Lightning Strikes the TTAC Podcast

The TTAC podcast is back! In our fourth episode, we talk Ford Lightning, Kia Sportage, Formula One in Miami, and the best cars from 2007.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Compact Five-door Hatchbacks From 2007

Our Buy/Drive/Burn today is yet another reader suggested trio, this time from SoCalMikester. Mike wants to take a look a three quite affordable compact hatchbacks from 2007. Honda, Nissan, and Scion are all on offer today, but which one’s worth your limited number of 2007 dollars?

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Honda Swings Axe, Ends Life of One Model, Two Fun Variants

Honda, perhaps taking a cue from domestic manufacturers, has decided to diminish its passenger car ranks.

Reported today by Automotive News, the automaker has decided to discontinue the Honda Fit in the U.S., while also killing off the Honda Civic coupe and ending manual transmission availability in the Accord.

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Honda Snubs Touchscreen Controls: Good Idea, or Great Idea?

As the status of the North American Honda Fit remains unknown, its more evolved global sibling (the Jazz) hasn’t held our interest. With sales of economy vehicles still losing ground to crossovers and U.S. Fit volume going from modest to borderline meager over the last five years, there’s a good chance Honda may not bother updating it here.

The 2020 Euro-market reboot only offers a hybrid drivetrain — a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine mated to a 96-kW synchronous AC motor — and adds a plethora of standard safety tech and connectivity features. While other markets will see internal-combustion version, the best Honda has on offer is a pint-sized i-VTEC (988 cc) making 120 horsepower. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like a good fit for this market and may explain the company’s reluctance to confirm anything for North America. But Honda has made some changes that we hope carry over to all of its future products, regardless of the name carried on the rear hatch or the engine lurking beneath the hood.

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2020 Honda Fit: Vibrant, Newly Electrified, and Possibly Not Bound for a Dealer Near You

Honda last revamped its subcompact Fit hatchback for the 2015 model year, tossing the entry-level model a styling refresh for 2018. Now, there’s a new Fit on the block (or Jazz, depending on market), but its availability in the U.S. remains a question mark.

Sales of most subcompact cars have followed a trajectory traced by their compact and midsize stablemates, and it points nowhere but down. If Honda feels it’s worthwhile shipping the Fit across U.S. borders, what you see here could be yours.

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Honda Fit for America?

While Honda is prepping a brand new Jazz for the Tokyo Motor Show, the status of its American-market twin remains unknown. Many wonder if the Honda Fit will persist in the United States, or simply soldier on in other regions under the Jazz nameplate.

Honda has refused to commit to anything publicly, but hope remains. The automaker released teaser images of the model last week, referencing it as the Jazz, but if you zoom in on the back end you can clearly see it labeled as a Fit.

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Piston Slap: Unfit to Charge a Fit?

TTAC regular Ronnie Schreiber writes:

Sajeev,

Tonight, while driving on the interstate, the tire pressure warning light came on in my ’15 Honda Fit, then the ESC light came on, then the power steering warning light came on, and then the info display said to check the charging system. Everything seemed to be working just fine, though. I pulled off to check the serpentine belt, which was intact so I started searching on the internet for the symptoms.

According to the forums, it’s sort of a known problem that’s due to glitches in the electrical system causing erroneous fault codes. Dealers usually try replacing the alternator, which doesn’t help. The alternator harness, the ABS sensors, and the injectors/coil packs have all been mentioned in the forums as fixing the problem.

I’ll check all the connections in the morning, but in the meantime I’m leaning towards a faulty ABS sensor, since those are used for the TPMS in my car, not an actual pressure transducer, and the first light that goes on is for tire pressure. Also, the check charging system warning was intermittent.

What do you think?

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Mixed Bag: Honda's Manual Take Rates for 2018

Last week, we shared a report on the number of manual transmission-equipped vehicles Toyota sold last year. If you haven’t the time the to re-read the entire post, it was a trifling sum that showcased just how unimportant these types of cars have become among mainstream shoppers — even if there were a couple of bright spots.

