By on March 22, 2016

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Front 3/4, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

My first thought was that a constant velocity joint on the left axle exploded again. However, Mike the mechanic (not to be confused with Mike and the Mechanics) told me there was “a hole in the transmission” in the ’02 Saturn that’s been my daily driver the past few years. I spent a few days asking myself whether it made any sense putting $1,000 into a 15 year old car that’s gone on pretty much unchanged since it was first designed in the early ’90s. My second thought: What’s the next thing that’s going to break?

I started looking around for a small, inexpensive, new car, with a focus on subcompacts. I also asked my colleagues who review a lot more cars than I do for their recommendations and settled on two finalists, the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.

 

How did I come to that conclusion? Different cars were rejected for different reasons. I don’t like the Chevy Sonic‘s motorcycle inspired instrument panel. Though I care far more about transportation than image, I just can’t see myself in a Kia Soul. Speaking of Korean brands, I’m not convinced that the Korean automakers lavish as much attention on their least expensive cars as they do on the Optima and Sonata. And long warranties aside, the long-term durability of even the newest and best Korean cars hasn’t been proven. I like the Mazda3, but that’s a class up from the segment and Mazda doesn’t sell the Mazda2 in America (and I forgot about Toyota selling the Mazda2 as the Scion iA). The Fiat 500 Abarth is great fun, but I said that it was based on a cheap car that was designed almost a decade ago when I reviewed it. The base Fiat 500 I rented was much less fun. The Nissan Versa seemed cheap to me, and the Toyota Yaris, well, I find a ’90s era Tercel more exciting.

On the other hand, the Ford Fiesta I rented when I had some suspension mods done to the Saturn a couple of years ago impressed me. The Fiesta was fun to drive, it handled nicely and I even thought that Ford’s version of the dual-clutch transmission worked better than the VW unit in the Audi A3 I had for review. Despite the fact that I could live with the Ford DCT, the Fit’s automatic is a CVT and you’d take away my car guy card if I bought that. Also, going with a manual transmission would likely save some money off the sticker price. I didn’t realize just how much it would save.

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Rear 3/4, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The Fit was all new for 2015. A lot of the reviews of the car dinged it for numb electrically assisted power steering, saying that it doesn’t quite have the [automotive cliche alert] go-kart feel of the first two generations of the Fit. There were also complaints that the six-speed manual transmission is geared relatively low, causing high revs and buzzing at highway speeds. Some complained that the clutch was too soft. The reviews agreed that the stick was way more fun than the CVT and that the Fit’s flexible seating (Honda calls it Magic Seat) does make it a practical little wagon.

One colleague, a Honda owner who’s pretty familiar with the company, said the Honda was better than the Ford, but that the Ford might last longer. Another, who has contacts at Ford’s plant in Mexico where the Fiestas are built, suggested otherwise. Ford apparently still has quality issues south of the border, or at least that’s what my friend’s sources imply.

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Rear 3/4, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

I started to configure, price and shop. The base LX trim level in the Fit comes pretty well equipped with power windows, air conditioning and even a backup camera standard. I could live with that feature list, certainly when compared to the 20-year-old tech in the Saturn. When I went to configure something similar in the Fiesta, it appeared the Honda was just slightly better equipped at about the same MSRP. Mostly it came down to the Fit’s six-speed vs. the five-speed equipped in all manual, non-ST Fiestas.

I wanted some fun but I couldn’t justify the extra $3,000-4,000 the ST would run. This car will be driven into the ground and I wasn’t sure that the optional three-cylinder, 1-liter EcoBoost engine in the Fiesta was up for the long haul. The direct injected, naturally aspirated 1.5-liter Honda engine has more power than both the EcoBoost triple and the 1.6-liter four, which is the standard engine in the Fiesta. For the 2016 model year, assembly of the Fit was moved from Honda’s new Mexican factory to Japan to allow for the Mexican plant to start producing the HR-V crossover, which shares a platform with the Fit.

Speaking of Mexico, I like to buy American when I can, but the Fiesta is Hecho en Mexico. Even if I ended up picking the Ford, my choice wasn’t going to be made in the U.S.A. I was going to say something about profits flowing to Tokyo versus Dearborn, but I’m not convinced either automaker makes significant money on these entry level cars.

As for dealers’ profits, as Bark M pointed out, dealers can still make plenty of money on new cars they sell at or below invoice price, but apparently there isn’t enough money in Fits with stick shifts for dealers to want to keep them in inventory, particularly a base car. The most number of Fits I found at any local dealer was eight, all with the CVT. There were no base 2016 Fits with a manual transmission to be found anywhere in Michigan.

Car enthusiasts bemoan the paucity of cars that offer stick shifts, but part of the problem with trying to “save the manual” is finding dealers who stock them. An automatic adds at least a thousand dollars (more like two) to the purchase price and dealers like higher transaction prices.

A call to a dealer in Toledo, about an hour south of here, revealed that there were just three in the entire tri-state region that I assume includes Indiana. A salesman said he could arrange a dealer trade and sell me the car for a shade over $18,000 out the door (Michigan has a 6% sales tax).

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Front, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Using online tools like TrueCar, I found a Fit LX with a stick, in an inoffensive silver, at a dealer in Dayton, about 200 miles from Detroit. The salesman there quoted me a better price: $17,421 out-the-door. The next day, while I was deliberating a trip to Ohio and figuring out the logistics, I missed a call from a local Honda dealer, Page Honda of Bloomfield. When I called back, I told the salesman, Brian, that I was looking for a Fit LX with a stick and told him the price I’d gotten from the Dayton dealer. He asked if I’d consider a 2015 model, new, not a demo and also in silver, with a stick.

An orphaned manual and I could save it. I told him to check the mileage and get a price from his manager.

When he called back, he said it had less than 100 miles on the odometer, just new car test mileage accumulated in the time it’s been sitting on their lot. I once bought a brand new, all-wheel-drive Chrysler minivan through a dealer trade that put more miles than that on the car. The price he quoted, however, $17,720, surprised me. I expected a ’15 to cost less than the 2016 in Dayton and said so. Brian, the salesman, said, “Oh, that’s because it’s an EX, not an LX.”

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Rear, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

While the features of the EX are things I could easily live without, it’s nice to have a smart fob with keyless entry and push button start, a better stereo, and a touchscreen with a nifty blindspot camera that activates when you use the turn signal, all for the low price of $240. With Michigan’s potholes, I’m not sure about the 16-inch aluminum wheels (the LX has 15-inch steelies with hubcaps), and I don’t know how often I’ll use the moonroof, but the package seemed like a good deal at about $2,000 less than if I’d bought a comparable 2016 Honda Fit EX. I don’t care about depreciation, but that two grand probably makes up for it.

The deal wasn’t just good, Bark M’s insistence aside, the dealer had to have lost real money on it. According to online resources, the purchase price of the car was about $700 less than dealer cost, including the holdback. It was a cash deal, so there was no money to be made at the back end on financing and there were no dealer add-ons. Added to the loss: the interest the dealer paid to floorplan the car for almost a year.

They’d been trying to move the little Honda for a while. After I took delivery, I found a hang tag from 2015’s “summer clearance sale” under the passenger seat. The fact that it was also at the end of the month may have incentivized them to come up with their best price. I’m sure that they didn’t want to pay another month of interest.

