2008 Fit New Car Test Drive
Subcompact cars are not the penalty boxes they once were. A raft of totally models brings comfort and happy motoring at bargain prices. Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Chevrolet have launched new subcompacts for 2007, while Kia and Hyundai barely beat them to the party with new models for 2006. They come with wacky names like Fit, Yaris, Versa, Aveo, Rio and Accent. For the most part, they're all delightful, get excellent gas mileage, offer comfortable, reliable transportation, and are highly space efficient. There's not a bad one in the bunch.
The Honda Fit distinguishes itself with agile handling, zippy performance, and impressive practicality. A four-door hatchback, the Fit is amazingly comfortable, given its dimensions, even in the back seats. It's a particularly pleasant car for running errands. It's easy to get in and out. It's easy to park. It does indeed fit, just about anywhere.
Perfect for the big city, at home in the suburbs, the Honda Fit offers a smooth ride on bumpy streets and easy manueverability. The five-speed manual is smooth and easy to shift, while the five-speed automatic has paddle shifters, useful when you feel like Rubens Barrichello driving flat out through Eau Rouge. The 1.5-liter engine features Honda's VTEC techonology, giving it a free-revving 109 horsepower, while achieving an EPA-estimated 33/38 mpg City/Highway.
The Honda Fit offers five-passenger seating and comes with a sporty, two-tone fabric interior. The rear seatbacks can be flipped down to create a big, flat cargo hold. Most of the other cars in this class don't offer such a big, flat floor, and that's crucially important when trying to transport a big box. Alternatively, the seat bottoms can be flipped up, creating a nice cargo hold behind the front seats, handy for groceries and errand running or for tall items, like framed art. Fold down all the right-hand seats and you can transport a surfboard. Recline the front seats and they form a couch. Plug in your iPod, lay down and relax.
In short, the new Honda Fit is an exceptionally good package that should please anyone shopping for an inexpensive new car. It retails just below $14,500. Even more compelling is the Sport model, which adds 15-inch alloy wheels, a nice stereo, sporty styling cues, and the all-important keyless remote for less than $1,400. Adding to its sensibility, the Fit comes standard with six airbags and anti-lock brakes. And it looks like fun. The Fit presents a smart ambience, especially a Sport model swathed in Vivid Blue Pearl, Milano Red or Blaze Orange Metallic paint to highlight its massive and colorful headlamp assemblies.
The Honda Fit is available in two trim levels, the base Fit ($13,850) and the Sport ($15,170). All 2007 models are four-door hatchbacks powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive and a choice of five-speed manual or five-speed automatic ($800). All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP), which do not include the destination charge ($595); prices may change at any time without notice.
Standard features include fabric upholstery, air conditioning with air filtration system, power windows and door locks, dual power mirrors, 160-watt AM/FM/CD with four speakers, four cup holders, interior, map, and cargo lights, remote fuel-filler release, 60/40 split fold-flat rear seats, a rear wiper, body-colored power side mirrors, rear wiper/washer and 14-inch steel wheels.
The Sport upgrades with 15-inch alloy wheels and 195/55R15 tires, front and rear spoilers and side skirts, AM/FM/CD/MP3 with six speakers and steering wheel controls, remote keyless entry, fog lights, and anti-theft system.
Safety features that come standard include dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags, and side-curtain airbags. It also comes with three-point safety belts for all positions with tensioners for the front seats. Be sure and wear those seatbelts because they form your first line of defense in a crash. LATCH child-seat tethers are provided in both rear outboard seats, while the center seat has a built-in, ready-to-use upper tether, allowing child safety seats to be installed in any rear seating location. The Fit comes standard with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution to help drivers avoid crashes in the first place.
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