However, as the death march of be-sticked automobiles is a topic that gets many enthusiasts out of bed and into the comment section, it wouldn’t hurt to check in on how Honda’s manual tranny sales faired in 2018.

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Adios, Amigo? Honda Considering Moving Fit Production Out of Mexico, Report Says

It’s rumored that Honda is considering reallocating production of its U.S.-market Fit subcompact to Japan from Mexico in a few years. According to reports, this is partly due to everything that’s going on with the North American Free Trade Agreement, or whatever they’re calling it now.

The new arrangement, which replaces NAFTA, is set to raise the minimum North American content for cars to qualify for duty-free market access to 75 percent from 62.5 percent, while simultaneously raising Mexico’s auto workers’ minimum wage and giving them the right to union representation.

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Piston Slap: Earth Dreams of Carbon Buildup?
TTAC commentator KCFlyer writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I have a 2015 Honda Fit LX manual, purchased new. From day one I noticed a slight momentary hesitation under moderate acceleration when the engine was cold. I took the car to the dealer after a few weeks but they could not duplicate the problem. I dropped it off again and left it overnight, hoping a cold engine would allow them to experience the issue. No luck.

Fast forward 57,000 miles. Same problem persists and is reported to dealer via phone several times. The check engine light comes on. Dealer says the code means an #3 cylinder misfire. They say the fuel injectors are clogged and charge $1,300 to replace all four injectors. Honda of America throws in $1,000 of goodwill money because fuel injectors are not covered by the 60,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Two weeks later light comes back on. Same code. This time another dealer pulls the head and finds carbon buildup on all four piston heads. They clean up the engine, clean the throttle body and declare the vehicle fixed. Total charges paid for by Honda of America under goodwill claim except $217 for the throttle body cleaning. That was yesterday and I will know within days if the original problem persist.

Tech rep was awesome. He recommends I get the fuel injectors and throttle body cleaned every 30,000 miles. My question, what caused the carbon buildup? Does the buildup damage the engine even if later cleaned up? Should I dump the Fit? It is an awesome commuter. I average 44 mpg summer and 39 winter.

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Honda Thinks a Small, Cheap EV Is Just the Right Fit

You’d be forgiven for not remembering the Honda Fit EV. Hardly a Bolt or Leaf, the short-ranged electric was available for lease in California for a very brief time; some 1,100 examples arrived on U.S. shores between July of 2012 and October of 2014.

Right now, the only way to get into an electric vehicle bearing the Honda badge is to move to California or Oregon and take out a pretty decent lease on a Clarity EV. That could soon change, as Honda plans to build a successor to that early electric. Yes, it will still use the Fit as its muse.

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2018 Honda Fit Sport Review - Manuals, Saved

I’m on the record with my assertion that the minivan is the perfect family vehicle. A low floor and high roof combine to provide maximum space for both humans and cargo. For those who don’t need to haul five kids to Walley World every week, however, the classic hatchback gives much of that minivan flexibility in a condensed, occasionally fun-to-drive package. The modern subcompact hatch isn’t the penalty box that littered American roads in the late Malaise Era.

My two kids had a packed weekend between softball, soccer, and cheerleading. Carrying all the required equipment, including camp chairs and coolers, would be taxing for nearly any car. And yet, we had one of the smallest cars I’ve ever driven at our disposal, a 2018 Honda Fit Sport. Did the Fit fit everything that needed to, um, fit?

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2018 Honda Fit LX Review - What If It's the Only Subcompact for You?

Subcompacts, if they ever were in favor, have quickly fallen out of favor in the United States. In 2017, sales in the first three-quarters of the year plunged by more than a fifth, year-over-year. The Honda Fit, modestly updated for the 2018 model year, is on track in 2017 to fall to a five-year low of around 50,000 sales, a far cry from the nearly 80,000 American Honda sold a decade ago.