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Side, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

According to the door jam sticker, the Fit was made in February 2015 and it wasn’t sitting on a boat from Japan for weeks as it was made in Mexico. No, it’s been sitting on their lot, costing them not just interest, but also the opportunity cost of the profit they might have made on the number of CR-Vs they could have cycled through that spot on their lot in the same time. The dealer also had to eat the cost of hand-painted pinstripes (signed by “Miller”) that were added at some point. The artist used nice shades of grey and blue, and they look nice against the silver car, though the painter ended them with a curly-cue on the front fender that I think looks rather feminine. Oh well, maybe I’ll give the Fit a girl’s name.

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Front 3/4, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

How do I like it? Well that’s for the first installment of TTAC’s latest long-term test once the engine is broken in and I’ve had a chance to drive it for a bit. I’ll also let you know if and when VTEC kicks in, yo!

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. Thanks for reading – RJS.

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179 Comments on “TTAC’s New Long-Term Tester: 2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT...”


  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “I was going to say something about profits flowing to Tokyo versus Dearborn”

    As a nitpick, “where the profits go” means pretty much nothing. What matters, as far as the health of your local economy is concerned, is where the costs go. Profits aren’t something you see much economic advantage from unless you’re a shareholder or a creditor; costs are what pay the wages of factory workers at the OEMs and their suppliers, and keep local businesses employed.

    So, yeah, the Fit and the Fiesta are pretty much neutral in this respect.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Eh. Knowing CSAP well, I’d say any issues you’d end up with the B299 would be more design related. The value proposition of a Fiesta would have been a good one. CSAP had a few incoming quality hiccups when they transitioned plant management around the time of their platform’s mid cycle action in 2013 – nothing worthy of worry.

    Boo for taking pictures of the Honda on Piquette Ave.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sorry, as a layman, what the heck is:

      CSAP (A plant? But for which car?)
      B299 (A model, but which one?)

      I mean, I know I can google this (presumably), but if you’ve got industry knowledge why not just add a few words for the rest of us plebs? We’d really appreciate it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I figured you were the source of the Ford info he was referring to.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I am critical of a lot of things that Ford doesn’t do right – but CSAP does so many things right all the while taking a sincere pride in their small slice of North American system output.

        The plant is spotless, well lit, everyone wears the same white cotton dress shirt with crisp blue jeans and black work boots. The grounds are immaculate, cribs and break areas are well organized and material handling is on point.

        CSAP’s weakness is taking new processes and critically thinking about existing operating systems to adapt to what has been done in the past (production, quality, etc.)- but once that process is learned, set it on cruise control and forget about it. Most plants struggle with this.

        The Fiesta related shortcomings I have issue with lie with design; some of them can be chalked up as what should be expected with economic vehicle lines.

        Henry Ford II’s massive expansion gave birth to CSAP – you can see the same construction contractor elements found in many expansion facilities like Oakville, the Pilot Plant, etc. (including the iconic giant Blue Oval ‘billboard’ found outside of most final assembly plants, CSAP’s being in the middle of a Walmart / Sams Club parking lot since that portion of the property was liquidated to give liquidity to the Way Forward plan) That being said, the Fiesta has more DNA associated with the Piquette Plant / GM Truck and Bus facility next door than the Honda.

        I would never recommend a Honda Fit over a Ford Fiesta.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          A nice, succinct explanation. Thanks.

        • 0 avatar

          Consumer Reports reliability for the Fit is average, for the Fiesta is much worse than average.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Is cr combining the st with the normal fiesta? My one beef with cr is that they often combine trim levels with wildly different results for their overall scores (still accurate, just not useful in any way for shopping).

            Brand and model level scoring is industry commentary that is interesting on ttac but which needs to be supported by editorial content which sites like this provide. CR isn’t really in that business outside of their YouTube channel (which is great).

          • 0 avatar
            mik101

            The key is he was buying a manual, not the dual clutch auto.

            Disclaimer: I own a 2 year old 14 Fiesta S that has had zero mechanical issues. Only a blown speaker and a couple of poorly fitting plastic pieces that the dealer gladly replaced, under warranty, during the first two oil change visits.

            Contrast that with my 2000 Focus that was leased new and swore me off of Fords for a decade…

    • 0 avatar

      I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings with my choice of backdrops. I had some issues with my 3D rig when I took the first set of phots at Rackham Golf Course, which is where I shoot most of my review cars, the piece was written and I need some pics. To be honest, I was going more for the juxtaposition with Fisher Body #21 down the street, which is a decayed relic of Detroit’s past as opposed to the Piquette Model T factory, whose building has been continuously occupied since Henry’s days and now houses a very cool museum.

      I did notice when I was on Piquette, that the site of the former Studebaker factory, which burned to the ground a few years ago, has finally been cleared and replaced with a parking lot. I’m glad that I salvaged a couple of bricks and some scraps of the terrazzo flooring from the lobby before they cleared the lot.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Ronnie, I salute your reasoning and your negotiating acumen. Let us know what you name her.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My one and only Honda burned me in 2005-7.

    I’m now a believer in Hyundai/Kia durability. Your statement to the contrary – after their presence in the US market for 30 years – is curious to me.

    Having said that, I wish you many happy miles in your new Fit!

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “I’m now a believer in Hyundai/Kia durability. Your statement to the contrary – after their presence in the US market for 30 years – is curious to me.”

      Um, because up until 2008-2009 they made garbage?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I really wish that people making claims about make/model reliability would leverage the vast troves of data that Michael Karesh, Steven Lang and CR provide, rather then their personal experiences, with a sample size of 1.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          You mean, the vast troves of data that Karesh claims to have, that Lang pretends to have, and that CR gets through self-selection, right?

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @VoGo: Bad experiences are usually limited to a sample size of 1. I won’t spend my money continuously sampling every product from every mfr, just to make my comments statistically significant.

          Anyone can read CR or whatever, and conclude ToyoHonda makes a good car. I know that, and accept it. There is no point in me re-quoting those. I had a great Scion, for example. But I’ve had 4 good H/K cars so far, which outweighs my singularly terrible experiences with Honda and VW.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            OK, I’m outvoted. Data is bad and statistics are for nerds who will never get laid. How is this:

            “I once Found a Ford on the Road Dead with Chrome, so all Mercurys are bad cars and you are a complete loser for buying one.”

            Happy now?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            VoGo,
            I like to split the difference between the two perspectives. If you’ve been burned by a car, it is cold comfort to know that you were a statistical outlier and I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to go for a sample size of 2.

            On the other hand, if someone has not had such a visceral negative experience, they shouldn’t write off data sources like CR. I mean, what else has the buyer got? Everyone’s conflicted and conflated anecdotes?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Another way of looking at it is that if you buy a car from a brand known to be marginal in quality and it inconveniences you at a crucial time, loses all of its value before it is hit and totaled, or stops functioning as transportation during the loan period; you only have yourself to blame.

            I knew a few people that bought into the claims that H-K had achieved Japanese quality in 2008 or 2009. Theirs are tales of wheel bearing failures and warranty fights. I’m now seeing 2011 Hyundais with badly corroded body hardware and fasteners in my shop. Only the ‘new’ Chrysler 200s age faster.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Being in a new Sonata recently, I’m not at all convinced of any long term materials durability there.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    Hope you enjoy your FIT. My 2015 LX w manual transmission has 27000 miles on it so far. I gave up using 5th gear after the first week. I just go from 4th to 6th and back. I think the “extra” gear was just a marketing gimmick. Other than that and the fact that I wish Honda had allowed the drivers seat to slide back farther the car has been exactly what I hoped it would be. No more, no less. I’m averaging 39 mpg winter and 40 in the warmer months. When I bought there were EX manuals in Buffalo but no LX manuals. Had to dealer trade from Rochester. Would have preferred a ford but the back seats in the Fiesta and Focus did not offer sufficient leg room.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    No offense to anyone – WARNING: MY STRONG, SUBJECTIVE BIASES LAY AHEAD.

