but equipped with better batteries,” and “competition between Japan’s two leading automakers looks likely to intensify.”

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