The Honda Fit, not now in third-gen form nor in any prior iteration, has never sold on the strength of style. There have always been less expensive subcompacts, faster subcompacts, and better-equipped subcompacts, as well.

There have not, however, at least not during the Fit’s tenure, been any subcompacts that offer the flexibility of the Honda Fit. But does the fact that the 2018 Honda Fit is likely the only current subcompact that could operate as my family’s lone vehicle make up for the fact that the Fit lags behind rivals in key areas?

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Do It for the Children: Honda and Toyota Sticking With Small Cars for the Sake of Our Children, and Our Childrens' Children

The Dodge Dart is dead. The Ford Fiesta is likely on its last legs in the United States. Ford Focus production is moving to China, off the North American continent where demand for Ford small cars is rapidly declining. General Motors is scaling back production at the Chevrolet Sonic’s Orion Township, Michigan, assembly plant.

That’s the Detroit small car picture, or at least part of it. From Japan’s perspective, however, small cars are entirely worth it, not just because of the sales success enjoyed by the Honda Civic (currently America’s best-selling car through 2017’s first seven months) and Toyota Corolla, but because of the demographic small cars target.

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New Pricing, More Content Bound for the Updated 2018 Honda Fit

The current-generation Honda’s Fit is considerably less adorable than previous incarnations, but still a vehicle that’s easy to recommend to those with a specific price point and varied needs — especially if they also do all their driving in the city. However, it wasn’t perfect and rationalizing its purchase became difficult as upmarket models offered more car for less money.

For 2018, Honda has updated the subcompact Fit with driver-assist features, new looks, and some mild performance accoutrements for a not-unreasonable amount of cash. It doesn’t necessarily make it a better buy than the Civic you’ve been considering, but it should be enough to make the Fit deserving of a second look.

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  • MaintenanceCosts This looks really surprisingly different from the Blazer EV. It's more boring, but it's also more Honda, and for that reason alone it will be taken a lot more seriously in US markets.
  • ToolGuy I found this interesting; you might too: https://youtu.be/asb4jLWWTbQ
  • SCE to AUX Q: "How do you fix automotive media?A: The same way you fix the auto show.That is to say: Don't live in the past, believing every story is original with you. Offer something insightful and useful to your audience that they can't get anywhere else.The auto show allows consumers to sit inside many vehicles under one roof, without sales pressure - something unavailable anywhere else. That's it. The media should accept that the auto show offers nothing new for them anymore, and the auto show should stop pretending that it does.Good examples:[list][*]I've flamed Posky many times, but his long background stories can be thought-provoking and informative. I may not always agree with some of the posturing, but at least they dig deeper than someone's press release.[/*][*]Alex on Autos has some of the best video reviews. He wastes absolutely no time getting to the substance, and his formula is reliable. He packs a lot into 25 minutes.[/*][*]Everyday Reviews: This likeable couple/family covers the daily life aspects of new cars they test - child car seats, user interface, fuel economy, and so on. No hype - just useful.[/*][/list]Bad examples:[list][*]DragTimes: In a 20-minute video, you get 1 minute of racing and 19 minutes of bromance talk. I keep hoping it will improve, but it doesn't.[/*][*]Road and Track's web page is heavily tilted toward unaffordable niche sports cars and racing, with a few feature articles on daily drivers. I visit, but it feels like I'm in a Porsche dealership.[/*][/list]
  • BSttac Honestly automotive journalism is all but dead. Its mostly bloggers with a left based agenda. Cnet and the Drive especially had some really horrible bloggers. Road and Track also has some terrible bloggers so it would not surprise me if they are next. Just look at most bloggers complain about going to an automotive show when they dont realize its not even for them. Very spoiled and out of touch individuals
  • Jkross22 I forgot to include Bring a Trailer. It's so enjoyable to revisit cars from different eras and to read what the most knowlegable have to say about those types of cars.