    What a miserable & painful compromise and experience it is that these motorized-mailboxes-on-roller-skate-wheels represent, especially in places like MOST of the U.S., with crumbling roads, 75 mph to 80 mph real world highway speeds, giant SUVs and other vehicles on those same highways, and sprawl.

    These little, noisy, slow and light vehicles may do wonderfully in places such as European & Asian cities, with smooth, narrow roads, less sprawl, and far better mass transit than ANY American City, but they are a painful choice full of soul-sucking compromises in the U.S. for many reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Ronnie is coming out of a 15-year old Saturn. I’m sure he’ll be quite happy with the Fit’s levels of noise, acceleration and mass. Even on Michigan’s lousy roads, you don’t have to succumb to driving a rolling bunker to have a nice ride.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        man alive, these past two winters have done an absolute number on the roads here. Last year, 8 Mile at Middlebelt looked like it had been carpet bombed. Yesterday I went down a side street close to where I live, and the potholes were so big I thought my 4×4 Ranger was going to fall in. I was basically rock crawling across them.

        couple of years ago, mid winter the county just slapped a “ROAD IMPASSABLE” sign on a section of Mound Road.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Yeah this admittedly mild winter has really worsened the already marginal roads in certain parts of Indy (read: the impoverished East Side). When I pilot my appropriate looking 4Runner through the ghetto, I simply pretend I’m a warlord driving through Kunduz. The only thing missing is some haji music.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Derka derka jihad!

            http://tinyurl.com/guqe4xj (youtube)

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            They just turned down Derka Derka Street!

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            My sides! Seriously we need like buttons around here already…

            I live in Tulsa. Due to cost of living it’s growing like crazy, so there’s construction everywhere and the other roads are failing under the dump truck traffic. I tell folks that most people don’t really want to live here, they just wandered off the highway for gas and couldn’t find a working exit back out.

            I’m sure the budget shortfall (due to our government playing fast and loose with their oil revenue) will only make everything grind to a halt. You see the dedicated Miata owner around here, but mostly it’s pickup-ville, and I don’t blame them.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      ??????

      This thing is light, cheap, quick and fun to drive. Since when is a sub 8 second 0-60 time or a 16 second quarter mile slow? Your shotgun blast approach of hoping to land another ATS style hit is wearing thin and damaging your brand. You sound desperate.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        You can get a base Camry for 18k and a base Accord for 20k.

        The Fit has no purpose, at 1/2 the vehicle yet 80% of that price, in the U.S. sphere.

        The Fit (and similar vehicles) is not Fit for the modern U.S. road.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          Why do you insist on treating cars as completely fungible? The Camry and Accord are sedans, significantly bigger than the Fit.

          this Internet Car Person tendency to assume buyers cross-shop every car and truck on the market needs to go away.

          • 0 avatar
            omer333

            Everything I test-drove before purchasing my Dart:

            -Dodge Charger V6 SXT
            -Dodge Journey
            -Dodge Dart in THREE different engine combos with both versions of the available automatic transmission
            -Mazda3 in manual and automatic
            -Mazda6 in manual and automatic
            -Buick Verano
            -Buick Regal Eco-whatever
            -VW Jetta 1.8T manual
            -Honda Fit
            -Honda Accord Sport manual transmission
            -Ford Focus

            When the Dart went explodo, I test-drove these:
            -Acura TSX (CPO)
            -Subaru Impreza GT (I hate myself for not getting this car)
            -VW Jetta GLI (CPO)
            -VW Golf GTI
            -Honda Civic SI sedan
            -Ford Focus ST
            -Ford Fiesta ST
            -Mazda6
            -Subaru Impreza WRX hatchback automatic transmission
            -Subaru Legacy
            -Honda Accord Sport CVT

            I ultimately went with the Accord Sport. I didn’t go with either of the ST twins because I couldn’t get a good deal. Ihave nothing nice to say about my experience at the VW dealer, so that’s why I didn’t get a VW, and this was right after Dieselgate.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            yes, that’s great, but you’re an enthusiast posting on a website of other enthusiasts. You’re not representative of the vast majority of the car buying public.

            Hell, I consider myself an enthusiast and I don’t shop that way. I usually get the itch for a particular car or truck, take one for a test drive, and buy it. I don’t think I’ve once cross-shopped a vehicle, it was just “I want that!”

        • 0 avatar
          Hydromatic

          Buying the biggest car your budget allows is an artifact of a bygone era, back when Americans genuinely had little respect for small cars (until the price at the pump and their thinning wallets taught them how to respect those little ferrin jobs).

          The Camry and Accord might be bigger, but that might actually be a drawback to most people. That, and the relatively boring driving dynamics.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          You need to spend serious commuting time on a motorcycle. It changes your perspective, for the better. And makes you a better driver than all those drones in their automatic transmission Chrysler 300’s (or like vehicle).

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Eh as a motorcyclist I disagree. Just driving a smaller car is enough. What DeadWeight needs to do is stop being so desperate to get another Alpha platform car bashing hit. Hey DeadWeight, you’re no Peter DeLorenzo. Give it a rest.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          You can’t get a new Camry or Accord for the 17K he paid, and you can’t get any Camry with a stickshift. Not to mention the Fit has

          – better gas mileage
          – better driving dynamics
          – more cargo space and BETTER cargo space
          – lower running costs
          – a footprint that is much easier to park on the street and in a garage

          OK, the Accord and Camry are more refined, but a lot of people don’t care about that. I don’t. I could have bought a same year Accord when I bought my Civic but I went with the Civic for reasons 1, 2, 4 and 5 above. This might be a shocker to you but not everyone buys cars like paper towels. “More” isn’t always better, even for a basic ride.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Hey, what part of 80% don’t you get?

            Reading is fundamental.

            Also, in addition to the road, wind and overall higher levels of noise, the more fragile suspension & wheels, the buffeting in cross-winds, let me know how it all works out when even a large sedan (let alone a 5,000 lb SUV) t-bones or a$$ ends you in your Fit, Versa, Mirage, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Oh, and to all the cat-like reflex drivers like Syke (an aging superhero, obviously) and “sporty”accord, who effortlessly weave in & through massively traveled highways and throughways with all manner of busses, trucks, tractor-trailers and SUVs, roaring at 80 mph, who are immortal & invincible thanks to their superpowers, you guys rock.

            You’re bit going to be affected by that red light runner or sudden lane changer on your bike because your reflexes will always overcome.

          • 0 avatar

            “the more fragile suspension & wheels”

            What? The suspension is designed to work within the same engineering parameters and real-world scenarios. Just because a vehicle is smaller doesn’t mean its less capable.

            A Boeing 737 isn’t less capable of landing because its smaller than an Airbus A380. Engineering 101.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I don’t really care about road noise- if I did I wouldn’t drive Hondas.

            “More fragile suspension & wheels” is BS unless you have empirical evidence.

            Most people are good for an accident once every 18 years-

            http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/06/17/heres-how-many-car-accidents-youll-have.html

            Safety is important but realistically I think I will be fine. I’m also tickled by how angry you are- wishing physical harm on somebody because they completely PWNED you? There are toddlers who would put your critical thinking skills and emotional maturity to shame.

            Keep looking for that hit though! I’m sure you’ve heard the infinite monkey typewriter theory, and with your sheer volume of desperate hyperbolic tripe here I’m sure you’re close to getting another industry big wig telling you to eff off. Maybe you should focus on FCA… Sergio is about as hot headed and stupid as you are.

          • 0 avatar
            rudiger

            Actually, the paper towel analogy may not be that far off. You can get paper towels in the standard, large-sheet size, or you can get them in the smaller, half-sheets.

            For many, the smaller sized paper towel sheets work out better since you can more accurately size the paper towel sheet to the needed task, similar to choosing a Fit over a larger Camry or Accord.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Not everyone buys cars by the pound. The lack of a fifth door means that the Accord and Camry are not even on my radar, never mind all the other reasons I would not by either one. I simply have no use of a car that big, and evidently neither does Ronnie. I’d pay more for a Focus or a Golf, it is a more useful form factor for me. Anyone who doesn’t like the back seat can arrange their own transportation. It amazes me that people still think they need an enormous barge to transport mostly just themselves.

          I’d buy a Fiat 500 over a Fit, but that is a matter of taste, the Fit is a fine car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            IIRC Ronnie has to transport some grand chillens now and then, for which the Fit will be eminently more capable. The 500 is for like, single people.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          Or a 1 to 3 year old lightly used camry accord or fusion for 18…heck i saw brand new fusion s going for 18 not too long ago on a end of year sale. Just makes no sense to buy one of these sheeat boxes.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Correct me if I’m wrong DW, but didnt you once own a small Honda Civic that you really liked? So what makes a puny Civic so much better than a Fit for daily driving?

          I dont disagree with you on todays battered roads, reasonably tough suspension is a must.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            You have wicked awesome memory.

            Yep. I had a ’94 Civic EX 5 speed manual that I loved. It had 140 HP, great brakes, and was extremely well-damped (like a front wheel drive old school BMW). Great steering, too.

            But the roads were in way better shape then, and I was a far younger man.

            Your point is noted and noted as a good one, despite my counterpoints above, however.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Thank you DW, I do try to test my memory from time to time.

            When I need a uses car I shop Hondas, but many of them are having ball joint issues due to age and rough streets, none are modded.

            Okay maybe a local ones nodded, dropped and slammed, dudes got a numb spine I assume, and a numb skull.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I see a lot of Fits here in Houston, where our roads are pretty smooth (except for constant construction/expansion). As an urban bomber, I can’t think of a better ride since it can hold a ton of stuff yet has a small footprint.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Fit’s 0-60 time is quite respectable.

      When I talk to my sister, via hands free in her fit, the sound quality is quite excellent on my end and the only background noise I hear seems to be the tires on the interstate.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Sorry mate, but there are some of us who prefer small cars. I’m still trying to find a replacement for my ’05 Scion xB that turns me on as much. Big cars? No thank you. Anything above a C-class is a dinosaur to me, SUV/CUV’s are all bloated monsters in my book, and I’d really wish they’d bring back the original (BMC) Mini with modern reliability and performance.

      That, to me, is a proper sized car. I’ll see you in an ATS long before you’ll catch me in a Camry or larger. And on the rare occasion I actually need big (long trips to reenactments or races), I’ll pull the Kia Sedona out from under its cover.

      Oh yeah, I consider a 125cc scooter reasonable commuting transportation. And use it daily.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Agreed. I did not know this Fit had 130 HP AND a 6 speed manual. I’m still not crazy about the looks but this may make a worthy successor to the Civic.

        And given how literally every mainstream model has moved up a size, yea, I too don’t have any interest in anything beyond the C-segment. The Accords referred to in my screen name are of the 90-97 vintage. Plenty of people don’t buy cars “by the pound” as DW seems to be suggesting we do.

        One of the most fun driving experiences I’ve ever had was whipping a Fiat Panda through Italy. It had no problem keeping up with or passing traffic (I have the 100 MPH ticket to prove it). For some discerning drivers smaller is better.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I won’t google 125cc scooter vs F150 (or even Honda Civic)…

        …didn’t eat breakfast.

        Do you have ejector seat?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          DW,
          You OK? This level of vitriol is usually reserved for Cadillac, not fellow long time posters.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            DW has never been OK; just angry and frustrated that I’ve pulled his card.

            He’s been desperately campaigning for another round of acknowledgment from TTAC brass and the auto industry, so he bashes any and everything he possibly can with as much hyperbole and vitriol as possible. Unfortunately his moment has passed and he will only continue to spiral further and further off the deep end.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            No vitriol.

            Just facts.

            All things being equal, biggest vehicle offers advantage (and many, plural, advantages, on modern, American roads – especially highways).

            I’ll never suffer a motorized mailbox again.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            All things aren’t equal though, including individual preference, cargo needs, fuel economy tolerances and parking requirements.

            If 1 car could work for everybody, they wouldn’t make different cars. Just because a Fit doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean you have to wish death/physical harm on the people it does.

            You need help.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            DW, the fact you’re missing is that *not everyone likes the feeling of a big vehicle*.

            That is a preference that can easily override abstract concerns about safety in a very unlikely accident or narrow quantitative differences in noise level or transmission of bumps.

            Our household’s vehicular needs have substantially changed lately and we are looking to replace our Subaru Forester imminently. If you take a checkbox approach the best candidate for our current needs is a used Lexus RX 450h — exactly the type of large, cushy vehicle you identify as The Only Answer for USA drivers. My wife is resisting the RX 450h for the single, pure reason that she finds it too big. She’s looking at everything from new NX 300h (terrible value) to used CT 200h (sloooow) to Chevy Volt (cramped in back) to BMW i3 (even more cramped in back) — all because *she doesn’t like the large, unwieldy feeling of a vehicle the RX’s size*.

            Also, not everywhere in America is Detroit. Many places, especially near the coasts, have much better roads and more crowded conditions.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            I’m inclined to agree with Deadweight on this topic, since this car will, in fact, be driven mostly in the Metro Detroit area if I understand correctly.

            I love my Miata and drive it all over North America, but the few times I’ve been bouncing around the craters of Detroit convinced me I’d want something bigger if I lived there.

            The Honda Fit is a fun and super practical car for most places – basically a Miata-sized hatchback. I understand why people like them but personally I’d want something with a longer wheelbase in Detroit.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “DW, the fact you’re missing is that *not everyone likes the feeling of a big vehicle*.”

            Dal, I never said “big vehicle.”

            I specifically said that in much of the U.S., subcompacts just don’t work.

            There’s a huge space between tiny cars like the Fit, Versa, etc., and something like a Golf, then an Accord, then a Passat, then a 300, then a LS460, then a Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            While it’s not a hatchback, I just checked and noticed there’s a number of new 2015 Jetta S available in the Detroit area priced as low as $13K.

            No good if you need a hatchback but that’s a screaming good deal for a cheap practical commuter.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “I’m inclined to agree with Deadweight on this topic, since this car will, in fact, be driven mostly in the Metro Detroit area if I understand correctly.

            I love my Miata and drive it all over North America, but the few times I’ve been bouncing around the craters of Detroit convinced me I’d want something bigger if I lived there.

            The Honda Fit is a fun and super practical car for most places – basically a Miata-sized hatchback. I understand why people like them but personally I’d want something with a longer wheelbase in Detroit.”

            Thank you for your honesty and wisdom, Kevin.

            I am starting *The Church of U.S. Transportation Truthiness – As Uncomfortable As It May Sometimes Be For Some* (that’s the official name; it’s long, I know).

            You’re welcome to be on the board of directors or just to attend, if you wish.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            So where is the line, then? Does it make sense to exclude a subcompact Fit but include a compact Focus hatch, which is less than a foot longer? If a Focus is too small, do you need to go up to the midsize category (which are very large cars in terms of footprint), or can you grow up into a CUV and have it be OK? I think if someone likes small cars a subcompact will work just fine, even on Michigan-style war zone roads, although the ground clearance of a subcompact CUV might be welcome.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Deadweight is always trying to create non-denominational rivals to the one true faith of 3800.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You would think that Ronnie knows enough about cars by now to make a decent choice on his own.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “Deadweight is always trying to create non-denominational rivals to the one true faith of 3800.”

            Interfaith services. Let us unite.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A grand alliance!

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            VoGo – Ronnie can and indeed he did make up his own mind and bought the car he liked. And then you know what he did? He wrote it up on on a popular web site and invited us fools to comment on his car and his choice.

            After he’s had his car for a while he can mine this comment thread for material and write about how prescient and/or foolish we were.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I’m with you, Kevin

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            lol someone’s actually recommending a f***ing Jetta over a Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai6p4eUNOqA

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkXpM4qLOCI

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agCCJQIPLD0

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkob_YajtXM

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          No. I just don’t wake up scared every morning, afraid to get out of bed because I might die today. And I don’t obsess over my personal safety. I just stay attentive and intelligent. Actually, in forty years of motorcycle riding (and another ten additional of bicycle commuting), I’ve had four accidents that mattered: In the summer of ’98 I had two within six weeks of each other, the first was my fault, the second wasn’t. One broken collarbone from the first. Broke my wrist on a vintage ten speed when my derailleur broke a spring, threw the chain and locked the back wheel, high-siding me over the bars in ’08. And totaled my beloved ’95 Triumph back in Nov ’14 by t-boning a deer at 60mph at night. Picked myself up, shook off the aches, and walked back to break the deer’s neck. Next morning I was back to work on my Harley. No, I don’t have a death wish. I do have 40+ years of experience in anticipating unattentive jerks in large, high vehicles, most likely with automatics (speaking of prejudices). And I’m not scared to go out in traffic without airbags, electronic system, door beams, etc. I just live. And hope to die with a smile on my face. Looking forward to retirement this July.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I hope you never have an accident on your bike.

            No joking, obviously.

            I know of at least 2 people who have died on bikes, and 4 more that have sustained serious injuries on them. I probably know 10 more people who’ve suffered other serious injuries on them, through no fault of their own, half of whom quit riding since.

            My brother quit riding after going ass over head for 25 feet before landing on his back when a senior citizen in a beige Camry (seriously) did a sudden lane change into his path and he had to stop from 55 mph real suddenly. If he wasn’t wearing his helmet he would’ve been dead (broken collar bone, broken arm, serious other injuries and torn ACL as it was).

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Huh? The fit weighs in at well under 3k pounds. There is literally no amount of performance hardware you could attach to a mid sized sedan that would make it more fun to drive than this (provided we’re not talking about something indifferently made like the yaris). Faster sure, but certainly not more entertaining. The fit’s triumph is in providing those thrills while having more useful cargo area than almost all the hatchbacks a full size class above it.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Large car owner here. No need to tar all of us just because Deadweight likes to get his rant on.

      It’s all good. If don’t tell me to buy an Accent, I won’t tell you to buy an Impala.

      /Notallfullsizebuyers

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Troll request declined, DW.

      People buy what they like. It’s Ronnie’s money. Welcome to America.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        And compact and subcompact sales are in freefall.

        If I lived in Europe, Japan, South America, etc., I would gravitate towards a high quality compact car.

        But I live in HEAVY BIG America, with $hitty roads, huge vehicles in my sideview and rearview mirrors, running at high speeds 24/7, and gas is cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          In my personal fleet are a 3-series, an S-Class and an elderly Ford Excursion. Exactly none of these are going to see me through a high-speed argument with an 80k-pound Semi. And while in a laboratory setting, the Excursion might crush the 3-series, in real-world driving, I’m much more likely to be able to avoid the accident altogether in the BMW. Also, tell me: In a 45-MPH, head-on collision with a tree, would you rather be driving the 2000 Excursion or the 2012 S550? My point is that size does not equal safety in all circumstances, and I’d add that safety should not trump fun and personal satisfaction in all circumstances, either.

        • 0 avatar
          TEXN3

          The only place you live is in a shithole. Which fully explains your demeanor and abrasiveness, people like you don’t go far in life. And you feel it necessary to talk down on others to improve your own outlook. Leave your hellish bubble, and watch yourself get stepped on.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The metro Detroit area?

            I live in a really nice suburb in a custom built home and do pretty well financially.

            More importantly, I’m a happy (even if constructively cynical) person.

            I’m not knocking Ronnie. I’m knocking subcompacts as used in the ginormous, fast-paced, wide open USA.

            Peace be unto you, bro.

    • 0 avatar
      eamiller

      Sorry DeadWeight but even in car Mecca Los Angeles (within the city limits, not the valleys) a small car like the Fit is very advantageous. Most of Los Angeles proper has narrow secondary roads and a serious street parking problem. Having a small car like this pays dividends when the specter of coming home late at night may mean that you’re parking 3-4 blocks from your home if you can’t find a spot big enough for your (giant) Camry or Accord (seriously, they have gotten positively humongous).

      Having said that, I think something like the HR-V or Encore is actually a better choice than the Fit (and in this case, the Camry or Accord), mostly due to that additional ground clearance and (more importantly) suspension travel. Most US cities have taken a pretty indifferent view on road maintenance and you need all the tire sidewall and suspension travel you can get.

    • 0 avatar

      I gotta agree here. Having driven “ova there” the streets, finances, fuel, etc are just different, and autobahn aside, most driving is much tighter than “muricans, and Canucks are used to. We don’t charge for length, or displacement, or in most cases, have personal property taxes (sorry CT). There is no reason to get a tiny car. If you live in NYC, maybe, but for 99.9%, I just don’t see a reason to go this tiny.

      Still, good deal, great manual (not a CVT fan at all-it is a no buy for me) and good luck. My mechanic is on his second Fit and this is a guy who fixes all sorts of “fun” and “interesting” cars for a living, so he must know something….

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      This was true even ten years ago, when the most basic cars were tinny penalty boxes.

      I am sure that the newest subcompacts would pleasantly surprise you. They have the increased prices to match the increased quality and refinement.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Nicely written. It should make for a nearly invisible Q-mobile.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Does the 6-speed transmission give you lower engine speed on the highway? That’s the major reason why I rejected the Fit 3-1/2 years ago in favor of a Ford Focus SE hatchback. Even with only a 5-speed, the Focus is quiet on the highway. Its engine rewards winding it out to red line. Performance is adequate at moderate RPM and sparkling at high RPM.

    My first test drive was of a 5-speed Fiesta with the 1.6 liter four. The car felt slower than it actually is. I might have considered the ST but it didn’t exist yet.

    • 0 avatar
      kcflyer

      in a word, NO.

      3500 rpm and up at highway speeds. I really wish they would have made a taller 6th gear.

      Great commuter car, I only made one highway trip of 440 miles roundtrip. If the drivers seat could move back another inch or two it would be okay but as is I prefer the wife’s Buick for anything more than local trips.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I drove a Ka with the normally aspirated 1.0 3-cylinder, that thing was definitely geared for city driving. I think it was up at/over 4000 rpm on the highway. the throttle basically had to be treated an on-off switch. Clutch out, floor it. clutch in, upshift, floor it. Clutch in, upshift floor it.

        interesting drive, to be sure.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          That was how I drove my stepmom’s 1.0L, 5-speed ’89 Justy. Every launch was a 2500 rpm launch and the throttle was an on-off switch. Hugely entertaining but not a very smooth ride for passengers.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      That’s where every single b segment hatch falls flat on its face compared to the c segment. The c segment is the European mid size sedan equivalent, so we’re mooching off of their development priorities and manufacturing scale.

      It’s ironic that what makes them mundane in Europe makes them special here. The Europeans that are so inclined probably feel the same way about our large sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      The Duratec 20 in the Focus feels like a V6 past the “4” on the tacho.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    This is an excellent article offering a lot of good guidance, especially for someone on a tight budget. But I’m with DeadWeight. These small cars are just too modest in scale and ability to be safe and sound on the grim and nasty roads here. Even with my extremely competent GTI, I sometimes feel like I’m ready to be crushed when among the big rigs on the interstates.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Having just driven a Fiesta ST from Los Angeles to central Ohio, I’m not totally sure I agree. Sure, the trip would have been easier in an S550 but it wasn’t intolerable.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Did you “ridgeline” the FiST & draft tractor-trailers 1 foot off their bumper, Wayne Gerdes style?

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        Actually, the GTI is great on the highway. It goes along at 80 like it was nothing. The problem is that the big rig drivers have gotten reckless (inept?) and go between lanes without signaling or seemingly even looking. That’s especially scary on three lanes if you’re in-between. Even when there’s no knee but your own.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      What’s safe on the roads anyway? In Massachusetts, we just had a State Trooper killed when a Maxima hit his Explorer. The Maxima driver survived. Years ago, not far from my house, an 18+ wheel dump truck lost control and crushed a Suburban killing the driver.

      With a smaller car, you have more room to maneuver and the fear keeps you more alert. In a Suburban, the semi truck driver might see you, but in a small car you know damned well you’re invisible, so you drive more defensively.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Obviously, the only safe solution is to drive one of those giant pickups International makes based on their medium-duty diesel trucks. Anything else is too tiny to survive on modern Interstate highways. For that matter, well-used semi-tractors go for pretty cheap, and you can fit a lot of kids in the sleeper!

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “In a Suburban, the semi truck driver might see you, but in a small car you know damned well you’re invisible, so you drive more defensively.”

        Not me. I drive my big a$$ 2500HD GMC PU truck the same way I drive my little Volt. I always drive like I’m invisible, instilled in me from when I used to ride a 125CC Yamaha enduro on the streets of Minneapolis.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I commute ~400 miles a week on a heavy trucking corridor with an 8th gen Civic and a motorcycle. You guys need to man up a little with this “I dont feel safe in a 3000lb car” stuff. I’m not really sure how a GTI or Fit is any scarier to drive around big rigs than an Accord or whatever. You sit at the same height. It’s all in your heads.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Semis dwarf anything on the road except for another semi, so I’m kind of thinking this is psychological.

    • 0 avatar
      Snail Kite

      The strength of the passenger cell is not necessarily proportional to size. The Fit is perfectly safe.

      http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/honda/fit-4-door-wagon/2015

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        …unless you hit something heavier than a Fit.

        Front collision results are highly dependent on mass of the tested vehicle. They are analogous to hitting a car of the same weight going the same speed. Hit a heavier vehicle and you’ve gone beyond the scope of inference for these tests and the passenger cell will not hold up in the same way.

        IIHS demonstrated this several years ago when crashing these subcompacts into midsize sedans:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLfK35O91gE

        Yaris vs Camry is even worse.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Would the result be any different in your GTI or an Enclave if you got a semi in the left shoulder? I doubt it. You just have to be aware of them and not spend any more time than necessary between two of them.

  • avatar
    ajla

    For some reason I would have expected you to go with the Dart or 200.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    New cars like the Fit or equivalent is where I’d rather have something used that I wouldn’t hate to drive. I payed less for my 2013 fully optioned Volt than you did for your new Fit.I look forward to getting behind the wheel of the Volt, the Fit for me would be torture. To each his own I guess.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    congrats on the car, if you use it mostly in the city a fit is a great choice and coming from a 15 year old saturn the fit will work on the highway, I am surprised that in motor city you could not have gotten a great deal on a ford or as mentioned before a Dart, or did you rule the dart out?

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I recently concluded a several months long project to purchase a new Fit EX-L for my sister. Parameters were lowest price and try to pay with it on the Amex card to capture frequent flyer miles.

    I wrote up a detailed report of the process & experience (thought it might have been instructive to others) in the comments section of the Barq story that Ronnie linked to above. I think it is worth reading (since I commented so late in the story’s life I had little feedback. If you read it, I would be happy to see your comments below here or there.)

    Summary, I scored a 2016 EX-L for a shade over 21k$ out the door (including new plate fees.). She earned 21k Skymiles (plus will get a 10k bonus for spending over 25k$ on her platinum card in CY 2016), while I negotiated (and eventually received, after Amex tried to reduce the bonus by 3k miles) a separate 10k bonus for myself with Amex if I could pull it off.

    She paid for it using Amex via ApplePay on her Apple Watch (finance manager commented “I’ve never run such a large charge on Amex”). If I could or knew how to embed a video here of this I would.

    If you want to finish trimming out your new fit w/ accessories (she: package shelf & hooks, cargo net, cargo tray, first aid kit, winter floor mats and wheel locks), if you shop, can buy these for about 35% off MSRP. I found an out of state dealer (with such prices) and her local dealer (not where we bought the car) agreed to my request to match this and further reduce by half of the 60$ shipping cost if I ordered immediately from him.)

    So now my sister is very happy with her Fit and tells me every day how much she loves it and me.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    The Fit has had video-game EPS feeling steering since the first ’07 cars. That was perhaps the biggest downgrade from the ’90 Civic Wagon ours replaced, that and the tippier-feeling drive, oh and the worse visibility.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Too bad you didn’t at least try out the Soul. If you were only buying new, then never mind. But the 2012-2013’s with the 2.0L and the 6MT are pretty dang awesome.

    As someone who spent 13 months with a Juke, and nearly 6 with a 2nd gen XB, I was blown away by the 2012 Soul Plus we just got. It hasn’t even been 2 months and I can say wholeheartedly that it’s one of my favorite 3 vehicles that I’ve ever had. The Juke has very poor interior space (due to the body design). The XB is spacious but really has no, um, soul.

    Teaching my stepdaughter (it’s her car but she’s still got her learner’s) to drive stick has been a fun adventure. I wish I had more time with her than I currently do. But driving it to work, taking trips (just did 900-miles on a Myrtle Beach vacation this month) and just scooting to and fro is a blast.

    Note that I’m not taking anything away from the Fit (except maybe the engine, which didn’t impress me that much). I even considered getting her one of those, but her heart was set on a Kia Soul, and the deal I got (especially with the car’s condition) was impossible to pass up.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      You lose like 10mpg with the soul which was pretty much a nonstarter with us…

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Ah true, I forgot that the MPG is pretty bad for its displacement. It’s barely better than my V6 Altima. But none of those “boxy” cars are good on gas. The XB was WORSE than my Altima, and the Juke got low 30’s only if you ran premium.

        The Fit has them all beat on aerodynamics, because of its frontal slope I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The 2016 Soul I rented recently had the worst steering feel I’ve ever experienced. Wasn’t a bad car otherwise, but that thoroughly turned me off.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The Soul is a great little car. The engine has some grunt, it is roomy for passengers, and quieter on the highway than the Fit. Cargo space is lacking and it doesn’t handle with any verve or joy, but otherwise a cool little hatchback.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I can barely fit in the Fit, I was surprised at the lack of seat travel when I poked around one at the car show, but it otherwise seemed to embody the packaging and execution that Honda used to get so right (and mostly doesn’t anymore.) You still see a lot of those Civics buzzing around 20 years and four owners later and I’d have every expectation that these will be too.

    Good deal Ronnie. Hope you like it.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    How did they move production to Japan and keep the same price. I would assume the productions costs are higher in Japan than in Mexico, hence the Mexican factory. So if they keep the same price isn’t it dumping and don’t we have laws against that.

    Please note that this is an honest question, not one that I pretend to know the answer to but phrase as a question.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Good questions.
      The market is unchanged by the country of manufacture – Honda charges market price either way, as consumers would not pay more just because Honda’s costs are higher – they would just get a Fiesta instead.

      It could be considered dumping if the US could prove that Honda was selling Japanese made Fits below cost. But the accounting for cars is so complex and convoluted, it’s unlikely the US would spend the time.

      One thing to note is that Honda actually exports more cars from the US/Canada than they import. I don’t think any other carmaker makes that claim.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      It’s probably a lot more complicated than that. Labor costs are only a small fraction of new car prices. I would guess that maximizing plant utilization is a bigger deal.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There’s probably between 14 and 18 hours worth of labor costs involved in manufacturing a new Fit (for Honda).

        So, whether it’s a Mexican labor rate of $3.80 USD per hour, or a Japanese one of $26 USD per hour, given that labor costs are such a small subcomponent of the total manufacturing costs, it probably has negligible impact on bottom line total cost of production.

        Shipping/transport cost is probably more meaningful.

        But Ford & GM will build new factories in Mexico & China & Vietnam anyways, because they’ll never let their operations be threatened by high-wage, organized labor again.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Tariffs, tariffs!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Trump is pouncing on this as a major point of his populism, and it’s working for him thus far.

            Many Americans are dead set against TPP, and would toss NAFTA & CAFTA out the window, along with China’s Most Favored Nation trade status, if they could.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            If only American schools would teach even rudimentary economics in high school.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Yeah, that all needs to come down and a whole section of the politi-criminal class needs to be disappeared, if we could get this much out of him without destruction of the Earth or the activation of FEMA camps, we’re light years ahead. The rest of his rantings though do concern me. But when the other choices for selection are an unrepentant if not benevolent communist, a fake religious conservative who between he and his wife is beholden to the Squid/Bush family, and one of the greatest living psychopathic and deranged criminals in the nation’s history, what are you gonna do?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Could also be that based on the volume of the HR-V (which they expect to be a big hit) versus the Fit (not such a big hit), it made more sense to build the former in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Honda likes to build cars close to where they are sold. Since the HRV will drastically outsell the Fit in the US, they decided to use the plant in North America to build those. They can build the Fit in Japan since they already build it there for other markets.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    My girlfriend bought essentially the same car with the CVT about a year ago… I don’t like the silver, but everything else has been great. The EX trim really seems to be a sweet spot since she really wanted keyless ignition, the fancy cameras, and the moonroof. If you turn it off eco mode it is actually pretty zippy, but I wish they didn’t fake step the CVT or put the paddle shifters in there since they are pretty much useless. The silver just really isn’t a good color for this car…

  • avatar

    I owned a 2015 Honda Fit LX for about 15 months, and it was the most miserable little car I’ve ever owned. I could not wait to get rid of it.

    Like Ronnie, it was difficult to narrow down the vast selection of small cars on the market. I came to the same conclusion as he did on most of the contenders, but had to cross the Fiesta off the list due to its narrow, claustrophobic interior. I kept the Sonic and then-all-new Fit on the list. Unlike Ronnie, I loved the Sonic’s motorcycle inspired gauges but was weary of GM.

    The Fit won out because of its showroom impression: loads of versatility, the magic seat is a work of art, great fuel economy, loads of visibility, the base LX was well equipped, and it seemed to drive on a test drive on surface streets.

    But it became apparent that this car was a penalty box after a few weeks. The noise in this car is relentless. Even at idle, there’s an obvious ticking and puttering sound from the direct injection. The engine sounds like an overloaded Cuisinart when accelerating and buzzes loudly at 3300 rpm while doing 65mph.

    The new six speed manual has the same spread of gear ratios crammed into the same range as the old five speed. That required constant shifting and 5th and 6th were almost identical and pointless.

    To make space for the generous back seat, the fronts were tight on leg room to allow the packaging to work. It’s almost as though Honda focused their whole around the back seat and the fronts were an afterthought.

    But it was the quality of the car that was most disappointing. The experience of going to the dealer 10 times in 5k miles would’ve been shameful for an Eastern European car maker. Here is a list of issues with our Fit:
    – Within two weeks, the alternator died, requiring a tow and a new part
    – Headlights and taillights filled with water after a rain
    – Spare tire area filled with water
    -Fuel gauge occasionally froze
    – Rattles from the drivers door and rear hatch
    – Rear hatch trim broke off twice during ownership
    – Headliner began sagging over the back seat
    – Front bumper began sagging as plastic clips began to give out
    – Door panels didn’t line up from day one

    I’m gentle with my cars and they last a long time, but this car was beyond help. It was actually our first brand new car, and the one we kept the shortest amount of time.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “I owned a 2015 Honda Fit LX for about 15 months, and it was the most miserable little car I’ve ever owned. I could not wait to get rid of it.”

      You mad bro?

      Syke & “Sporty”accord already proclaimed the best, most fun, most comfortable, and by far safest way to travel is by tiny car, or better yet, a 500cc to 800cc bike, as long as you have the reflexes of Spiderman.

      They probably even wear Superhero themed neon leather while on their bikes.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Ouch. Either you managed to pick the lemon on the lot or Honda has lost some quality control with this model. In fairness, the Fit has always had a wonky driving position and been a notoriously loud and high strung car for highway use, so those traits should have been noticed during the test drive. The Fiesta is a far better highway companion if you don’t need any humans to occupy the backseat.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think he got a Lemon. And that it’s RHD and he’s in Australia might have something to do with it also.

      • 0 avatar
        360joules

        YMMV is the car enthusiast code for the outliers. The Toyota Tundra has been universally lauded as a highly reliable but thirsty USA market pickup. But a co-worker had one with a bedeviling tendency to mysteriously shut down at highway speeds. After nearly 40 days of servicing over 18 months the ghost in the machine was slain. Every car model has anecdotal outliers.

      • 0 avatar

        Very fair analysis; I should’ve spent more seat time in the car. The lack of front seat space was noticed during the test drive, but it’s one of those things I figured wouldn’t be too big of a deal. However, the first road trip proved me wrong. Granted, I should’ve been more aware of it.

        The noise was also noticed, and silly me, we never were able to take the car on the freeway to know how loud it can get.

        There were a few lessons learned here for me; namely to take longer test drives and really consider the seemingly minor annoyances.

        The car must’ve been a lemon, as most Fit owners have had better luck

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Oh man, it’s not just you. I failed to pay sufficient attention to seat comfort and driving position once and promised myself to never make that mistake again.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Hecho en Mexico?

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I have a few friends with Gen II and Gen III Fits – they all greatly enjoy them and have had none of the problems you reported. You must of have gotten the rare lemon. It happens.

      Sister’s sixth Camry was a lemon. The other 8 have been extraordinary in service.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Am i supposed to be impressed for this long article that really doesn’t say much at all. Are you really an adult automotive expert? You are comparing Detroit cast iron against Japanese precision steel. Any automotive expert would tell you that is like comparing hamburger to ribeye steak. These cars are in completely different leagues. You should know that if you have ever read CR who are experts on automotive history/reliability.
    Your comments about fun to drive makes me believe you are a 14 year old at heart. I hope you can mature into a healthy mentally astute adult.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Seventeen-seven out the door seems like a great price, congrats. I’d personally have gone for the base Mazda3 for the increased refinement and highway manners, but I’m guessing it would be hard to get anywhere near that price. I’m looking forward to your review of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You can get a Mazda3 for close to that money, but it’s the base model. But, still, it’s comprehensively equipped (air, power everything, cruise, infotainment system, etc).

      The lack of torque in the Fit is what’d bother me most. You’d have to rev the piss out of it to make power.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I find myself weirdly attracted to this car. I’ll echo the other posters – it’s got an AMAZING amount of room inside.

    Good call on passing on the FiST if you’re going to do a lot of driving – those sport tires are going to be good for maybe 20,000 miles, and they’re expensive as hell to replace. And being in Michigan, they’d make the car far less drivable in the winter – you’d need Blizzaks. I had a ’05 Focus ST with performance tires and they made the car far worse in the snow.

    That alone makes for some savings.

    Let us know how it works out!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Car enthusiasts bemoan the paucity of cars that offer stick shifts, but part of the problem with trying to “save the manual” is finding dealers who stock them. An automatic adds at least a thousand dollars (more like two) to the purchase price and dealers like higher transaction prices.”

    Which provides further support to what I and a lot of other people have been saying here: automakers’ customers are dealers, not the owners themselves.

    Congrats on the new ride.

  • avatar
    Snail Kite

    What do you think of the suspension? I thought body roll was excessive on the Fit I tested.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    My wife drives a 2010 Honda Fit base model automatic and it is a fun, capable car to drive. We live in Queens, NY so smaller is sometimes a better thing. It handles well, and has good pep around the city. The only thing it sucks at is on freeway merges. I usually try to give it encouragement in those circumstances. (Come on little Fit!! You can do it!! You can merge onto the freeway!!”) She is also able to fit an enormous amount of crap in the thing when she has to. There is 50 cubes of space with the seats down. The back seat is capable of acrobatics. It also has great resale values.

    Different strokes for different folks.

  • avatar
    b534202

    So in the end, whether it was nihonsei or hecho en Mexico doesn’t matter – price talks.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had a rental Fiesta and felt it was pretty decent. Much quieter over the road than the last Fit I drove, though that was the 1st gen car. The narrow interior is a bit off putting, but not enough to make me not consider it. I honestly liked the Sonic better, I do like the “motorcycle inspired” gauge cluster, but the rest of the interior not so much. Still, if the Sonic had been on the “less than your cell phone plan” lease program, I’d have a Sonic over the Cruze, as I prefer hatches to trunks.

    I’m a fan of many cars, I usually don’t write anything off until I experience it myself. I was greatly impressed by a V6 Charger rental I had last summer. But since we have a minivan for family duty (which no other vehicle does better, IMO) I don’t need another giant car in my stable. It’s usually just myself or the wife driving it and it feels wasteful to have that much car for just one person.

    As for the “follow the money” argument, I try to buy USA made (or assembled) when I can. The Cruze was built an hours drive from my house, but was originally a Daewoo. I can’t recall right now, but I think the 1.4T that powers it is assembled outside the US. Still, it’s the most American car I’ve owned in a long time. And our Odyssey was built in Alabama, with a great deal of parts made here. I buy what I like, with where it’s made as a minor factor.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I actually think that the Cruze is one of the best, most comfortable, best riding (solidity) compact cars sold today (even if it hasn’t fared well in terms of reliability according to CR).

      I would definitely opt for a manual transmission one, though, And make sure to disc brakes in the rear, also (I think only available on the 1LT and up).

      Not sure about the long-term prospects of the 1.4 liter turbocharged motor, unfortunately…

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        The Cruze has been OK so far. It is rather solid and rides well, very quiet in terms of road and wind noise. Cavalier/Cobalt this ain’t. Build quality is OK. I don’t drive it much, just under 1000 miles since I took delivery in December. It does what I wanted it to do. It shuffles me back and forth to the airport without fail and isn’t costing me a fortune.

        It’s pretty damn boring and I wouldn’t have spent real money on it (as in buying one). If I was buying, I would have gone for the 2LT or RS package. But it’s good enough for what I needed it for, an inexpensive 3rd car. But I haven’t owned a GM product since my Malaise era Buick or Eldorado, I wanted to give “new GM” a chance.

        The 1.4 is a bit coarse, but the 6 spd auto does a good job. It drives like a turbodiesel, all low end torque, nothing up high but noise and vibration, but with all the hills I live with, it’s actually a plus. The new car with the improved DI engine is probably even better with the power increase. And for a 24 month lease, longevity isn’t a concern of mine.

        2LT and/or RS package gets you the rear discs, my car is a 1LT with MyLink and Tech packages, which I’m glad I opted for. Rear drums are odd feeling when you’ve been used to driving discs all around for a long time.

        The only drawbacks so far are that the interior is a bit snug for a car that nearly has the same footprint as my 2010 Altima. And the switchgear is still cheap feeling, as are the seats. I had an RS as a rental once and the leather seats were better.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Well done Ronnie – good pick. You got upgrades without paying for them. Good advantage online inventory – eh?
    Really lets us browse around and get quotes.

  • avatar
    Petrosexual

    Your Honda engine should serve you well for a long time. Remember 3-4-5 with a Honda DOHC Vtec: first kick ~3,000 RPM, second punch at ~4,000 RPM, and third boost at ~5,000. Try to keep your RPMs near 3400 [your redline is 6800], or half redline. I’ve put lots of miles on four Honda engines this way over the past 30+ years. Current Honda 1.6 SOHC has 210,000, still singing sweetly and pulling strong.

    Suggest you use Edmunds for your next vehicle negotiation. A 2015 Honda Fit EX 6M in silver “dealer retail” would be $17,847 USD. http://www.edmunds.com/honda/fit/2015/tmv-appraise-results.html

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I just now noticed the pinstripe nebula they put on the back (The Honda Fit, by Subaru!), and combined with the little flourish on the front fender from a 1988 Suburban, I think I’d have passed on this car.

    On new cars, the little things matter.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I agree on that stripe. I HATE pinstripes, especially to that degree and with the flourishes. If we couldn’t find a Cruze without pinstripes (many of them already had them) my dealer offered to remove them from a car I chose.

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